Fly of the Month 08.13 Howell's Trip Saver
This “fly of the month” represents the latest in the Alen Baker/Tom Adams series.
I encountered a “letter to the editor” in a fly fishing magazine that complained about the names given to our modern fly patterns. WD40, Chernobyl Ant, Jake’s Freaky Fly, Sasquatch and many other examples were sited. Traditional names like Quill Gordon, Light Cahill and Royal Caochman continue to serve us well as “go to flies” but frankly, there are thousands of fly patterns at present and some of the very old fly patterns have names that are just as strange as our modern names. So what’s important about the name of a fly. Optimistically, the name comes from the story of the success of the fly pattern. Such stories lead us to name a fly pattern just about any name. Guides have their signature fly pattern they developed and always have their stroy. Well, I dare not ever complain. For me, I enjoy learning the story behind the name of a fly pattern and how it was developed. For every “fly of the month” Tom and I make every effort to research and tell that story. During the past year we have focused on collecting the recipes of any and all Southern Appalachian fly patterns that we encounter. We began with the thinking that there are simply a few dozen fly patterns that were developed locally about fifty to one hundred years ago. The Early Nelson, Sheep Fly, Yellowhammer and Thunderhead are good examples. However, we now have some 400 recipes. Also, keep in mind that new Southern Appalachian fly patterns are being developed everyday by both anglers and guides.
Howell’s Trip Saver
Kevin Howell is an avid fly tyer, angler, guide and owner of Davidson River Outfitters (DRO) firstname.lastname@example.org . We are excited to announce that Howell’s Trip Saver has been accepted by Umpqua Feather Merchants as a full production fly pattern that will be tyed and distributed world-wide. Kevin is proudly following in the tradition of his father Don Howell and his uncle Dwight Howell. The name gives away the story, well almost. Kevin has developed a number of fly patterns over the years. The Trip Saver did not have a name at first. The fly pattern was one of several developed while simply fooling around at the tying bench, experimental fly patterns. Taking some of the most productive elements of various nymph patterns, this particular fly pattern emerged. The Hare’s Ear color imitates many species of nymphs and the small brown rubber legs, antenna and tail give the fly pattern lively movements. The pearl tinsel and top of pearl krystal flash provide eye catching flash and the Tungsten bead head assures a fast sink.
Kevin was on a fly fishing trip and having no success in catching a fish with just about every fly pattern he tried. He pulled out his experimental fly patterns and this particular fly pattern caught fish and literally saved his fly fishing trip. Thus, he named the fly pattern Howell’s Trip Saver. The fly pattern has been so successful that kevin decided to submitthe fly pattern to Umpqua a a candidate for a new production fly pattern. Umpqua has accepted and is rolling out the fly pattern in August. Fish the Howell’s Trip Saver fly pattern as a nymph at or near the stream bottom. Unlike a rising nymph which would utilize a brass bead head that imitates an air bubble, the black Tungsten bead head simply gets the fly pattern down even in faster currents.
Allow us to give a special thanks to Kevin Howell for sharing his announcement with our chapter. Tom, myself and a number of other Rocky River members have been fortunate to fish the private DRO waters behind the fly shop a number of times. Kevin has leased three miles of the Davidson River and manages this section as catch-and-release fly fishing only. An angler can book a half-day or full-day guided or a full day unguided. Kevin only allows eight rods at one time on the entire three miles so there is an assurance of a good fly fishing experience. The bookings fill up quickly particularily for the weekends. You make a call to the fly shop and purchase your booking in advance. You can purchase a pass for later use, then book in advance when you are ready to use the pass as well. The experience of fly fishing the DRO waters is well worth the purchase. There are a number of twenty-plus inch rainbows and browns. I have typically caught at least a fourteen or sixteen inch trout every time. My last experience was in high, yet clear water due to all the rain we have had. Yet, I still caught a 20-inch, two 16-inch and a 14-inch trout between several showers and one downpour. The 20-inch rianbow jumped six times. What a day!
I would highly recommend that you book at least a guided half-day with DRO and experience first hand what Kevin offers to his customers. I also recommend you use the Howell’s Trip Saver if you are nymphing that day.
- Alen Baker
Fly of the Month 08.13 Howell's Trip Saver
Hook: Tiemco 5262 or equivalent, Size: 10, 12, 14, 16
Thread: Uni 8/0 Black or equivalent
Abdomen: SLF Whitlock Red Fox Squirrel
Rib: Pearl Tinsel
Hackle: Hungarian Partridge w/ pearl krystal flash
Thorax: Ice Dub UV Black
Bead Head: Black Tungsten
Legs: Small brown rubber
1) Debarb and add bead head, mount hook and attach thread in front of the bead. Let the bobbin hang.
2) Cut the packaged rubber legs to about two and one half inches in length, pull away two pieces. Set one aside and find the half point of one. Position this one in front of the bead about two eyelengths back from the eye and make a single soft wrap for positioning. Then make and x wrap with two or three turns, again fairly soft to hold but not spring the legs out. With the legs where you want them. Holding on top of the hook shank, begin firmly wrapping the far leg forward to the eye. Repeat with the closer leg and whip finish. Cut the thread and advance the bead over the tied in rubber legs to the eye.
3) Tie in the thread behind the bead head and advance the thread to the hook bend to slightly behind the barb in touching wraps and repeat the leg tie in as you did at the eye.
4) Tie in a three inch piece of pearl tinsel and then dub the thread with the SLF red fox squirrel up to the thorax. The dub should be fairly “open” and not tight like you would dub a dry. It will sink better and have more sex appeal if it is “loose”. Advance the pearl tinsel in even wraps and tie off and clip away the waste tinsel.
5) Dub a very short section of thread with the black Ice dubbing (enough for two or three wraps). This will raise the bed and make tying in the hackle easier.
6) Select four or five strands of the krystal flash and tie in on the top of the hook, so that the flash is over the abdomen. Avoid letting them bunch or rotate too much. They should be slightly longer than the hook shank.
7) Select a Hungarian Partridge feather. After selecting, tie in by the tip and make one or two wraps. It should be pretty full.
8) Dub with Ice UV black and wrap to cover and complete the thorax.
9) Once the thread is cut, stroke some of the black fibers back toward the hook bend to blend the collar.
- Tom Adams, Alen Baker