Sunday, July 14, 2013

New Pics From a New Camera

Chopham-tied on a 3/0 Alec Jackson (gold)

I recently invested in a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200. It's a bridge camera. I didn't feel like I was ready to take the DSLR plunge quite yet, but I think this will either do the trick or, eventually, become a "gateway drug" into the world of DSLRs. I also bought some cheap, clip-on LED lamps. I'm really going to try to up my game photo-wise, so bear with me while I work out the kinks. I'm already impressed with what this camera can do despite only using 10% of what it's capable of.

Once I get my act together, look for more step-by-step posts and possibly some instructional tying videos in the future. Stay tuned...

Here are some miscellaneous shots from the first day...

The Pearl - #4 (Mustad 3371)

Jock Scott - #2 Double

Willie Gunn Dee - 3/0 Alec Jackson

Dirty Bird - #4
(more details on this one soon...a very effective fly!)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tiemco TMC 700 - Lament for a Hook

Some of my favorite TMC 700 treatments

About a month ago, I thought I'd stock up on one of my favorite "specialty" hooks, Tiemco's TMC 700. I figured I'd need some for future orders of Connecticut Broodstock salmon flies, as I tie two of my three favorite patterns for CT salmon on these hooks (Mickey Finn and the Same Thing Murray). Little did I know that Tiemco had discontinued this model of hook not too long ago. I was shocked! I was dismayed! How dare they?!?

When I regained my composure, I hunted for sources of remaining stocks of TMC 700s. I started with the elusive size 10s and ordered the other sizes from that particular source to save on shipping. Two sizes were absent, however. TMC 700s in size 1/0 seem to be relatively abundant compared to the other sizes, ironic given that my source carried almost all the other sizes, but not 1/0. Also missing were size 4s. These proved to be the phantom of the group. They're really hard to find for some reason. I put out feelers all over the internet and was contacted by a kind gentleman in Germany who had a bulk bag of 600 for sale. I snatched them up. I didn't really need that many but I had no idea where else to find them. 


Trying not to succumb to the serial material/hook hoarding instinct which comes naturally to fly tyers, I figured 50 of each size is enough to get me through most of the rest of my life. I just have to stop tying commercially on them, which is fine with me and I doubt my customers will mind too much. I only really use them for three patterns; Mickey Finns (for salmon), the Same Thing Murray and various Muddler variations. The thing is I really like them for Muddlers and Mickey Finns. I could live with another hook for Murrays, but I've had so much success with that fly on this hook that I'm too superstitious to change now* (which is ridiculous). 

The difference is in the wire (and the eye)

As you can see in the Tanner Chart above**, they're pretty much the same length as the heavy wire, up eye offerings from both Tiemco and Daiichi. Other than the eye and the limerick bend, the main difference is the weight of the wire. The TMC 700 is a heavy hook. The wire is substantially thicker than the Daiichi 2441 which, due to those $25 off Orvis coupons, has become my mainstay for salmon wet flies***. It appears that the wire on the 700 is marginally thicker than it's cousin, the TMC 7999. I don't really use 7999s though, at least not when I can get $50 worth of Daiichis for $25 two or three times a year. So the TMC 700 is roughly the same size as my normal hook, but weighs more. I've heard it said that down eye hooks fish slightly deeper than up eye hooks, so I like having a few flies tied on 700s to get down a tiny bit more. They really are a terrific Muddler hook if you're not trying to skate it or fish it dry. The TMC 700 is a tough hook for nasty fish. It's sharp, seems to hold well and I doubt many fish are capable of bending it.

So what I already had and what I just bought is going to have to last. At the rate I'm fishing these days, I probably bought 47 too many of each size. I plan to rectify that come autumn, however. What a drag though...I've spoken to several fellow tyers who feel similarly. Tiemco-san, if you're reading this, please let the TMC 700 live again! 

* The same goes for tying it with a moose hair wing. Just about everyone ties it with bear hair, but my first had moose, and they worked, so moose it is forever...(probably equally as ridiculous and superstitious) 

** Gary, if you're reading this, I love your hook comparison charts. Thank you!!

*** The Orvis Salmon Wet-Fly Hook is a rebranded Daiichi 2441. I wish they made a size 10 in this hook. You hear that, Daiichi-san??

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Chopham & The Outlaw

The Outlaw (above) & Chopham (below)

It's has been a while since I last posted anything here. Mid-May through the end of June was a very busy period of work for me (a good thing). I played a bunch of fun gigs and was in the studio, recording several ballads for an upcoming Chet Baker tribute album. When I wasn't working, I was at home with the little guy. It left very little time for fishing and even less time for tying. Sadly, my spring fishing season can summed up in two words...bad timing. I just couldn't seem to time anything right. First the water was way too low for my quarry, then it was way too high. Finally, I couldn't take it any longer and fished right through a tropical storm. This summer, my goal is to find a good babysitter so I can time things a little better come autumn!

I did find the time to tie up a couple of freestyle display flies this week, however. It felt good to tie this style of fly again. I think the last freestyle fly I tied was almost a year ago. I have some more ideas I'm going to try to work out while we're in the summer doldrums.

Chopham-tied on a 3/0 Alec Jackson (gold)

The "Chopham" is based on the Popham, one of the most iconic flies of the Victorian era. The indian crow subs in this fly were made by Bryant Freeman of Eskape Anglers. Because of the lack of a formal body, I aimed for an airy look overall. 

The Outlaw-tied on a 3/0 Alec Jackson (silver)

"The Outlaw" uses a color scheme that I am very fond, white, red and peacock green. I can't get enough of white feathers with a black/dark accent. Amherst and silver pheasants, silver badger rooster and, in the case of this fly, speckled bustard neck hackle (throat). I'm also a sucker for embossed tinsels. Along with "The "Moon Maiden,"  and "The Bandit" (one of my first freestyle flies), this fly is the third in a series of flies in this color scheme.

Stay tuned for more in the near future...