Friday, December 28, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fly Tying: Hotwire Sidekick Streamer

A tandem rig with two articulated streamers is not for everyone.  It is risky business to say the least, and I have multiple experiences to prove it.  I remember all too well the time I had this very pattern embedded in the back of my head.  But the risk is worth it in my own humble opinion, because the tandem setup picks up fish consistently.  It's like a well shorn mullet.  Sometimes people go for the business up front, and sometimes they prefer the party in back.  I like options, and so do the fish.

Usually the setup is to place a beefy streamer up front as the lead fly and then follow it up with a small black trailer.  The go-to trailer fly used to be a simple wooly bugger, and it would often do the trick.  But the more I fished that setup, the more I would get frustrated with lost fish.  Often they would stick, but only for a moment.  I started thinking about the advantages of articulated streamers and how the extra hook can play to the anglers favor.  After a little tinkering, this pattern was born.  It is stupid simple, and it could even be called a glorified wooly bugger.  Either way, it works.

The Hotwire Sidekick Streamer


  Hook: Dai Riki #730, Size 8, 2xLong Shank
  Cone Head: Dan Bailey, Gold, Small (tungsten is a great option if you are fishing this solo and want a deeper presentation)
  Rabbit Strip: Black
  Ultra Wire: Medium Chartreuse (hotwire)
  Polar UV Chenille: Black
  AZ Simi Seal Dubbing: Peacock
  20lb Mono or Beadalon for articulation connection
There are actually two ways I like to tie this pattern.  For a bit less flashy look here are the alternative materials. These replace the "Polar UV Chenille: Black"

  Regular Chenille: Dark Olive/Black
  Hackle Feather: Black Schlappen

(Simply tie in the Schlappen and the regular chenille on the step the Polar UV Chenille is tied in.  Wrap the chenille forward first, then the Schlappen feather, and then counter-wrap forward with the hotwire.)

The Polar UV Chenille does not retain water and rides higher on the retrieve.  It is great when fishing this pattern as a trailer, because it does not ride lower than your lead fly.  I prefer the less flashy pattern when I use this fly by itself, unless I am fishing it at night.  In the dark I also prefer the Polar UV Chenille pattern because of how high it rides.  There is another pattern I call "Night Rider" that incorporates the Polar Chenille for that same reason and is used for night fishing.  That tutorial is still in the works.

Some of the resulting goods.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Priorities...a battle

It is a tough balance between what matters and what should matter in life.  Just like a river, life has an ebb and flow.  Circumstances change and even good friends come and go.  There are so many things that demand our time. Jobs, schooling, service to others, hobbies/entertainment, and family are just a few that come to mind.  With the constant bombardment of information and the easy access to entertainment, it is easy to lose sight of the things that truly require our attention, such as our families.  I have heard it told that there often exists a good, better, and best to most things.  Internet entertainment may be good.  Taking that same time and hitting the water is even better, but doing so with your family is the best.

For those who begin families, and have a passion for the outdoors, a constant internal battle goes on.  How often do you take your children or whole family with you to fish?  Should you stop fishing altogether and spend that time at home?  Do you fish too much for your family activities?  Maybe this is only something that I confront in my particular circumstances.  Who knows.  What I do know is this; my family is the most important thing and always should be.  Children will not always be young and desire your constant company and attention.  Its the struggle that has defined much of my married life, going back and forth between a love (my family) and a passion (fishing).  Balance...  I'm still working on it.

I first saw this video shortly after it was published, and it left a remarkable impression on me then.  It is centered around a guy who loves to hunt, and though I do not now hunt the message is the same.  (I would hunt, but I find it difficult pulling myself away from the water long enough to really consider it.)  Hunting aside, these guys "get it."  Sometimes getting your ducks in a row requires a step back.  I find myself taking that step back repeatedly as I try to reign in my enthusiasm for the rod and reel.  The video is a bit long, but well worth the time.

Searching for West from Helio Collective on Vimeo.

I love these stinking kids.