Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Rod is the Tool.....The Reel....To Hold Line....

Warning: This is a MAJOR rant! Read at your own risk!

On Facebook yesterday, I posted I was looking for another rod brand as a few of my Redington Classic Trout rods literally broke in the same place on 2 separate occasions at the tip. I went on to explain that I used these to catch carp and steelhead. No big deal, right? Wrong according to Mr. Know-It-All.

So, my first rod broke because of a tree branch. My line got caught in it while traveling through the woods a few weeks ago to go catch carp. The tip just touched the branch and broke. I was pretty livid that it broke so easily but granted I fished that rod solely for a good 8 months so I wasn't too mad. But then it happened again on a separate occasion when I went fishing yesterday! We took a van to our fishing destination as the park provided that service for us which was nice but it wasn't so nice that they didn't have any PVC pipe to protect the rods and 10 guys were in the van stepping on each others equipment....Not very cool. So, on my second cast, the rod tip broke! 
Just one of a few Redington Classic Trout rods that broke. Not kidding. Lined these tips up with the other CT broken tips and they matched. Scary....!
This is how my search for a better rod began and that's why I posted my explanation on Facebook on what rod I was looking for. It all started with a friendly explanation about what brands but as the discussion got deeper, so many haters came in saying that I was abusing the rods. Hmm. No. Did you see that I also fished 2 OTHER Redington Classic Trout rods that broke IN THE SAME EXACT PLACE?! Oh, no! You just wanted to prove your point! One guy when as far as to post what recommended fish go with each rod. Thanks dude. You're a real contributor to this wonderful discussion. 

*sigh* I guess people don't realize that rods break. Reels break too! Rods are merely the tool that you use to fish with. If used correctly, they can be a work horse! Graphite is a lot more fragile than fiberglass which is why I really enjoy fishing my 6'6" Eagle Claw rod for carp and other larger species that require a subtle cast. I feel like I can never ask anyone's public opinion on any subject about fly fishing and only resort to a select few who are my friends and won't criticize me for what I do. 

If you know what you're doing and know how to play a fish, yes, you can land them in a short amount of time. Just don't tell me what to do because you're too scared to do it yourself! Have you tried it? No? Then don't tell me what to do. 

End of rant. 

PS: don't even get me started on why I hate fly shops and their owners....Just another bunch of snobs....

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kelly Galloup's Peanut Envy

I absolutely love to throw streamers. Unfortunately, I feel that I do not have as many opportunities to throw really big ones since I moved to Georgia. I still sell a lot of them on my website, Stone's Flies. However, of all the streamers much less articulated streamers, my all time favorite is the Peanut Envy. Why? It's simply a woolly bugger on steroids! The movement is incredible especially when fishing in a river. The marabou makes it breathe and really gets that fish's attention! Just an all around fantastic and relatively simple fly to tie!

Below is the tutorial on how to tie the Peanut Envy. I was extremely unsatisfied with the other You Tube videos as they really didn't describe everything in detail so I made my own fly tying tutorial! I hope you all enjoy!

Here are the colors that I tie as well as the materials that go with them. Note: you can get the barred sili legs from Cabela's. The Crazy Legs are from Hareline. Don't think you MUST get the same legs that I have listed. Experiment! Maybe you'll find or like something better than I have listed!

Grey - grey marabou, pearl ice dub, barred crazy legs minnow grey/black flakes, natural grizzly hackle

Black - black marabou, black ice dub, crazy legs black/red flakes, black hackle

White - white marabou, pearl ice dub, crazy legs white/silver flakes, white hackle

Orange - orange marabou, orange ice dub, barred orange crazy legs, orange hackle

Yellow - yellow marabou, yellow ice dub, crazy legs yellow/gold black flakes, yellow hackle

Olive - olive marabou, olive/peacock ice dub, barred olive crazy legs, olive hackle/olive grizzly hackle

Pink - pink marabou, pink ice dub, pink/pearl pepper crazy legs, pink hackle

Golden brown -  golden brown marabou, golden brown ice dub, pumpkin/olive black flake crazy legs golden brown hackle

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bro, Do You Even Debarb?!

