Fly of the Month August 2021

Fly of the Month – Hi-Vis Lite

Guess Blogger and Tyer: Jon Bates, Pennsylvania

The Hi-Vis Lite is my slimmed down version of the Hi-Vis Shiner from Nomad Anglers. I came across this pattern 2-3 years ago and it has become my favorite modern streamer for Smallmouth. The pattern only uses 2 materials and is very low on the difficulty scale for tying. I have tied these for many different species in both freshwater and salt.

Hook: Partridge Attitude Extra sizes 4 thru 3/0 or BGH Big Game Hunter Hook
Thread: Danville 140 Denier Black
Tail: Craft Fur
Body: Ripple Ice Hair in Pearl
Eyes: Flymen Living Eyes 3D
UV: Solarez Bone Dry

Continue reading → Fly of the Month – Hi-Vis Lite

Dynamic Dubbin Loops – Part 2

J.Stockard Pro Tyer: John Satkowski, Toledo, OH, fly tying demonstrator and instructor, you can find him on Instagram at

You can’t really talk about composite and complex dubbing loops without discussing some trout swing flies. If you know anything about me, you know I am not much of a steelhead fisherman. I have caught most of my steelhead accidentally fishing for other species. I do, however, enjoy tying steelhead intruder flies, brook and brown trout streamers, and swing flies. I love going to northern Michigan and fishing the beautiful rivers for feisty brookies. Whether you enjoy swinging flies for chromers or throwing streamers for browns or brookies, a dynamic loop fly can change the odds in your favor.

Although you can make any fly you can think of with a complex dubbing loop, the most popular style nowadays is the complex loop intruder. Intruder flies have what are called stations. You can have one station or up to four or five stations depending on what you are tying. Most flies have two stations, a front and a rear with some sort of flat, flashy material in between. You will hear terms like Hoh Bo spey flies, and most of these patterns have a single station. I know that there is a lot more to these style of flies, but I am keeping it fairly basic in terms of description. The intruder style fly uses a ball of dubbing or some other kind of support to spread out the station. The same is usually done on the front station as well. Your prop materials can be anything from mylar piping unraveled, chenille, or you can make a small composite loop with materials like feather barbs, Ice Dub, Amherst pheasant fibers, Ringneck pheasant, or even turkey tail fibers. A softer and suppler material is then tied in over the top. You can use a myriad of materials for this, but I really like arctic fox, marabou, opossum, flashabou, and various furs mixed with Angel Hair. If you stick to the basic design and construction of an intruder you can make really nice flies. Tiny versions of streamers with composite loops are becoming very popular as well so you can alter the size and shape of your fly by changing and trimming materials down to fit your needs.

In some of the flies pictured, the dubbing loop also offers some support for palmered marabou on top of it. You can get some really natural looking results with this method of streamer construction. Nymph flies can even be constructed with dynamic loops and the results are often great for creating a really “buggy” looking nymph with a small bit of flash to get the fish’s attention. I know brook trout especially love an area of flash or a hotspot on a nymph drifting by. Since my local rivers have an abundance of the almighty hex, a slightly flashy hex nymph can also get some attention from the resident smallmouth during the pivotal times of the season. You can experiment with lots of different materials with different colors and textures to see what the fish like. I find that a dynamic loop with mostly natural materials and sparse amounts of flash is best for tying small nymphs or even dries. You can really ramp up your stone or steelhead nymph patterns with some Senyo Shaggy and ice dub to create the effect of more movement and a glint of flash to help the fish key in on your fly. In murky and rough conditions, this may be your savior from going home with the skunk.

Continue reading → Dynamic Dubbin Loops – Part 2

Soft Hackles Revisited

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

On one of the more popular internet fly fishing forums, someone posted the question: What are your 2021 Fly Fishing Goals? At the time, I really hadn’t thought about that and really didn’t have any particular species I wanted to target or place to fish in 2021. But there was something I’ve always thought about doing—building out fly boxes specifically provisioned for a particular water and a particular time of year. The goal being I’d being carrying one, maybe two boxes with flies that I know will produce on the given water, will in all probability be used on the day, in the season at hand instead of multiple boxes with flies, many inappropriate for a given water that I’ll never use. It was a challenge I gave myself and the first step was to build up a large stock of patterns during the Winter in anticipation of the first trips in March. As I thought about the patterns I needed to tie for each water, one thing became abundantly clear. Although I routinely fish about 15 different waters each season, traditional soft hackle patterns would show up in just about every box.

Whenever I encounter rising fish or waters where I know a hatch is imminent and can’t get anything else to work, I will tie on a soft hackle pattern and swing it though the areas where fish are rising or likely to be. More often than not, the soft hackle which rides just below the surface like an emerging insect will entice a strike. On the Big Hole late last season, hoppers had been working all morning until I arrived about midday at a complex pool formed at a 90 degree bend in the river. Two very deep holes were separated by shallow gravel bars as the water flowed hard against the downstream banks. A small wide tributary flowed in at the side of the first hole. Fish were rising everywhere at the edges of the gravel bars and mouth of the tributary on some obscure aquatic delight too small to see. Hoppers floated over them did nothing. A woolly bugger swung through the pods got a cold reception. Finally, I tied on a #14 traditional soft hackle and fish after fish, mostly 12-16” rainbows came to hand. As the hatch continued, the commotion of fish caught didn’t deter the others at all. Whatever they were feeding on, the soft hackle continued to seem convincing.

Continue reading → Soft Hackles Revisited