J. Stockard Fly Fishing Blog

Welcome to the J. Stockard Fly Fishing Blog. We’re here to share advice, how-to’s, news and inspiration about fly tying and fly fishing.

Going Up North

Guest Blogger: John Satkowski, Toledo, OH, fly tying demonstrator and instructor, you can find him @ River Raisin Fly Company on Facebook

The coffee was hot and the last drop of grease from my sausage breakfast sandwich was still lingering on my top lip as we crossed the threshold of the Zilwaukee Bridge. When you cross the bridge, you kind of know you are “up north”. Trout of any species were the target and we were going to fish hard for the next two days. We usually leave southeastern Michigan at 2:00 am to get to the river by a little before first light. Michigan’s Au Sable River is one of my favorite places to fish on this earth and I consider myself lucky to have it located in the state where I was born and raised. The river has brook, brown, and rainbow trout in many areas along the scenic banks of northern Michigan. Its beauty is only matched by its rich history and conservation.

The moment you step out of the car, you are greeted by the wonderful aroma of pine and the kind of air that catches dreams. The ever present bald eagle soaring over the river in the distance or the almost audible hum of the many prolific hatches on this historic water engrain themselves into your memory. Whenever life becomes a little too real, I close my eyes and return to this magical place in my mind. Even just driving to the different places to fish offers a glimpse into the logging life of northern Michigan and the Grayling area. If you are not into fishing, there certainly is enough beauty and history to study but we were here for the fish. A quick stop to the Old Au Sable Fly Shop gave us a bit of insight into the current hatches and water levels. I laced up my boots, put my pack around my back, and started down the steps to take my first step into the sandy, crystal clear waters. “Au Sable” in French means in the sand and you will find these sandy banks all along the river’s edges. more…

A Case for the Fly Rod

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

No, this is not a legal brief. Here’s a simple and practical winter project: Many fine fly rods do not come with a travel case; others ship with a case too flimsy to protect the rod from the ubiquitous clumsy fishing buddy or family teenager rummaging for earphones. Travel cases can be ordered separately or purchased in fly shops, but you’ll drop $30 to $90 for one and you still may not know if the tube around which it’s built is cardboard or deformable aluminum or something that will shatter with age and the application of a hobnail boot.

But it’s quite easy to make a nice strong case that will last a lifetime…and if the rod is a 4-piece, such a case will cost you around eight to eleven bucks. An incredibly strong travel case can be made out of simple PVC or ABS pipe from any hardware store. This is no news scoop and many of us do this, I know…but surprisingly many do not. So I’ll list off the simple steps I use to make one.

A case should do the following:

* Protect the rod from being crushed
* Eliminate rattling of the rod inside the case
* Especially protect the rod section ends from shattering if the case is dropped on its end
* Make carrying from the truck to the stream a breeze
* Be a buffer against heat
* Be easily identified from any other rod cases you might have
* Be easily findable in the brush if you so choose
* Look acceptably nice
* Give you years of pride
* Inspire respect from your fishing buddies
* Be cheap as blue blazes more…

Fly of the Month – CDC and Elk Hair Caddis

by J Stockard Pro Tyer: Luke Stacy, Virginia Beach, VA, find Luke on Instagram

Brief: The CDC and Elk Hair Caddis has been a pattern that has worked exceptionally well for me when the Caddis are coming off strong here in Virginia. I think the combination of the wing profile from the elk hair paired with the “bugginess” the CDC provides in the thorax area makes this fly irresistible to trout. This pattern is fairly easy to tie once you’ve tied a few and I think it is far too effective not to have them in your box. I usually fish this pattern on a nine foot, 6x leader, with a soft hackle or lightly weighted nymph tied on behind it. Give the pattern a shot and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. more…