If you know a fly fisherman, and are looking for a gift for him, fishing flies are a great choice. A fly fisherman cannot have too many flies, so your gift will always be appreciated. Flies wear out, and get lost, so most fishermen carry several of the same fly, in various sizes. Here are some suggestions for what to look for if you are going to buy flies for a fly fisherman as a gift.
First, if you are unfamiliar with fly fishing, or purchasing flies, go simple. There are several patterns that every fly fisherman carries in his box, and these are safe purchases. A few patterns such as the Elk Hair Caddis, the Hare’s Ear Nymph, the Adam’s Dry, the Pheasant Tail Nymph, and the Wooly Bugger are good options. These are patterns that are effective on most trout streams, and are a staple in most fly boxes. You can purchase these patterns in various sizes and help to keep your fly fisherman’s box well stocked.
If you are more familiar with fly fishing, you can purchase some more area specific flies. Many streams will have very specific insect life present at various times of the year. If you know the insects that inhabit the local streams of your fly fisherman, and you understand their life cycles, you can buy the various flies that represent those life cycles. Look for nymph, caddis or dry fly patterns that mimic these various stages. Often, there are specific patterns that are known to be successful on specific streams. For example, one of the streams that I enjoy fishing is the Elk River, in the mountains of West Virginia. It is known for its very small midge hatches. These are mimicked by a #32 midge pattern, which is hard to see, difficult to fish, but very successful when done right. If you can identify a specialty pattern for the streams where your fisherman fishes, it would make a great gift!
Another option is to purchase terrestrial patterns. These are patterns that mimic land insects rather than aquatic insects. These patterns are very successful on most streams in the late summer months. Grass hoppers, lady bugs, and beetles are all patterns that are popular, especially along streams that flow through grasslands, or pastures. In the warmer summer months, these types of insects become a staple food for the fish.
If your fly fisherman prefers to pursue bass, or other larger predatory fish (such as Muskie, or Pike), then you can look at deer hair poppers. These are flies that are made from deer hair, so that they are very buoyant. They float on the top, and when fished correctly, pop the water, appearing like a frog, salamander, or wounded minnow. These types of flies are perfect for fishing lakes, or ponds. Another option is to look for minnow imitating flies, such as sculpins, muddler minnows, or larger wooly buggers. These flies are also great choices for larger fish on open lakes and ponds.
For the pan fish fisherman, smaller poppers are the best choice. They are often made of small pieces of cork, with a feather tail. These types of flies are deadly on pan fish such as bluegills, red bellies, or crappie.
You can purchase several flies for a reasonable price if you do a search online. Fly shops provide a large selection, but are often overpriced (sometimes over $2 per fly). There are several sources online where you purchase flies for a much more reasonable price. I like to look on Ebay, as there are many tiers that sell their wares there, and you can find some great deals
As a fly fisherman, I can say that flies make a great gift! Most fishermen will try to have a well stocked box, especially at the beginning of the season, but flies wear out, get broken off, or stuck in trees. So, fishermen can always use more flies! You can be sure that your gift will be accepted with much gratitude.
It’s 3:30 a.m. and the alarm goes off. You’re tired, but visions of a big buck help you sit up and rub your eyes. Then you hear it — howling winds and maybe even the dreaded patter of rain on the roof.
Many of us at this point decide it’s not worth the trouble and lay back down to blissful slumber. But that could be a big mistake.
Deer are just like us when it comes to bad weather — they avoid it as much as possible. If you have hunted the same area for any length of time, you probably know of several sheltered depressions, benches or thickets — these can be deer hotspots in bad weather.
While going out and sitting on your favorite stand in pouring rain all day is miserable and probably unproductive, consider making stalks to your property’s natural weather shelters. You can make a short day of your hunt since you’ll probably be cold and wet, but your odds of seeing deer are good — especially when you compare them to the odds of taking your trophy buck from your bed!
