My Love Affair with the Girdle Bug-Part 1

Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

A Little History First: Before going any further, a little history on the girdle bug is in order. It is believed Frank McGinnis of Anaconda, Montana created the fly in the 1930’s or 40’s. He developed it to mimic the stoneflies on the Big Hole River. The fly was originally dubbed the ‘McGinnis rubber legs;’ its current name is in honor of the rubber legs that were originally taken from a girdle (or at least that’s the folklore).

It is easy to tie and durable as long as you fortify the thread on the head with a lot of head cement, or, my favorite UV Knot Sense by Loon (this is cured in 5-10 seconds with a UV flashlight).  Trout love to chomp on this fly and will cut the head thread in short order. The original fly was tied by wrapping lead wire down the entire shank of the hook. That version of the fly sinks like a rock. However, if you are not fishing on a large western river with lots of current, you will spend most of your time trying to unsnag your fly or tying on a new fly every other cast as you had to break off another snag. The fly is versatile in that it works well as the original version, with no weight at all, and everything in between (more on that later).

Last year I hired a guide to learn more about night fishing. According to the fly shop, this guy catches more fish over 20” in a year than many catch in their life. During the course of our outing he asked me what was my favorite fly.

With no hesitation I replied, “A girdle bug”.
He laughed and said, “You’ve got to be kidding, right?”
I replied, “Nope, seriously it is one of the most versatile flies I know of.”

Here’s how I came to that conclusion.

Continue reading → My Love Affair with the Girdle Bug-Part 1

Fly of the Month – The All Night Diner

Guest Blogger & Fly Tyer: Bo Wentworth of Pennsylvania, Find Bo @: https://www.instagram.com/bo_wentworth/

The flies that I tie are made out of necessity, the necessity to create art, and the necessity to create fishable flies. Sometimes both of those driving forces combine and align, The All Night Diner is a great example of this. Named after one of my favorite Modest Mouse songs, The All Night Diner is fun to tie and an effective dry fly. This pattern is a great example of how the tying art flies leads to new techniques for effective fishable patterns. I first tied this pattern late at night on a long project fly using a VKsteelworks hook.

I tied a parachute post and added a few goose biots for extra dimension and aesthetic appeal on the back of a salmon fly. The idea then came to me to add goose biots in various colors onto the parachute post for added visibility. Being able to use multiple colors like pink, orange, yellow, and blue on the same post allows the angler’s eye to pick up the differentiating color easier than a solid color post. Though a solid color is certainly easier to tie, the All Night Diner is easier to see deeper into the night.

The flies pictured are tied with moose mane, but can be tied with any body material or dubbing to match whatever insect you are trying to replicate. The goose biots on the abdomen of the fly are tied to match the post for aesthetic appeal, but when I fish this fly I will match those biots to the body material. The thorax is composed of peacock herl and can be substituted for any other material of your choosing. The parachute post pictured shows my use of a calf tail, which is a favorite material of mine wrapped in whiting farms hackle.

Here is a material List for this fly with Links:

Hook: Firehole: 317 BL Nymph Emerger Hook, TMC 200R Nymph & Dry Fly Hook
https://www.jsflyfishing.com/firehole-sticks-317-nymph-emerger-barbless-hook
https://www.jsflyfishing.com/tiemco-tmc-200r-nymph-dry-fly-hook

Body Material Moose Mane:
https://www.jsflyfishing.com/hareline-moose-mane

Goose Biots:
https://www.jsflyfishing.com/hareline-stripped-goose-biots

Hackle Whiting Farms Golden or Silver Badger or any color:
https://www.jsflyfishing.com/whiting-farms-dry-fly-saddle-bronze
https://www.jsflyfishing.com/whiting-farms-100s-saddle-pack-size-14

Thorax Peacock Dyed Peacock Strung Herl:
https://www.jsflyfishing.com/natures-spirit-dyed-peacock-strung-herl-

Parachute Post Calf Tail White:
https://www.jsflyfishing.com/hareline-calf-tail

All Night Diner Fly Tying Instructions

Step 1: The Hook
Place your hook in the vice and tie in your thread. It is important to get a nice even thread base so later our moose mane body will lay flat and even on the hook shank. On this pattern my favorite thread to use is Semperfli Nano Silk 18/0 in white.

