Capt. Bob’s Blog

News, viewpoints, techniques, and tips from Capt. Bob

IF I ONLY HAD TWO FLIES

Posted by on 7:42 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Some of us have had this discussion many times over the years. If I could only have one fly to fish for Steelhead, what would it be? If I were swinging flies, it would be some version of the Wooly Bugger. If I were dead-drifting, it would be an egg fly. However, this is not the position I find myself in so I prefer to swing interesting flies, especially Spey patterns. As a commercial tyer, I’ve tied about every traditional Steelhead/Atlantic Salmon pattern plus lots of off-the-wall stuff. After 60 years of tying flies, I still love it. Frequently, after filling a 10 dozen order, I’d have dinner and then tie a few flies before going to sleep. Fly tying is a Zen thing for me. I get lost in it and my family has remarked that there’s a Mona Lisa-like smile on my face when I’m tying. I sometimes feel like the luckiest man in the world. A wonderful family, a life of fishing, manufacturing fishing tackle for a livelihood and chasing some of the most fascinating fish in existence. Like Lane Waller once remarked, “What do people do who don’t...

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CASTING TO THE TREE TOPS

Posted by on 5:22 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Just returned from 8 days on the Olympic Peninsula Rivers. Not many Steelhead around because of months of low water. Ran into a couple of Spey casters and one fellow was having a hard time getting any distance. He was very frustrated and asked if I had any suggestions. From observing his casting for awhile, I knew what the problem was. Like many of us, he was not aiming high enough, consequently his fly hit the water before it could complete it’s maximum trajectory. I suggested that he aim for the tree tops. In short order, he was casting 20 to 40 feet further than before. Last I saw of him he was smiling with every cast.                                                                             ...

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DINING ON THE PENINSULA RIVERS

Posted by on 10:52 am in Blog | 0 comments

When you’re on your way to fish the  Quinault, Queets, Hoh, Calawah, Sol Duc or the Bogachiel Rivers, it’s nice to have a friendly place to stop, stretch your legs and get a cup of good coffee or a meal. The QUINAULT INTERNET CAFE is the place to go. It’s located on highway 101 just north the Quinault River bridge in Amanda Park. The owner, Roz, is friendly and welcoming and just might give you the latest fishing report if you behave yourself. Please tell her Capt. Bob sent you.

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THINNING OUT A FLY

Posted by on 10:44 pm in Blog | 0 comments

As a professional fly tyer, I have studied the action of flies in the water for over 60 years. I have observed them while SCUBA diving as well as in our test tanks that simulate River current. Sparse flies sink quicker than dense flies. Dense flies exhibit more mass than sparse flies. The point is—there’s a time and place for both kinds. I’ve actually seen anglers throw away flies that were too dense. You don’t need to do that. If you want a sparser fly, simply thin it out. With marabou flies it’s easy. Just keep pinching bits off until you get the desired density. With other materials, you can also pinch them away. We carry small scissors in our vests so wecan trim any fly to the desired density. We also carry a permanent marker to change the color, if desired. So don’t throw away a fly that’s not perfect for the situation. Modify it, instead.                                                                                      ...

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KEEPING SPEY FLIES TOGETHER

Posted by on 12:19 pm in Blog | 0 comments

A young angler complained that his Spey flies were coming apart at the head. He used a good quality head cement but skipped an important step. The first application of head cement should be thinned 10% to 20%. That way, it soaks the wraps thoroughly and provides a stable base for the final coat of full-strength head cement.                                                                 ...

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DIRE RHEA SHANK FLY

Posted by on 1:08 pm in Blog | 0 comments

How’s this for animation?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpuAH3ptAg0

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SIMPLIFYING SPEY FISHING

Posted by on 12:06 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Having been involved in all facets of fishing–commercial, sport, manufacturing, guiding, etc., the necessity for keeping things simple  made itself continually evident. If equipment was complicated, it tended to malfunction. If tackle was complicated, it detracted from the efficiency and pleasure of fishing. In Speyfishing/Flyfishing, separate reels or spools were required for dry line fishing and sunk line fishing. When floating and sinking heads were developed, the fisher only had to carry 2 heads and replace the floating head with the Skagit head/sink tip and vice versa. I am delighted with the latest development of Skagit Switch Heads because they enable the fisher to use one head to fish both a floating tip and a sinking tip thereby making the transition quick and simple and easy to do while standing waist deep in a River.       We recently tested these new lines on 8 wt./11 ft. and 6 wt./11 ft Switch rods. The switch heads were approximately 20 ft. long and were able to cast up to 13 ft. of T-20 sink tip as well as various MOW Floating Tips. The floating tips presented everything from a wet fly to a skated fly to a dry fly and did it quite well. In the last few trips, I’ve carried nothing but floating and sink tips and was able to fish every situation well. Our rod and line manufacturers deserve to be complimented for these developments. Sure makes fishing more pleasurable. And that is the point, after...

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BAD HABITS!

Posted by on 5:12 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Was fishing this week on some of the Peninsula Rivers not expecting to catch any Steelhead. After 3 days of Spey casting and stepping down the River, I got into that Zen state where all else disappears. Suddenly that magic happened and this chrome-bright hen erupted from the water. All my training went out the window. Instead of letting her take the fly and run, I yanked it out of her mouth. Nonetheless, I felt fulfilled. A beautiful Thanksgiving day on a wonderful River with a gift from the River Gods. Sometimes I feel like the luckiest man alive. HAPPY THANKSGIVING to...

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STAY CLOSE TO SHORE!

Posted by on 9:47 pm in Blog | 0 comments

The other day, I was reminded again about the importance of not walking into a River right away. I approached a River where the locals told me no one was catching. I stopped  about 10 ft. away and leaned against a tree and watched the water for a bit. Just as I was about to approach the water, I saw a nice fish about 6 ft. from the bank. Had I barged in, this fish would have spooked and I would not have even known it was there. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this experience, especially early in the morning. It’s good practice to approach carefully, observe, then start casting before you put your feet in the River. Fish right in front of you and gradually lengthen your casts without moving further into the River. It’s not unusual to see an angler barge right in and the fish run for cover and he didn’t even know they were there.          May the River Gods smile upon...

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TIE A FLY THAT SINKS FAST

Posted by on 10:07 am in Blog | 0 comments

Was talking to a fellow-angler on the Sol Duc and he was complaining about not being able to get his fly to sink deep enough, despite using sink tips. When I looked at his flies, the reason was evident. Like many flies, this one had too much bulk. These flies look pretty but the more material on the fly, the more it’s water-resistance causes it to loft in the water column. Try this experiment: tie a full-bodied fly and watch it’s behavior in the current. Now tie a very sparse fly and observe it in the current. The sparse fly sinks deeper. Often, we tie our Steelhead flies on a silver or gold hook or shank, with no body other than a thorax. The glitter of the shank provides the body without bulk, the small thorax provides color and the sparse wing provides...

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