Fly fishing from Tidelands

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Joshmo62
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Fly fishing from Tidelands

Post by Joshmo62 »

Launched my kayak from tidelands this morning and fished around the bridge and various flats in the vicinity. Fairly slow morning but sunny and beautiful. Caught a few bay bass, a smelt and a nice sculpin at one of the Coronado bridge pylons which was surprising. I caught fish on flies I tied including the Kreelex fly (sculpin hit this one), chartreuse/white clouser and a borsky slider. Always fun just getting out!
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Tailingloop
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Re: Fly fishing from Tidelands

Post by Tailingloop »

Nice ties there.

The Borksi Slider (also called a bonefish slider or redfish slider) is a really good pattern for a lot of local species. Tied with a weed guard and snaked through kelp it can be very effective for Calico bass. A lot of folks think they are difficult to tie because of the spun deer hair but since it does need to be packed tight like a surface bass bug it really isn't that difficult and they still catch fish if they are a bit ragged. The commercially available ties are pricier than a lot of people like to spend for bay flies.

There have been some larger smelt in the bay up to 14"-15" and they can be quite fun. Small flies, like something on a size 8 hook and 1.5"-2" long will get more hookups with them.

Nice catch with the sculpin. I have never caught one on the fly but I have seen a couple of other fly anglers catch one in the main shipping channel when conditions allowed them to get a fly down to the bottom.

How do you like your Hobie Lynx? Seems like a nice minimalist rigid yak that is light enough that my old shoulders could push up on top of my Subaru Outback.
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Rattus
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Re: Fly fishing from Tidelands

Post by Rattus »

It's always fun catching fish on flies you've tied yourself. I'm continually amazed that fish sometimes fall for my god-awful creations. I'm currently experimenting with spoon flies (purists, avert your eyes) thinking their oddball movement might attract some attention. I'm also focusing on small, simple flies for targeting marauding, mid-water column species like mackerel and barracuda. Those species love attacking sabiki rigs, so maybe flies that resemble sabiki hooks might work? BTW, nice looking flies.
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Re: Fly fishing from Tidelands

Post by Tailingloop »

Rattus wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 4:29 pm It's always fun catching fish on flies you've tied yourself. I'm continually amazed that fish sometimes fall for my god-awful creations. I'm currently experimenting with spoon flies (purists, avert your eyes) thinking their oddball movement might attract some attention. I'm also focusing on small, simple flies for targeting marauding, mid-water column species like mackerel and barracuda. Those species love attacking sabiki rigs, so maybe flies that resemble sabiki hooks might work? BTW, nice looking flies.
Spoon flies work really well sometimes. I usually have two or three in my bag or box. In my experience they haven't been as effective in deeper water since they take awhile to sink due to the fluttering motion. However at times they really attract solid grabs in the top two to 6 feet of the water column. I have had the most success fishing water 8wt feet or shallower - which is sort of the type of conditions they were originally designed for.

Small, sparse flies work really well for all bay species, especially when there are a lot of bay anchovies and other small bait fish congregated, as is often the case in the winter. Lately been catching bay bass, halibut, barracuda, mackerel, smelt, bonefish, corvina, etc with these.

Some examples of the winter flies I use. Sparse and translucent:

Flies with what they are imitating. The top one had not been used and the epoxy head eventually turned amber. I tied this about 25 years ago, before started crushing barbs before I tied the fly.
Bay anchovies and imitations
Bay anchovies and imitations
Tied with super hair - smoke over white -and a bit of rainbow and black crystal flash for a lateral line. Light blue, green, light green, olives lavender, chartreuse tops all work well to as does all white. Size 6 Mustad 3407 hook. Eye to the tail end of super hair is 2" long. The black crystal flash extends a bit past that. I could trim this a bit narrower and sometimes do in the field. I usually tied these with this profile to use for bass in local lakes and trim narrower for use in the bay when I tie them on.

Sparse super hair clouser
Sparse super hair clouser
Small craft fur clouser minnow - gray over white -with pearl and black crystal flash lateral line. 2" long including the flash extending beyond the craft fur. Size 8 Mustad 3407 hook. Olive over white, light blue over white, and all white work well too.
Small Craft fur clouser minnow.
Small Craft fur clouser minnow.
Small clouser minnow tied with Head to Tail Baitfish Fade material from Just add H2O Products. Available at many fly shops. Black crystal flash lateral line. This material has some fine flash mixed in. Can make quick sparse clouser minnows with it by tying in with the light color on the bottom and the transition/fade between colors around the eye position. Secure behind and front of the eyes. Then fold the top color over the top, pull back tight, and secure the head bullet head style. Then trim body to desired shape. Tiemco XS506 hook, size 6 shown. Hook eye to end of black lateral line is 3".
Baitfish Fade material Clouser.
Baitfish Fade material Clouser.
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Re: Fly fishing from Tidelands

Post by Rattus »

I have a very well-worn Clouser that looks similar to your top fly with the barbed hook. It lost so much bucktail I thought about throwing it out but the darn thing keeps catching fish, even better than when the fly was new and had a fuller profile!

What are some of the advantages/disadvantages of synthetics over bucktail (aside from cost)? Have you experimented with Squimpish Hair?
Last edited by Rattus on Wed Feb 07, 2024 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fly fishing from Tidelands

Post by Tailingloop »

Rattus wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 3:38 pm I have a very well-worn Clouser that looks similar to your top fly with the barbed hook. It lost so much bucktail I thought about throwing it out but the darn thing keeps catching fish, even better than when the fly was new and had a fuller profile!

