Winter, and that darn Chuck

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Eperous
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Winter, and that darn Chuck

Post by Eperous »

Well winter makes it way to these Catskills a little before midnight, tonight! :cry: That means the “second season” and fly tying for me. :D Typically I’m very anal about my approach. :oops: Clean the tying bench first, maybe inventory supplies, then start tying by filling my streamer needs for next season. ;)

Well for a few years now I’m been fishing right through winter, whenever and wherever I could. :| Our own Barleywine--- Chuck--- introduced me to a new--- for me--- nymph pattern called the Pink Squirrel. :o It’s reported to be an excellent cold-water/winter fly pattern. I’ve only fished it twice so far, and both times it accounted for wild trout, once when nothing else would. 8-)

So I’m in a frenzy to have a few Pink Squirrels in my fly box come January 1st when I wander astream again, provided my bride and weather conditions allow it. Thus today among the clutter on my tying bench, I knocked out a few Pink Squirrels, flying in the face of years of tying tradition. That darn Chuck!
Pink Squirrel, #14 TMC 3761.JPG
Pink Squirrel, #14 TMC 3761.JPG (289.33 KiB) Viewed 2550 times
At my age now, typically I never suck down a brew while fishing or tying, but today I made an exception--- a winter favorite, had ONE to calm my nerves and help focus me while at the cluttered bench.
PS-tying table.JPG
PS-tying table.JPG (503.52 KiB) Viewed 2550 times
Plus I tied up a few weighted Martinez Blacks, which I'll have to tie many more of before April 1st, 2016.
PS-Pink Squirrels & Martinez Black.JPG
PS-Pink Squirrels & Martinez Black.JPG (427.99 KiB) Viewed 2550 times
Winter fishing can be tough. Opportunities in the northeast tend to be limited with a small daytime window; so I have to make sure I carry a few proven patterns that just seduce trout.

Ed

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Barleywine
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Re: Winter, and that darn Chuck

Post by Barleywine »

That's a fine-looking pink squirrel Ed!!! I'd fish that one for sure. :D

Glad you were able to steady your nerves with an adult beverage, but unfortunately, that Sam Adams is probably the only White Christmas that we're going to get this year. The forecast has temps in the low 70's in my neck of the woods for Christmas Eve. I just might be "forced" to go fishing. ;)

-Chuck
"The secret to life is honesty and fair dealing. When you can fake that, you've got it made." ---Groucho Marx

squish67
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Re: Winter, and that darn Chuck

Post by squish67 »

Which reminds me, I need to tie some Pink Squirrels! Nice post Ed :)

Have a Merry Christmas!

tie2fish
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Re: Winter, and that darn Chuck

Post by tie2fish »

That is a fine version of John Bethke's pattern, Ed. I believe he originally developed it for the brown trout that inhabit the "driftless" area of southwestern Wisconsin, but it apparently works other places just as well.

wiFlyFisher
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Re: Winter, and that darn Chuck

Post by wiFlyFisher »

Yup, Pink Squirrels is a WI pattern.

Ed, you should really try that on a barbless jig hook with a slotted tungsten bead. This goes along the bottom but with the hook point facing up, less snagging.

Image

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Eperous
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Re: Winter, and that darn Chuck

Post by Eperous »

wiFlyFisher wrote:Yup, Pink Squirrels is a WI pattern.

Ed, you should really try that on a barbless jig hook with a slotted tungsten bead. This goes along the bottom but with the hook point facing up, less snagging.

Image
Yes John, I'm aware this pattern is attributed to a flyfisher out your way... our buddy Bill posted info on SGM about this nymph earlier year...

FYI: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6705

And I've read about the pattern, its history & success in cold/winter water... furthermore, most recipes I've seen for it call for a curved, short-shank, wide gap hook...

Having said that, there is a story of why I tied it like I did, as close as to the way Barleywine ties it... Chuck gave me a few of these nymphs... typically I never, ever fish flies that I didn't tie myself... here's the story of the first time I fished a Pink Squirrel a few weeks ago, and why I tried my best to tie the fly just like Chuck does....

I volunteered to pick up our youngest grandson in New Jersey … I had an ulterior motive. I planned to fish small water, a Garden State wild trout stream.

