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What's in Your Vise?

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  • What's in Your Vise?

    I found the old thread and posted, but for whatever reason this did not bring it to the top of the forum page. So I'm re-starting the topic here, as the tying season is upon us.

    I've been playing around with "Bouncer" flies of late. In fishing for smallmouth along the banks of the lower Willamette this summer, I had two issues with my standard patterns. 1.) I caught all of my fish by slowly crawling my flies along rocky banks, and had issues getting hung up. 2.) Two nice bass were hooked in the tongue and bleeding pretty bad. While they swam off fine, I read later that tongue-hooked bass are goners. To help with both issues, I've been playing around with ways to make my go-to patterns flip upside-down, without adding too much weight. Initially I tried using small bead chain eyes or lashing strips of lead-free wire to the top of the shank, but neither of these methods were able to overcome the "keel" effect of the hook bend and point. I stumbled on to the concept of "Bouncer" flies, pioneered by Steve Duckett:

    The concept is to use a mono keel strung with beads. This keel provides the leverage to flip a fly over with less weight than needed for eyes.

    Here are my first tries at the method. The first pic are standard buggers, which were my best pattern on the Willy this spring/summer. Here I have added a mono keel strung with glass beads. The glass beads don't seem overly heavy, do flip the fly over (as tested in a Pyrex dish filled with water), and add some transparency/flash without being overly gaudy.

    In the second pic, I tried to apply this method to make a Clouser-like fly. Standard Clousers do flip over, and I have had great success with them on bass in deeper stillwaters. But the heavy eyes used make them impractical for fishing the rocky banks of the Willamette, as they instantly fall to the bottom and still get hung up. For this "Bouncer Clouser", I used really sparse craft fur and red Amnesia for the keel. I think this pattern should have a nice amount of movement and sparkle without sinking too fast.

    With the cold weather here, I'll probably have to wait until April to take these for a swim and report what happens!



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  • #2
    Nice....I assume you don't want weight in your flies because you're using a heavy sink tip to get down and you'd prolly lose more flies if they were weighted? Lose some action too I of my goals for the coming year is to prowl around more for bass....I live in Salem so I have no excuses. I wanna start floating it starting out by Buena Vista....just gotta make it happen.


    • #3
      I actually have had the best success with a clear intermediate line. It gives me flexibility to fish shallow or I can let it sink for a while on steeper banks and slowly crawl the fly back. I'm going for a fly weighted in a manner so that it doesn't sink faster than the line. I've also caught fish with a floater when fish are hanging out around near-shore structure. However, these spots are usually only a few feet deep, and a heavy fly will pretty quickly find itself stuck on the bottom unless you're retrieving fast. Again, I'd rather have a lighter fly that will sink slowly, and I can wait a bit longer if I want get deeper. This next season I also want to try looping a medium sink poly leader onto my floating line, I think that could be advantageous for keeping a fly in the zone around dropoffs near shore.

      I find tempting bass to be like playing with my cats with toys, you have to tantalize them with a seductive, slowly moving object, and they pounce when you give a fast strip, or a lift of the rod tip at the end of the retrieve, and they don't want their prey to get away.


      • pigs
        pigs commented
        Editing a comment
        Good stuff Dan, thanks.

    • #4
      Dan- I did see your post on the old thread- strange that it is back a few pages(page 7). I substitute teach, and occasionally get the opportunity to tie a few flies while doing that. I took my small kit the other day, and when it was time to have a chance , I found that I had left all of my vices at home. I was planning on tying some larger flies on keel hooks- so I tried it by hand. So, these were in my hand rather than in my vice. Results not as good as with a vice, but I was able to share some with the kids. Click image for larger version

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      Last edited by dragginfly; 12-09-2018, 01:49 PM.


      • dragginfly
        dragginfly commented
        Editing a comment
        Update- fished em for a couple of hours yesterday- landed two trout. They do work......

    • #5
      That's no musky fly!


      • #6
        Draggin - (Literally) hand tied? That's awesome! Those will definitely fish...

        Clarkman - What size hook do you tie that on? What is the length of that fly? Love the colors.


        • Clarkman
          Clarkman commented
          Editing a comment
          I like a size 2 B10S. It ended up being around 3.5" (a little larger than I intended, although I plan on fishing larger patterns in general this winter)

          Trust me, the Seahawk-esque colors certainly were NOT intentional...but steelhead like them.

      • #7
        Hey Dan, Cool looking ties.

        I fish the Rickards Stillwater nymph for my ditch capr and it will turn upside down if I tie it on a curved hook. So, I use a 200R & wrap some lead. Not sure if this will work for you, but I can let it settle to the bottom and it's not too snaggy.

        PS. Hey Draggin, do not give middle-schoolers anything pointy! Just sayin'
        The Catchin' Ninny


        • stillwaterdan
          stillwaterdan commented
          Editing a comment
          Good tip about the curved hooks! I have an excessive amount of size 8 scud hooks (2457s) that I don't use often. I could try seeing what a few wraps of wire or a small bead at the apex of the curve does for that.

      • #8
        Mini Dragon for winter steelhead.


        • Patrick
          Patrick commented
          Editing a comment
          how much water do those tails hold? easy to cast?

        • Clarkman
          Clarkman commented
          Editing a comment
          it was a bitch to cast. I got it out ok with my 7wt switch, but it certainly wasn't pretty. I does swim really seductively though. I think if I use it again for a steelhead fly, I'll cut it in half. I've used the large ones for muskies before, but only for trolling from spot to spot because I hate casting them (on my 10wt) so much.