CTF Reel Logo Casts and Drifts
Monthly Newsletter of the Central Texas Flyfishers May, 2001 Vol. 7 No.5
Calendar | Officers | Club Takes Top Honors at AFF's Perch Master Competition
Beginner's Corner | Around the Next Bend | Fly of the Month | Back Issues | Home


Tuesday, May 8, 2001
CTF Meeting at Lion's Club Pavilion, City Park in San Marcos, 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 22, 2001
Fourth Tuesday Fly Tying, Tickle-Blagg Veterinary Clinic, San Marcos, 7:00 P.M.


President: Terry Blackwell
Vice President: Joel Chavez
Conservation: Billy Wofford
Outings: Kevin Duren & Johnny Quiroz
Secretary: Kim Heaston
Treasurer: Bob Blagg

Clip Art from Dave Whitlock

Club Takes Top Honors at AFF's Perch Master Competition

After a year of presidency and not a word in the newsletter about his omnipresence Mike Brown has earned the title Ubiquitous Member again. An explanation will follow.

CTFF was well represented at the Austin Fly Fishers' annual Perch Master competition in Town Lake. At least four members were accounted for and two actually caught some fish.

The day was sunny and warm but the fish were not on at all. The vast majority of us caught nothing. I personally enjoyed an intimate relationship with the lake when attempting to step from a kayak and the kayak would not cooperate.

Brian Watson was the first to catch a fish so that honor goes to our club. It takes, though, a certain, continuous presence and perseverance to walk away with top honors on a bad fishing day. A certain ubiquitous member did just that. Mike Brown has garnered the Perch Master trophy for the club for one year. It is his goal, and the club's, to retain that trophy for as long as we can. Kudos oh ubiquitous one: we are not worthy.

Clip Art from Dave Whitlock

Beginner's Corner: Reel 'em In

Well friends and fishers, we have yet another hurdle to jump so that you can catch a fish with your gear. We have talked about rods and lines. The next thing you are going to need is a reel.

The reel's most rudimentary function is merely a place to store your fly line when it's not in use. They can range in price from around $20 to the-sky-is-the-limit. As you go higher in price the functions of the reel increase. Most reels are single action meaning that one turn of the crank gives one turn of the spool. For very large game fish you can get reels with a 1:2 ratios.

Most fish caught are not reeled in but played in by stripping line. But the other functions of the reel are to apply resistance, or drag, to tire the fish and it must be rugged enough to handle the environment where you fish.

The most rudimentary reels have a simple click-and-pawl type of drag, which is not adjustable. As stated before, a drag is not a necessary function for most types of fishing and this type of drag system is adequate. Most reels come with some form of adjustable drag, which the purists consider a luxury, but there will come a time when a fish larger than you expected will take up all of your slack and start pulling line off of the reel. A drag will be handy then.

Reels must be rugged enough to deal with the fishing environment. If you wish to do salt water fishing you will need a reel that will withstand the corrosive environment of salt water. Also, the reel must not fall apart when taxed. Less expensive reels are often made of stamped sheet metal or injection molded graphite. You would not want to task a reel like that against a tarpon and conversely, you would not need a heavy-duty machined aluminum reel to catch a sunfish.

Size plays a role in your selection of reels also. You should match the reel to the line weight of your rod. Usually reels can accommodate several different line sizes. All reels must be strung with a backing, which is attached to the fly line. The backing acts as a filler to keep the fly line from being wound to small against the reel. The reel instructions will usually tell you how much backing to install for what size line. This is how one reel can accommodate different line sizes.

To sum up, a reel's main function is to store fly line and retrieve it. When choosing a reel consider your budget because there is a reel to fit all of them. Select according to the type of fishing you will do by considering what you will fish for and where you will fish.

Kim Heaston

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Clip Art from Dave Whitlock

Around the Next Bend

This spring has been both adventurous and at the same time calm, paralleling the flows of our local rivers. Part of the adventure is in the exploration of new places, in pursuit of the calming effect that being part of nature provides. I suppose that many of you have found a common thread throughout the lifespan of this column, that it's often the little things in life tend to be the most rewarding. For some of us our reward is to see and hear birds while out on a local water; for others, it's to hear laughter and see the smiles of our family and friends; others enjoy these and a myriad of other things found in nature. Knowing that these words pale when compared to memories and their associations currently in your mind, I ask that you take a minute or two to enjoy and explore those thoughts.

When a group of us traveled to Junction to float and fish the South Llano River, most of us were apprehensive about going to someplace, on the spur of the moment. The people in Junction were quite friendly and made us feel at home. The floating and fishing (and the occasional dunking) was well worth the worry. The South Llano River is quite lovely, it's difficult to believe that there was flooding there this past October and November. Floating a new stretch of water always seems like it takes much longer than it should, due to the lack of familiarity with landmarks, and the desire to "fish it all." I'm looking forward to a return visit sometime soon.

