Friday, August 6, 2021

Unbelievably Late Report & the Upcoming Season

A hard fighting November salmon



    A while ago, I decided to stop posting regular reports to take a little heat off of the fishery. I actually did mean to post an overall report last season, but it sort of slipped my mind. There's no time like the present!

    The one thing that stood out about the 2020-2021 season was how small the fish were. They were really puny. I've never caught so many small salmon in one season. From what I understand, the hatchery had problems with this year class of fish, starting at the egg stage. From what I've heard, last season was just an outlier in that respect. I still had fun, but it definitely made me miss the old days (fewer, but much larger, fish) even more than usual. 

    Even though all of my own catches were small, my clients tied into some nice fish. There were a couple of scraps that I thought the salmon would win, but both anglers came out victorious. There were plenty of small fish caught, too. In all, it was a very productive season and a lot of fun. I could tell people appreciated being out after being cooped up for so long. 


Another hard fighter on light tackle 


    The overwhelming choice for fly of the year went to the conehead Ally's Shrimp tube fly. All three salmon pictured in this post were caught on that fly, as well as several other salmon. I fished mostly classic salmon flies and caught several salmon on them. I also recall catching one on a Green Machine and a couple on Shumakov's Golden Shrimp (I catch salmon on this every season...will make a post about it soon). As far as guiding, however, I stuck with the Ally's tube fly and there was really no need to use too much else. Detailed tying instructions for the Ally's tube can be found in my ebook, "Flies for Connecticut Salmon: How to Tie & Fish Them." 


Conehead Ally's Shrimp - Fly of the Year 2020


    As far as the upcoming season goes, I am planning on guiding again. We've had plenty of rain so, as long as it doesn't stop altogether, we might have an early start to the season. My favorite time to fish is early on, so that would be great if it works out. If you're interested in booking, contact me and I will add you to my email list. I offer discounts for multiple days booked in case you'd like to book more than one trip in a season. I look forward to seeing some of you in the upcoming salmon season! 


Christmas Eve rocket 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Ten Tips for CT Salmon Anglers

A nice male, caught in an under-fished location


Since I took 2019 off from guiding, rarely fished, and largely checked out of what was happening in and around the CT salmon fishing scene, I sort of forgot about how others choose to navigate this fishery. I never forgot how I did things. It came back immediately in 2020. If anything, I found myself thinking more clearly than ever. I fished relatively few flies, but picked them with greater thought. I wasted very little time. If I wanted to use a "novelty fly," I did so on my first pass, when an aggressive salmon would be most likely to take it. If that didn't work, I chose something more "sensible" for the next pass. This fall, the salmon were a little crankier than usual and this season hammered home some important lessons. I know some folks are still struggling to hook up, so I will share a few of these lessons here. 

1. Efficiency is KING 

Every cast has to count. Every cast has to be your best. Every cast has to fish as perfectly as possible. That doesn't mean that you must be able to cast a country mile, but the ability to do so doesn't hurt. Practice casting, but not while you're fishing. Fishing requires a different type of focus than does casting practice. One will suffer if they are done simultaneously. Practice casting in the wind. Practice casting with obstructions. Practice all of that so, when you're actually FISHING, you are making the most of your time by casting as well as possible. When every cast counts, you'll be fishing as efficiently as possible and you will make the most of your day. 

2. Never stop moving 

Move all day long. Don't stop. Unless you're working a fish, don't stand in the same spot for more than two casts. Cover as much water as possible. If a pool doesn't produce, get out of there. Unless you find takers, fish as many pools as possible in the course of an outing. Don't forget to try the water on the margins. You just might find your new honey hole. 

3. The fly doesn't matter 

The fly doesn't really matter. I like to tie, so I have a lot of flies. But I could get by with far fewer. I just need a couple flies for surface fishing, a couple for just under the surface, a couple long and/or heavy tubes, a couple flies for high/dirty water, a fly for low/clear water and a change-of-pace fly or two. Even within that list, I can think of patterns that would do double duty. 

4. Choose your fly with care 

I know I just said the fly doesn't matter. However, some flies are better suited to this purpose than others, and those are the flies I want to have. For example, when the water gets cold, salmon don't take as hard, don't always turn on the fly, and don't often get hooked in the corner of the jaw. For that reason, I use tube flies with a hook that rides behind the materials. People ask if our salmon eat woolly buggers. Of course they do...but I wouldn't be caught dead using a long tailed fly in 36ยบ water. When the salmon takes soft, I want to make sure he gets 100% of the hook in his mouth since I know hooksets are inherently dicey at this time of year. I have specific flies for specific sets of conditions. When they fish are acting recklessly, anything will work. For the majority of the time, I am looking for a fly that will make the most of the conditions at hand, be it water height, temperature, clarity, the amount of sun of the water, etc. 

