Monday, December 5, 2011

Wreaths, Plastic and Blue Winged Olives

Christmas is a special time of the years. It is a time to remember loved ones and the reason for the season it's self.

Unfortunately the modern world has added a lot of trappings that just seem silly. One of the things I personally found weird is the odd attraction to faux or just plain fake decorations.

Enough of the righteous indignation's. To each his own. I don't really get into the over the top decor, but I really do like the cheap materials that appear this season. Those fake decorations make some fine and affordable tying materials.

This year I thought maybe 'have we done it all with Christmas trappings'? Had all the ribbon and wrapping paper ideas been exhausted? With that in mind I ask the question to the Facebook Group, Trash Flies. Here's one response.

Joshua Garris
How about the strands from artificial wreaths or trees? Would think it would make a neat segmented BWO body.

Josh is a top notch fly tyer and a highly sought after guide. He can be contacted at Curtis Wright Outfitters here Western North Carolina. He know fish and fly fishing.

The idea seemed pretty interesting and here's my attempt.

Hook: #16 Nymph
Bead: Sm brass
Tail and legs: Gadwell Flank
Thorax: plastic pine tree needle
Wingcase: Plastic pine tree needle
Abdomen: Peacock hurl

I'll have to say I was surprised and pleased with the outcome. I believe fake plastic needles might just have a place at the bench. To change there shade apply pressure and stretch the material some.

Dedicated to my son. I love you.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Headphone Stonefly Nymph

I was walking to my car the other afternoon and saw a pair of headphones laying on the payment. Now we all know I use the headphones wire as well as the insulation for different patterns. I have also used headphone insulation for 'stonefly nymphs' before. The pattern had several materials and was loosely based on Randal Kaufman's creation. 

On this pattern I wanted to see how few materials I could use as well as have a strong 'Trash Fly' influence. Below is what I came up with.



Hook: #6 Streamer
Tail, Legs, Antenna, and Rib: Headphones found in parking lot on way to car last week.
Under-body and Thorax: Poly Pro yarn black

Dedicated to my son. I love you.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Potato Chip Bag Fly

Hook: #14 Nymph
Tail: Mink guard hairs
Abdomen: Chip Bag strip
Thorax: Peacock Hurl
Wing-case: Chip Bad strip

Dedicated to my son. I love you.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crawfish and Chips

Recently I have started looking seriously at the packaging of common products. Seems like the material to keep items fresh and attract the customer's attention would work to attract a fish's attention as well? I like potato chips, and most other chip like foods. I also like to walk across our building during the day to see something different and teachers I don't necessarily work with in my department. The end to that journey is a vending machine in  the upstairs teachers lounge. Lots of chips and I guess I have a different flavor each day.
All those bags sort made me think about flies. The thinking started in on the shell back of nymphs. (ie Bar B Que and Stonefly Nymphs). That then led to me pondering the crawfish. (aka Crawlfish, Crawdad, Mud Bug, and more). Call it what you like fish love to eat it. Finishing a bag chips the orange hue set me to thinking and planning. Here's what came of it.

Crawfish and Chips

Hook: #6 Bass Hook
Weight: Small Dumbell eye blk
Antenna: Mink guard hair from a yard sale fur collar.
Pincers (pinchers): Gray yarn and orange yarn.
Rib: Fine Copper wire
Shell: Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar Bag
Under-body: Gray Yarn

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bar B Que and Stonefly Nymphs

Okay I was watching TV and thinking about this week's article. Nothing was really jumping out. Noticed a bag of chips I had just finished and a light came on. The background of the design at first glance was gray or black. Neat plastic bag as well. Reminded me of the material flash like products are made of.  Only difference is that the flash is cut into fine strips. That's not really that hard to do with a sharp pair of scissors.

 So all these ideas made it to the tying bench. 

Hook: #12 Nymph 2x
Tail: Biots
Weight: Brass bead and fine lead wire
Abdomen Shell: Strip cut from a bag of Bar B Que flavor potato chips.
Rib: Fine gold wire
Wing-case: Nymph stretch black.
Thorax: Peacock hurl

 Stoneflies are found deep in the stream in their nymph stage and are usually big so a 2x nymph hook seemed more appropriate.

Biots make the best stonefly tails I have found.

