Saturday, November 15, 2014

Getting Ready for Belize

Johnson's Blue Bonefish Villa

Looks inviting. The end of February several of us are going to Bill from Plateau Fly Shop and his wife Sarah on a trip to the Blue Bonefish Villa on San Pedro, Belize.  The plans are four days of flats fishing from boats, one day of reef fishing or snorkeling and one free day.  Looks like several good ideas for the free day, but I may need to just relax.

The owner, Jim Johnson, sent a list of flies (and other gear) to bring, plus I have a few friends that have given recommendations on flies, leaders, etc.  Steve, who I'll be traveling with, just gave a fantastic program on how to tie leaders and improve our knot tying.  Soon I'll get started on that.  Also, I've been trying to improve my casting with my 8 wt saltwater rod.  Its turned cold, but I still need to get out and practice more.

Here are a few of the flies that have been suggested.
Bonefish Bitters

This fly was on the list from the Villa, also some friends recommended it. I used a Tiemco U401 #8 hook on the ones shown. The head is small bead chain eyes, coated with Clear Cure Goo and then colored with magic marker. I've used two different kinds of legs: Speckled Centipede, Med Orande and Sili Legs, Sand/orange-Blk Flake. The wing is a tan Hi-vis under deer hair.  Hopefully, the deer hair will serve as a weed guard.


This fly was highly recommended by Steve and I've learned to listen to his advice. I used a #4 saltwater hook and the eyes are beadchain.  I've varied the size and color of the eyes. The tail is fox fur, as is the wing.  The legs are the same Sili Legs as above.  The body and head are a sparkle material.  I did some of the heads in pink, all of the bodies are white or pearl.  

Lefty's Bonefish Fly

This one was not recommended, but for the salt you have to have one of Lefty's patterns. Side note: I was lucky enough to meet and talk to Lefty a couple of years ago...what a character!  Also, this is a very simple tie.  I used both #8 and #6 saltwater hooks. Everything was tied in over the beadchain eyes. The fur is badger and some pearl or gold krystal flash. One small bunch of fur on top (what will be the bottom) of the hook. After turning the hook over, I tied in fur, flash and the more fur. The person who did the video used white thread, but then did the head in pink for Lefty. I did a few that way and a few all pink thread.

The Avalon

Jim recommend this fly for permit.  It is weighed much heavier than the others and is tied larger.  The hook is a # 2 or 4 saltwater and the eyes are bead chain.  The keel is 20 lb hard mono with 4 1/8" beads, this adds weight and is suppose to rattle when stripped. Mouth is orange antron yarn. Black krystal flash makes up the antennae. The legs are the same Centipede legs as above.  I just realized that you can't see the body (tan Chenille) and the shell back ( pearl flat braid) in this picture. The claws are rabbit strips, one tied to each side.

Because of the keel, this fly won't sit properly for a picture, so I put the keel in the vise to show the shell back and also how the claws are attached. Sorry the picture isn't the best.

That's what I've tied so far, going to do some Gotchas, Crazy Charlies and Christmas Island specials.  I'll add them when I get some tied.

As I mentioned before it just turned cold here, and I'm really looking forward to the warmth of Belize.  

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fall at the Springfield Nature Center

If you are looking for fishing, I'm sorry.  This will just be some pictures I've taken while walking at the Springfield Nature Center this fall.  I've included some animal and some that just show Mother Nature at her best. I like what I call "artsy-fartsy" pictures, so the subject matter may vary, but all photos where taken at the Nature Center this fall.

I was on the board walk watching these young ladies.  I had spotted them from the bridge and made my way along the boardwalk. Then I saw the buck shown above coming along.  He was aware of me, but didn't seem too concerned.  Usually, the buck are more skittish than the doe.  This morning I came upon one group of doe that I could have hit with a short roll cast and one that I could have tickled with my 8' 6" fly rod.  They really are that used to people.

At this point, I'd estimate the distance between me and the buck was less than 30 feet. This morning, directly below the Nature Center building I spotted the buck shown below.  There was a man and his daughter walking down the steps from the building and when they reached the bottom of the steps I pointed out the buck.  That will give those of you familiar with the area just where he was.  This is the second time I saw him in this area.

Besides the large critters, there are a few smaller ones. There is at least one more little fellow that had ran out of the picture. I believe I saw more chipmunks this year than ever before.  And there are lots of squirrels! Like the songbirds, these guys are hard to photograph, always on the move.

I really got lucky on the shot above. The focus seems to be pretty good with the background blurred. Now a couple of my "artsy-fartsy" shots.

Last week one of my Facebook friends, I forget who, posted a picture of a frost flower.  I don't believe I had ever heard of them before.  Then this morning, my good friend and fishing buddy Larry, posted pictures of some from his backyard.

Just after I saw the nice buck I saw what I thought was white plastic bags thrown close to the trail.  When I got close I saw what I believe are the first frost flowers I've ever seen. They are definitely the first I ever recognized as what they are. Here are a couple of shots of them. A few up close and then an area shot.

Near the end of today's hike I saw a flock of about 10 turkeys. These two started across the trail, changed their mind and ran along the trail for a short distance, then back toward the others.

That's all for now.  I've got to tie some flies and leaders for a February fishing trip to Belize. I might show some of the flies as I get them tied and, hopefully, some fish pictures when I return.