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Many hunters have experienced frustration when hunting during the full moon. There’s no question that deer movement seems non-existent sometimes, and that’s almost always true during the full moon.
The problem isn’t really that the deer don’t go to their normal feeding areas; it’s just that they don’t seem to move in their traditional early morning, late-evening pattern.
Researchers and many hunters are starting to realize that the best time to be in the woods during these slow periods is the middle of the day when many of us are eating lunch or taking a nap. Further, it’s surprising how many of the really big bucks are taken during the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. time frame.
The next time you’re facing a full moon or subdued deer movement, consider staying on stand through the middle part of the day. Or, if you’d prefer, sleep in until 9 or so and then head to the woods. You just might catch that big buck when he least expects you.
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Well, another West Virginia hunting season is now in the books for me. As you saw from my last post, it was a bit abbreviated, due to the birth of my son. I was still able to tag 3 deer, two bucks and a doe. I did get to go out looking for a final deer with a muzzle loader this week, but we had terrible weather. It rained most of the time, and was over 50 degrees. It was quiet, and I was able to do quite a bit of still hunting. I only had one opportunity at a deer that I walked up on in its bed, but did not take the shot, as I was trying to drive deer to a hunting companion of mine. The deer were very few and far between, and they were very skittish this late in the season. We ended up coming home empty handed, and that’s ok too!
I was very disappointed to find the evidence of deer poaching at our farm this week. There were 5 carcasses thrown out in the middle of a road, which had been minimally butchered, and had their antlers cut off. Other hunters in our party told me these deer were already there when the season started. It has been a common sight over the last few years to find at least 2 bucks killed before the season comes in, and their carcasses thrown out on the side of the road. It is very disappointing to see this, when we are trying desperately to find nice bucks legally. It is hard to kill those nice bucks in season when someone else is killing them before! I also found 2 other deer that were simply shot and left lay in the woods. One was a doe that had been left for some time, and had been eaten by coyotes. The other was a small buck, which had only been dead for a couple of days. It was probably shot in doe season, and left behind because of its antlers. What a waste! If you are going to shoot without looking to see if the deer is legal first, then at least take it out so it does not go to waste! Such unethical practices make me angry as a hunter, because it is such things as this that give hunters a bad name. We need to hunt ethically, and treat our quarry with respect.
I hope to get a few days to hunt in Alabama this year. Last year I was able to bag a couple of does down that way, and put a little meat in my in-laws freezer. Maybe I will have a chance to do that again this year. It is always fun to hunt down there. The methods of hunting are so different from up here, it was like learning to hunt all over again. We shall see if the deer are ready for me in a couple weeks!
I am happy to announce the birth of my third child, a true little hunter! He was born on November 21st, yes right in the middle of West Virginia’s rifle season. JonDavid Hunter weighed in at 8 lbs, 1/4 oz. and measured 21 inches long. Just to show you what he is in for, here is a picture of him in his coming home outfit:
Lest any one worry, my wife made the adorable outfit that JonDavid is wearing. Jacob also came home from the hospital in camo. I gave in on my daughter, and let here wear a frilly dress. However, the boys have to be tough, and prepared for the coming hunting seasons! We couldn’t help but use the name “Hunter” since he was born during hunting season.
I have managed to get out into the woods a bit, around the birth of my son. Since it didn’t appear that he was going to make an appearance on Monday of season, I decided to take a chance and travel to a friend’s farm about an hour and a half away. I was fortunate enough to bag a nice little four point buck early in the morning. A friend of mine accompanied me, and was able to get his first deer, a little button buck. Here a few pics from the day:
I also was able to get out last Friday and fill my doe tag. That gets 3 nice deer into the freezer, and should keep us through the winter. I am hoping to be able to get out for a couple of days next week for our muzzleloader season. I am hoping to bag at least one more doe, and maybe get a chance at a late season buck.
Over all, it has been a great season so far! We have truly been blessed.