5. Choose your fly line with care 

Like my fly, I choose my line according to conditions. Unless the water is low enough for me to fish a single handed rod and a floating line, I use a short two handed rod and Scandinavian shooting heads. The bulk of my salmon are caught with a floating head, but I have different densities of head at the ready. Need to fish a fly slowly through heavy chop? A fast sinking tip will get your fly down, but the floating head will still be fishing at the same speed as the surface of the water. Fully sinking heads are the best option for slowing the fly down in a situation like this. 

6. Look for aggressive fish 

This is relative of tip #2. Unless you find a bunch of eager salmon, keep looking for that one aggressive fish. Look for him up and down the river if you have to. Then, once you find and either land or lose him, look for the next aggressive fish. It's ok to spend a little more time on historically productive lies, but don't put all of your eggs into one basket. Keep moving until you find that fish.

7. Don't waste your time in less productive water 

Sure, you might see a salmon jump across the river, in the frog water. Just leave it alone. The cruising fish are hard to pin down and hard to hook reliably. Fish the runs and let the spin fishermen take the frog water. Sure, you might not be casting over every single fish in a pool but, chances are, you'll be fishing over those you're more likely to hook and land on a fly. Plus, you can work through moving water much faster than still water, which brings us back to the ever-important tip #2. If you know some reliable frog water spots, that's a different story. 

8. Wait until you feel the weight of the salmon to set the hook

This is an oft repeated piece of advice. When fishing subsurface, don't trout set or you'll risk pull the fly from its mouth. Slow down. Set the hook when you feel the fish on. Let the salmon do most of the work for you, then smoothly raise the rod. If you use tube flies, there is no need to drive a thick salmon iron into their jaws with a Jimmy Houstonesque hook set. The exception is when stripping flies....(strip) strike first, (strip) strike hard, no mercy, sir! I often strip with two hands so I can remain in contact with the fly at all times. The worst is when the fish takes at the end of the strip and you run out of line to tighten. 

9. The fish moves when it's fighting. Why don't you? 

This one should need no further explantation, yet it does...over and over again. The fish is constantly trying to get a better position on you. Why the hell would you stand in one place and let it? After the fish is hooked, as long as it can't be stripped right to hand, reposition yourself to make the fish work for every inch of line it takes. Boxing isn't just punching. It's mostly footwork. Don't stand still and let the fish pummel you. Keep moving and take back the upper hand. 

10. Put the wood to 'em! 

This is an offshoot of the previous tip. When it comes to fighting larger and/or tougher fish, they will battle to a stalemate if they can. Meanwhile, the hook is getting looser and looser until either you get lucky or the fish does. Put some pressure on that fish. Keep him off balance. Keep pulling the hook into his mouth, not away from his mouth. That's a big one, so I will repeat it. If you're pulling directly upstream on a fish that is directly downstream from you, you will be pulling the fly towards you and away from the fish. By pulling the fly into his mouth, you will be exerting maximum pressure. Then, when he runs, you ease off the pressure. As soon as he stops, put the pressure back on immediately. At some point, either you will end the fight or the fish will. And, if you mess around for too long, you might get lucky, but kill the fish. So play them smart and play them hard. 

*BONUS TIPS*

-Never be afraid to experiment. Sometimes it works and becomes a part of your repertoire. 

-STAY POSITIVE!! I can't overemphasize this! 

-Read books. Read this blog, too. Read anything and everything, regardless of media type. Listen to podcasts. Be an information sponge. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are great, but solid fishing strategy existed long before color photography, videos, etc. Books...they aren't just for geezers and nerds. It takes actual work to write a book. Yes, you will find some that are a bit suspect, but if someone cares enough about salmon fishing to write a book about it, you can probably learn something from it. No one does it for the money. 

Feel free to comment below...compliments or criticism, either is fine with me. Add some tips of your own, if you're so inclined. I still have a lot to learn. 


 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

It's Been a While...

 

Small, but my favorite fish of the season nonetheless


Hey! It's been a long time! I'm not sure if anyone reads blogs anymore or if anyone will actually check this. I didn't update this blog at all last season. I didn't guide last season, either, save for one trip that had been rescheduled from the year before. I think I fished the Naugatuck all of four times in 2019, though I did hook and lose one of the hardest fighting broodstock salmon I've encountered. I think I was a bit burned out last year. Also, I had tons of work in the music field, so I was plenty busy. 

