Beginner Level 1: Saltwater Fly Tying Manual

This class is designed for people who have never tied a fly before. The objective will be to emphasize repetition and simplicity as a foundation for learning new patterns. Basic skills of identifying hooks, identifying thread, identifying tools, identifying the most common materials and simply applying thread to the hook with a handful of different material types will be taught.
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Catching is what it is all about

By Joel B. Filner

Catching is what it is all about. Not fishing. Right? The purpose of this essay is to illustrate what we, as experienced fisherman, all expect from a day out on a boat. Big fish in constant action for reasonable numbers throughout the day. Or half day. Most of my fishing is from shore as I do not have permission to buy a boat and my jeep was a good compromise through my three sons’ college years. The winning of a charter in the CCA raffle was a real treat to my fishing season.

The trip with Tom Cornicelli of Back Bay Charters was scheduled to fit his time and the fish tides in Moritches Bay. We met Saturday morning at first light as that coincided with the incoming tide and slack period expected about 7:30 AM. The boat, a new 22ft Parker was laid out simply and efficiently for fly casting from either bow or stern, with a high freeboard that will really be comfortable (and dry) out at Montauk in the fall.

I like to use my own equipment when fishing but felt comfortable using Tom’s Scott rods, Tibor reels and the Teeny 350 for fishing in the deeper holes in the bay. This was my second venture into Moritches Bay this summer as I waded at outgoing tide by the Coast Guard Station one Sunday morning in the beginning of June. That trip was a bust as we didn’t even get a hit on fish working under birds for 4 hours.

Tom took the boat out in to the outside channel off the Coast Guard Station looking for any sign of action. The wind was up to 15 – 18 knots and steady out of the west/ southwest testing my skills as a backcaster, wind caster and pin cushion with the intermediate lines. I started with a medium fly with flash and big red eyes tied by Tom with olive over white. No fish. We then went to a “hole” on the inside of the inlet to the east, switching to the Teeney and a fly that was flash all the way with eyes on the sides and no weight. We made 4 drifts and then moved on to where we saw birds working and switched flies once again to a “wool” fly that looked like a cross between a sand eel on steroids and muddler minnow in olive and white. Our first hits and fish. This is after almost two hours of searching, drifting, and changing flies. Tom is very particular as to how the fly looks and acts in the water and prefers flies that look right and have the right action in the water. Hard body flies are not his preference and larger sizes for larger fish. He will change a fly if, after tying it on, it doesn’t act or look right in the water.

We now move to the inside of the inlet on the west shore fishing the tidal drifts and small channels. Again with the Teeney and a squid pattern enticing one more small bass. Back to the Coast Guard Station and a drift with the wool fly and a blue fish and another one and then no fly. We move again to the rip with fish in theory feeding as the bait goes by, stripping in long fast strips that don’t seem to work.

Lunch time at 1030 AM and a first for me … lunch supplied by the guide. The saga goes on for three more hours moving, watching, casting, and drifting, always with the boat in position to allow my casting and drifting to be where we think the fish are sitting. The boats around are not have much more success in catching but they are not getting a terrain lesson or a technique lesson at the same time.

The day ended with five fish and a lot of casting and respect for the effort put forth for a donated trip in a good cause. I learned that there is nothing like experience to gain as much knowledge of the bay as Tom evidenced in the trip. I also learned that a boat is useful but not the guarantee of success that I assumed was there. And I think that a boat is a constant learning tool and it would take me years to learn the water and the nooks and crannies of the bays that Tom handles with ease and confidence even in the tough spots.

I also learned more about the fish and the flies and water in that day with the lack of activity than if we were in a blitz for two hours.

Thanks again CCA and Tom Cornicelli.

Articulated Crease Fly

Fly Tying Corner, August 1999

by John Timmermann

articulated crease flyThe hinge effect gives this fly a life like motion similar to a jointed plug. Vary the retrieve to vary the motion. Recently caught Bass although none were showing. Seems to aggravate them into striking. Because of the wire and the epoxy coating, the fly seems to hold up well to toothy creature attacks.

  • Tiemco 800’s 2/0
  • White Flymaster Plus
  • White Arctic Fox
  • Blados body foam and foil
  • Clear-coated braided wire
  • Permanent marking pens
  • 2 ton epoxy
  • stick on eyes
  • CA glue

Prepare the live body foam before hand. Follow the instructions given with Joe Blados’ kit. You can obtain a kit from Joe by phone @ Maverick Flies 516-765-3670. You may want to substitute the foil with Lame’. This material can be purchased in most fabric stores and looks great in either silver or gold (it is applied to the foam in the same manner as the foil). My most productive flies are made with Joe’s silver foil. As Joe once said, “this fly is constructed more than tied.”

  1. Cut off approx. one inch of wire and secure one end in the vise.
  2. Wrap approx. 3/8″ of one end of the wire with thread.
  3. Tie in about 1/8″ hank of arctic fox fur to create tail, whip finish.
  4. Fold over wire creating a loop, and wind thread to secure leaving a finished loop of about 1/8″. The length of the wire portion when complete should be about 5/8″ long plus whatever tail is created by the fox fur. Coat thread with CA cement and allow to dry. Remove from vise.
  5. Secure hook in vise. Cut approx. 2 1/4″ of wire. Form a loop interlocking the tail section loop. Even ends and start to tie both ends of the wire at formed loop end. The loop created should be about 1/8″ in diameter. Locate the end of the newly formed loop at the outside bend of the hook. Lay wire on top of the hook and lash in place passing over wire three times and finishing at the hook eye. Whip finish and coat with CA cement. Allow to dry.
  6. Measure the tail section and cut foam to size. Foam should measure from directly aft of the loop to the end of the wire. Fold over and cut to body shape.
  7. Apply, CA cement to wrapped wire and fold aft section over wire and hold until secure. Wire loop should be about 1/3 of the depth from bottom of foam.
  8. Measure forward section and cut to size. This section should have foam measured from just forward of loop to hook eye. Fold over and cut body shape trying to blend aft portion of forward section to forward portion of aft section.
  9. Apply CA cement to hook and wrapped wire. Fold over precut foam body and hold until secure. The loop on the forward section should again be about 1/3rd of the depth from the bottom of the foam. This should allow a smooth transition from forward to aft segments.
  10. Press down on foam above the hook eye and apply CA cement to formed oval. Allow to set. You may want to fill this cavity with a precut section of foam prior to application of CA cement.
  11. Color both segments with markers including the tail section and apply the eyes.
  12. Apply a light coat of 2 ton epoxy and allow to dry.

Glen Mikkelson’s Epoxy Bait Fish

By Tom Baumann

Glen Mikkelson's Epoxy Bait FishMost of us have a favorite or “go to” fly. Sometimes our favorite fly changes from month to month or much more frequently. For the first three months of this year I and two local fishing friends have had great success with Glen Mikkleson’s Epoxy Baitfish fly. It has caught fish for us around Long Island and for me at Martha’s Vineyard where I also happened to overhear a local guide talk about “hammering em” on a Yellow Mikkleson. On many days, it’s been the only fly we’ve used. This fly catches all our local gamefish, can be tied in various color combinations and profiles to match local bait, and is castable and very durable. In Bob Veverka’s book, Innovative Saltwater Flies, Glen modestly traces the origin of this fly to the legendary Joe Brooks and his Blonde series. In any case, I can assure you this is a proven fishcatcher. The fly below is green over white and tied sparse to imitate a sand eel.

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