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Hurricane Fishing

Fishing With Michael... The Hurricane Oct 11, 2018 October 10-11, 2018 will be remembered for the strongest hurricane to hit the Flori...

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hurricane Fishing


Fishing With Michael... The Hurricane

Oct 11, 2018

October 10-11, 2018 will be remembered for the strongest hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle in history. 
It will be known for its devastation and catastrophe - winds were so strong they knocked an entire train off its tracks!
But, for me, I'll think of Michael as the first time I've ever fished the immediate backside of a hurricane. 


I had the day off from work because of the storm, so after sitting around the house for a while with the power out, I had a brainstorm: walk down to the pond and see how things were looking during the tempest. 
So I put on my rain shell jacket, donned my mud boots and grabbed my fly fishing stuff. 
Hey, you cant go to the pond without a fly rod, tools, and fly wallet, right? 

The low, grey clouds whisked by overhead, the wind gusted in the tree tops, and a steady rain was soaking all around. 
"What the hell," I said aloud, "The two best days to go fishing are when it's raining - and when it isn't. And I have the first one a'plenty, so lets get to it." 



Murray Hackle Fly

Murray Hackle Fly
The first fly I tied on was a my own, "Murray Hackle Fly," aka, "The 5 Cent Fly," and sometimes called, "The Laughing Fly."

Why so many names?

The name 'Murray Hackle Fly,' is an homage to my home lake where I first tried it - Lake Murray, South Carolina. 
I also call it the '5 Cent Fly,' because that's about all the more it costs to tie one.
Finally, I call it, 'The Laughing Fly,' because it's so ridiculously scruffy, I laugh whenever I see the thing. Ugly is the right word.
But when it starts catching fish  - and it always does - I laugh a good bit louder.


And it didn't disappoint. It caught two rocket bass straight off, with both ending in Long Distance Releases. 
"Both got off? What the heck gives?" I wondered.

When I looked at the fly, I knew the answer - it had a nub for a point.
I had failed to inspect and sharpen the hook before use. Talk about a rookie mistake. Since my hook hone was back at the house, I reluctantly took it off and switched to my second fly.



No 2 Fly

Fly #2 
This one has no name and I don't think I've ever fished it before today. 
But the sky was dark and the water turbid, and I remembered the bit of lore that says some golden flash is a good thing under these conditions. 
The fly itself is just a small hair wing job - some gold fibers stripped from a Mylar tube, a few bits of crystal flash and a dull-yellow bucktail wing.
But two fat bluegill liked it enough to jump on and give me their verdict of the fly - THUMBS UP. 
Or should I say LIPS UP?

Honestly, this was probably just some tying vise experiment that went awry, but ended up in my fly wallet. I don't really know when I tied it, or what is inspired me to make it. 
But I'm inspired now, and will tie a few more. 

Calm Descends
After a few hours, the wind died down to a light breeze and the rain stopped. The storm was passing, like a wall going away. The water turned smooth, and all was calm, if soggy and dripping wet. 
After a few minutes, I heard frogs taking up their choir, and a few birds started to sing along. The storm was leaving and the change was upon us.

Then I spied some fish feeding in the shallows at the other end of the pond, right in among the stickup branches. I reckoned it was a good time as any to put on a top water bug.

The Bass and The Gurgle Pop

This would make Fly #3 - a Gurgle Pop. 
All rubber legs, sparkly chartreuse foam and dubbing, it was one of the few surface flies I had with me. It would have to do. 
And it was the ticket. Quite  few fish went for it, but mostly half-heartedly...

"Bluegill smacking at it," I muttered.

Sunfish like to "smack" at a bug in the water with their tail or mouth, in an attempt to stun it. Once dazed this way, they can take their time and see if it's something to eat. These false strikes are obvious when you get used to them, but aggravating. 
Switching up, I moved over and cast right up into the back of the stick ups where I had seen the feeding activity.

