Tie realistic, anatomically correct crayfish patterns with ease using the NEW Fish-Skull Crawdaddy Fly Tying Kit. The included Fish-Skull Crawbody exoskeletons are made of nearly indestructible, ultra-light synthetic suede that cannot be bitten off, will not shrink, and provide lifelike texture and movement when wet.
In this episode of The Articulate Fly Podcast with Marvin Cash, Blane Chocklett shares how he developed the Game Changer fly platform and the journey of writing his new book, Game Changer: Tying Flies that Look & Swim Like the Real Thing.
Through his over twenty years in the fly fishing world, Blane has continuously pushed to innovate and improve his fly designs, resulting in the Game Changer style of fly design, which has gained a major following among fly anglers for its lifelike realism and productivity in the water.
This is his story.
If you'd like to listen on an app such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify, you can do so through The Articulate Fly.
Learn more about Blane's new book and reserve your copy.
I like Caddis Pupae that are easy to tie, have vibrant colors, and are super quick to drop to the bottom. Tradd Little's Neon Caddis covers all of these bases, and then some.
Tied with a Nymph-Head Evolution tungsten beadhead and the perfectly shaped Kona USP Scud/Pupa hook, this little Caddis Pupa will be all you need.
River pike are one of my favorite fish species to target on the fly, both fishing for them and guiding clients onto them, pike always give me an extra level of excitement. Rivers, compared to stillwater are more susceptible to changes. Water levels fluctuates faster and make the pike respond in different ways. When you drift down a river it’s a forever changing landscape. Behind each bend could be your new record pike waiting in ambush.
So, what are some helpful tips you can use for targeting river pike?
The Golden Nugget is easy to tie and highly effective on the water! Using the Fish-Skull Baitfish Head to help with swimming action, profile, and depth, this versatile streamer fly pattern can be fished for most freshwater and saltwater applications.
You can find Robin Phillips on Instagram: @robin.phillips.flies
With its wide profile and short stature, the silhouette of the Mohawk Sculpin is a perfect match to the real thing and is sure to trigger predatory attacks.
The extra-heavy Fish-Skull Sculpin Helmet helps the Mohawk Sculpin drop like a rock to the bottom and this sculpin fly pattern even has a little extra "bling" from the new Hareline Magnum Bling Rabbit Strips.
Learn to tie Cheech's Mohawk Sculpin today!
This fly will move Barracuda in Belize, Pike in Canada, and sizing it up or down it will catch musky, smallmouth, and trout in your local fishery as well.
Fish-Skull Body Tubing creates the elongated body of a Needlefish, and a Big Game Articulated Shank adds extra swimming action to attract your target species. Super fun tie!
This simple yet very fishy fly has everything that fast-water fly anglers are looking for... An endless choice of colors, instant sinkability, and 1000% bulletproof.
Fish the Heavy Metal Perdigon on its own, under a dry fly, or with a team of other nymphs – just fish it!
Using the Nymph-Head Heavy Metal tungsten beads that are 15% heavier than standard tungsten beads of the same size and come in a wide array of colors, the possibilities for this pattern are endless. You can fish it in a variety of ways, from fishing it as an anchor fly in a Euro setup to a regular attractor under an indicator, fish this fly DEEP — trust me, it will get there.
Hot spots on nymphs are a great way to not only get the attention of the fish, but in certain fishing circumstances they can help you track the fly easier by sight. Most hot spots are made with dubbing that is a different color than the body of the fly, but this fly sets itself apart by using brightly colored deer hair tied on top of the hook as the hot spot.
This technique helps the fly stay upright in the water while the fly gets deep in the water column from the weight of the Nymph-Head Evolution tungsten beadhead.
It is first light. You are sitting quietly and motionless in an aluminum canoe in the middle of a 10-acre pond full of lily pads trying not to make a sound.
You have spent the last 30 minutes of darkness listening to the insects and frogs begin to quiet down as the sun begins to rise. Thick fog permeates the still air and the water is still as glass.
Every 15 seconds you can hear a bass blow up on an unsuspecting victim. It is summertime now and frogs and tadpoles are one of the most readily available food sources in the lake... Too bad all you have in your box are Clousers, chenille worms, and crawdads. OOPS!
Aggressive eats, jumps, and willingness to eat on the surface make bass a fun fish to chase, especially on the fly. Personally, I think the topwater takes are where it’s at in bass fly fishing. Part of the fun is getting the fish to eat what you want it to eat.