Ah, yes. I remember when I was young and foolish and never debarbed my hooks. I killed many fish this way and if they weren't killed in the process of me ripping the hook out of their throat or lip, they'd swim off in even more pain and I'd struggle to get them free which would cause even more harm to them as the barb is in the way!

I first started debarbing my hooks after I came back from Idaho in September of last year. They all debarbed their hooks no matter what size as it made for the catching and releasing of fish quite simple. Then it got me thinking....why don't I do this? I did it for a week straight as I was more or less forced to but I then finally saw the light! It really made me a better fisherman.

Probably one of my favorite fish caught to date on the fly. 26" 7lb steelhead on my 2wt. The hook was debarbed.
So, here's why I debarb which is really in no particular order:

1. It reduces the harm caused to the fish.

    Think about it: when you bring in a fish and the barb is still intact, that hook could potentially be buried deep in the throat or in other sensitive areas. If you snag a fish especially in the gut or even face, it can create a mess when you try to get it out. Yes, a quick but firm jerk with a pair of pliars or mitten clamps will also do just as well but that barb can increase the risk of a larger hole especially during a fight! Debarbing also preserves the beauty of the fish. There's also a better hook up ratio as the hook penetrates easier.

23" rainbow caught on a giant black beetle fly. Trailed behind a hopper.

2. It's easier to get out of the fish as well as foreign objects such as yourself!

    We've all been there: you're nymphing on the bottom of some skinny water or stripping a streamer in a big river for some hog steel, you miss a fish and when you pull your line out of the water, your fly gets stuck in your clothes or worse! Your skin! Now, how painful would it be to yank that hook out of your skin if you didn't have someone else to help you? It's pretty bad. Trust me. I also hate it when my clothes get ruined because I cannot get the hook out and as a result, I have to either leave it in there till I get the proper tools to actually take it out or just rip it out which sometimes causes holes to form in my clothes which I REALLY don't want. : )

3. It makes you a far better angler!

    Think about it. What does a barb do when you hook into a fish? More or less, keep the fish from shaking the hook especially when there is slack in the line! Debarbing makes you a better angler because a) makes you want to land the fish faster because you now have a greater chance of losing the fish because of no barb, b) you make yourself control the tension on not just the drag but the line as well and c) taking control of the fish so you can in fact land the fish in a quicker amount of time.

Gotta love the hognose sucker! Amazing fish to catch! Hard fighters especially on a 2wt! This fish was accidentally snagged but because I debarbed my hook, it was easy to get out! : )

Now, granted, these are just my personal views and opinions on this subject. I have addressed both pros and cons on the subject and really always debarb. Another point to address is the cost of barbed vs barbless hooks. There really is almost a 50% increase in price respectively! Granted, really makes sense as once you think about it, the companies are trying to appeal to the mass market who buy hooks and don't think about crushing the barb. It's just a mass production thing more than anything. Hope this all makes sense as I've written this at work at some stupid hour as I work 3rd shift.

Your thoughts on this controversial subject in this day and age?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fly Tying Tutorials!

Wow....Have not blogged in FOREVER! Don't worry this blog isn't dead! : ) Work has really sucked a ton of my time up and all sorts of life transitions! So, to show everyone I am, in fact, still alive and well, here are some fly tying tutorials to help pass the time! I know it's not much of a post but be sure to subscribe and check out my You Tube channel! Hoping I'll have a real update here soon as I am going fishing in SC for stripers and trout!

Simi Seal Fly Tying Tutorial

Grizzly Nymph Fly Tying Tutorial

Daddylicious Fly Tying Tutorial

Chubby Cousin Fly Tying Tutorial

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Places New Faces New Projects!