Step 2: Parachute Post
The First material we are going to apply is the calf tail post. Take a clump of white calf tail about as long as the hook shank and lay down on top of the hook with the ends facing forward. A couple of secure wraps and trim of any excess hairs on the back end. Next wrap slowly around your clump of calf tail to orient it vertically to make your parachute post. I take a small amount of Solarez Thin Hard to the post at this point to make it a little stiffer to easily wrap our hackle later on.

Step 3: Moose Mane Body
Take two strands of moose mane one white and one black and align them so their tips are the even. Lay them down on the side of the hook shank facing towards you and slowly wrap them down with your thread. Return your thread back up the shank to the point that your calf tail has been seated. Slowly wrap your two strands of moose mane up the shank until you reach your thread and secure it down with a couple of solid wraps. This material is relatively brittle and if you are having difficulties with it breaking or cracking it can help to soak it in warm water for a few minutes before using it. For some more info on working with moose mane check out a detailed discussion on my website. Applying a uv resin over this material will help it stay in place and last longer on the water. For this application my favorite resin by far is Solarez Bone Dry.

Step 4: Thorax
Select two goose biots of any color of your choosing. For aesthetics I will match these biots to the ones we later use for the post. Tie them in right where your moose mane body ends and secure them with a few steady wraps just as you would on a pattern like a prince nymph. Next take two pieces of peacock herl and tie them in and return your thread to the eye of the hook. Wrap your peacock herl forward to the eye, whip finish and cut your thread.

Step 5: Parachute Post
Adjust your vice so it is face towards you and your fly is oriented horizontally. This allows us to take the time and easily tackle this post. Now select your goose biots of any color and begin adding them to your post. I like to add one on each side first and then the back and front. As you add each biot be mindful of their orientation, and trim the bottoms off and make sure the post is staying clean for our next step of adding our hackle.

Step 5: Hackle
Select your hackle and prepare to attach to your post. The size and color of your hackle is up to you, and there are some amazing colors to experiment with from Whiting Farms. Strip off a small amount on the side that will be wrapping around the post to keep the post looking clean. Wrap your hackle down your posty and tie it off close to the bottom of your post. A careful whip finish to not trap any fibers down and cut your thread.

Simple Flies – Myakka Two Ways

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

The Myakka River flows approximately 72 miles southwest from the prairies of Central Florida to Charlotte Harbor on the Florida Gulf Coast. By all accounts this National Wild and Scenic River provides some pretty good fishing for bass and other warm water species in its freshwater sections and excellent Snook fishing in the lower estuarial waters. The Myakka is within easy reach to Sarasota anglers and one of the favorite freshwater destinations for Sarasota guide Steve Gibson. Steve tells the story of the genesis of his Myakka Minnow after a frustrating day on the Myakka in 2005.

“The Mighty Myakka Minnow was born out of frustration. I’m sure you’ve been there. Imagine a day on the water with fish busting minnows throughout the morning. But after several hours, you still have nothing to show for your efforts. You cast into the spray of minnows, but your offerings are ignored repeatedly. The fish are so keyed into the tiny minnows that they ignore everything else. Although the scenery is nice and weather gorgeous, it sure would be nice to feel the tug of a largemouth bass or hand-sized bluegill. This happened to me several times while fly fishing on the Myakka River near my home in Sarasota, Fla.  After one unproductive outing, I decided to try and come up with a fly which would imitate the minnows the fish were so excited about. I knew that the fly had to be no more than an inch long. It had to look like a minnow. It had to sink. It had to have large eyes. After a few hours of trial and tribulation, I came up with a workable prototype and couldn’t wait to give it a try. Next time out to the river, I had several Myakka Minnows in my box and one tied on my 4-weight fly rod. It didn’t take long to realize that I’d hit a home run. I picked up bass, bluegill, stumpknocker and tilapia while blind-casting. I kept my eyes open for scattering minnows. When I saw fish attacking minnows, I’d cast the Myakka Minnow into the fray.”

Continue reading → Simple Flies – Myakka Two Ways