My line laid out right over the branches, and the fly alighted right in the pocket I had chosen. 
Good cast, but it was going to take some cool nerves and careful retrieving to keep from hanging up. 
But that never happened... the bass nailed it after two or three "pops." 

The fish had been in the back, I'm sure, staked out in about 18" of water and waiting for opportunity to knock.
And Opportunity, Thy Name is Gurgle Pop.




In the Back Lies The Bass

I played the fish and got it to hand. My soggy fingers were able to get a picture and back went the bass -  its catch and release, here.



Bass And Gurgle Pop

I missed the pics of the bluegill for whatever reason but got a few others while I was out...





Rainy Turbid Pond and Stick Ups

Hurricane Michael is passed. 
But it will dump more rain and wind on its way through North Carolina and Virginia, before heading out to sea. 
I hear it's going all the way to Spain before petering out. 
But I'll always recall the day I fished the back side of Hurricane Michael, and won.

Lessons Learned 

1. Get ye some decent rain gear. 
A rain shell isn't much use in a heavy rain.
A mid-thigh length, parka and bib pants is probably best.

2. Fish bite in the rain. 
Pretty darned good, to be honest.

3. Fish probably bite better on the back side of a major storm front.

4. Find where rain-swollen water runs in to the lake or stream and fish there. 
The end of the pond with the stick ups has a small wash running in.

5. Heavy rain, and wet fingers aren't conducive to touch screen picture taking.
Bring a button actuated camera.

Thanks and Tight Lines,

David
Palmetto Fly N Fish, ©2018

Comment, subscribe and visit us at Palmetto Fly N Fish

 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Quick Pond Walk

Quick Pond Walk

October 7, 2018

Today's fishing report is brought to you by the following flies...



(from right to left)

Fliedermaus

Fuzzy Nymph

Stayner Ducktail

#10 Wapsi Popper (not shown)

I visited the neighbors pond late in the day, just to see how things are getting along.
I'm pleased to say that today it was fish on from the beginning. Its always nice to say that.

It started with my little Wapsi Popper. 


GONE!

I had just tossed it out about 15 feet, while I was getting more line ready and, BAM! it got grabbed - and broke off.
That was a good little popper; I've had it a long time. 
Its been through several dressing changes, and now its stuck in a fishs's lip. I'll have to tie a new one.

From there on, most any fly got nailed if it was cast out. Its that time of year, of course.

Fly Notes

You'll note most of these flies have a tag of tippet still attached to the hook eye. That's my way of knowing if a fly has caught a fish. 

The Fliedermaus - this is a foam-and-deer hair fly from Harrison Steeves III. One of my faves, I'm coming to like it more and more. Is pretty tough and a good fish catcher. Unfortunately, you'll play hell finding any info on it through the interwebs.
A unique alternative to poppers, its like a winged slider.

Fuzzy Nymph - this was inspired by part 2 of, "The Bass Flies of A.J. McClane."
It's really nothing more than an oversized flymph, tied fat.
This is tied with pheasant, a yarn underbody and wool.
This fly here accounted for the biggest bass of the day, a 2 -pounder that tested my knot tying.

Stayner Ducktail - I've used white ice dubbing for the body of this fly, instead of chenille. It was taken by a bass, not 5 seconds after hitting the water. 

These subsurface takes were obvious, and tightened up the line right off. 
I didn't have to wonder if a fish was on or not. 
The surface strikes were more like attacks from below; several bass came clear out of the water on the swing around.

Now its off to repair a rip in my favorite pair of knock around pants. I can't let them go, easily, without trying to patch em up.

Thanks, and tight lines,

David

Palmetto Fly n Fish, ©2018

Comment, subscribe, and visit us at: Palmetto Fly N Fish

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Ramble

Sunday Ramble

David Hutton Sept 22, 2018

The bugs were buzzing, loudly. 
Annoying, really, for 7 o'clock in the morning. 
The thermometer, complete with inside AND outside temps, said the air temp on the porch was 67 degrees.
It felt a lot hotter.

