Friday, March 13, 2015

My conversion to "Flash Light Epoxy"...and the retiring of my epoxy wheel and dusty baker tooth pick holder bobblehead.

So I have been a little late…like a few years or so late…to as I have called it, the “flash light epoxy” party. I have had my reasons…when I look in a fly shop, online, in a catalog, or any other retailer I have NO IDEA what I need to buy nor do I want to pay what a flash light and what amounts to epoxy costs. I don’t know what I want…thick, thin, brush on application, squeeze bottle, magnum light….I have followed the basic if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, we don’t leave fish to find fish, and what works works mantras.

My epoxy turner and 2.99 tubes of 5 minute epoxy from Lowes work just fine…I have a stack of 3x5 cards and toothpicks to mix and apply it and put my flies on the wheel ounce done. I actually have the whole process down to a science for the most part…a beautifully efficient and coordinated dance…I may be a little enamored with myself or have a self inflated opinion of my epoxy application to over glorified craft materials on hooks but the bottom line is I had a good program working.

Finally after seeing enough posts on Instagram and Facebook of REALLY COOL bait fish patterns with these supper clean built up epoxy heads and realizing that ounce again water is going to be low this year and I am going to have to fish some light lines and light flies for stripers on the river I broke down and said “I gotta figure this out”…cause I am going to be straight up here…when I apply epoxy to my clousers they look fine, just as good as any “flash light epoxy” thing…when I try to build up a epoxy head 9 times out of 10 they look like crap and get hung on the wall as “decoration” or as “gifts” to my son, and even my 6year old looks at a few of them as “ya dad uhhh I might never ever fish that…but I’ll take it anyway….even though at 6years old I can tie one that looks WAY better”

So, I got in touch with my buddy Matt Callies who works for Loon…Now there are a few of companies that make this “flash light epoxy” stuff but I know Matt and I felt completely comfortable admitting that I am a complete neophyte and still in the stone age using expoxy so I hit him up. That and Loon is the leader in consciously produced fishing products…like floatant that dosen’t leave an oil slick in the water coming of your dry fly, so I felt pretty sure that the stuff wouldn’t cause chemical burns, the light wouldn’t burn out my eye balls, or the fumes wouldn’t poison my children.

Matt is not only an AMAZING and INCREDIBLY innovative fly tier…and in my opinion very under appreciated and recognized…he is very good at teaching complex fly tying in a simple straight forward manner. He basically told me I need the Loon UV Clear Fly Finish thick and think …..there was two bottles of stuff I needed “thick” for head build up and “thin” for like epoxy heads, backs, and thin layer stuff and of course a light…get the big one he said…the MAGNUM. If there is a magnum size offered why would I buy any less right.
Flash Light Epoxy...I am a convert...and yes that is a Dusty Baker tooth pick holder bubblehead in the background that has become very insignificant now.
So I tried the Loon UV Clear Fly Finish thick this morning for the first time. I had tied up some small baitfish patterns to fish for small and largemouth bass on the river next week and figured this was a good time to try the stuff out. My “epoxy build up head” fly repertoire is pretty limited and most of my baitfish flies have lead eyes. The flies I decided to try the Loon UV Clear Fly Finish thick on were just basic glue some stick on eyes and build up a head around it flies…pretty simple stuff. I can happily report that all the flies I have deemed fishable and went into to one of my boat boxes to be fished. The process was pretty simple, squeeze bottle in one hand light in the other and lay down some goop, hit it with the light, lay down a bit more, and hit it with the light until I got the head I wanted. This seemed to be the easiest and cleanest way to do it…I tried laying down all the goop at ounce and then hitting it with the light and that worked, but the material shifted a bit as I laid more and more down on the head …I liked the lay a bit down, hit it with the light, lay more down, hit it with the light better, this approach created a more uniform head.

Not a bad first batch...not perfect but fishable

Baby bass...aka striper food 

Baby bass...aka bigger bass food size
My deduction is that I am going to use this stuff a lot more and realistically tie many more flies that have epoxy heads vs. lead eyes as now it is MUCH easier and much more efficient. I think that will open up some new fishing opportunities for me as over the last few years I have really started fishing shallower water and submerged weed beds on the Sac for stripers with a lot of luck with a fairly limited fly selection. I will try the Loon UV Clear Fly Finish thick and think on a bunch more stuff…mayfly/stonefly backs, my clousers, and a few bass flies I am sure. I’ll get some more pictures up as I work with this stuff. Old Dog learned new Trick.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Reports, Baseball, not much else...fewer words but same value.