 Fine gold wire and the chip bag strip are both tied in. This particular chip bag I used has fine dots in the color to create the illusion of gray. Those dots make for a fine molted appearance.

Dub the abdomen with a dark nymph dubbing. Pull the chip bag material forward and tie down. Palmer forward the gold rib. Tie in the wing-case material. Wrap the thorax with peacock hurl. Pull the wing-case material forward and tie down.

Stoneflies are a big food source for trout as well as warm water species like small mouth bass here in the south eastern US. Probably similar situations in the rest of the US and world in general.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

John Barr's Copper John gets the Trash Fly treatment.

John Barr is in my opinion one of the greats in the realm of fly tying. He is one I hold high. I bought his book, that ought to say a lot. One of his patterns I like and fish a lot is the 'Copper John'. This piece is dedicated to the Copper John and how some Trash Fly philosophy was applied to it.

Hook: #14 Nymph 2X
Bead: Brass
Weight: Lead wire medium
Tail: Biots Dark Brown
Flash: Strip of Krystal Flash
Wing-case: Stretch Body black. 
Abdomen: Wire from a broken pair of 'ear bud' style headphones
Thorax: Peacock Hurl

Note: The headphone wire is usually red, blue, and gold in one pair of headphones. I have also found green in some brands.

Took them to a Delayed Harvest stream a few counties over. The test was complete and intense. I caught a 'obscene number of fish'. :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Scud tied with recycled package from a wireless LAN card.

Hook: #16 Nymph Hook
Weight: Lead wire .015 dia.
Body: Dazl-Hare's Ear Shrimp
Antenna: Hackle fibers furnace
Shell-back: Pink plastic bag from a wireless LAN card
Rib: Thread white

Baggy from a wireless LAN card.

#16 Nymph hook

Lead wire

Over wrap with tying thread

Tie in shell back of recycled LAN baggie

Dub body

Finished fly

Comments are welcome and appreciated.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Trash Fly Tools

I am going to focus on some ideas for DIY tools. Tools made from common items and 'trash'.

Hair Evener

Copper pipe and fittings.
Flair the tube with a common flaring tool.
Cut a small piece of the tube and slide in the barrel and glue at the bottom to make the step.

Tool Caddy that attaches to the shaft of the vise or similar fixture.

Tool Holder

Drill into soft plastic strip. In this case it was a scrap from a bathroom stall divider. Chamfer the top of the hole to make it easier to slide the most frequently used tools in.

Hurl stripping tool

White vinyl eraser cut with a circular punch. Fit a nail or screw into the middle. Quick way to take the fur off of hurl with a drill or drill press.

Like to hear your comments and thoughts.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Woolly Bugger with one Material

We all know that the Woolly Bugger is a fly pattern to count on. It really catches a lot of fish. Not just trout but a wide array of species. From carp to flounder Buggers do a fine business. The Woolly Bugger is also probably one of the most customized well known patterns. Lots of tiers new to the vise start their journey getting the Woolly Bugger right.

Well I am messing with it again. I personally like a Bugger. Probably tie them the most of any pattern through out the year. The other day my mind wandered to them. I was thinking about hackle and tails. Fashion trends and material variations.

Then it hit! Could you tie a bugger with only one material. Now we know I'm probably a little weird if I have a site called Trash Flies. This idea bounced around. But what material?


Why not?

But yarn?

It's cheap or free depending on your connections. It's easy to work with. It comes in a myriad of colors.


Hook: #10 2x Nymph
Head: Brass Cone
Weight: Lead wire
Tail: Lt Green Yarn brushed out
Body: Olive Yarn
Hackle: Lt Green Yarn twisted into a dubbing brush around fine wire.

Will it work? Comment.

I am going to make the hackle brush much sparser in future attempts.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Three Phase Molted Midge

   The other day I was walking through one of the shops at school and noticed an electrician working. He was wiring in a piece of equipment, one that required a three phase line. He was stripping the wires for his connection. On the table I noticed some interesting fibers. It was some of the reinforcing from the wire. Without really even thinking it left my mouth, I asked 'can I have that'. He looked at what I was pointing at. With an expression somewhere between puzzled and mildly irritated he said 'sure'. I picked up my treasure and when back to my office. The fiber laid there on my desk for a couple of days. I picked it up several times as my mind would wonder away from my lesson plans and projects. Just couldn't come up with exactly what it would be good for on the tying bench.