Sweat formed on my forehead and dripped into my eyes.

"So this is Fall," I mumbled to the cat. He sat nearby, watching me load up. 
He licked his paws.

I grabbed my tool lanyard and vest, put them on, and walked to the truck. They slipped on easily, comforting, and they were welcome.
When you forget to bring simple things like these, (as I did yesterday) it puts you off balance. 

So with the bugs buzzing and the cat to note my departure, I wiped the sweat from my eyes and was off to the lake.

Low Water and Gar
The water is still low at Lake Murray, but that wasn't gonna change overnight. On the plus side, it lets me get around the shore a little easier and I am able to observe the bottom and other cover that will be under water next season - like this driftwood root. 
Next year all that will be seen is the tips of the upright branches....




I did notice a lot of big gar cruising around. They seem  to lurk everywhere this time of year, appearing out of nowhere, not three feet from the shore.
Now, me, I like gar. I admire any critter that has the tenacity to hang around for 100 million years, and I tried to interest them in some top-water plugs. But they didn't seem to take notice.

I normally catch gar when I don't want to, and, in the past, I've had them take the very lure I was throwing today. 

That's how it is with these fish - they do what the hell they want and you never know just what that's gonna be. So today, they just glide on by... watching.

Keep Out!
I took a side trip to a spot I fished a lot when I first moved up this way. It is a nice spit of land, isolated, with some good features. 
But its been posted NO TRESPASSING recently, and a cable is drawn across the old road leading back to the end of the peninsula. 
Over the years I've picked up a lot of trash that people have left back there, but I guess it wasn't enough to stop the closure. 
The owners did leave their number on the sign, so who knows, they may be willing to talk about access.

I'm taking this as an omen, insofar as I'm concerned. 
My access around the lake is pretty much limited to public venues like boat ramps and picnic sites. There are few places remaining like this peninsula, that haven't been bought up and privatized, or ruined by Trash Baboons and other slobs. 
What this means is, you either know someone, get permission, or stick to the public access. 
This will be my wake up, I should say - time to get serious about that boat, if I want to reach all the places to fish.

The Fishing
Again, I was fishing worms with spinning tackle today. 
If you recall (or if you missed it), I salvaged a Zebco 202 "Slingshot" from under the mud and muck yesterday. 
My intent was to pull in a bunch of old line I found wadded up at the waters edge. Instead, I pulled up a whole fishing rod!
Well, after a good cleaning and lube job..., it worked just fine with 6 lb test line.

My preferred method today was prospecting with slip floats on my old Daiwa spinning rig. 

Its one of my favorite ways to fish; I picked it up when I first got back into fishing about 12 years ago. 
Prior to that I had never heard of a slip float; if I used a float, it was red-and-white, plastic, and called, a "bobber."

Oh, like most people, I remember wondering what all the little holes and channels were for on the spring ends of bobbers. You've probably wondered, too. But I never went passed that.
Today, I don't use bobbers at all - I call them all "floats," and, I daresay I could be quite happy with it as my ONLY alternative to the fly rod. 

I make my own slip floats, and I use store-bought ones - it doesn't much  matter. This is not passive fishing, either. 
  • There is depth to adjust for, constantly.
  • Balancing weights must be added, or taken off.
  • Structure and cover has to be worked over carefully
  • Bait must be constantly attended to .... 

Its really a hunting activity.


Homemade slip float and Tipping Fly

For casting, I prefer a carefully balanced, bullet shaped float, like the one, above. I see longer Euro flagged and waggler styles are becoming popular, and I like them for their sensitivity. But I  mostly like those when using a long pole. 

The slip float turned up quite a few smaller fish, but nothing drag-testing. 




These fish were holding tight to the available cover - a few feet too far away and you got nothing. But move right in close to the cover and they'd bite.

