Fly Recipe: Calimari con Super Spey

Beyond the Bug has come a long way since we started blogging in March. Thanks to the loyal followers of the site for clicking in and taking a look! Heretofore, we haven't really posted any fly recipes for the fly designs we explore on these pages, but that's about to change.

We've had about a zillion requests for a fly recipe for the squid fly featured in our very first post. You'll find the recipe and material list below. Detailed tying instructions can be obtained via email at beyondthebug@gmail.com

Calimari con Super Spey, a squid fly for steelhead and stripers >>
Hook >> Tiemco TMC 7999 #1/0
Thread >> Wapsi UTC GSP 200 deneir, white (colored with Prismacolor art marker)
Tentacles 1 >> 2 or 3 red emu feathers (best quality is from Siskiyou Aviary in Ashland, Oregon)
Tentacles 2 >> 2 or 3 saltwater saddle feathers (white, dotted with Prismacolor art marker)
Tentacle highlights 1 >> Spirit River Pearlescent Fly Flash, pink
Tentacle highlights 2 >> about 10 strands of Spirit River Crystal Splash, purple and pearl
Head 1 >> EP Fibers by Enrico Puglisi, lavender and navy blue stacked 360-degrees around the shank
Eyes >> 2 matched Spirit River Jungle Cock Nail Feathers
Head 2 >> Paul Miller Super Spey rhea feathers, gentian purple

Evan LeBon is a regular contributor to beyondthebug.com

photo provided by Ian McNemar, a regular contributor to beyondthebug.com


The Fly Swap III: Ian's Polar Shrimp

We've seen Ian McNemar patterns on this blog before. They are meticulous and display a heightened sensitivity to color, materials, proportion, and finish, and this take on the classic Polar Shrimp should have steelhead shaking in their scales.
Taking a cue from Matt "MJ" Jones' Lady Catherine Variation, Ian as also used Angora goat dubbing in this fly to impart a buggy aesthetic. While the fly is rather sparsely dressed with long orange hackle fibers in a minimalist ethic, the red tail and tinsel ribbing bridge the gap between the modern and the traditional schools of steelhead fly design.

Of particular interest in this fly is the beautifully finished head. Pay close attention to the compact series of wraps and the neat length of shank between the head and hook eye.
Steelhead tyers categorically take their technique seriously, and tying a neat, compact head is often the ultimate goal of a serious tyer (besides, of course, hooking a bright chrome hen on a favorite coastal river). To achieve a head of this caliber, simply use fewer wraps and approach the finish with more confidence. As with all forms of functional art, practice counts.

Evan LeBon is a regular contributor to beyondthebug.com

photos provided by Ian McNemar, a regular contributor to beyondthebug.com


The Fly Swap II: MJ's Lady Catherine Variation

Yesterday's post set the stage on the concept and worth of Fly Swaps, so let's take a first look at what came of the most recent San Francisco Swap: Matt "MJ" Jones' Lady Catherine Variation.
This fly, like a full-dressed Lady Catherine steelhead fly has got a flat shank profile and a "leggy" look from through the gape. A notable modern design characteristic of this fly is its skinny and sparse elegance. The minimalist design ethic has gone in and out of fashion in the history of fly tying, but it's never been as pronounced as it has become in recent decades.

A closer look at this fly reveals a keen sense of utility in its trim form; it seems nearly every fiber serves a purpose, none appear extraneous, all are integral to the pattern's usefulness.

In achieving this heightened sense of restraint and pure function, MJ has made great use of Angora goat dubbing, a long-fibered and durable material shorn from the goat species native to Asia Minor (or Turkey, in the modern day geopolitick). This species was brought to Europe in the middle of the sixteenth century by Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. Today, Angora goats are bred and ranched for their wool which is more commonly known as mohair. Even though mohair is most commonly found in sweaters and socks, the fibers of this material are perfect for dubbing applications in fly tying. This natural material is perfect for use in a range of nymph, steelhead, and giant stonefly patterns.

In steelhead tying, Angora goat dubbing is commonly known as the best all-natural substitute for the more traditional but illegal option, seal dubbing.

Angora is spiky and softer than seal, giving it a more supple quality at the vise. Some traditional steelhead tyers lament the unavailability of traditional materials and frown upon the use of more pedestrian fibers, but for the every day tyer focused on utility, Angora goat dubbing is an excellent material choice.

Evan LeBon is a regular contributor to beyondthebug.com

photos provided by Ian McNemar, a regular contributor to beyondthebug.com


The Fly Swap

Fly anglers are always on the lookout for the next hot fly.

In this quest for tomorrow's fish-catching Holy Grail, it's easy to look excitedly down the tunnel of one's own creative ability. But as in any form of functional art, designing with blinders on can be the most dangerous way to meet the future.

The "Fly Swap," as it's called by hardcore fly designers and tyers has been around for ages and has existed in many formats, some wholly impromptu and wildly creative, others highly organized and narrowly focused. Essentially, swapping flies is a bit like a jam session among like-minded, free flowing jazz musicians riffing back and forth, going bravely (together) into the next frontier of their craft.

Recently, the fierce fly designers at Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters and Beyond the Bug held a fly swap in San Francisco. The theme was steelhead. The beer was cold. The flies were fantastic.

This week, Beyond the Bug will take a look at what came out of this tying session and some of the design principles and techniques put to use in tying striking flies like:

Keith Westra's Herniator


Shunji's Redwing Blackbird

This kind of creative volleying is necessary to the progression of modern fly tying and design. With this in mind, grab a few craft-brews, a great single-malt, or a bottle of pinot, call some friends, and tie your asses off.

Evan LeBon is a regular contributor to beyondthebug.com

photos provided by Ian McNemar, a regular contributor to beyondthebug.com