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.

Indicator-less-ness…ism…and Stiffing Fish

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

There was a time when the strength of a tippet was traded off to gain invisibility. The thicker the business end of a leader, the more it was feared it would alert fish to its presence. With the advent of latest technology fishing lines and fluorocarbon in particular, that trade-off has somewhat diminished in importance. Anglers still opt for fine tippets, but the reason is more one of allowing a wet fly or nymph to move naturally in subtle micro-currents. We’re logically less concerned about invisibility and more focused on the perfect drift. Even some of the wariest and most particular fish species, such as steelhead, are routinely pursued using 1x tippets, and sometimes even thicker.

Being drift-conscious, we still seek limp material…and we also keep an eye on abrasion resistance. But there are intentionally stiffer monos and fluorocarbons out there, often aimed at saltwater fishing (and themselves highly abrasion resistant)…and they offer us fresh-water-ers an interesting option. Let me explain:

I nearly always fish downstream — I break with the reigning wisdom. Why? I like to swing wet flies. The tight line when I get a strike telegraphs the impulse back to me, and it’s an addictive thing. I’ll cast above myself in the flow but generally only to give the fly time to sink. More often than not my cast is just roughly across, and as it swings below me I “work” the fly to coax strikes, eventually bringing it back up toward myself in short slow strips, in the seam between the downstream laminar flow and some near-side slack eddy. I’ll position myself directly ABOVE the water I intend to fish, rather than below, and work the pool below the riffle thoroughly, in progressive arcs with a little change in line length each iteration.

It’s a good (and old-time) way to fish, and I love it, but one unfortunate fallout of doing it so often is that my abilities to detect a strike when my fly is drifting down from upstream of me have degraded over the years. I just rarely do it, and since I watch the line instead of using bobbers, my upstream subtle strike detection skills have slowly suffered. more…

Fly Tying for a Cause

Guest Blogger: Bob Nelson, Sacramento, CA

For the 11th year members of the Fly Tying Forum have partnered with J. Stockard to provide 14 boxes of flies for a Casting for Recovery retreat. This year’s retreat was held in Shawnee, Colorado at the North Fork Ranch. The following is a report I received from the Regional Program Manager, Jen Lofgren:

We had a really wonderful retreat this past weekend. The weather cooperated, the river was in great shape, and all of the women caught fish. They were very appreciative of the box of flies that they each received, especially upon learning that they had all been hand tied especially for them. Special thanks to you for spearheading this project, and to all of the individuals who contributed their time and talent to make this happen. We are also very grateful to J. Stockard for donating the fly boxes. We also asked each of the guides to add a fly or two that their participant caught fish on throughout the day, as well as a fly that the women tied themselves over the weekend. The boxes were very special for so many reasons.  more…

The Pink Thing Story

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

The stories behind a fly’s name are always interesting. That is especially true when the fly has a global reputation. Such is the case for the “Pink Thing”, as one Aussie writer says, is “The Greatest Barra Fly of All Time”. I’ll be on my way to Darwin in 2020 where I hope to get in some decent fly fishing for Barramundi. We’ll be there during the end of runoff and expect stained water conditions in the smaller creeks and estuaries. I’ve been tying up some Pink Things and their variations for the trip. The story behind the name is an interesting one. The fly’s originator was Graham White, an English fly angler and fisheries biologist who emigrated to Australia. In Darwin, he became well-known as the guy who knew how to catch Barra on the fly. In the 1980s he was a member of a dedicated group of Darwin fly anglers known as The Saltwater Flyrodders of the Northern Territory. They met regularly after days of fishing to enjoy a few brews at one of the member’s residences outside Darwin. Although bait and spin casting for Barra was probably the most efficient method of catching these large fish, club members had an interesting rule. Anyone found to have used gear other than flyrods for the days angling was fined a carton of green cans—mostly likely Victoria Bitter, one of the most popular beers in Australia—which they had to bring to the evening’s beer fest. more…