Sunday, April 10, 2011

PA & the new Streamflex

Hey guys,

After finally unpacking the moving boxes, I had a couple of hours to kill and decided to see what some of the PA creeks close by had to offer.  I went out with my 10' 3 wt. Streamflex and figured I've bust out some of the coils from last year.

Fishing was slow to start.  There were a couple of guys using worms and corn that I passed by, none having any reel luck.  I threw on a soft hackled pink AC worm and an extended red bodied nymph AKA the good old San Juan.  On my first drift I managed to hook into a nice fat rainbow.  I knew I was in trouble when I heard "CRACK".  My rod must have had a crack in it and that's all it took.  I did manage to land the fish and was kicking myself for not bringing a second rod with me.  The rod broke a couple inches above the cork, and I figured that I could either go home and cry about it, or keep on fishing.  I tucked the reel into my waders and started casting my now 8'6" streamflex.  I did manage a couple more fish which made the day bearable and I guess I'll be  calling Greys tomorrow.  Such a bummer as I was in Lancaster yesterday.  All but one took the AC Worm.

Weird, but this fish's belly was really soft, almost empty.

The new "5" piece

*Well I thought that I would add that I contacted Greys/Hardy on Monday and they managed to ship out a new butt section so that I would be able to have it with me for my trip to the Catskills this coming weekend.  With a broken butt section, the rod maker inside me started to wonder what could be done.  I stuck the handle and reel seat into a pot of boiling water (even a heat gun will burn cork) to loosen it from the glue and epoxy.  10 minutes later I was able to slide off the cork grip with minor damage.  The cork rings came apart in a couple of sections, but that can easily be fixed with wood glue.  I used my caliper to determine the correct bore size for the "new" butt section and then drilled out the remaining graphite blank that was still in there.  After some epoxy and wood glue to secure the hardware, voila!
I now have a perfect 9' 3 wt.  Once the new butt section arrives, I'll be able to have a 10' 3 wt. that can be adjusted to 9' when space is an issue.  If anyone has any questions on how to do this fix (you may have a broken rod laying around) let me know. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wedding Season

I just got done tying up part of Megan's order for her upcoming wedding.  Megan is going with a very casual setting and thought that the natural tones in these boutonnieres would really add some distinct character to the men.  After some back and forth, we decided on 2 different boutonnieres, one style for the Groom & Groomsmen and then another for the Fathers.  She has been a pleasure to work with, and I can't wait to get these out to her.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bamboo - no I don't have a pet Panda

PHASE 1: Tooling up
I've been building graphite fly rods and restoring bamboo fly rods for years. I don't know what finally decided to get me to bite, but I decided that I am going to start manufacturing bamboo fly rods from the ground up. After the restoring that I've done, I didn't have many doubts about being able to craft a beautiful rod, but could I make a functioning rod?

I did a little research and immediately saw that this was no small project. The amount of information out there on different tapers, actions, methods of planing, heating and flaming bamboo seemed overwhelming. That was the easy part. I soon found out that one does not walk into Home Depot to buy materials to start making blanks on day 1. Unless you have the money to drop on specialized tools, the majority of makers out there craft their own. I decided to make a set of planing forms out of maple to start. I would need one set of rough forms for getting the strips within the ballpark for their final planing. The final forms are much more precise and need to be accurate to .001”, that is a small margin of error.

The planes were fairly easy to assemble, but needed some finishing to make sure that they were perfectly flat and true to form. Once they were all set, I had to groove out my forms. Since there are 6 strips in a standard bamboo rod, 360 degrees around, each strip has to be cut to a 60 degree angle. I needed to make two tools for this. A 60 degree bit plane as well as a 60 degree file plane. The bit plane would allow me to make quick progress while the file plane would be used to clean up the grooves.  There were a ton of resources out there to help me create these tools, and I'm extremely happy that phase of the process if over.  As of now I've managed to cut the grooves in my rough planing form. I am waiting on a 60 degree contact point for my dial indicator before I start grooving out my final forms. With the need to be so accurate, I want to make sure that I am exact to .001”. Once you take out wood, there is no going back. Now its time to get some bamboo and get splitting.  Stay tuned, I'll keep posting progress.

