Feb 28, 2011

Back away from the Fly tying bench

Well I've been MIA for the past few weeks but I haven't been far.  I decided to take advantage of the lack of major snow storms to get caught up on my preseason fly fishing prep.  Don't worry, we still have close to 3 feet of snow on the ground but we are making progress with it's departure.  In the meantime I have been putting in time on the bench tying some flies and experimenting with some new tying techniques, well new to me at least.

My local  trout stream is still un-fishable with all the ice and the recent rain will only hurt more than it helps but it won't be long now before I am back on the water and working on my nymphing skills.  I am looking forward to spending the spring working on some short line Czech and long line Euro nymphing tehcniques that I started learning last year - read my Introduction to Euro Nymphing post from last may and you can see why I am excited about this technique.

I recently received Aaron Jasper's European Nymphing DVD which just came out this past January and it really helped put everything together that I experienced last year and everything I've been reading and learning.  The video does a great job breaking down the basics of both short and long leader nymphing and includes a section on tying, knots and leader creation.  If you have been thinking about getting into Euro Nymphing styles then Aaron's DVD is a must.

So when I am not scouring the internet, or bugging my local Fly guy Steve Babbit up at JTs Fly Shop or watching Arron's video again, I am at the tying bench trying to make some head way on some flies.   I've only been tying flies for just about 2 years now but most of my ties have been buggers and streamers and some nymphs like the tried and true Pheasant tails or Hares ear nymphs so I had to expand my horizons to fill up my box in preparation for all the flies I will be fishing losing this spring.

Some of my recent ties - Bottom middle and left are woven flies

I am not a fan of dubbing flies and I'm sure it is just because I stink at it so I decided to try creating some woven flies just so I don't have to deal with my crappy dubbing technique.  Weaving flies basically consist of taking two pieces of material either floss or wire in contrasting colors and weaving them along the body of the fly to create a different color on the top and bottom of the fly.  It is a challenge for sure but once you get the hang of it there is no stopping.  I've been using DMC 6 strand embroidery floss from the local craft store.  It only cost about 37 cents a color and it is available in what seems like a gazillion possible color combinations.  

Just a sampling of some of the colors of floss I purchased.

There are a couple of tricks to weaving and the first is separating the six strands into 3 which is pretty easy to do.  The second is to use some empty thread spools to wind the floss on so you can use your bobin when weaving.  Do a search on your tube or goole and you will find plenty of video tutorials and step by step procedures like this one from Loren Willams Woven Polish Nymph TutorialLorens Website is a must have link for anyone who ties their own flies or looking to start.  Here is a short clip from Trout Predator Online that I used to help with my weaving. 

When I am not tying at the bench lately I am working on my knots, tying up some leaders and some coiled strike indicators and I can't wait for that bicolor strike indicator material that I ordered to show up so I can make some bicolor "Slinky" indicators.  I also purchased a new rod for nymphing and can't wait to get my new 10' 4wt Greys Streamflex out on the water rigged up with some of those flies I've been tying. 

So I apologize for being away the past couple of weeks but as you can see I've been busy preparing for the waters to open up.  I know this for a fact.  I will lose some flies and I will catch a few fish and I'm sure some will succumb to the net just because they are laughing so hard.  Either way old man winter will be gone and I will be on the water.  Life will be good.

Feb 15, 2011

Gotta love the toothless smiles

I ran across this on Midcurrent the other day and just had to share it.  This is exactly what sharing the passion is all about.  Gotta love those toothless smiles and the hook sets.


Feb 11, 2011

PassinThru Outdoors Turns One

Well PTO has been up and running for a whole year now and I am certainly surprised that I am still blogging along.    When I first started I really didn't think this was going to work for me.  I'm not a writer or even a decent story teller so I thought who the heck would want to read anything I put up here anyway.  I'm still not sure anyone really reads my posts but I do get comments on them so hopefully someone finds something interesting,  but if not thanks for making believe and giving me hope with the comments.

At just 6 months shy of my 46 birthday I have definitely spent plenty of time in the great outdoors doing the things I am passionate about.  This passion has offered up many opportunities to meet people who also share in the passion for the outdoors, but blogging has opened up a whole new world for meeting more folks with the outdoors bug.  In the past year of blogging I am never without seeing, hearing or learning something new about the outdoors and being able to share, not in person albeit, but still get to share in everyone's adventures and outings and for that alone I am glad I took the plunge into blogging.

I remember a conversation with my father one hunting season in the late 80s where he was giving me a hard time about lugging a camera around the mountain while on a archery hunt in the Delaware Water Gap.  I tired explaining that I thought it would be fun to take pictures to show my friends and family just how incredible this place was.  His answer was "If they want to see it, then let them get out here and see it".  Of course I just chalked this up to an old crotchety attitude to anything technical and anything that HE didn't think was necessary.  I just did what I have done on other occasions and I agreed with a fake acceptance nod as it went in one ear and out the other.

When I think about this conversation, my dad did have a point, the only real way to experience the wonderful outdoors was to get outside and experience it yourself.  The camera couldn't do justice to what we actually experienced each and every time we climbed that mountain, but it most certainly helps me remember those outings a little more vividly and in the end it was worth lugging some extra equipment around.  well my foray into blogging has had a similar effect in that it is forcing me to relive many of those outings and experiences as well as the emotions felt during those outings.  I'm not sure if it is the aspect of sharing these experiences with new people whom might read my blog or just the fact that blogging forces the memory wheel to spin.   Blogging and reading many of the great outdoor blogs that are out there forces that memory wheel to spin and I am never disappointed at where it randomly stops.

So while I sit back and reflect on my first year of blogging I can't help but think of ways to do more and make PTO better, but what I am really looking forward to is sharing in the new adventures from my fellow bloggers.

Thank you to everyone who has stopped by PTO over the last year and I hope you continue to stop by and encourage you to keep on sharing your passions.

Feb 4, 2011

Some trailcam pictures from a friend

I wish these pictures were from my trail camera but they are not.  They are from one of my hunting partners.  Bubba has had his camera up on some land owned by his brother and has gotten some nice pics of deer and coyotes but recently he got a great series of a red fox trying to get at some snacks that were set out for the coyotes.  In all he had about 9 images of this fox but we selected 3 that show off the determination of this fox to get at those leftovers.

Thanks for sharing them Bubba..

Feb 1, 2011

1, 7, 15 - You must read to understand

1 Award

I was recently awarded this highly coveted blog award by Jason over at the Urban Outdoorzman and Brain from heyBJK and I thank them for thinking of my little blog.  If you haven't stopped by either of these blogs, please do.  Thanks for including me on this award guys.

Now as a recipient of this award I am obligated to perform the following:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award. 
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Give the award to 15 recently discovered worthy bloggers.
4. Contact them to make them aware of the award.

7 Things about myself

  • I am a certified hunter education instructor for the state of Connecticut.
  • I served in the united States Army as a 13C (Fire Direction Control) - Artillery - King of  Battle
  • I hated English in school, but you can probably tell that from my blog posts.
  • I am a Penn Stater - WE ARE......PENN STATE!
  • I was a youth football, baseball and basketball coach as well as a high school football coach and even though it took time away from my outdoor passions, I would do it all over again.  Kids are the best.
  • I love to cook, but hate to clean up after and I will use every pot and pan in the cupboard.
  • I have a very loving and tolerant wife and two fantastic kids who put up with my outdoor antics.

15 blogs that you should visit

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is all the other great blogs that are out there.  Make sure to stop by OBN and check out the Outdoor Blog Directory to see a huge list of outdoor bloggers and I am certain you will find something on that list that interests you.