As summer approaches I wonder what it has in store, and about the people and places I will meet and visit. Many places come to mind, almost all are within a couple days of driving. Do I go to places I've been, or do I continue the adventurous spirit of the spring, and discover new places? All this talk about internal and external exploration has set my mind to wander . . . where it will go and what it will find are around the next bend.

Michael Brown

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Rubber Legs: Flies
With a Natural, but Man-made Wiggle
By Jim Abbs FFF Club Wire www.fedflyfishers.org

How can a wary fish distinguish a live underwater fly from a dead (or fake) fly that is being carried along with the current or stripped in by an expectant fly fisher? One answer would be legs or more specifically legs that are moving in a life-like fashion. Hackle, particularly soft hackle used on underwater flies is intended to create that illusion of life. The soft hackle from a partridge or quail tied long and flowing does this job pretty well. Moreover, these are natural materials and acceptable to more traditional fly tiers. Tying flies with materials from the hair and feathers of nature's wild critters is a noble undertaking and it fits with the ecosystem worldview of many fly anglers. Silk and wool are acceptable because of their natural origins.

However, we live in a world made better by chemical manipulations, so we are told. Indeed, there is a man-made leg material thought by many to be better for fly legs, especially on imitations of big insects like giant stoneflies and dragonflies. It is more available, generally cheaper, easier to tie with, can be changed to almost any color pattern and is almost indestructible. This miracle material is rubber, or more accurately, the thin strands of rubber like those in a rubber band. These rubber strands are available in most fly tying supply stores and you can get thousands of flies out of the bundle of rubber found in a common bungee cord, costing less than two bucks. Rubber legs are common in the most popular big flies for trout, like Girdle Bugs, Bitch Creek Nymphs, Yuk Bug, Madam X, Ugly Rudamus, most spun deer hair bass bugs and a host of panfish flies, including the favorite cork body poppers.

Why are rubber legs so popular or effective? Unlike barbules of a feather, the rubber strands used in fly legs do not taper and hence a long rubber leg has a lot of weight or mass far out from the point of attachment. That mass tends to be very unstable and it moves almost on its own. While this mini-physics lecture is unnecessary, it adds to the view we fly anglers have of ourselves as scientific.

Finally, for those traditionalists who find rubber legs unacceptable, rubber is a material perhaps almost as old as silk, with archeological data to suggest that the native people of central America were using it for over 3,500 years.

While there are literally hundreds of flies with rubber legs, the following instructions are for the Girdle Bug. The name of this fly is based on the source of the rubber for the legs.


Hook: 2X long hook, sizes 2-12
Thread: Black
Tail: Two strands of "rubber hackle" white or any color desired. Some tiers segment the rubber strands with a marker creating a grizzly pattern and Orvis actually sells some barred rubber strands.
Body: Black, green, brown or even yellow chenille, or two of these colors.
Ribbing: A fine silver or gold tinsel (optional)
Legs: Three sets of rubber strands tied to stick out sideways from the body and spaced evenly so as to divide the body into 4 segments.
Antennae: Same as tail.

Tying Steps

  1. Select two segments of rubber strand material about 1 ¾ the length of the hook shank. Tie them directly on top of the hook so that they form a "V" tail extending beyond the end of the hook shank about ¾ of the hook shank length.
  2. Wrap the thread over the rubber leg material up to about 1/8 inch from the hook eye.
  3. Select three segments of rubber strand material about 1 ¼ times the length of the hook shank. Lay these at right angles to the hook shank and tie in with a criss-crossing thread. Position the three sets of legs at equal intervals along the length of the body (a common pattern for a Girdle Bug), or alternatively concentrate them near the front, as in a "Rubber Legs" pattern.
  4. If you wish to weight the fly, tie in a segment of thin or heavy lead wire just behind the eye (depending upon weight desired) and wrap it from the front to the back. Leave room to finish the head.
  5. Wrap the thread back to the bend of the hook and tie in the ribbing and the chenille. If a two-tone fly (as in the Girdle bug) is desired, tie in both colors of chenille.
  6. With a single color fly wrap the chenille forward and tie it off behind the eye (leaving room for the head). The chenille should not interfere with For a dark upper body and a yellow underbody, wrap the thread back to the bend and lay the yellow (second color) chenille under the body. Wrap the thread forward followed by the ribbing.
  7. Tie off chenille, ribbing, whip finish the head and apply cement.
  8. Go and catch some fish.

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© 2001 Central Texas Flyfishers

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