What I'm Tying - Chartreuse Zonker

Here's another rabbit strip fly that I am tying for bass. I like the Hareline Dubbin' rabbit strips because they seem fuller and more suppler. 

This particular fly has the bead tied in such a way that the fly will dive nose down upon hitting the water. It will make for a fine lake pattern as well as an option for warm water smallmouth creeks. 

Hook: 4 3x
Weight: 5/32 gold bead
Thread: White 6/0
Wing: Chartreuse/barred rabbit strip
Body: Chartreuse micro braid
Throat: Red micro braid

My Letter to Dr. Gassett

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is soliciting comments on Sandhill crane hunting. I am against it. Here is my draft of the letter that I am going to send to Dr. Gassett.

Dear Dr Gassett,

I am writing this in response to the department’s recent inquiry into whether or not they will allow Sandhill Crane hunting opportunities.

I am most definitely against this proposal.

As an avid hunter and fisherman, I am typically the only one out of my curious friends and family who partake in these sports. I am usually educating them about the opportunities our state offers as well as defending our sport whenever someone winces when I tell them I have a freezer full of venison.

In my opinion, I don’t think it’s a good idea to allow hunting of such a public and beautiful species to come under hunting pressure. I am always so enthralled when I see one of these great beauties in the wild and to be honest, I don’t see any sport in hunting these creatures.

Now, if the state feels that they are a nuisance, then I will support its decision to open a hunting season. However, at this point, I don’t feel their numbers are that great to warrant such an action.

Please reconsider this proposal.

What's up with Fly Prices?

It looks like fly tying companies have finally finished moving their productions overseas and are realizing their economies of scale.

All over the internet you're seeing cheap flies. You can by a dozen nymphs for under $10 at Cabelas. Are they good? Yep, I bought some and they're pretty good quality.

Orvis is selling flies for around $1.50. All over the place you're seeing the basic patterns drop in prices.

It used to be that flies would cost you a fortune, so you really had no option but to tie when you're an avid fly fisherman.

However, with less expensive flies that seem at least to hold their quality, will we see fly tying diminish in rank?

What I'm Tying - Chinchilla Zonker

Here's the first of a bunch of zonkers that I'm tying to gear up for lake fishing. This is some chinchilla rabbit zonkers I had lying around so I decided to use it up. I'm hoping to match the shad forage in my local lakes so I tied these on some of the longer hooks that I have. They have some tail on them but not too much, I don't want fish just nipping at the end of them.

Hook: 4 3x
Weight: 5/32 silver bead
Thread: Black 6/0
Wing: Chinchilla rabbit strip
Body: Silver micro braid
Throat: Red micro braid
Head: Black thread