Hey guys. For those who follow this blog it's been some time and I apologize. I just got married a month ago, settling into our new place here in Georgia, and adjusting to work and living with someone else is quite the mouthful. I will say this though: I've never been happier. Despite the fishing down here being a learning curve, I'm very happy and blessed with so much.
In the next week or 2, I plan to post some really great and exciting things about fly fishing hacks and some fly tying videos so stay tuned!

Here's what's going down in the next few posts:

Adding a fighting butt to an Eagle Claw Featherlight rod.

Tying the Blue Assassin fly

Tying the White Lightning fly

Tying Galloup's Peanut Envy fly

This is just some of the things that will be taking place over the next month. That is if time allows it! Haha! I hope you guys enjoy what's coming.

Tight lines.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Update In Life!

Well, guys, I apologize for not blogging for some time. Been busy setting up a website for my business, Stone's Flies, getting wedding plans taken care of as I get married in 24 days as of this post, been tying a LOT of flies, and have been fishing as much as I can! On a more solemn note, I lost one of my closest and best friends to cancer. He was only 25. So, that's taken a toll on me.... My fiancee and I have been accepted to lease an apartment here in town, which is great, but reality is REALLY sinking in! : (

So, here's a little preview of what's been happening in the fishing world:

Just some of what I've been doing. As far as my personal life more specifically, well, like I said, just getting wedding plans taken care of and working my tail off! Very tired as I work nights and am looking for a better job here, soon. Lord willing I'll be working in the IT department of a local school here in town. For now, it's just the waiting game unfortunately. : (

My beautiful soon-to-be-wife! 
So, this is but a brief glimpse of what has been happening in my life. If you want to check out my website to support my growing business, please check out and if you would like, give my Facebook page a like, too!

Tight lines everyone! When I get into my new apartment, I'll be able to record more videos and actually work on a lot more stuff with no racket! : ) Hope you all look forward to that! Take care and tight lines! : )

Monday, October 21, 2013

Confused About Flashy Chenille? Me Too!

So, ever since I went to Idaho and found an amazing crystal bugger pattern in olive, I've wanted to tie it up! So, what do I do? I order a bunch of material that looks like it is used in the process of making this fine specimen of a fly. Only problem is this: I get the material and they all look the same!

You've got your krystal flash chenille, cactus chenille, pearl chenille (which is NOT the color pearl), and estaz! So, I've dedicated this blogpost to sort out all the problems as I have had problems discovering what is what! I will be comparing each product side by side in great detail comparing the actual thread base and the length of the fibers and show you which material looks like in a simple Crystal Bugger example. I hope that makes sense! If not, just read on and, hopefully, it will! This is definitely NOT perfect! I know there will be flaws but I hope this helps you determine what you want to use this material for so you don't have to spend money on something that you cannot use or don't want to use and return.

5, yes, five different types of "chenille"! Lots to talk about! Yes, there are 6 packs of material but there's medium krystal flash and just krystal flash. Just to clarify.
 After comparing the fibers, here's something to keep in your mind when thinking about tying with this material: essentially medium krystal flash chenille and cactus chenille are the same. The only difference I see is the core is much more durable i.e. the fibers don't come out as easily with the cactus as they do with the krystal chenille. Also, comparing core thickness and fiber length, regular krystal flash and estaz.
Showing the different fiber characteristics with the names....

Close up of the fibers.....
So, let's start out with the first part of my research: flashiness. It sounds silly but flashiness is honestly a big thing in material here and it gets confusing especially when I was trying to determine how to tie a crystal bugger or some other flies for that matter! So, on a rough scale, I determined that estaz was the most flashy as it had larger sections of pearl flash intertwined in the makeup of the entire material. Cactus and krystal flash chenille seemed equally as flashy while the pearl chenille had more color fibers to it than flash i.e. the fiber color in contrast to the actual flashiness if that makes any sense. Finally, the ice chenille had no pearl fibers to emphasize the flashiness of the material itself. The material just acts as a reflector of light.

Second thing I researched was the fiber length of each piece of material. Estaz came in first with the length of all the fibers being the longest. With that being said, the ice chenille, cactus chenille, krystal flash/pearl chenille all matched in size. Theoretically, there really is no size difference between any of these materials and the size is so miniscule that it almost doesn't matter.