60 Degree Lathe Bit Plane & File Plane

Unfinished Final Form (Left) & Rough Planing Form (Right)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Battle of the Vests - Simms G3 vs. Patagonia Guidewater

I've been using for the past season a Simms G3, but recently decided to make the switch and try out the Patagonia Guidewater Vest.  Both vests have the same MSRP, $200 USD.  The Simms is certainly a very cool looking and well designed vest.  I think the website boasts 22 pockets, which never left me wanting more space.  I fit 6 fly boxes in there without a problem, as well as all of my other tools and gear.  My only downside to this vest is that it never quite felt comfortable.  It's molded to shape, which certainly helps the fly boxes fit in their places, but always left me feeling like I was part of a SWAT team instead of enjoying a day on the stream.

The Guidewater vest arrived today, and I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable it was from the get go.  The vest itself feels like you're hardly wearing anything at all.  I immediately tried to stuff my boxes and gear in there, all of which fit without a problem.  Like the Simms, it has plenty of straps, holes, and clips for all of your tippet spools, forceps and other gear.  Both vests also boast a full back pocket, perfect for holding those larger items, which in my case, consists of a bottle of Gatorade, a sandwich and some dog biscuits.  The only thing I'm cautious of is that many of the pockets are mesh lined.  I'm hoping that they will hold up, otherwise this will be making a trip back to Patagonia.  The Guidewater also has curved pockets which are supposed to help with the natural curvature in your body, and they seem to do a good job of that.  I'll post up a report when I finally get to fish it.  As first impressions go, if I were to see these two side by side in the fly shop, despite the G3's really cool look, I think I would go with the Guidewater.

Monday, March 7, 2011

First outing of 2011

I got the chance to get out this weekend with my good buddy Brandon Alexander of Catskill Fly and Float with hopes of swinging big streamers for big fish on the West Branch of the Delaware River.  Hours before we were going to leave, they cranked it up to 1700 cfs (400 cfs would be ideal) leaving us scrambling for a plan B.  With ice clearing up on the Beaverkill and Willowemoc, we decided to head to Trout Town, USA.  We were met with some showers and water barely above freezing.  The fish were lethargic for sure, and we pretty much had to put our flies right on their noses.  We managed to hook up with about 6 between the two of us, Brandon netting one on a streamer, with all of mine coming on small patterns.  I lost a really nice fish as he broke me off on a rock a rods length away from me.  A size 18 black birds nest seemed to work well for me.  In a few weeks the fishing will be picking up, but a day like this is exactly what I needed to beat cabin fever.  For information on the flies I was using, be sure to check out my Fly Shop page.

We certainly had different view on how to fish

My first trout of 2011
A nice holdover
Brandon proving that fish will hit a streamer in cold water

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tying the "Sprite" AKA "Lemon Lime"

Here is a sick pattern for spring and early summer.  As soon as the Ryacophila (green rock worms) start showing up, tie one of these on.  I tie these in size 10-16.
In fact, instead of those lame ads that Sprite has, they should make a fly fishing themed commercial for all of us die hards out there.  Simple concept, fish one of these and you'll catch more of these:
And on a separate note, all of this springtime gear preparation has me excited to get a fly rod in the hands of this little monster.
She's only two, but you can be sure that in a couple of years she'll be fishing alongside the dog she is roughing up.

Tying the Tungsten Egg Fly

This may be the last egg patten that you ever tie.  Here is an easy fly that you can tie in under 2 minutes and catches fish year round.  I find it especially effective in the late fall, winter and early spring.  Whether it be for steelhead, big browns or football shaped rainbow trout, this fly produces.  In the winter, it's like candy for steelhead and resident 'bows.  The tungsten bead really helps get the fly down along the bottom where natural eggs drift, and is deadly when fished in tandem with a stonefly or a dead drifted streamer.  Tie a couple and try it out.  I promise you that you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cabin fever anyone?

It came and went.  The one nice day that gets you stirring just as a bear awakening from hibernation.  We had all accepted that winter was going to be a long cold one.  Then out of the blue we get a sunny, windless 50 degree day.  Before we can even think about getting our gear out, its gone.  We've all experienced it before.  I've tied more flies than I can count, built up new leaders and reorganized my fly boxes and I still can't fish.  Heck, I've even tied a bunch of fly orders for other people, but what I really can't wait to do is get out on the water.  Cabin fever seems to have really gotten the best of me this year.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Thirsty Trout Fly Shop is now live!

