Striper Fishin'

This is a Bug I originally tied up for surf fishing in Hawaii, and it worked great for jacks. The fly was brought to the west coast by a old timer form the east coast, so I'm guessing it was originally tied for stripers. This last weekend I used them in the Sacramento River Delta to catch stripers with Keith, Evan, Shunji, and Ian. No stripers were found. Though I did land a large mouth bass with this yak bunker fly.

I tied this one on a size #2 811s TMC from Tiemco. The goal of this fly is to layer white buck, white yak, white buck, blue yak, red yak, eyes, and color the side stripes with a Prismacolor marker! Then your ready to fish. I have found that this fly is a very effective patter for just about any water anywhere, and it casts great because of the low-weight materials used in its construction.

This is a Clouser with a great color combination (thanks to Josh Frazier). White buck, grey buck, and purple buck.

photos by matt "mj" jones, a regular contributor to beyondthebug.blogspot.com

Designing a Fly Tying Blog

- verb (used with object)
to plan and fashion artistically and skillfully.
to intend for a definite purpose: a fly designed to catch FISH.

Fly tying is a millennium-old angler’s practice that weds form and function with the ultimate goal of fooling hungry fish. In the earliest times, simple flies were tied with just a few materials; fur, feathers, and silk were wrapped around a roughly cast iron hook shank to resemble the aquatic insects that grayling and trout call breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The earliest Macedonian fly fishers were probably more interested in catching their own dinner than casting their flies for sport (quite a foreign concept to us moderns, wrapped up in our own recreational pursuits of catch and release game fishing). Even so, the very oldest fly patterns served a purpose and were deliberately created and constructed to achieve a goal.

Over time, the fly angler’s ultimate goal has certainly shifted and morphed. We now tie and cast flies to just about anything that swims. The world’s now got flies for tarpon, sharks, muskie and pike, bass poppers, giant squid patterns for stripers and billfish, and funky feathered creations for steelhead and salmon. We truly have gone beyond the bug.

For all of this progress and nuance, the fly essentially remains the same: it’s a highly designed piece of functional art – yes, art – and Beyond the Bug should be thought of as an online art gallery of sorts. We’ve created a clean and modern space where the ideas behind the function and beauty of the world’s very best fly designs can shine.

As we move forward, following the trends of today’s new generation of fly tyers, we’ll show you interesting tying ideas, post reviews of materials (new and old), highlight tyers we think are “on to something good,” share step-by-step tying videos for some of our favorite flies, and above all, we’ll fill these crisp, digital walls with the angler’s art: good flies.

photos in this post by Ian McNemar, a regular contributor to beyondthebug.blogspot.com


Stripers at The End

This clever sand eel pattern is called "The End."

It borrows long, married saddle hackle wings from a Deceiver, a trim and airy profile from Ken Abrames (a la Striper Moon), and utilizes both traditional and modern materials. Stack white bucktail fibers, yak hair, and EP Fibers to create a long profile. Squeeze in some crystal flash for dimension and a bit of a lateral line. Top the fly with peacock herl and jungle cock eyes.

Building a tough epoxy head will help you get more nautical miles out of this fly. I like to use Z-Poxy from Zap Products. It's an easy-mix 1:1 product that sets in just 5 minutes.

There is a lot of length to this saltwater offering, but it's still quite cast-able. Be sure, however, to post the early layers of materials near the hook bend or stack some still bucktail fibers of a high diameter so the longer yak and EP Fibers do not foul around the hook bend during your back and forward casts.

photo by Evan LeBon, a regular contributor to beyondthebug.blogspot.com


Super Sexy Super Spey

Still playing with Paul Miller Super Spey rhea feathers.

This pair of smart Spey flies shows the material quite well. They're both topped with golden pheasant and incorporate Spirit River Diamond Brite dubbing through the body for a touch of sparkle and sheen.

Super Spey rhea feathers are a tremendous fly tying material and a fantastic resource to fly tyers of all stripes. These fibers average about 4 inches in length and are extremely durable and a joy to tie with. They provide unmatched length and profile - get them wet, and the movement they impart cannot be topped by other materials that match in toughness.

photo by Evan LeBon, a regular contributor to beyondthebug.blogspot.com