Asian Carp - My Take

Even though we can add many different layers and elements to fly fishing, at its core it only maintains a few requirements. Of these remains an object to ply our craft toward. Regardless of where you fish, whether it is in cold or warm water, in lakes or rivers, in small streams or cold tail-waters, you are there because it contains some species of sport fish that interests you.
Sport fish fuel many of our imaginations. They draw us into locales ranging from our backyard pond to exotic places surrounded by majestic mountains. We as fishermen have dedicated voluminous resources in the form of time and money to protect and nurture them. Sport fish have become a major part of many of our lives, and their health in both quality and population remains a core component of many of us who are conservation-minded.
 However, there is a burgeoning threat on the horizon that is working to displace our beloved sport fish. It is a non-native species that is both a prolific breeder and a gluttonous feeder. This enemy is called the Asian carp.
Asian carp are an invasive species that were first imported into this country to help maintain lakes used in aquaculture in our southern states. Massive floods in the mid-90s allowed these creatures to escape their confines and enter our nation’s major river systems.  There, they established a foothold and effectively adapted to their new environment, displacing many of the native fish species and accounting for over 90% of biomass in the waters they inhabit. They have moved quickly, reaching up through the Mississippi and its connected tributaries. Their reach is growing ever farther and infesting waterway after waterway.
Asian carp are on the verge of creating a major catastrophe to our nation’s largest freshwater fishery. Already these fish have wreaked major havoc in the Mississippi River and are spreading their mayhem up the Illinois River toward the Great Lakes. Their invasion into this massive fishery will strike one of the greatest natural losses to freshwater sport fishing that we may witness in our lifetime.
All in our club enjoy fishing the Great Lakes for steelhead and salmon. Many more of us enjoy the walleye bonanzas of spring as well as the smallmouth and perch fishing. However, these species will disappear and our sport will become a relic of the past. Sport fish simply cannot compete with Asian carp and are eventually overrun by them. Sport fish would literally starve to death as this destructive plague quickly moves to fill every available space. It would eliminate what is estimated to be upwards of a $7 billion fishery. And even if the loss of the Great Lakes fishery does not elicit some response inside of you, consider that Asian carp have already made headway into the great Commonwealth of Kentucky as of this writing. It is a real and common threat.
But why are Asian Carp so dangerous? Why must we act to defend our resources against this threat? The simple answer is that their presence quickly collapses sport fishing populations. Asian Carp are so dangerous because they are filter feeders. They eat the microorganisms and freshwater plankton that make up the very base of the food chain. This puts immense pressure on both the juvenile sport fish that also feed on this, as well as the baitfish that the sport fish will feed upon when they mature.
Another terrifying aspect is the rate at which they are able to accomplish these calamities. Asian Carp are truly prolific breeders and massive gluttons that can reach weights of up to 100 pounds or more. I’m sure everyone has seen videos of these fish jumping out of water as motorboats pass, and those who have seen the videos may notice that they pop out of almost every nook and cranny on the water. Those who frequent the waterways that the Asian carp currently infest can say they are an encumbrance to enjoying their outdoor environment and they deeply desire to be rid of them.
However, the scariest part of the impending Asian carp infestation is that there currently is no way of stopping it. At this point, measures to physically close infested rivers’ access to the Great Lakes, such as the Illinois River, have failed because of legal wrangling and competing economic interests to those who utilize the waterway for other uses. Electronic barriers are being erected and many other measures are being taken to compensate for this, but the consensus is among some scientists that it is not a measure of “if” but “when” this debacle unfolds.
There are some naysayers, in the vast minority, who believe that Asian carp can’t establish footholds in the Great Lakes. They argue that a prior invasion from the zebra mussel has rendered the water less inhabitable. I only give credence to their argument so that I can make a well-informed opinion about the issue. However, after reviewing the evidence and reading the comparisons between the Great Lakes and their natural habitats in Asia, it can only be concluded that they will do significant and long-standing damage. We must side with the opinions offered by state fisheries’ biologists and other leading scientists that they will overrun the lakes. We simply cannot sit on our hands and see how it unravels. We must work to make sure this doesn’t happen both in the Great Lakes and here at home in our local waters by supporting initiatives to eradicate, or in the least, manage this threat.
The time to get involved is upon us. Currently, government action is critical. Funding and research must be done to find ways to combat the Asian carp and control its range. We as sportsmen and private citizens must use whatever influence we have to ensure that combating Asian carp remains a top priority for our elected officials and the bureaucracies that have resources to help. NKFF has committed itself to embracing the fight against Asian carp into its conservation agenda, to make its voice heard at public meetings about the issue, and continue to stay abreast of the facts and inform others.
The clock is ticking on this one. We must act before it is too late.

What I'm Tying - San Juan Worm

Here's a fly that I am tying for carp this year. It's heavily weighted to drop quickly in front of feeding carp. It's a super easy fly to tie and you can crank out quite a few, very quickly.

Thread: Red 6/0
Hook: Egg hook (red/blood hook)
Weight: 5/32 gold bead
Body: Red micro chenille (use a lighter to singe the ends and make sure the crease that arises from being placed on the card is on the hook so it lies straight.)
Rib: Red micro wire (originally labeled as a Copper John material)

What I'm Tying - Flashy Wooly Bugger

This is a version of the white wooly bugger that I tie, but with much more flash.

Thread: White 6/0
Hook: 3x size 10
Weight: 5/32 silver bead
Tail: White marabou with 2 strands of midge flash
Body: Peacock micro chenille
Hackle: Grizzly
Wire: Silver

What I'm Tying - White Wooly Bugger

Here's a white wooly bugger I love to tie. Wooly buggers in white make great shad and minnow imitations and are easy to tie. Try these in tailwaters or in other moving water where small white prey is available.

Thread: White 6/0
Hook: 3x size 10
Weight: 5/32 silver bead
Tail: White marabou with 2 strands of midge flash
Body: White micro chenille
Hackle: Grizzly
Wire: Silver