Seems like my tying tastes have often swung toward midges between patterns for warm water trips and terrestrials for small trout streams. I do like to fish midges on the tail-waters and in the colder months.

This is what formed up from that 'molted' looking fiber.

Working Name: Three Phase Molted Midge

Hook: #20 Scud
Bead: Small tungsten
Body: Three phase wire insulation fiber.
Thread and Collar: Blk Gordon Griffith 14/0

Thursday, September 8, 2011

USB (Universal Serial Bus) and midges

Now if you've been here before you have seen flies of several well know patterns get the 'Trash Fly' treatment ear bud headphones. Some prime examples are John Barr's Copper John and a variety of caddis pupae's. Well here's a new twist on a common wire that's around a lot homes and business. A lot of us use USB (Universal Serial Bus) cables for everything from uploading pictures to charging our music storage devices. One of my Technical Drafting students was moping about his USB cable for recharging his smart phone being broken. He offered it to me and said can you make a fly from this? Now I consider that statement a personal challenge and definitely something I had not thought about before. So here's two different midges made from USB cable materials for your consideration.

First here is the cable in question broken down.

Zebra Midge Variant

Hook: #22 Scud
Tail: Gold Krystal Flash scrap
Body: Blk 14/0 Gordon Griffith Thread
Bead: Small Tungsten
Rib: Wire shielding and/or ground from a USB cable

Blue Metal Midge

Hook: #22 Scud
Body: Blue side of the foil in a USB cable
Bead: Small Tungsten
Rib: Wire shielding and/or ground from a USB cable

Who knows maybe this will set of a spark for more USB patterns? As always comments and opinions are welcome. What do you think?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Headphone Wire Midge #22

Hook: #22 Scud
Bead: Small Tunsten
Thread: Blk 8/0
Body: Rd Headphone wire

I have been tying and writing about using 'headphone' wire in flies for awhile now. It's a great material because it is made of many tiny strands. This weekend I am planning a trip to the local tail-water and midges often are the fly of choice. The fish's choice that is. So I am thinking about midges. Also just realized I didn't have a article together for the blog. So here's a small 'Trash Fly' for your consideration. Trash Flies don't just have to big creations.

The wire is tied in as a normal midge to the shank. Wrap it back and secure. Leave the thread tail to wrap back over the wire for a rib. Whip finish and coat with head cement, lacquer, or super glue.

Looking forward to testing this pattern out on some 'midge eating' brown trout.

As always feel free to comment. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dubbing, coffee mills and color

As fly tyer's we use a lot of dubbing for certain styles of flies. I know it's not a big expense but it does cost. It also is sometimes hard to find that 'right color' for what you're tying. A friend told me about this technique several years ago and I soon after started searching the internet. There were quite a few references to it out there. What I want to do is relate how I have come to make dubbing. This is a step by step for somebody to follow. It is pretty simple. After you make a few batches you will have every color and shade you'll be able to imagine.

The batch  I was after is what I use for a 'Golden Stonefly' nymph.

You first need a coffee grinder. Walmart's got a cheap one that works fine. I would not recommend using it for coffee after you start making dubbing :)

(Never turn it on with the cover off and stay away from the blades with it plugged up.)

You can buy raw materials for your dubbing at craft stores and such for a few $$$. Remembering grade school art class you can make a lot colors from the 'color' wheel. ROY G BIV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet)

Measure off a few strands of the colors you want to use. I go approx. one foot of each color.

Chop the strands into pieces about 1/4 of an inch.

Put them into your coffee mill. Be sure to pulse the mill. I found that running it 'wide open' caused it to not blend as well and it wrapped the fibers around the blade.

Make note of the ratios of each color when you get a batch you're particularly happy with. I use small craft store zip bags and write ratios and colors on them with a permanent marker.

Note: You can also use the mill to blend natural dubbing with synthetics and sparkles just as easily.

I will not say that this technique has stopped me from ever buying dubbing. There are types that this just isn't as good as but it will give you another avenue to become a little more self sufficient. It's sort of cool being able to make dubbing when you need it.