I have a soft-spot in my heart for this little brook. … My kind of place, plus I’ve caught small dark wild rainbows here in the dead of winter, with ice on the trail while trekking through crotch-deep snowfall. … to say this brook was thin would be a serious understatement. A leaky faucet probably produces a better flow of water than what I wandered today. It was gin clear, it was icy cold; and, I tried fishing a #16 X-Caddis hoping to pull a wild trout off the bottom in the skinny water. This produced a half-hour plus of nothing more than casting into tight places. Thus I decided to look through my nymph box and thought of Chuck. Here this story’s takes a turn and gets a bit hairy.

For more years--- decades--- than I can recall, I haven’t fish store bought flies or those tied by others, only flies tied by me. There have been a couple exceptions, but few and far between. And on occasion this philosophy has caused me some issues and pain.

Back in 2012 while wandering Yellowstone I fished some Gartside Hoppers tied by Tim Didas and a few flies the late Aaron Hirschhorn gave me. Tim put heartfelt thought and effort in creating his masterpieces for me, and Aaron asked me to fish some flies for him. It was the least I could do for both these gentlemen. However, I can also fondly recall a few angling outings with the Polish Prince, both in the Adirondacks and Lake Ontario tributaries pursuing steelhead. On those occasions Glenn’s flies worked and mine didn’t. I asked Glenn, “Can you give me a fly or two?” His response was quick and to the point: “No, remember you DON’T fish other people’s flies!” He had a point.

There’s a certain ethic, rule about this ya know.

Well, today I bent the rules. To my fluorocarbon tippet I attached a Pink Squirrel nymph tied by Chuck Coronato and glad I did. Before quitting at 1:30 PM Chuck’s Pink Squirrel accounted for 5 hits I could detect using a short line, leader only, dapping upstream above me. I caught 3 dark little wild rainbows, all Garden State jewels.


By the way, the January/February 2016 issue of Eastern Fly Fishing--- I received a copy of today--- has an article on trout fishing in WI and photo of John Bethke's Pink Squirrel...

Ed

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Barleywine
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Re: Winter, and that darn Chuck

Post by Barleywine »

Bethke's pattern does seem to lend itself to a variety of tweaks...hook style, thread color, dubbing instead of chenille...and still works magic in certain spots.

I'll have to tye and try a few with barbless jig hooks like wiFlyFisher suggested, since I lost several of them to snags on woody debris fishing Big Flatbrook in NJ this past Sunday.

-Chuck
"The secret to life is honesty and fair dealing. When you can fake that, you've got it made." ---Groucho Marx

wiFlyFisher
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Re: Winter, and that darn Chuck

Post by wiFlyFisher »

Barleywine wrote:Bethke's pattern does seem to lend itself to a variety of tweaks...hook style, thread color, dubbing instead of chenille...and still works magic in certain spots.

I'll have to tye and try a few with barbless jig hooks like wiFlyFisher suggested, since I lost several of them to snags on woody debris fishing Big Flatbrook in NJ this past Sunday.

-Chuck
I just started using the barbless jig hooks last Fall out West. I would much rather fish dry flies but there are so many times when nothing is hatching and I need to get the fly down to the trout. I found the barbless jig hooks with good slotted tungsten beads worked great on rivers like the Madison. This other pattern is even more simple to tie and also worked well for me. It is called Walt's Worm and I believe it originated in PA.

Image

In the size #8 barbless jig hook and a 4.00mm slotted tungsten bead I am tying some smaller woolly buggers that will get down fast and not snag as much. I hope to test those in the early Spring before the hatches kick in.

From some of my initial testing under water, the tippet size and weight of the tungsten bead effects how the fly will behave in the current. I also noticed out West last Fall with a jig hook Trout hook ups on the Hends barbless jig hooks were never a problem and I always seemed to hook the trout in the upper lip.

Tomk6251
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Re: Winter, and that darn Chuck

Post by Tomk6251 »

Just got 6 pink squirrels at our TU holiday fly swap. Had never heard of them before, but can't wait to try em out.

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Eperous
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Re: Winter, and that darn Chuck

Post by Eperous »

Tomk6251 wrote:Just got 6 pink squirrels at our TU holiday fly swap. Had never heard of them before, but can't wait to try em out.
Well, best of luck... I've read that they can be a great winter nymph pattern, and so far this winter on three outing I have NOT been disappointed, including New Year's Day... ;)
Pink Squirrel bow.JPG
Pink Squirrel bow.JPG (508.84 KiB) Viewed 2247 times
Ed

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