Archive for August 2014

The Third Bug…..Revisited   Leave a comment

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors!

Last blog talked about the need and importance of the third bug.  I’m referring to the fly in your rig that is hooking most of the fish you are catching.  Where legal, throwing a 3 bug rig is very productive.  Like I mentioned last time, the first 2 bugs are the meat and potatoes and the 3rd bug is your rock star.  It’s even more important to find your “third bug” in a 2 bug drift where the fish only have 2 choices you can offer.

Let’s back up a bit.  My first dropper is typically a low riding nymph, such as a stone fly, larger mayfly nymph, worm pattern, or scud pattern, to name a few.  It’s a low riding, close to the bottom morsel that attracts as well as looks like a tasty meal.  I expect it to be consumed every trip out, or it gets the boot.  The second, or middle fly is usually a higher off the bottom drifting nymph, pupa or emerger.  It matches what is hatching or what I expect to hatch.  It can be any size or stage depending on bug activity or expected bug activity.  Typical 2nd bugs are, soft-hackles, pupa and emerger patterns (RSII’2, Barrs Emergers, Bead Head Soft Hackles, etc).  Winter time fishing will find midge larva (Black Beauty for example) in this position.

Now the third bug.  This bug is usually the highest off of the bottom in the drift (furthest from the weight) and is usually, not always, an emerger or pupa pattern. For more information on how I rig, pick up a copy of The Fly Fishers’ Playbook.  This bug needs to produce and produce well.  This bug is supposed to mimic the most prevalent bug coming off and should match the stage of what the fish are feeding on.  It’s the bug that during the fight with a hooked fish you just know the fish is on it.

Last blog I  wrote that I was looking for that bug.  I found it last week.  It was right under my nose…….It’s none other than the Chocolate Thunder, or the real name is a Brown RSII.  It’s an old Solitude pattern and has been fantastic for me for several years.  Quick and easy to tie, and very durable, this bug belongs in every box as a third bug.  I roll it in a size 18 or 20 virtually year-round.

I’m always looking for that third bug…….Most times it’s in your fly box!

Fear No Water!

Duane

Dream Thunder

Dream  Stream Thunder

Double Thunder

Double Thunder on the Eagle

The Third Bug

The Third Bug aka Chocolate Thunder

Filthy…..   Leave a comment

Hidy Ho Good Neighbors,

May is for love. August is for scuffling and fighting your way through the maze of thunderstorms, warm water, waning bugs and high skies.  For a guide, the dog days of August are just about putting your head down and keeping moving.  Fishing can be frustratingly tough and amazingly beautiful at the same time.

Just the other day I had a couple from Florida.  Morning started out at about 42 degrees and the water was a bit off color when we first got wet at about 7:30 am.  Had a few eats and one in the bag in short order, but then BOOM, the water goes off-color.  So much so, that we had to move upstream. We battled for about a half hour after our move just looking for feeding fish.  Finally, I dropped into a stretch I’d never fished and BANG, we doubled up on a fine pair of Browns. Tough and beautiful.

I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to bug selection and the nymph rig in general.  The tougher the fishing gets, the more I dig my heels in and attempt to beat the fish by tiny, subtle adjustments to rigs and fly choice.  I run my basic rig, whereas a lot of fly fishers increase leader lengths and go to smaller bugs, I stay with my usual lengths and usual sizes, and strive to refine speed and depth when nymphing.  I try to match and stay ahead of the hatch as closely as possible, and I’m always looking for that third bug.

What’s the third bug?  It’s simply my money bug in any rig (Colorado it’s legal to use 3 flies).  The first two droppers of my rig are the meat and potatoes of the rig.  The third bug, now that’s the bug that’s supposed to be deadly.  In August it’s hard to find that third bug.  Referring back to the trip with the Florida couple, we caught fish on San Juan Worms, Mercer’s Golden Stone, a Soft-Hackled Pheasant Tail, and lastly, the third bug.  The third bug did its job, but not with as much zest as I need in a third bug, so it’s off to the fly tying bench I go to make a few adjustments.

My third bug often is a cross-over fly.  In other words, it can mimic or represent a couple different bugs in the drift.  For about the last five weeks, that bug has been the “Yellow Suzie”. Suzie was named by a female client that forgot that the fly represented a Yellow “Sally” Stonefly, and mistakenly called it Suzie.  The name stuck.  Suzie also represents a Pale Morning Dun (PMD) emerger AND a Caddis pupa all rolled into one.  Very simple, deadly and “Filthy” bug as a young man said.  I guess in this case “Filthy” is a good thing.  Whatever happened to “sick”, “phat”……..”Awesome”?  Oh well, if it’s filthy, I’ll take it

Sadly, Suzie wasn’t rockin’ the river last week like she was and she will need to step aside for another bug to give it a rip.  Oh she caught a few, but my third bug needs to produce, so she may be in mothballs til next June.  Now it’s time to sit down and tie a few patterns and give ‘em a shot on the Eagle as the dog days of August rage……….It’s gotta’ be part soft-hackle, part nymph, part emerger, perfectly sized and colored,  can be dead drifted and swung, and most certainly needs to be……………. filthy.

Fear No Water

suzie

Yellow “Suzie”, 2457 hook, #20, yellow floss body, partridge hackle, red thread head………