In the picture below, the left side of the tree yielded a lot of these fish, tight to the branches. Meanwhile, the other side wouldn't give up a single bite. Very weird....




The other rig I tried was a modified Fish Finder rig, what some call a Santee Rig. I wanted to cover the bottom foot or so, and I fan-cast around any area I was in with this set up. But I never got a any action on it. There was a lot of submerged wood and the depth breaks were pretty obvious, with the low water conditions.
But I got nowhere with it. I usually hook up a couple shellcrackers this way,... but today, nuttin.

The third rod I carried was a light casting rig for artificials.This consists of an old fly rod with a Zebco 11T spincast reel, and 6 lb test line. In between working the other rigs, I hit a few casts here and there with this ultralight outfit. 

This little guy was willing... I watched him follow this crankbait all the way to the last foot and when I paused, the lure hung there - and the fish pounced....





The Old Daiwa

Tomorrow is another day, just as this one came to its inexorable end. And that's how it goes...each day coming after the one before. In fact, I think tomorrow is gonna be a good day to get some more work done on that boat.

Thanks and Tight Lines,

DAVID

Palmetto Fly N Fish, ©2018

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

After The Hurricane


Hurricane Florence - Adios!

David Hutton, Sept 16, 2018

Today, with the passing of Hurricane Florence, we in South Carolina breathe a sigh of relief. What was, at one point, the storm of the century, turned out to be, well... we didn't get it all that bad. A lot of rain and wind, a few trees down here and there. I think our power blinked maybe 3 or 4 times.
Others are not so lucky, of course; the folks in North Carolina have it bad. To those who have fared badly, I send my sincere hopes for a speedy return to normalcy.


Since Lori, my wife, is a photographer, she thinks in terms of light exposures, and imagery. And a stormy day offers untold chances along those lines, so we went out for awhile to see what we might discover in the aftermath of Flo'.

"Where's that place you took me to with the exposed tree roots?" she asked.
"You mean Boat Ramp #3? A few miles from here. You know where your hairdressers' shop is?"
"Of course."
"It's just past that," I told her. "Take a left up there at the light..."

A Gray Day



As you can see from the above foto, the wind was down to a few knots, maybe 5. The ceiling was low, heavy, and gray. 
A misty rain covered everything in a coat of wet diamond drops. After the oppressive heat of late summer, the brisk, cool breeze was welcome.

High And Dry - Shells Galore



Exposed Rocks and Shells

Lake Murray is a reservoir serving the Dutch Fork Shoals power generating station, above Columbia, SC. It was said that Florence had the rain capacity to fill Chesapeake Bay, so the power company was drawing down the lake in advance of the rush. From the look of it, I'd say it was about 5 feet low. Areas that were once inundated, just a few weeks ago, were now bare and exposed. The dry line probably extended a good 15-18 feet between the waters edge, and the normal high water point.

Of great interest, though, from an anglers perspective, were all the exposed rocky areas near shore. 

This is a fairly rare sight to see, and it revealed large tracts of freshwater mollusk shells that would otherwise be covered. 
Off the shore, in the deeper troughs, large beds of these shellfish exist, pretty much everywhere there is open water. It is one reason why Lake Murray is a good red-ear sunfish venue. These fish have the unique ability to crack open these mollusk shells, and they grow large on the tasty meat inside. They don't call these brutes, "shellcrackers" for nothing.
They are my favorite panfish to catch.

Something else that pleased me was a crayfish. As mundane as this sounds, I never think of this lake as a home to these little lobsters. But its mostly a rocky bottom, so they are here and I'm always a little happy to see them. 
I have found them as big as your hand, out around some of the islands, and today I heard a little splash while I was walking along the rocks. When I turned to look, I saw a 2 1/2" crayfish scooting away underwater. I can only guess the thing was half in, and half out of the water, and he dove in at my passing. 
I've never heard of them doing that, but I can think of no other explanation.  


