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.

Crazy Fishing

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

One stop on our Helifish Trip made for some crazy fishing. As the crow flies (or as the R44 Helicopter flies), we were about 90 miles Southwest of Darwin just south of Point Scott and the Daly River. As we left the beach and flew inland over tight thickets of Mangroves that hugged the Moyle River, the terrain opened up into a massive grass covered floodplain. The Moyle below appeared as a narrow creek, much too small to be of any fishing interest. Baz, our pilot made a few passes around the headwaters checking for crocs. None to be seen, so we sat down at a fork in the river. This was soggy ground and not unlike tundra in the north. The river was flowing heavily with a tannic colored water and although it wasn’t much more than 10 feet wide, it was not something you’d try to wade in. When we landed, the river was about five feet below the steep, muddy banks but rising steadily as the tide pushed in. At high tide, even though we were a mile inland, the tide would probably reach the floodplain.

As we started to fish, it was immediately evident that Barra had moved into the river. In just about every eddy, a fly placed close to the bank would get a strike. Once hooked, my eight weight was more than adequate to tame the Barra, although many times that required slogging downstream along the muddy banks to subdue the fish. At the point where the Moyle begins, the water flows off the floodplain in a miniature waterfall. A number of Barra were caught here in the deep eddys. During the wet, the floodplains become breeding grounds for all manner of baitfish, crustaceans and aquatic insects. This year, the Wet was mild and the floodplains held less water than normal. In a normal year, the water in the photo above might be six inches deeper on the floodplain. The Barra move up these rivers to feed on the bounty flowing off the floodplain.

We hung around the Moyle for about an hour and connected with lot of fish and broke off a few as well. I even caught a Boofhead Catfish. I retrospect it was not only crazy fishing, but hard work as well. The footing was slippery and slogging through the soft, wet grass was very taxing in the extreme heat and humidity, especially trying to control a tough Barra in the narrow creek. I was whipped after an hour of hard fishing. The Pink Thing fly worked well here and I left a few attached to some big Barra.

As a streamer angler by heart, this was some crazy fishing. A small, ragging creek. Tannic waters, sloppy footing in the middle of nowhere. You could toss a large streamer just about anywhere and connect with a big fish, can’t get much crazier than that.

Fly of the Month – Svend’s Cray Cray

J. Stockard Pro Tyer: Erik Svendsen, Provo, UT
You can find Erik @ instagram.com/svenddiesel/ and facebook.com/svend.diesel.9

If you love fishing crayfish patterns this is a must have for your box. It is a combination of many patterns I have tied and tested over the years and finally love the way this one fishes and is tied. There is nothing new about some of the things I have done with this Crayfish that make it different than others besides the 3 cones of hackle to create the head and minimize the arm fouling. Along with using the tab legs to create a shell, which isn’t new, but using the mono to not cut the tab legs and covering in a good resin makes this fly bullet proof to last many many fish piercings.

I cover the eye in UV resin because I am usually stripping and jigging this in through the rocks or shallows on a floating line. It can be simply dropped and jigged, the weight will place it in a defensive position and the arms being made of rabbit will naturally trap air causing them to rise making it vulnerable to any fish looking for a snack.

It is more time consuming than other Crayfish patterns I have fished, but this is way more effective and way more durable than others I have tied while also minimizing materials needed. I love this Black/Orange Magnum Rabbit strip color and also fish them in dark olives and crayfish orange.

I typically fish this from shore, casting at angles and stripping it across the rocks with quick strips and long pauses to allow it to rest in the defensive position with claws up. I also have cast it towards the banks from a float tube but try to strip parallel to the shoreline. I almost always fish it with floated line. more…

Rotary Fly Tying – Featuring the Norvise

Guest Blogger: J. Stockard Pro and Owner of Norvise: Tim O’Neill, Hockessin, DE

As we travel the country on the fly fishing show circuit I am always amazed by something I observe when I look at the “ring of tyers” at each location, whether we are up in Marlborough, Massachusetts, Atlanta, Georgia or Pleasanton, California one thing seems to repeat itself over and over.

Rotary fly tying is nothing new; vises that you can slowly rotate 360 degrees have been around for a long time. The thing that I find odd as I watch tyers from all around the country is that very seldom do I see people using the rotary function of the vise as part of tying the fly. People will invest a lot of money for these tricked out rotary vises, and I am not saying they are overpriced, I am saying it is an investment, and they only use the rotary function of the vise to turn the hook to look at the other side of the fly. This always seemed strange to me.

Wonderful things begin to happen once you start to #spinthevise