Monthly Archives: October 2020

Fly of the Month – Grey Fox

by J Stockard Pro Tyer Luke Stacy, Virginia Beach, VA. Find Luke on Instagram.

The Grey Fox is a classic Catskill pattern developed by Preston Jennings to imitate a wide range of mayflies that the avid angler is likely to encounter while out on the water. I mainly tie this pattern in size fourteen along with an occasional size sixteen but can only assume this pattern tied slightly larger would effectively cover some other larger mayfly species. Below is a materials list and a step by step instruction of how I like to tie my Grey Fox’s.

Materials Needed –

Hook: Standard Dry Fly Hook (I like mine to be 1X long personally)

Thread: 8/0 Tan Uni Thread

Wings: Natural Mallard Flank

Hackle: Grizzly and Ginger Hackle

Tail: Ginger Hackle (CDL is a good substitute if spade is not available)

Body: Cream colored red fox fur.


Tying for Teeth

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

As the air crisps, the leaves start changing color, and the baitfish abound, fall creeps steadily upon the rivers and lakes. The fish start feeding and bulking up as they prepare for the harsh winter ahead. For me this means one thing, the pike rush into the shallows. I love chasing these toothy freight trains as they inhale any meal that happens to be unlucky enough to swim within their territory.

Pike have always fascinated me with their sheer predatory abilities. I have encountered numerous pike sitting with their belly resting on the bottom and a very large sucker sticking out of their mouth. The fish don’t seem to mind as I walk by and watch them try to digest their prey. They just have this mystique about them, as if they can just appear and crush a fly when you are about to recast. They strike with such brutality and speed, it has startled me on more than one occasion. When fall approaches, the bigger fish come out of the depths and vegetation and are center stage for flinging half a chicken’s worth of feathers at these magical freshwater barracudas.

The first issue is where to find the fish. In warmer weather, the pike reside in deeper vegetation or near the top of the aquatic vegetation. As the water drops to 50 degrees or below, the fish move to the greenest vegetation left in the body of water. As they are very vegetation oriented fish, they will still use the vegetation to ambush prey. This is where big, chunky flies imitating the pike’s forage will really shine. You can also use some different attractor streamers to provoke the pike into action. It is amazing when I have been able to see the fish and I am running flies right by their face and they remain calm and collected. A swift jerk of the rod tip and the pike turn and destroy the fleeing fly with reckless abandon. If you have never targeted pike on the fly, this time of the year will have you weak in the knees.

Once you have found the fish and what they are keying in on, it’s time to talk about fly selection and presentation. In my experience, there are certainly flies that always tend to do well. Rabbit strip flies, big flashy flies, and flies that push a lot of water can always tempt fish. I like to push the envelope with flies that move differently than the fish are used to and have the type of movement that provokes strikes. Flies that jackknife really hard or push water tend to do the best for me. A fly that can imitate an injured baitfish is also highly valuable during cold water pike season. Tying these flies can be deceptively difficult as getting the desired action can be a delicate balance of weight and material choices. more…

Bad Bug, Good Bug

Guest Blogger: Mary S. Kuss, Life-long avid angler, licensed PA fishing guide, founder of the Delaware Valley Women’s Fly Fishing Association

There really are no bad bugs, just bad humans. Infestations of Japanese Beetles, Gypsy Moths, Emerald Ash Borers, and a host of other alien invaders are all the result of humans introducing insects to places far removed from their natural range, whether by accident or intent. In the absence of the predators and diseases that normally keep their numbers in check, they can run amok and reproduce explosively.

We humans then run around with our hair on fire, trying to think of what we might do to control the current “bug-pocalypse.” We have to do something! Sometimes the cure is worse than the affliction. The most common reaction is to spew toxic chemicals around. This may knock back the invaders but also wreaks heavy collateral damage upon a wide variety of beneficial insects, some of which may otherwise have helped control the alien species, given time. Nature will always clean up our messes but on her timetable, not ours. And lest I be pilloried for being insensitive, I realize that orchard owners and other agricultural interests don’t have the luxury of being as casual about this issue as I am.

The bad bug de jour is the Spotted Lanternfly. I first saw them last summer. There were reports of pockets of heavy infestation in southeastern Pennsylvania, but I saw none in my yard just west of Philadelphia. This year they have been far more abundant. I’ve squished dozens of them at all life stages, from the tiny black early-stage nymphs with white polka dots all the way up to fully-formed adults. I’ve become quite adept at catching them by hand and dispatching them with a quick pinch to the head–not that this makes any meaningful impact on their numbers. more…