Bad Battery

No trip to the lake would be complete without collecting some trash - its a ritual with me. 
"Never Leave Without Someone Else's Trash" is sort of my motto. 
I picked up the usual plastic bottles, chip wrappers, beer cans, plastic bags...and this battery. Now I know a lot of people are slobs and I can do little about it but clean up what I find. And there could be a perfectly reasonable explanation why this was in, what would otherwise be, 5 feet of water.
But this grates my nerve, right here.


Raccoon #1


Raccoon #2


Fungus Among Us

The local raccoons seemed not to be too bothered by the weather; judging by the tracks, they were out in strong numbers around the shoreline. I guess the wind and waves brought them something worth looking for....But it seemed toadstools were not on the menu. These were on a rotten section of a downed tree that us usually just above the waters surface. 


The Gleanings

I almost always find something worth scavenging around the shore. I'm an inveterate beachcomber, and I actively look for things to bring home. Today, the Shore Side Grab Bag provided:

Large Clam Shell
1 Vienna Sausage can
10' hank of 12# Red Cajun monofilament
1 fluorescent plastic bead
1 split shot
2 #6 Aberdeen hooks
1 paint can handle


The clamshell and Vienna sausage can went in the trash; I only show then for scale. And besides, here in The South, canned Vienna sausages are a near staple food. Every angler has a soft spot for the things, or at least a passing familiarity. I normally wouldn't eat them, but gimme some Saltine crackers and these tinned weenies when out fishing, and I'm into some high dining.

The paint can handle will provide some hard wire for repairing something here at home. I was wondering just what I'd use for this job.... and the Shore Side Grab Bag provides.

The hooks and other tackle items are another thing. I try to always tie a fly from whatever hooks and other items I find along the shore. It's a sort of challenge. 
The bead and shot will probably just go into the tackle stores.
But I've been reading a piece from 1936 about bucktail flies, and I think I've got an idea for the hooks an red monofilament along these lines. Stay tuned for more.

Thanks and Tight Lines,

David Hutton
Palmetto Fly N Fish 2018©

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Saturday, September 8, 2018

To Chum, or Cornbread


To Chum, Or Cornbread?

Being interested in the history of fishing as much as anything current, I discovered that passages in Oppian’s ‘Halleutica’ and Pliny’s ‘Natural History’ describe early fish aggregation devices (FADs), which usually involve floating an object in the water.

What happens is that fish are attracted to the object, and gather around it. They can then be more easily captured.

Ancient versions of the FAD technique included hanging baskets in the water, or men venturing out day after day and feeding the fish by a particular rock until so many fish had gathered that it was easy to pull them into the boat.

Here in the South we have our own version of the FAD, captured by this old Dixie maxim:

"The best place to catch fish is under a piece of cornbread."

That's right - cornbread.



photo courtesy of Betty Crocker, Inc.

Not The Good Stuff

Stale and moldy cornbread is probably best, since "eatin'" cornbread should not be destined for anything but the gullet of decent men.

Nevertheless, a piece of stale cornbread, floating in the water is an instant lure to the small minnows and fry that seem always to lurk nearby.

I've heard of barefoot boys herabouts that poke a few holes in a bucket or pan, float it between a few boards and then drop their cornbread in this contraption. I suppose you could use an old basket just as well.

Let Them Eat Cake

As the corn meal cake begins to soak in the water, it sheds bits and pieces of itself. First comes the small grains of the ground corn from whence its made.These drop off and float down in the water.

Their bright color is a natural lure to voracious small fry, and they swarm around picking these off on the fall.

Next comes the "slick," the oil sheen that drifts off from the cornbread.

Don't Be Afraid

Good cornbread is made with whole milk, eggs, and plenty of rendered bacon fat or salt pork drippings. Some people make it with vegetable oil, and talk themselves into calling it cornbread.

