Friday, February 26, 2010

"The Enckster"

Several years ago I was experimenting with fly patterns and decided to create the simplest fly that I could that would consistently take trout. I came up with a fly that I now call the "Enckster." That's my nickname, and since I'm simple, and so is the fly, the name fits.

I first tried it on Spring Creek in Berks County, PA. This is not a known trout stream, but it had a nice population of both wild browns and rainbows. Early on a July morning, I tied on my creation, and began to fish up the creek. And, I was pleasantly surprised. I caught trout in every hole that seemed liked good holding water. Over the years, I have used my fly to take trout in both freestone and limestone creeks. Many a brown, rainbow and brookie has been deceived by this treacherous bait.

The fly is a nymph with a silver bead, and I think it is effective, because it gets down quickly and imitates a lot of different aquatic creatures. To freestone trout, it is a caddis larvae; to limestone trout, it could be a caddis, or perhaps a scud, and stocked trout, I'm sure, take it because it looks somewhat like a food pellet.

The fly, as I have mentioned is simple to tie, which has advantages for me. I don't have the time to tie like I used to, and I can crank out a good supply in a half an hour. The materials are inexpensive, which is also beneficial.

Tie some up, and give them a try.

Hook: Mustad 3906B, or equivalent, 12-16 (14 is my favorite)
Thread: Tan, 8/0
Bead: silver to match hook size
Underbody: lead wire covering half the shank, and tucked into the bead
Dubbing: Natural "haretron" (hare's body with antron carpet fibers)

Tips: when dubbing, don't use wax; dub loosely so fibers stick out. Wrap forward getting gradually thicker towards the bead.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


A few weeks ago I came across a website promoting the art of Tenkara, or Japanese fly fishing. I was intrigued, and two days ago I finally decided to buy a Tenkara rod and give it a try, especially on mountain brook trout streams. I ordered the rod from Tenkara USA. I specifically purchased the 11' Iwana along with a traditional Japanese fly line.

Part of the appeal of this new endeavor is the simplicity of the set-up, and it's practical use as a lightweight rod for backpacking. It also hearkens back to my days of fishing for chubs (venerable chubs as Walton wrote) on the Conoy Creek in Elizabethtown. I spent many hours with nothing more than a stick, a piece of monofillament, a hook and dough balls beguiling many a shiner and dace. Occasionally, when the fish gods smiled, I'd catch a sucker or a sunfish.

My rod is currently in transit, and with the approaching storm, I won't be trying it out anytime soon. I hope to make updates throughout the spring to share my success, or failure with his new technique. Stay posted, in the meantime enjoy this video:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Winter Wonderland

For those living in the Mid-Atlantic region, you know that we have had a lot of snow this winter. I, for one, have enjoyed the change of pace and the chance to engage in activities that usually involve travel to snowier places.

For the first time in 10 years, I was able to use the snowshoes that my wife picked up at EMS on a rental equipment clearance sale. With two feet on the ground, last weekend's tramp through Chiques Park with my buddy Chris R. was quite enjoyable using the snowshoes.

The new trail along the Susquehanna River has proven to be a great place to go to cross-country skiing. The access is still somewhat limited, so not to many people are using it. The tracks that skiers have made are sticking around since the hikers are not trampling them, and because they don't receive direct sunlight. I was able to get out two weekends in a row, and as long as the rain is not too bad later today, hopefully I'll get out next weekend as well.

Another benefit to the amount of snow on the ground is that even though it warmed up enough to go for a ride this past weekend, I was riding through a nice white backdrop. On Sunday, in fact, I almost pulled off a classic double: XC skiing in the morning and cycling in the afternoon.

It will be nice to get out on the track again, and to get in some more rides, but in the meantime, I'll enjoy the change of pace afforded by the winter weather. Coincidentally, I purchased a new pair of Northface Chilkat boots in anticipation of even more snow, but, they are due to arrive this afternoon, and the forecast, as I have said, is calling for rain. Nothing like ordering a new pair of winter boots to jinx the snowfall totals, and to hasten the arrival of spring.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Yellow Springs Rendezvous 2010

What a difference a week in winter makes. Had the YSR been this weekend, we might not have been able to make into Stony Valley. As it turns out, we contended with extremely cold temperatures last weekend, but no snow.

Things didn't begin well as we hit a deer in Kory's truck on the way to the Farmer's Wife for breakfast. The delay while waiting for the police to dispatch the deer that didn't die on impact caused us to miss breakfast. It was, however, worse for the deer.

After breakfast we made our way to the trail-head only to find the Game Commission closed the gate into Stony Valley, our second set-back of the trip. This inconvenience, however, turned out to be a boon as we found a great new access point for the AT, which led to a better camping area than Yellow Springs.

Once in camp, we set up and prepared for a cold night, which meant cutting a lot of wood. Supper and merriment ensued; a good time, I believe, was had by all. And we tied a 19 year record - the temperature Sunday morning was 5 degrees.

Enjoy the photos.