Enter 2020...very little work after mid-March, buckling under the stress of distance learning with a second grader, a wife who was super stressed out having to teach music online...and less time for fishing than ever. When students returned to school in September, things began to normalize a bit. There was still very little work for a performing musician, but I had plenty of time to fish all of a sudden. In light of the circumstances, guiding was back on in 2020. In all, it was a pretty decent season for both myself and my clients, though it was certainly not a normal season. 

Here are a few things I noticed...First of all, there were fewer salmon around this year and most were a lot smaller than average compared to recent years. I caught my first one and thought, "What I've heard is true...these things are puny." Then I landed one about 5# immediately afterwards and thought, "That's more like it. That first one must have been an outlier." Nope. It was no outlier. Most were puny. That 5# fish was the largest I'd catch all fall though, luckily for me, I had clients who caught larger fish on guided trips. 

The other strange thing was that, as a whole, they were more difficult to catch this season. There was only one day I saw them behaving recklessly. Usually, I see that happen a few times per year. Personally, I still did fine and caught enough fish to be satisfied, but I didn't land more than two in a day on any day. Every season, I have at least one four or five salmon day, and sometimes more/multiple days like that. But that didn't happen this year. I didn't hook one salmon, all season long, in my two most reliable spots. Or, what used to be my most reliable spots, I should say. 

I don't really have an explanation...at least one which can be proven. I think the fact that we were fishing over fewer fish had something to do with it. The only other thing I can think of is, since I am used to targeting larger fish, maybe these little guys starting finding lies more suitable for smaller fish? I have caught a lot of salmon in a run with some relatively heavy water (for the Naugatuck). It was a salmon ghost town there this year. Maybe it was too much water for these little guys? 

I don't know. In any event, I managed to adjust pretty quickly and still found enough fish for a successful season. I spent more time at pools I have avoided the past few years, so it was nice to get reacquainted with old water. I hooked a fish on a Sunray Shadow, fished at light speed. It's been a few seasons since I've had that happen, despite it being a staple in my arsenal for so long. I caught a couple fish on a classic salmon flies, namely the William Rufus and the Popham. That's always exciting for me. The fly of the year, for myself, my clients and one of my best buddies, was the Ally's Shrimp/Conehead Ally's tube fly. One of those two did the absolute bulk of the heavy lifting for us this season. Other good flies were the Golden Shrimp tube fly, the L.T. Special and, as always, the gold bodied Willie Gunn. 

My favorite fish of all was the one pictured above, however. I caught it in my favorite pool. It's far from my most productive pool. It actually might be one of my least productive pools, but it will always be my favorite. The water moves at just the right speed and has a everything a salmon could want. But, for some reason, they seem to move in and out of that pool. They don't stay very long. 

For some reason, salmon are susceptible to Buck Bugs when they find themselves in this pool. So, the fly for my first run through was a no brainer...Green Machine, sz. 4. About midway down the run, in fairly deep water, I saw a salmon come up to the surface and roll on the fly. Now, in recent years, I have seen this typical salmon behavior less and less. They either want the fly or they don't. They either take it or they don't. I remember epic chess matches with salmon, getting them to rise over and over, only to hook them or to bore them into giving up. But now, it's a lot more cut and dry, which makes me sad. My friends and I agree, they have been behaving less and less like salmon every year for the past four or five years. But this time, the fish wanted to behave as it should. So, I rested the fish for two or three minutes. I cast my Green Machine to the same spot...whammo! The fish nailed it. There was no prolonged chess match,  and the fish was small and easily landed, but I was still satisfied with the events of that hookup. 

I fished on Christmas Eve with my buddy Val. He got a nice fish in my favorite pool. I got my smallest salmon of the season immediately after. The river is blown out now. I might get out one more time in 2020 or I might be done until next fall. We'll see. I think I've actually seen the best of it this year, but it's not like I have any gigs to play, so I might as well fish as long as the weather cooperates. And, if it doesn't, I have fly orders to keep me busy...and some time to write, so maybe I will post some more here soon enough. If anyone reads this, I hope you had a happy holiday season and have a happy and fruitful new year! 

