Saturday, November 29, 2008

Murderous Material Made by a Madman
- Wu-Tang Clan, 7th Chamber (they can really alliterate)

We drove through Viroqua, Wisconsin today. After a stop for lunch at The Driftless Cafe (goat cheese, olives and so on - talking about some very savory fare there), it was on to The Driftless Angler for a look. A couple significant purchases were made:

(1) I am done buying raincoats. Forever. I purchased the Patagonia Rainshadow for $100 (on sale from $150 due to discontinued color). Outstanding features, truly waterproof and breathable (unlike the Cabela's fake I purchased and plan to return) is what it is. Best part though - lifetime warranty. Easy to pack. Kind of a lot of money, but I figure it's worth it. It will be outstanding in the BWCA, paired with Simms waders. All waterproof, but light and breathable too. I've been examining raincoats for almost a year now... glad to have that taken care of. You can have all the fly rods and flies in the world along... but if you are wet and cold, your enjoyment level can take a serious hit (important note: catching fish has been known to allow one to push through about anything). Two other major pluses here: Patagonia ~ good company, and I was glad to buy the jacket from a true fly shop.

(2) I posed this to the shop's owner: I want to tie small soft hackles, but all the feathers I find in the partridge and mallard mixes are too big. Do you have any micro soft hackles? Before I finished the question, he was walking to a shelf with his index finger pointed in the air... I've got what you need man. Starlings. I remember back in biology 126, the professor ranting about the starling takeover... and more recently I remember a guy telling me that he solves his soft hackle problem by shooting one starling per year. And here were their feathers then, dyed, and tucked in nice little baggies. Addict bought three dimes from dealer and moved on. I want a new drug; one that does what it should; etc. Cranked out a few tonight. Like them.

#22 scud hook 1x short
8/0 thread to your liking (much better than 6/0 for this application)
krystal flash for trailing shuck
any dubbing you have laying around your bench for small thorax
one small starling feather for soft hackle

Try some with one turn, some with two turns.

It's an iteration of John Montana's Wilted Spinach. Deadly. This will catch trout.

14 Comments:

Anonymous winonaflyfactory said...

Very Nice, I think I will have to find my way to that shop and see what he has. I like the look of that fly. I am having the similar issue of the soft-hackle size. I was hoping to solve some of it with partridge but after reading more I might be going your route.

1:05 AM  
Blogger Jean-Paul Lipton said...

good stuff there J. Micro hackle, I like the sound of that. Don't have much for starlings around my house but do have the occasional grackle. I might have to keep my eye open next spring.

Good deal on that coat. I've been buying Patagonia gear for 15 years. Great stuff that never let me down once. 1% for the planet. Now why can't guys like Yvon Chouinard run for pres?

8:22 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

I really like the starling. IMO, even IT is a little too big, but I need to use more of it - maybe I can find the smallest feathers in the bag and apply them correctly. Maybe I'm nuts for even using #22 soft hackles. I like them though. Man, I can't wait to swing one downstream come January.

Update on the coat - I returned the Cabelas clunker (not waterproof) and got in exchange a bunch of non-lead wrap, tungsten beads (the two smallest sizes), three spools of good 6/0 thread, and a great tying light for $13 (on sale down from $40). Good swap there.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

One other note - The Driftless Angler had one more of those Patagonia Rainshadow coats on the rack - green, size medium, $100 (down from $150). They ship for $7 flat rate to anywhere.

I tried on the medium, and it fit me well. I chose the large because it was slightly too big, and thus allows for under-layering.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Joe Watkins said...

Good post. Like the Wu-Tang reference. Jacket sounds nice. 100 bones would be okay with me for the lifetime warranty. Curious what the color was. Like to see you out there in a pink jacket.

Can you just cap starlings?

9:14 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

Color is a nice green... Not sure why it was discontinued. I really like it.

As for capping starlings - I don't think it's legal. Pretty sure it's not... I do know they are not a well-loved bird though. I believe they are non-native and invasive. I can say this: they descended on our yard this fall in impressive numbers. Enough that it was a spectacle that held the kids' attention.

Tying session tonight will include Spaten Optimator, starling feathers and #22 scud hooks.

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