Pete's original writings from the Heart of the World, plus fly-tying

Friday, February 26


The little kitten
is out of control,
springing straight
to the ceiling!
She's full of Space
and now,
claws dug in,
setting her tail,
hunts Time

Wednesday, February 24

Fly-tying: Simon's Squid

Simon Graham's Tube Raccoon Bunnies feature Finn Raccoon zonker tails and zonker-collared bodies for the foundation and go on from there. I'm really impressed with them and chose to try that style with my new raccoon zonkers. I thought "saltwater squid" and since his work was my inspiration, decided on "Simon's Squid". [Update: check out Simon's own squid versions on Striper SurfTalk, or his blog for version 1, version 2, as well as a neat way to thin raccoon collars without sacrificing fullness. Simon also drew my attention to this video about tying collars without the hide in a dubbing loop].

Starting with a Eumer large orange tube over a small clear tube insert, I tied on a length of Eumer's orange raccoon zonker for the tail. Over that went a dozen or so long slender purple saddles (Ken Abrames' RLS saddles). Then 2 more slender saddles- off-white and mottled to hint at the squid's "grabbers". Over that went a small bunch of Christmas tinsel, pearl and holo silver. OK, tail section completed.

For the body, I started with small pieces of orange, purple, and red raccoon tied around the shank and covering the tail tie-ins. Then came the palmered orange raccoon collar, followed by purple arctic fox as a contrasting head. The nose is finished off with a Eumer large orange cone.

Thank you, Simon. Thank you, Eumer.

Fly-tying: Olli Ojamo from Eumer

This past Saturday I went to the Fly Show sponsored by Scott at Bear's Den in Taunton, Massachusetts. This is a great show with lots of talented and well-known tiers. No admission fee.

I was looking forward to meeting Olli Ojamo of Eumer.

He tied a neat little baitfish pattern for me and, truth be told, I could fish with nothing but this simple but thoughtful fly and need no other.

Recipe: Start with Eumer silver teardrop body with red tubing as hook holder. Add a small bunch of white fox fur for "body" and profile. Add bit of white Finn Raccoon for underwing. Add piece of pearl flash for accent. Add bit of chartreuse Fin Raccoon for overwing. Add "short pinch" of chartreuse Finn Raccoon gathered from scrap-cuttings to the front of the wing as a sort of hair-hackle accent covering top and sides of shank. For final step add 2 peacock herls longer than the wing as topping. Cap it off with a Eumer cone.

Olli turned the fly over to show the underside and said a lot of fish hit from below and this is what they see. The red hook tube makes for a trigger point. The raccoon gives it a perfect teardrop taper. And I'm thinking that whether the long herl topping is traditional or not, from the bottom it makes a perfect tailfin impression, adding even more length to the fly with this slightest of suggestions. Simple fly- great design! Hey, change the white and chartreuse color scheme once in awhile and I'm a one-fly guy. Over time, of course, mischief alone will produce more styles than I could ever need or use....

Fly-tying: Finn Raccoon

I'd heard of Finn raccoon. Discovering Simon Graham's blog "Pike Fly Fishing Articles" showed me what you can do with it. Wow! Fly fishing for pike opens the door to a style of tying that is at once graceful and wild. I'd heard of Eumer tubes. Again, Simon's blog showed me Eumer in action. Simon's site is far-ranging and inspirational- worth a visit and a bookmark! I'd written to Simon with a question and in short order was tying with Eumer's Finn Raccoon.

My first raccoon fly might have become a Ray's Fly (white under yellow under olive under peacock herl with flash interspersed), but I've always had a fondness for adding lavender and/or violet. So I guess this makes it a variation of the Magog Smelt or maybe Silver Outcast, except for the glowing tarpon-style nose. No, I don't remember what I was thinking.

So, here's a "Rudolph", tied with flourescent red thread on an inline, wide-gap circle hook (Eagle Claw 7228), beginning just above the bend: white Finn Raccoon, over which is sparse pearl Angel Hair, over which is yellow Finn Raccoon, over which is sparse pearl Angel Hair, over which is lavender Finn Raccoon, over which is olive Finn Raccoon, finished with a tarpon-style nose with the red thread.

Thursday, February 18

Fly-tying: Belly Ache Minnow

This video from Front Range Anglers demonstrates a rabbit zonker variation. The big plus is Hareline Dubbin's ribbed tungsten body, which makes for a neat little fly.

Tuesday, February 16

Fly-tying: Albie Whore

Here's the Albie Whore by Richard Reagan. He uses hot glue and the steps are pretty simple. I like this fly for a change of pace. The body color showing through the front feathers is a nice effect.

Wednesday, February 10


Morning's the time
for all of the best,
and after Noon, renewal . .
Later on as we
gather around-
Wide open window
on weathered old singing-
Stories and friends enjewelled

Sunday, February 7


Fear is as flat
as a sheet of paper,
with nothing behind
it but our attention,
held up like a
mask, like blinders
on Horse, presently
Lost in the Parade

Thursday, February 4

Fly Tying: Ken Abrames


Ken Abrames is a friend of mine. His fly tying achievements center around multi-colored flatwings. A feather tail lying flat is encouraged to follow its natural inclination, swinging side-to-side, ever-shifting in the micro-currents along its length. Ken ensured this by tying in the feather right where its stiffest section transitions to suppleness. This is further enhanced by resting the transition zone on a dubbed pillow. Arranging the feathers and flash to allow them to spread out and "fill" with water, the fly is at peace and one with the water, reacting as "lighly as a feather in the watery winds". Tying sparsely allows the bucktail and other forward materials to move in concert with the currents as well.

Ken has a rich artistic background. He applies an impressionistic color sense to his bucktails and feathered flies. He hints at the ever-changing multi-color reflections of living bait with multi-color accents fully grounded in historical impressionist theory and application.

A fly designed to be fully activated by filling with water until it is one with the sea, enhanced by shifting colors that are inseparable from the living, moving water the fly now lives in ... A thoughtful, watchful presentation that optimizes the fly's drift ... Knowing it is well-formed and now genuinely independent, he fully "lets go" of the fly.  He lets go, paradoxically, as if he were fishing with live bait.

Sure, Ken's design is just one of many, many ways of tying a fly. But what a design! Adding his insights and innovations to your tying brings you into a larger continuum- decades of classic salmon presentation using a fly superbly attuned to its changing surroundings and tied with colors based on close observation and grounded in an important and much loved artistic tradition. He's generously shared these innovations. You are part of something bigger now.

Ken Abrames:
Website: Striper Moon