-Ben 

Conehead Ally's Shrimp was top dog this season
(fished with a single hook, of course)





Thursday, February 28, 2019

CT Broodstock Salmon Regulation Change and a Message

Salmon and Mickey Finn from last October

A couple years ago, I submitted a letter to the state of Connecticut’s Fisheries Advisory Council (FAC). The letter was in regards to extending the catch and release season for broodstock Atlantic salmon in Connecticut rivers. The gist of the letter was, since we had several drought years in a row, our C&R season was getting shorter and shorter every year. Also, since the final stocking (which happens to contain the largest salmon) occurs after the retention season begins (Dec. 1), anglers who practice C&R never get fish over the total number of salmon in the river. Furthermore, the opportunity to catch the largest salmon is reduced, as they are often harvested right away. From what I was told, my letter was well received. Since it wasn’t official business, the matter was tabled. Unfortunately, it was never made part of the official agenda in subsequent meetings. Fast forward to December 2018…

I was frustrated at how the salmon season had gone. Not only was the lower Naugatuck stocking greatly delayed at beginning of the season (which, in my opinion, was unwarranted), but rain and high water made fishing impossible for much of the season. Before we knew it, the catch and release season was over and C&R anglers had to deal with a declining balance of salmon as soon as the river was ready to fish. The last stocking of salmon occurred and the fish began to disappear immediately, adding to my frustration. 

On the Shetucket River, an angler friend of mine was also frustrated. While Phil was very vocal about what he perceived as problems, I was ready to wash my hands of all of it. Phil got to me and convinced me to share my experiences and opinions. As much as I hate to be the “squeaky wheel,” I shared my thoughts publicly. I was not at all surprised when many others shared the opinions of both Phil and myself. After a while, we could no longer be ignored and CT Fish & Wildlife opened a survey online. The survey asked whether anglers would be in favor of extending the C&R season for broodstock salmon and by how long the season should be extended. The results were published earlier this week (see the illustrations below). 


Click to enlarge (from CT Fish & Wildlife)

Click to enlarge (from CT Fish & Wildlife)


In light of the responses, the catch and release salmon season has been extended to December 15 of each year, adding about two weeks to the season. While I was happy that Phil and I made a bit of a difference, I was unsatisfied with the extension being only two weeks long given the responses to the survey were overwhelmingly in favor of an extension of at least four weeks. Look at the data and see for yourself. 

While I am happy that the (future) last salmon of the season will most likely be able to spread through the river before they may be killed and retained, the data tells me that the majority of anglers who enjoy this fishery are in favor of an even longer catch and release season. One idea I had is to make it C&R until opening day, then allow anglers to retain up to two salmon and/or trout per day (instead of one salmon). As such, anglers won’t need to differentiate between salmon and brown trout, which is difficult for some people. The limit would be a combined limit of trout and/or salmon, following the regulations of the trout season. It would be easy for everyone to remember as the dates (and limits) for salmon retention would mirror those of trout retention. This proposal makes a lot of sense to me, but it most definitely will not be instituted anytime soon considering the recent change in regulations.

After being ignored by “the powers that be,” I was ready tear all of this down. Take down the blog, take down the ebook, stop giving presentations, etc. I felt like my voice was being ignored, despite being a fierce advocate for this fishery. I had offered my consultation and input in the past, but had always been ignored. It was especially insulting, given how much time I have invested in this fishery, much of which was with the ultimate goal of helping people catch salmon and become advocates for the fishery. I hate that I had to resort to being a public “pest” to have my voice heard and acknowledged. That is not in my nature, but I have learned that it is necessary to affect change, as much as I hate to admit it. 

Which leads me to the point of this post...If someone else cares enough, it’s time for you to step up and take some of this on yourself. After many years of learning this fishery inside and out, extensively blogging about it, writing an ebook about the flies and techniques I use, giving a bunch of presentations, and guiding people on the river, I need a break. My son started kindergarten last fall and I can finally be a full-time musician again which, so far, has been going really well. I am going to leave all the information online so anglers can learn from it (attn: young anglers…you need to search and research). I will continue to give presentations. I will answer any questions anyone might have. But I am going back to being a casual angler. Of course, I have more ideas about what could improve this fishery, but I am not interested in pursuing them at the moment. If anyone who calls the shots cares to know, just ask and I will tell it all, but I am not going to pester you for change. 

So, thank you for reading and especially for filling out the survey. I will post here now and then, but in a more casual way. I probably won’t get too heavily into strategy and technique in the future. All of that can be found in the archives and in the ebook. I will probably be a bit of a phantom on the river, but please say “Hi” if we happen to fish next to one another. I have met some really nice folks who happen to read this blog. And, if one or more of you care to take on some of the issues we have on the river, I would be happy to offer any advice I have. Remember, sometimes you have to be the squeaky wheel. 