So, rain seems to allude Nor Cal but the mountains got some snow last weekend which is much needed. I just pulled up the month long forecast on Accuweather and it does forecast some coming storms in the coming 2 weeks…that would be very nice. That said this weekend and next wee we will see highs in the Mid 70’s…beautiful weather for March! This weather is definatley getting fishing going in many areas! Here is what is going on and what is coming up!

Lower Yuba River is fishing good. I have not been on the river much but have talked to Ryan Johnston, Jon Baiocchi, and Dave Barbieri who have and the fishing is good. There have been plenty of march browns around and fish are CHOWING on the nymphs…Ryan J who helps me develop and fish many of my flies said the March Madness Nymph was working really really well out there. I know Kienes Fly Shop in Sacramento will be getting some of the first shipments of these flies from Montana Fly Co. so give them a call and order some if you want to give them a try. Dave B said that the dry fly fishing and nymph fishing have been all good basicly the fish are on the feed again…which means go out and fish how you want. That is the beauty of the Yuba when the fish are eating there is a lot of ways to catch them. Fishing should only get better through March and April, especially if we get some Rain!

Lower Sacramento River Trout – Fishing has been good just a bit weird. River is fishable and clarity is about 2-3 feet but fish are not keying on the bugs yet. Caddis, Baetis and a few March
Nice Lower Sac March Trout
Browns are out but all fish are eating is eggs…kinda weird to be honest. Fishing should only improve over the month of march as the fish get on the Caddis, March Brown, and PMD hatches.

Great size spring run fish

Lower Feather Spring Steelhead – there are fair numbers of spring steelhead in the feather river right now and nymphing and swung fly fishing is catching a few. I prefer to swing flies on light spey/switch rods and with warmer weather the fish are getting grabby. The Month of March and April will see the bulk of spring half pounders and adults move up into the river.


Stripers – No reports of pushes of migratory stripers moving up through Colusa but with the water clearing and temperatures warming resident fish are getting active. March and April are great months for migratory and resident fish before the shad show up.

Shad – should be a nother good year for shad with the lower flows…may will be here soon so get your shad fishing planned.

Full Days Open:
April 19
May 2, 3, 16, 23-25, 30
June 6-18, 22, 25-30
July 1, 2, 6-10, 12, 14, 17-23
August 4-9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30
Evening Dates for Shad and Bass on the Lower Sac
April 14-16, 21-24, 27-30
May 4-7, 14-15, 18, 19, 21, 22-25, 26, 28, 29
June 1-4, 6-18

Sports Report: So two cames into spring training and the best looking pitcher so far…Tim Lincecum. He looked GOOD coming after Mad Bum gave up 1.2ip, 5h, and 4r. Peavy wasn’t much better yesterday either though his line would of looked a lot better if Adrianza hadn’t booted a double play ball…What ever though it is 2 spring training games in and I am just happy to have baseball back on the radio each day, Murph and Mac talking to Kruik and Kipper each morning on my drive to work, and Baggs writing a column to read every morning…Vogie takes the mound today against the, ounce again, revamped cubs so should be interesting to see how that goes. Crawford and Romo have sore shoulders but should be OK…I am really waiting for the debut of Cain in a week or so…I love baseball!

Fly Update: Many of my new and revisions of old patterns are shipping out in the next few weeks to dealers that ordered them for March Ship dates. Locally I know Kiene’s Fly Shop will have some in the Sacramento Area and available for order I am sure if you call.  Toll Free (USA):+1 (800) 400-0359

If you local shop does not have new flies like the Amigo, March Madness, Spring Creek Geek and others ASK for them! They can always place fill in orders or add them to existing pre seasons possibly!

CAST HOPE Fly fishing Show After Party!
Thanks to all that came out to support cast hope at the after party event or stopped by the Cast Hope booth at The Fly Fishing Show – The even was great and we raised a good amount of money for Cast Hope! So Thank you to all that supported the event. We will be hosting an after party next year as well so if you didn’t make it this year make sure you make plans for next year as the event will continue to grow!