But real Southerners know better - that's a cruel joke made all the worse for playing it on yourself.

No, real cornbread is not for cowards, or the overly health conscious. It is made with pork fat drippins, plain and simple.

In the water, it is this combination of animal proteins and pork fat that creates the drifting oil slick that disperses on the currents, down from the cornbread. No matter which way the wind blows, or water flows, it's a natural scent attractor and calls to the fish like a siren.

What you end up with is a flurry of noisy activity - fish have good hearing and the small fish gorging themselves on the floating kernels is heard at a distance. Next comes the scent of fatty fried bacon goodness, borne far and wide.

Is this a fish aggregation device? Most definitely, and that sounds so much better than the commonly used word, "chum."

But no matter what you call it, or more importantly - how you slice it - the best place to fish is under a piece of cornbread!

Thanks and Tight Lines,
David Palmetto Fly N Fish, ©2018

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Jack Montague Flies

The Long and Short of Things

Panfish Flies From Jack Montague

David Hutton ©2018

Today, the postman made a delivery. 

Now, that's probably not unusual in itself. It happens everyday, millions of times.
But this delivery is special, for several reasons.


The Mail Blockade
First off, what the postman delivered were flies from Jack Montague. 
Here again, that may not mean much to you, especially if you don't know Mr. Montague.
But it has set some precedents all its own that are pretty extraordinary.

See, Jack has had no small amount of trouble in the past, getting items from his Wolfglen Fly Fishing School (and Poultry Sanctuary) in Punta Gorda Florida, to my place in SC.

For whatever weird and intricate reasons known only to the U.S Post Office, it seems they had a blockade in place when items from Jack were sent to me.
They didn't seem to know where I lived - that's the main thing. 
Or, in fact, if ANYONE lived here.
The address was basically incognito.


To help the poor folks there at the mail office, Jack had me send him pictures of my mailbox. 
You know, so they had a point of reference.

"See here, people?" he said. "See that blue mailbox with the Palmetto Flag on it.... right, there? 

That's where these are going. You can handle that, eh?"  

He talked real slow, and loud, too, so they could understand him better.
He addressed his letters in large block print.


And still they came back..."NO SUCH ADDRESS"

So, for Jack to finally get something through the invisible force field surrounding my mailbox, well, that is a big deal.

Not Your Average Flies
Secondly, these are some of Jack's long-shanked panfish flies. Not your everyday bluegill flies, mind you. No foam, no glitter, no rubber legs; none of the usual stuff. 




They're actually just hackle, a small body, maybe some fuzzy stuff, and that's about it.
Oh, and there is one other difference - the HOOK. 


They are rather long as panfish fly hooks go. If I were to guess, I'd say they are light wire Aberdeens, or something very similar. 

But, it's that long shank sticking out of the flies head that makes the impression. Why, they don't even have what we might call a head, at least not one at the eye.

What Jack has done is tie a "bare shank" fly. This is an old practice that goes back at least a century, and probably further, if I were to guess.


I remember a discussion not long ago on Facebook, in fact, where someone posted his "revolutionary" new flies... the same long shank jobs.
These were "new and improved" versions, sure to set the fly fishing world on fire. They were a stroke of genius, he assured us.
I wanted to tell him the idea was older than he was by a long shot. 

I wanted to tell him that Jack had just shown these same flies on some other page, not 2 weeks before. 

I wanted to. But, I said nothing and just kept going. 
For all the guy knew, these really were a breakthrough - at least to him.
And I don't need my monkey in every circus.

I know, I know... pretty odd for me to keep my mouth shut. But I'm getting more humble in my old age, I guess.

Anyway, the idea here is to create a fly that doesn't go straight down in the gullet of the fish and gut-hook the poor thing. 
It may be taken deep, still , but the protruding shank keeps it from going too far. 
It also gives you something to get hold of when removing the hook. This translates to doing less harm to the fish, if that's your thing.
If you are harvesting the fish, then it facilitates unhooking so you can get back to business.