Third on the list of characteristics I was looking at was the actual fiber thickness NOT the core thickness which is what I'll get to next. The fiber thickness of each material was the same. There was no difference between the width of any of the fibers as I could tell. They all looked uniform.

Fourth, I looked at the actual core thickness or thread thickness that was used to make these materials. I found that estaz and cactus had the same thickness, which makes them the most durable, which I will get to in the final part of the comparison before they go on a hook. The ice chenille, pearl chenille/krystal flash chenille all came in at the same thickness which was less durable and thinner than the estaz and cactus.

Finally, I wanted to look at the durability of the material I was working with. I determined that the most tightly woven or wrapped material was the estaz as well as the cactus chenille although the estaz is just slightly more durable. I pulled on the fibers at the end of each material to see if I could pull the fibers out with ease. These were the toughest to get out and can really take a beating not just from fish but also from the elements. The ice and pearl/krystal flash chenille were very delicate and the fibers came out with ease.

This has just been talking about what the materials look like when they aren't on a hook! Let's compare them to each other while they're on a hook!

5 different materials. Using 3.2mm copper bead and #8 TMC 5262 hook.

Krystal flash medium bugger.

Cactus chenille medium bugger.
 Both the krystal flash and the cactus look similar on the hook so no real difference there. As far as in the water, they both look exactly the same as well. Personal opinion, I don't like it as far as a crystal bugger goes. Possibly will do well with other flies, though.
Estaz bugger.
 The estaz bugger looks bulky and full of clutter. It doesn't deserve to be on a streamer hook in my opinion as a stand alone bug. I'll stick with egg patterns with this one. Pretty flashy in the water, too. Not saying it WON'T work but for a crystal bugger, it's not my cup of tea.
Pearl chenille bugger.
 The original bugger! Using pearl chenille, it's my all time favorite looking fly as it looks good in the water but it's not too flashy but gives off just enough flash to attract the big ones.
Ice chenille medium bugger.
Finally, ice chenille has very little flash if none at all. I personally don't like the look of it as it looks sloppy and feels like it's missing something important. However, it's good to experiment and try new things and discover what looks good and what doesn't!

I hope this has been informative and not long winded. I put a lot of work into this but it's ultimately up to you as the individual to discover what materials are right for you! Experiment! Fly fishing is confusing but it's also fun! Just remember you can always return material you don't use. : ) Good thing!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mundane Minnow Fly Tying Tutorial

Here's yet another tutorial on how to tie a great smallie and pike fly! Super simple and extremely effective! Add some weight to it to let it sink faster in still or slow water or just let the current take it for a ride as it is just as effective!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dirty Sexy Money Fly Tying Tutorial

It's what you have all been waiting for: the infamous tutorial to that infamous fly! Dirty Sexy Money! Okay, maybe you all haven't been waiting patiently for it....But here it is!

More to come! So, stay tuned!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's Dirty. It's Sexy. It's Money for the Smallies!

Just a quick update from today as I'm headed to Idaho for 8 days to fish Henry's Fork. Just so much to do and so little time! GAH! So, I decided to go fishing to prepare myself for the fishing trip ahead. Sounds great! : )

I went to Bass Pro and met a guy named Quinn who tied an awesome looking fly. He had no name for it but I bought a few that he tied and replicated them. After today, for the amount of big smallies I caught, I dubbed it Dirty Sexy Money.

The front is dirty, the middle is quite sexy, and that awesome hook that used to be red....well, that's the money right there! ; )
This is the pattern I tied. It's slightly different than the one he tied but nevertheless, worked amazingly.

Quick videos of the catches on this bad boy. A tutorial will come when I come back from Henry's Fork.

This last video isn't caught on the DSM. In fact, I snagged the smallie but its size blew me away for the river. Awesome catch!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Krazy Kraw Fly Pattern

A few months ago, I attempted to tie the Barry's Carp Bitter pattern with very little success. However, what came about with this pattern I attempted to tie was something brand new. After a few minor tweaks here and there, the Krazy Kraw was born.