We are proud to annonce that our Fly Shop is now up and running.  You can purchase the exact same patterns that you can find in our fly own fly boxes. All of our flies are tied in house with the best materials available.  If you're going to spend money on your rod, reel, & travel then why go cheap on your flies?  Don't let the wrong fly cost you the fish of a lifetime.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me at

The Thirsty Trout Fly Shop

Be sure to check back, as we'll be constantly adding new innovative patterns to our inventory.  Also, we will be carrying Acetate Floss in the near future.  The Thirsty Trout will be your one destination for tying flies with Acetate Floss.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Acetate Floss Tying Video

Hey all,

I've received a lot of requests lately on how I incorporate Acetate Floss into my fly tying, as well as using the material in general.  I thought that I'd put together a quick tutorial on the floss, accompanied with a quick pattern that I love to tie.  Let me know what you think, I love the feedback.  Any questions, feel free to email me at

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tying Flies with Acetate Floss

I thought I'd do a quick post on this subject since it was a subject that got very little attention when I started about a year ago.  Acetate Floss is a material that can be used to make very realistic shellbacks and nymph backs.  The floss is very similar to the standard floss that is used in fly tying.  When treated with acetone, the floss melts and becomes hard and translucent.  This can make extremely realistic cases for your nymphs and streamers.  You can achieve very different results depending on the technique that you use.  I've wound, braided and layered the floss for different looks.  The best way to find out what works best is to get creative.  One tip that I picked up was to use a paintbrush to coat the floss.  If you dip the floss into the acetone, it often melts completely through, exposing the lead wire or whatever materials you have underneath.  I've attached a couple of photos of some flies I've created using the various techniques I've mentioned.  If you would like to purchase any of these flies, please contact me at  You can also see them in the shop page in the blog.  I'm going to try and work on a video tutorial to show some of the techniques that I've used.

You can see here that Acetate Floss is available in a variety of colors.  These are only a few that are available, I tend to stick with the most natural looking hues for my flies.
 Here is a great alternative to a worm pattern in high water.  Dead drifted or on the swing, trout seem to love it.  I just simply wrapped the floss forward.
Here is a great Caddis pattern that I made by attaching 2 strands of Caddis Yellow and Light Brown.  I would each color and wrapped them forward.
Here is my version of the Jelly Cord Caddis.  I used 4 strands of Insect Green Acetate Floss and wrapped forward, finished with a Peacock Herl collar.
This was my best producing caddis pattern of 2010.  I wound the Floss and wrapped it, then wrapped over one strand on top.  You can see the segmentation underneath the top layer.  Finished with an Ostrich Herl collar.
 This simple pattern was my favorite this past season.  Simply a wrapped hook shank with a fine copper rib.  The collar is muskrat.
 Another variation of the above pattern.  I wound the floss and wrapped it forward.  A layer of floss wrapped on top, finished with goose biots and a peacock collar.
 This stonefly tied in a size 10 is absolutely deadly.  This too is formed with wound Acetate Floss, with a layer wrapped on top.  The wing case is also Acetate Floss.
This stonefly is a standard pattern with a wound Acetate Floss rib on the fly body.

Tried and true patterns for the Catskills

Going through my fly boxes to see what needed to be replenished, I thought that I would take the time and post some patterns that have been killer for me in the streams of the Northeast.  These flies have caught fish everywhere, and could be a useful resource for anyone looking to make a trip to these fabled waters.  These flies are for sale on the shop page, or you can contact me directly at
2x Hotspot Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle

Green Caddis Pupa Czech Nymph

Green and Brown Acetate Floss Pupa

Black Czech Nymph
Braided Acetate Floss Caddis Pupa
Tungsten Pheasant Tail Nymph

Black Birds Nest

Tan Birds Nest

Tungsten Hot Spot Rubber Legged Stone 
Black Tungsten Hot Spot Stonefly 
Black Tungsten Stonefly

Tungsten Acetate Floss Tan Stone

Tungsten Acetate Floss Tan Stone w/ Hot Spot

Tungsten Turkey Tail Micro Stone

Black Wooly Bugger w/ XL Hackle