Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Weed Guard for Brownliners?

While wandering the streets of Boca Grande three weeks ago I ducked into, what else, Boca Grande Outfitters on Park Ave. I was looking for a wide brimmed hat for the coming summer days on the water when I happened upon their stock of saltwater flies. They had the standard fair of home spun goodies (from Singapore no doubt). What interested me most was their offerings from Enrico Puglisi. I've never heard of this guy before, but they carried a wide variety of his streamers in just about every color combination I've seen. So, I perused the rack for what I'm sure seemed like eternity to the local help. Oooo, a blue over white, neato! There's an olive over yellow with red gills, nice. And this one with vertical stripes, looks like a baby bass or crappie. That's a winner!.

"That'll be seven dollars and fifty six cents. Cash or credit?" (not including a hat.) Regardless, it's a pretty cool fly. Enrico calls it an Oscar. My older brother had one in his aquarium for about 4 years until it out grew it's 20 gallons and became fertilizer for the bushes outside his college apartment window... probably not the same breed.

"So, how is all this related to weed guards?". Well, if you're a regular Enrico customer you know that some of his flies have a double drop weed guard made of heavy gauge mono. I was particularly interested in this because according to Mr. Barton over at Singlebarbed, I'm a brownliner (well... almost), and I need weed guards on my flies because of where I cast. I also, like most fly fishers, tie my own from time to time and I'm not convinced the single loop guard is as reliable as the fly manufacturers seem to think. So I decided to incorporate the double drop into my own creations. It's actually a pretty easy technique, and you can add it to just about any design.

Still on board? Read on...

Enrico Puglisi Oscar (length: 4 inches)

If you look closely (above) you can see how the guard is draped over the hook near the eye. It's tied in with over-and-under figure eights to hold it down. I'm guessing the mono is pre-stressed at the bend to keep it's shape and speed up the production process. I was able to tie mine (below) with four or five loops around the drops under the shank, followed a few over-and-under figure eights to hold them tight to the shank.

John Graham over at at Prairie State Outdoors featured a Holschlag Hackle Fly a few posts ago that caught my eye. It seemed to me a good candidate for a weedless. Here's my version.

Weedless Holschlag Hackle Fly

The guard is tied in before the chenille and hackle are brought forward. It's no trouble at all to thread both between the two sides of mono on the way to the eye. I'm fairly happy with my first attempt. Next time I'll try to get the guard to lean back a few degrees so it slides over obstructions easier.

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