Original Krazy Kraw on the left. Same pattern tied in black and then white. All very effective for bass and other predatory species.
Above, you can see that I added more to the arsenal. I may add more colors than just olive, black, and white. I bet orange would be very effective as well. Note I did NOT use large bead chain eyes on the white minnow type pattern as it would give the minnow a larger eye look as it would look weird. I may try large bead chain eyes in the future but I didn't have any on hand. Still, they all look super cool.

Below, you can find how to tie Stone's Krazy Kraw. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did making it. Tight lines!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Steelhead in Downtown Monroe!

I'm beginning to think that my titles on my blog are quite lame....oh well. At least it describes the post. With that aside, today was quite an awesome day or morning rather. I was supposed to work last night but was called off for half the night then went in around 2 to sit with a confused patient. I felt great this morning so I went out and fished for 2 hours. Never in my life did I think that I would snag a steelhead today much less catch a 14" smallie on a carp hybrid. 2 firsts.

The action was quite slow. Started out with a brown San Juan worm with no success. Switched to the hybrid and slammed a smallie. I was shocked.

Please note ahead of time, I'm sleep deprived and that means I'm super slap happy. It's almost embarrassing to hear myself laugh like I'm 12 but I guess it's a good thing as I was seriously that excited and shocked to see me catch a decent smallie on a carp fly. I know flies are interchangeable but it was just fun and exciting. Below is the semi-aftermath of the smallie catch.

I keep walking the dam and see carp milling around but they are having nothing to do with my fly. They're super scared as they know from last time that I caught them all. I saw them eating algae or possibly grabbing insects from the algae but I did see them feeding. I now know a longer, thinner leader with a unweighted fly such as a soft hackle is the ticket in the calm areas. It's all about learning in carp fishing.

So, the last cast of the day, I snag *something*. Previously, I saw something move and jump in the water and I had no clue what it was as the color was silver and couldn't wrap my head around the fact that it could be a steelhead. It was. I cast into the same pool hoping the carp will see and take my fly but to no avail. I lift my rod up and feel resistance. I wait. Then that resistance starts to flail and move all over the place. I then realize I snagged a fish. Okay, it's  happened before. I lead it into the rapids and it carries it down the river. The video below shows the rest. As you can see and hear, I'm in disbelief.

Never in my life would I have thought that I would have snagged a steelhead. In late August. In warm water (the water had to be 70+ degrees). Overall, awesome. It's a shame that I snagged it and it was beat up but nevertheless, there are stray steelies in our local waters!

Hands down, best catch on the fly thus far. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Never Give Up On Carp

9 1/2 lbs of carp goodness. All on my 4wt.
My cousin told me his favorite fish to catch was a pike because they fight so hard. I responded, "Yes, pike fight like a bulldog but carp fight like a train with no brakes. They don't stop even when they're tired." I then explained to him that I was actually quite discouraged about carp fishing as I wasn't hooking into any as they were so spooked. I then glanced up at Facebook and noticed a post from Big Bass Dreams. I don't remember liking the page but they posted a blog post entitled"Big Bass Dreams Turned Big Bass Reality." It was kind of catchy so I decided to read it. What I found was quite inspiring....

You see, Big Bass Dreams' writer, Oliver Ngy, was in a slump as he called it. He said he was frustrated because he wasn't catching the big bass out there. I was in the same boat and I quit carp fishing as I couldn't hook into a single carp and was getting discouraged and angry. When I read his post, he said that he didn't have any confidence in himself. I took that in my life as I needed to have confidence that I was going to catch a carp and land it! Well, I will tell you right now that I've never hooked up much less landed so many carp in my life. I HOOKED 24 carp. Not even kidding. I imagine they were the same carp but I still hooked them. I landed 6. This is not including the other menagerie of fish included in the mix like rock bass, smallmouth, and freshwater drum. 3 of the 6 carp I hooked and landed were just shy of 10 lbs. This may not seem like a feat but let me tell you this: I was catching all these fish on my 9' 4wt rod: the Redington Classic Trout. Oh, and I was battling severe rapids that these carp could swim AGAINST and swim perpendicular with the rapids in a straight line. I was about to be knocked over by the rapids and these carp took it like it was nothing! So, I hope you understand the feat that is at hand. Oh, and I was using a 6lb tippet as well. By the end of today, my entire leader is shot as it's been stretched hard.