-Ben 



Monday, September 17, 2018

Prepping For Fall on the Naugatuck River


A particularly fiery October salmon

     I'm not going to make any predictions for this fall. I made them last summer and I was proven wrong...more wrong than I could have imagined. I thought the season would start earlier than normal. It started later than ever. I thought it would be a long, salmon-filled fall, winter, and spring. Salmon were caught, both by myself, as well as by anglers I guided. However, we didn't catch as many as in previous years, mainly due to the extremely short season. Trips had to be moved or canceled. The low water delayed the opening of the season, then environmental disasters further shortened the fall season, as well as bringing it to a premature close. 

     I'd like to think that all clouds have a silver lining. If the disasters that occurred on the river were the clouds, I'm hoping that increased scrutiny on all things river-related will be the silver lining. Maybe we had to go through this to make sure that the river won't be abused in the future. Despite the setbacks of last season, I am optimistic about this season. 

     

M1 Killers - a good early season fly

     Cloud...this summer has been HOT. Silver lining...we've had a lot of rain and there is more in the forecast. Cloud...my son started kindergarten and I miss our weekday adventures. Silver lining...I have a lot more time to fish. I haven't taken advantage of it yet. I'm finishing up all the house-related work I put off over the summer so I'll have lots of time this fall. I'm relived to go back to being a weekday fisherman. 

     I will be guiding on the lower Naugatuck River again this fall. Information can be found HERE. If this rain continues, we might be able to fish with two handed rods all season long. I think the last time that happened was back in 2011. Some pools fish best in high water and some fish better in low water.  I have spent a lot of time in the low water pools the past few years. Small flies, stripped by hand, were most successful. In average-to-high water, we can swing normal sized flies and, while the water is still warm, the salmon will rise to the surface to intercept them. 

     I don't know how frequently I will be posting fishing reports here. Over the years, I have covered an awful lot about this fishery. The archives are full of information, as is my ebook, Flies for Connecticut Atlantic Salmon: How to Tie and Fish Them. I'm not sure I have much more to write about. But maybe I will...I don't know yet. 

     It should be an exciting fall season on the Naugatuck River. I'm going to get my tackle and flies ready this week. We might be salmon fishing within the next 2-4 weeks if all goes well. For more information, CONTACT ME. Otherwise, I will see you on the river this fall. 





Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Twitching and Skating for Pete


Farmington River brook trout were abundant this summer.
They were all too willing to nail a Variant. 

     After the spring runs are over, I switch to trout fishing mode. I usually hit a handful of local rivers, but I focused solely on the Farmington River this season. The Farmington was the favored haunt of a much-loved local angler who many of us were proud to call our friend. Pete, aka "TROUT I," was a Farmington River fishing machine. I learned a lot from Pete over the dozen or so years I knew him. Pete was very animated and he gave a realtime "play-by-play" of everything happening while he fished. We shared a lot of laughs, especially when the trout were "rising with blatant impunity."

     Unfortunately, Pete passed away on July 1, 2018. He had been sick for a while. Even though Pete could not fish anymore, he liked hearing reports. I sent him a report a couple days before he passed. He replied to my email and that was the last correspondence we shared.

     Pete was known as the master of the Beadhead Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle. It seemed like he could catch fish on command with that wet fly. About ten years ago, Pete gave me a Dun Variant to try. I had seen Variant-style dry flies in books, but had never fished one myself. That particular spring, Pete did well with a Dun Variant on our local river. I fished it a few times. I don't recall if I caught anything with it, but I remember seeing him catch several trout with his.

     In the years since then, I have caught a fair number of trout on a Dun Variant, usually during Isonychia hatches. Last summer, I had some luck with a Cream Variant during hatches of Yellow Drakes. On most days this summer, a Variant was my go-to dry fly. When a trout decides he wants one, often times the take is a violent one. There is nothing like twitching and skating a huge variant over fishy looking water, only to have a rainbow, brown, or brook trout dart top from the bottom of the river and smash a dry fly with the ferocity of a fish who thinks his last meal is about to escape.

      In early June, I caught a bunch of trout on a Grey Fox Variant. From mid June to early July, I caught a bunch of trout on a Cream Variant. From July through most of August, I caught a bunch of trout on a Dun Variant. Many of these catches weren't during hatches. Prospecting with a Variant was just as productive as fishing one during a hatch. I had one rainbow grab my Grey Fox Variant so hard, he pulled all the slack line from my hand and set the hook without me so much as raising the rod tip! Without a doubt, Variants were my most productive trout fly this season, an honor typically reserved for the Usual (which also did well, as usual).