If you’re set on getting bass to eat on the surface and it’s not working, before you give up and switch over to fishing a streamer, try dialing it back first. That’s where the topwater finesse comes into play.
It’s a solid spot that has produced many times throughout my years as a fly fishing guide.
I relay the information to my clients, and what happens next is...
A) The client lands the fly an inch off the shore, lets it sit for a couple seconds, strips, pauses, and the smallmouth eats the fly.
B) The fly lands 3 feet off the shore, well short of the current break, and the client fishes the fly back to cast again.
C) The client false casts so many times that the fly is never given a chance to catch a fish, even with me frantically pulling on the oars trying to hold the spot.
D) The fly lands in the spot but is quickly stripped well out of position, the fish chases and turns off.
E) The fly lands an inch off the shore, the client lets it sit for a couple seconds, strips, pauses, but no one is home and hungry today.
The following 3 tips will help make option A more likely of a situation for you on your next smallmouth fishing trip.
What makes a pocket water fishery are the boulders that block the general flow of the river, forming hydro-breaks where fish lie in wait in the darkness, ready to dart at a moment's notice for food.
As a trout guide, I can’t see myself guiding or fishing anywhere else during the peak season but on my home river in the Adirondacks, the West Branch of the Ausable. Here are some tactics I've picked up from guiding and fishing these waters that may help you next time you're on the water.
The plan was to make a really cool pike film with meter-long fish slamming mice and lemming patterns on the surface. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen because the water was already too warm by that time and most of the fish had moved out of the shallow coves.
So, fast forward and we decided to try again later on during the first week of the open season. During spring I had developed a pattern based on the new Surface Seducer Howitzer baitfish popper heads that was more of a subsurface pattern with 2 hooks, a Fish-Skull Articulated Shank, and a big Dragon Tail at the end. I wanted a pattern that would work well both when fished roly poly as well as with strong pulls.
The helicopter brought us out the Tjuonajokk fishing camp, located way above the Arctic Circle.
The plan this time was to drive with the river boats through the rapids upstream to a big cove were the pike had spawned a few weeks before and were still hanging around waiting for whitefish and grayling to come in and feed in these shallow areas.
We took turns poling the boat forward and with only one of us fishing at a time so our cameraman could catch every single take in slow motion. How did it turn out? See for yourself.
Aside from the lack of crowds, the gorgeous surroundings, and the all-too-eager trout, small streams offer endless learning opportunities. The lessons garnered from creeks, streams, and brooks can be applied to all aspects of trout fishing.
The following are a few of the tactics I have learned from my experience on smaller waters that I fish frequently both on my own and when guiding clients as well.
With a few adjustments and a lot of tenacity we can still have some fishing success, and it’s usually at this time that big trophy fish can show up.
You have to be an extremely versatile angler at this time; fish can be deep to find a thermocline that suits them, and in other instances a bright winter sun can bring fish in the shallows for a few hours to warm up. Now more than ever you need to keep an eye on the local meteorological conditions and adapt.
Here are a few pointers to help you in your winter quest.
If you haven't noticed, there are a lot of designs out there. One thing I've noticed about the plethora of new streamer patterns is that many of them (other than a few highly specialized designs) are designed basically around one thing: catching trout in fast-moving water.
So when I grabbed a handful of cleverly crafted baitfish patterns and headed out to my local warm-water bass lake, I found them highly lacking in some important qualities. They didn’t catch very many fish. I quickly realized that something designed for moving water didn’t automatically fit the bill when things became more static.
My answer was to just develop my own streamer patterns and fish away, but if you don't tie your own or have countless hours to experiment and design your own stuff, I realized that the already established cold-water patterns can be just as effective for warm-water species — they just need some adjustment in rigging and common sense when it comes to fishing techniques.
Here are some tricks I’ve used to adapt some commercial fly patterns to be as effective on your local warm-water lake as they are in the famous rivers they were intended for.
Your fly boxes are crammed full after hours watching videos while tying at the vise — heck, you probably know more about Brian Wise’s hands at this stage than his wife does.
Flies, lines, and water are all essential tools, but it's not going to work out if you can’t make those bugs swim.
When the Flymen crew asked me to work up another streamer piece for the blog I went back to my 2016 article, “Beyond Banging The Banks”. What we didn’t cover was how to make that fly swim when it hits the water. Consider this Chapter 2.