Below is a short video of me fighting the first carp of the day. The funny/awful thing was that I foul hooked it. In the anus.....
For the next several hours I fished. And listened to jazz....I listened to jazz because it was the Monroe Jazz Festival. All these people were staring and cheering me on while I was catching these carp. It was a lot of fun to listen to jazz and fish. : ) Quite relaxing....

No words can describe the pain that fish felt. Imagine getting a giant pointy thing stuck in YOUR anus and being dragged around in rushing water! 
Below is a video of me catching, weighing, and releasing a decent carp. It was tough to control it as I was on my 4wt but  nevertheless, it was a blast.
After this video was taken, my GoPro died and I didn't have an extra battery that was charged. I swear I need to invest in another battery and have 3 batteries total as recording for every trip gets ridiculous as I don't have enough juice to record everything. Soon.

May not seem  like much but this picture makes me so happy.
At the end of the day, I had a number of carp among some other fish brought to my net, as I mentioned, including my first sheepshead on the fly, which was really exciting! Those who were at the jazz festival were watching me as I was bringing the carp to the net. They were all cheering me on and congratulating me as they saw me literally running down the river with  my fly rod in my hand. Looking back at it, I really shouldn't run down the river again....Too dangerous.... Oh well. I'll keep doing it until I break something...

Monday, August 5, 2013

River Raisin Smallie Fishing!

For the past week or so, I've been hitting the smallmouth in downtown Monroe pretty hard as the carp fishing has been quite discouraging. It's been excellent as I kind of stumbled upon it on accident. I asked a few people around town if anyone fished in downtown Monroe, Michigan and they all said yes but no one has recently taken anything significantly big out of there. Well, I headed down to the extremely shallow river last Tuesday eveningg and I then discovered how good of a fishing spot it was. Smallies everywhere.

Tuesday evening was a trial run. I caught quite a few smallies by just high stick nymphing it with my 8ft 4wt. They weren't big but they definitely were fun. Wednesday, I really took a stab at it and caught quite a few 12", 13" and 14" smallies, which is quite big for that part of the river, on my Redington CT 9' 4wt. However, the highlight of my trip was last night, Sunday, which I caught a 14" smallie but also a 21" northern pike! Best part was it was all on my 4wt!

Below is the video of me catching the nice 14" smallie from yesterday. Put up a decent fight but didn't have my hemostats outside of my pack unfortunately. He was released unharmed, which is good. : )

The last fish of the day was a beautiful 21" northern pike. I actually scared it and then saw it moving down stream and kind of lost hope. Then I saw it again facing upstream downstream. : ) I quickly took off my leech fly and tied on a heavy weighted Clouser Minnow in chartreuse and white. I jigged it in front of the pike and it lunged at it then casually bit it half way. I let it sit, and I lifted the rod and set the hook. The pike did the rest! : )
The video was quite difficult to shoot as my net was not cooperating with me which was extremely frustrating.....I did get it in and measure it though! Unfortunately, you cannot see me measuring it. Nevertheless, it was released unharmed and slowly swam away in defeat. Sad that its jaw was pretty beat up. Glad I could give it another chance to grow into an even bigger fish!

Now, all that is left is me catching a carp soon. I've been discouraged as my carp trips have failed. Miserably. In fact, I drove 45 minutes to Elmore, Ohio only to find that the river was blown out! Chocolate milk and very high and fast flowing river! : ( Oh well. It was good to go on an adventure! Until next time folks! Tight lines!