What are some of the advantages/disadvantages of synthetics over bucktail (aside from cost)? Have you experimented with Squipmish Hair?
Used to be that bucktail had more motion or action than most synthetics and cost less. The tapered tips help with the motion and often move with the slightest motion of the fly or current. But synthetics were available in longer lengths. Many synthetics were more flexible over longer lengths too, with shorter lengths being more stiff. Craft fur was an exception. Craft fur can be chewed up like bucktail though.

Bucktail, with its natural taper, is stiffer towards the butt of the fibers and more flexible towards the tip. Most synthetics flex the same over their entire length, even the synthetics I have used with tapered tips. This may be important to some fly designs.

Some bucktail can be more brittle and less durable than others, but you get what you get when buy on line. If you buy in a store you can inspect before purchase but I have noticed that the quality of what is found in stores has gone down over the last decade or so. I don't know why.

Many synthetics are prone to knotting or tangling - I carry a fine tooth comb like those designed for eyebrows or mustaches to comb them out.

Today premium bucktails with good, straight, 5"+ hairs can be cost $13-$25 ( still have a few that I bought in 2000 for $5 that would retail for $20 today) with petite bucktails with good 3"-4" hair costing around 8".

Packages of synthetic materials run about $7 to $11 depending on the material and brand. But although they seem small, you don't generally need a lot of material per fly. I have packages of EP Fibers that I have tied more than 100 flies from and still have material left over.

These days I tend to use bucktail for flies with some bulk and a solid profile and use synthetics for sparse or larger flies. I sometimes mix both materials in some patterns - typically larger ones like I use for stripers where I want a broad and opaque body but need some length in the fly.

If you want broad and bulky looking flies it is often easier to achieve this type of pattern with less material using bucktail. An example of such a pattern is Bob Popovic's Hollow Fleye, which is easier to tie than something like Bisharat's Airhead.

I also choose synthetics for toothy critters.

I like my flies to last. I don't plan on loosing them, but it does happen. With largemouth bass and spotted bay bass usually get more than 25 fish per fly and have had many get more than 100 and handful more than 200 fish. They have gotten pretty sparse by that point. Those small sandpaper like teeth that bass have slowly grind away at the materials and finished head.

I have had some clouser minnows tied with bucktail still catching spotties and other bay species with just a few bucktail fibers and a few strands of flash remaining.

On the other hand, one barracuda or halibut can destroy fly if its teeth chew on the right spots. Synthetics are more likely to survive such encounters though the thread in the heads can be cut. I apply glue at most tie in points while constructing the fly and on the head before doing the finishing wraps, the coat the head after finishing the wraps to help make a more durable fly. I have had flies tied with all natural materials, including bucktail survive more than a dozen pike. They may have been shedding materials but still held enough to catch fish.

Calf tail is tougher than bucktail but most of the calf tails have hair that can only be used to tie flies up to 1.5" long. Every once in awhile I will find one that can tie longer flies.

Sparse flies often work better than more full bodied pattern, especially when the principle food source is small baitfish.

On the other hand, bulkier patterns push more water and create more of a disturbance that game fish detect via their lateral line and are often better in lowlight conditions or murky water when small bait isn't concentrated.

I haven't used Squipmish Hair but I have been given samples of other tapered synthetic hairs to mess with. It works fine but can tangle and knot like non-tapered synthetics. It's a good material. It is another type of hair used to create wigs. By the way, hair used to create wigs can be purchased in huge quantities for cheap compared to synthetic hair sold for fly tying, much of which is the same but perhaps treated with water repellents. Many custom fly tiers use wig hair.
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Re: Fly fishing from Tidelands

Post by camobass »

Have you ever tied a fly using your own hair? Serious question. I would imagine an enthusiast would have to try it just to see.
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Re: Fly fishing from Tidelands

Post by Neuroshima »

camobass wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 8:38 am Have you ever tied a fly using your own hair? Serious question. I would imagine an enthusiast would have to try it just to see.
I have. Growing up, my mom was the family hairstylist, always cutting my extended family's hair. My parents got me one of those fishing encyclopedia books and they had some tying examples. This was in the early 90s, so I had no idea on how to get actual pelts to tie, and I didn't even know how to fly fish, I just wanted to make lures and flies.

I used the corner of an actual bench vise and "tied" in some of my aunts hair. I tried fishing with them a few times behind a c-rig. Caught nothing, not surprising.

Now that I have proper hooks and technique, I probably could catch something with human hair ( I've caught spotties on flies I've made out of balloons). However, the flimsiness of human hair combined with all the shampooing and treatments don't make it move well in the water.

Pubic hair on the other hand...
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Re: Fly fishing from Tidelands

Post by Tailingloop »

camobass wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 8:38 am Have you ever tied a fly using your own hair? Serious question. I would imagine an enthusiast would have to try it just to see.
I typically keep my hair cut too short to be of use. Human hair tends to be a bit brittle too compared to animal hair and fur. I know a couple of tyers who have tried it without successful catching.

Dog and cat hair can work. Both are not much different from many other animal hair used for tying like squirrel, various fox and goat species, muskrat, rabbit, hare, beaver, opossum, coyote, etc.

My wife and I took her niece and nephew to the zoo once and we went into the petting corral. My wife noticed me intently looking at the long hair of an Angora goat. She said "don't even think about it!". I always have a small multi tool with scissors on my key fob. Needless to say, the goat didn't get a haircut.
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Re: Fly fishing from Tidelands

Post by William Ritchie »

After working at the Zoo for 32 years . I managed a number of Fur / hair samples , and quite a few feathers of now unknown origin, should have marked them better . Fun to try different materials . I still find myself collecting seagull feathers from carcases when I want some traditional Bonito jigs . As always these posts are a good learning experience .
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