I wonder if the fish don't shy away from that hook shank, sticking out like a tiller, but Jack assures me they don't seem to mind at all. I guess a hungry fish sees what it wants to see.

But the real dilemma is: do I fish these? 
These are from Jack Montague, after all.

Why is that so special?

I remember seeing an article in a 1968 issue of the Pennsylvania Angler that lauded the excellent flies, and skill, of a young, up-and-coming man by the name of... you guessed it... Jack Montague. 

1968.

Back when I had just started waving the fairy stick, Jack told me three things that improved my casting to the point that flies actually went out where they were supposed to, instead of piling up at my feet.

Over the phone. 
In under 10 minutes.
That left an impression, I admit it
  
Jack is also one of the last of the Catskill Men. He learned to tie from Harry and Elsie Darbee, you know. 
He hates it when I call him a "living legend," in fact. 
Here's how he puts it...

"Dave, stop saying that.  You gotta be dead to be a legend, and I'm not ready for that."

So, I'll probably fish one of these flies, and use the rest as samples from which to tie my own long shank flies.


Who knows; this could be the start of something new and revolutionary.


Thanks for reading and Tight Lines,

David


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The Grey Nymph

THE GREY NYMPH 

David Hutton©2018

One of the flies from Part 2 of my article, "The Bass Flies of A.J. McClane *," was one known as the, "Grey Nymph."
It was apparently well known in its general form when Mr. McClane wrote his landmark work, "The Practical Fly Fisherman," (1953), and both he and George Herter sang its praises, loudly.

If you recall from the article (you read the article, right?), this was considered a fur bodied nymph.
As the name implies, the body is formed from dubbed underfur from any number of sources.


A Toothsome Fly
The primary reason for this fur body was to give bass a soft, fuzzy morsel to chomp on. Bass will hold onto a soft-bodied fly longer than they will hard lures, often running off with them some distance. They are, in fact, part of a small group of fly lures that take advantage of this, and so are fished on a slack line.
This habit of bass to mouth-and-run was known to bait anglers for a long time, according to McClane, but was only just coming to be known in post-war fly fishing circles. 
Grey muskrat underfur was McClanes choice for this nugget of a fly, with grizzly soft hackle completing the simple design.

A key piece was that it should be tied fat and chunky as a bass fly. This is not your near-microscopic may fly nymph; it is intended to be a mouthful. 
Keep that in mind as you follow along.

However, when I published the article on McClane's bass flies, I had no Grey Nymphs on hand. Soooo, I tied a couple today to add to the article.

Adaptable Pattern
A very nice thing about this pattern is it's ability to adapt easily to many materials. Here, I've substituted thickly-applied hares mask dubbing for muskrat underfur, and pheasant, "church window" body feathers for the grizzly soft hackle.

This "buggy-brown" color combination of spiky rabbit dubbing/pheasant hackle has also produced very well in my locale on other patterns.
So give it a try, in addition to the original dressing.



The Grey Nymph 

Hook: 6-4, heavy wire (even larger, if you like)

Tail: Pheasant barbs stripped from the shaft
(original - grizzly soft hackle)

Body: Hares mask, natural
(original - muskrat underfur)

Ribbing: Soft red copper wire - optional

Hackle: 2-3 wraps of pheasant body feather
(original - same grizzly soft hackle as tail)

As you can see, it's not a complicated job and you can knock out a bunch of them, fast.
So get started and try a few.

PS - Don't be afraid to tie big nymphs, especially for still-water fishing - I've seen dragonfly nymphs 2-3" long here at my lake.
Think of it this way: If you see big dragonflies on the wing, then the fish have seen big dragonfly NYMPHS in the water.

* follow this link to read part 2 of, 

"The Bass Flies of A.J. McClane, part 2"

As Always, thanks for reading and Tight Lines,
David

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