     I told Pete about the aforementioned rainbow in our final email exchange. Though it has been at least two years since I last shared a pool with Pete, I felt like I was fishing with him in spirit this summer. Pete was exactly the guy you want next to you when a trout smashed a Variant, twitching and skating on the surface of the water.



Monday, July 2, 2018

Atomic Dog v2: Articulated Tube Fly - Part II


The first victim of the full Atomic Dog came from a river stuffed with herring.


     In my last post, I provided the recipe for the front half of the revised Atomic Dog. As I previously mentioned, the idea of an articulated tube fly had eluded me for years. One morning in March, I realized I had been thinking of the design all wrong. All along, I was trying to figure out how to articulate the tubes themselves, which never seemed to produce results that made any sense. Then it hit me...articulate the tube fly hook, not the tube.

     The Atomic Dog was an ideal candidate for an articulated rear section. It didn't take long think of a suitable design. All I needed to do was to tie an articulated, Lefty's Deceiver-style pattern in back, then merge it with the front of the tube fly. The rear section would add length, volume, and would significantly increase the action of the fly. Because it can detach from the tube fly, the articulated section would behave just like a single tube fly hook, except with two hooks. Here is the rear section, followed by the recipe:


Articulated rear section 

Atomic Dog (articulation):

Rear Hook: Egret tube fly hook (sz. 2)
Tail: White saddle hackles, tied Deceiver style 
Collar: EP Ultra Brush 5" - snow white
Wing: White bucktail (or other stiff hair)
Head: White

Front Hook: Owner Aki (sz. 2/0)
Articulation: 40lb. Maxima with a short length of plastic tubing 
Thread: White, covering the hook shank and monofilament, and covered in UV cured resin 


So the entire dressing is in one place, I will repeat the recipe for the tube fly section here....


Atomic Dog, front (tube fly) section

Atomic Dog

Tube: Plastic 1.8 mm 
Junction Tube: Largest inner diameter PVC tubing (old HMH tubing is perfect)
Tail: Fluoro fiber-fluorescent pink, tied on top of the junction tube
Butt: Ice Dub-pearl
Wing 1: White marble fox and pearl Flashabou, tied Temple Dog style; followed by 2-3 turns of EP Ultra Brush 5"-snow white
Wing 2: White marble fox and pearl Angel Hair, tied Temple Dog style; followed by 2-3 turns of EP Ultra Brush 5"-snow white
Wing 3: Light Blue (or other color) cashmere goat over pearl mini Lateral Scale (as long as possible); followed by 2-3 turns of EP Ultra Brush 5"-snow white
Collar: Silver pheasant dyed light blue (or color to match Wing 3)
Eyes: Jungle cock or substitue 
Head: White or cone (optional)


The full Atomic dog, with articulated section joined to tube fly

Some notes on construction and use: 

-The white bucktail topping should extend as far back at the fibers from the EP brush collar. The stiff bucktail fibers help to prop up the wing of the tube fly, preventing it from fouling. Some fouling is inevitable, however, I tested this fly all spring and had minimal problems with fouling (especially after using the length of tubing between hooks). 

-So far, the 40lb. mono has been strong enough to withstand fish pulling on it. That said, it should be checked now and then to make sure it hasn't been compromised. If I remember correctly, most of the fish I caught were hooked with the front hook. 

-Because the rear section takes the brunt of the abuse, I tied two rear sections for every front section. So far, all of the sections have held up pretty well. The front sections definitely show less wear and tear, though. Since the fronts are the labor-intensive part, it's nice to only tie half as many. 


     When I had this idea, the first person to whom I sent a picture was my friend John. At the time, he was tying some Sunray Shadows for Atlantic salmon fishing. He liked the concept and tied some thin, black saddle hackles onto a hook and made and extra long, super mobile Sunray Shadow. I'll check back in with John later this season to see if his articulated Sunray Shadow worked. I will definitely try some for stripers next spring. It might make a good eel pattern. 


-------------------------------------------

     I hope you enjoyed a new look at tube fly design. It definitely opens up some possibilities for those willing to take to experiment. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to fish more flies like this in the future. I have some ideas for a smaller, articulated tube fly for reluctant broodstock Atlantic salmon, so stay tuned...