The Secret squirrel has become one of my go to river flies and might be the "fish catching-est" fly I have ever developed. The key to this fly is the jigging action combined with its size. By tying this fly on a barbless jig style hook for nymphs I obtain a small profile with a hook point that rides up.
The secret squirrel was developed during low water conditions when bouncing along the limestone bottoms of the central Texas rivers was not so much a technique as an inescapable fact of fishing. In combination with my regular habit of "perch jerking," the necessity for a small "jig-like" fly that could hit bottom and not hang up became critical. I would love to say this fly has gone through many hard tested iterations to become what is it, but the truth is that I put the idea together one night at the vice and it paid off big. The only real addition I made from the original first fly was to add lead wraps for a faster sink rate in deeper waters.
This fly is one designed to produce numbers.....The fly first proved itself on the Llano river when it pulled 28 fish (including 4 different species) out from underneath a single overhanging tree and later that day I lost my last secret squirrel to something big enough to drag me around the river and brake me off (ALWAYS RETIE!). At a later date it won Most Fish in the the local one fly tournament on the Nueces River with 69 fish in one day on one fly. (For durability in this scenario, I add super glue after all the steps.) Finally, this fly also has my personal best trout from the Guadalupe River to add to its list of accomplishments and this fish happened on one of those "no one is catching anything" days when I switched over to this fly because I had no better ideas.
Olive is my go to color, but I also tie it in red and tan and chartreuse. Enjoy the video.
One of the challenges of moving across the country several times in a single year has been trying to track down the local fishing shows. Upon discovering the Sacramento International Sportsmen's Expositions show, I knew I had to get my fishing show fix. The show was dominated by outfitters for both hunting and fishing which definitely have their place. However, anyone who follows this blog will realize I must seek out the tying tables. While there not numerous tiers at this outdoors show by fly fishing show standards there were plenty to keep me entertained. Enjoy.
A few months ago I picked up a JP Ross Beaver Meadow 5wt rod blank with prebuilt cork and reel seat. Since I am notoriously prone to take advantage of a deal, the great price made this my next fiberglass rod project. Upon returning to Texas over the Christmas holidays and to my "rod shop" (or at least to the cardboard box containing it) I was able to complete the build. I was pleased the rod blank had both a uniquely etched reel seat and quality built cork handle already given my limited time frame. I also want to thank Jordan P. Ross for making me decals with the Siren Flies logo. Its a great little touch that makes this rod especially mine.
For my two cents, I would classify the rod as a faster glass...medium action rod, and it paired well for me with the Leland 5wt fly line. I am still deciding on a reel to balance it to my satisfaction. As is often the case with glass, a heavier reel is needed to balance the rod...perfect opportunity to track down a nice new vintage reel. Now all I need to do is get it on the water to break the mojo. Too bad the weather has been terrible here. Alas, it will change in time. Good luck on the water.
This year I traveled across the country and covering thousands of miles with job changes. I have fished Estes Park in Colorado, the Bighorn River in Montana, most of the drainages of the Bighorn National Forest and now Puta Creek in California. However, Texas still seems like home and I had to go fishing while I returned home for the holidays. I am still pretty leery of comparing the annually stocked trout of the Guadalupe to the native cutthroats of the Bighorn Mountains, but the trout of the central Texas hold a special place in my life long fishing adventure since they were the first trout I ever caught.
The weather change has pulled much of Texas out of the drought conditions of the last few years. In these years, flows of 100 CFSon the Gudadalupe were treasured on the few days they occurred during the drought, but now flows in the 500 CFS range make for completely new fly fishing challenges. The combination of high (but good) flows and exceptionally warm temperatures this winter have made fishing generally difficult. Daniel Hughes (@cordovacustomrods on Instagram and now guide for ReelFly Fishing Adventures) and I have been discussing these challenges for a couple weeks in anticipation for a holiday fishing trip on the Guadalupe.
As our battle plan formed from a mix of our own experience as well as stories from other anglers that fished in the days of yore (when Texas had flow). Ultimately, we settled on sinking lines and streamers. One of my long term goals has been to catch a trout on the Guadalupe with an articulated streamer. My normal fishing access points are usually so heavily pounded with olive wooly buggers that tossing streamers bigger then a size 10 would be foolish. However, since I would able to float regions of the river with Daniel that are not accessible by foot I hoped to finally scratch this one of f the list.
This logic proved sound as I both achieved my goal. I had a nice trout come flying out of the bottom of deep pool to crash my streamer near the surface. A color variant of Fly Fish Food's Cheech Leech proved to be too much of a temptation. Other fish fell to some of my other small streamers and a sculpzilla variant thrown by Daniel. Perhaps streamers and sinking lines will be a new and reliable option in the high flow conditions.
I was asked for a breakdown of Central Texas River flies by a friend. The flies listed here should cover rivers like the Llano, Medina, Guadalupe (non-trout season), San Antonio, Nueces, and Frio. While I will wager these flies will work on the other central Texas rivers such as the Colorado, the greater depths of some rivers may require weighting the flies more heavily then I usually do. Adjust to the waters you fish.
2/0 Foam Fruit Cock Tail