Shallow Waters on the Mad River

“Shallow Waters” by Clint Bova 
11"x14" Watercolor on Arches 9o lb.

“Breaking the norm” is always a fishing mantra of mine especially when it comes to the topic of where the fish hold and where they actually feed. Many fisherman go directly to the deepest chasm they can find and drop lines. Depending on what time of day you may find them in the deepest lanes but they may not be feeding. The Mad River has taught me time and time again that big fish often feed directly in front of the deeper lies or holding areas. The upstream approach is always the most intelligent tactic carefully watching for tipping snouts and what I call “super sippers” these are fish that are over 15" and out in the open taking smallish flies.

 This nice Mad River Brown (above) was caught in about 12 inches of water and took a #18 Para Ant. Below him back about 25 feet was his holding lane that is about 4 feet deep. Looking for deep water is all fine and good but always remember often in the shallows above their holes is their favorite buffet lines.
                           ~Clint Joseph Bova


The Art of Doing and Making

“When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressive creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and opens ways for better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it and shows there are still more pages possible.”

                   ~Robert Henri


The 7'9" Isaac Zane The Ultimate Prospecting Rod

 above & below: A just completed  7'9" Isaac Zane 
for Nathan Hale of Colorado Springs CO.
(click photos to enlarge)

{7’9” 5wt. “Isaac Zane”} This has become my favorite go-to rod for new river prospecting. I’ve fished this taper for many years over a wide variety of rivers primarily because of it’s diverse casting range. 

A delicate combination of clear wraps and black or red tipping with a down locking domed cap and ring reel seat. A subtle tapered swelled butt is eye catching above the grade A cork grip. This rod may also be ordered with a down sliding cap and ring set or threaded barrel set. Blued or polished nickel hardware and a hand rubbed curly Koa or walnut burl reel seat make this rod very pleasing to the eye.

This rod is a great throughout the season go anywhere rod. All Signature Rods come with a milled nickel finial style ferrule plug. Each rod is hand rubbed and polished then fitted with a cashmere rod bag. The Signature Rods all come with a double brass capped heavy walled aluminum rod case.


Loon Outdoors UV Clear Flow Fly Finish

Every so often I find a product that just does exactly what it says it does and does it in a very ingenious way.  I have used Loon products since the inception of the company. Chemistry when done right is alchemy, yea pure magic! I had the pleasure of introducing myself to one of the founders of the company many years ago and I immediately fell in love with Loon and its point of view as well as its line of products. Hydrostop was my first Loon product that I purchased and it not only floated my fly's BUT it also revived my fly's after many days of use. Now Loon Outdoors UV Clear Flow Fly Finish is on my favorites list. It is by far the thinnest UV finish that I have found. Anyone who knows me knows that I use smallish flies with knotted pheasant tail parts, hen tip wings, detached bodies, quills, biots, etc. Many of these materials are quite gossamer and need a more precise low viscosity finish as well as a very controllable adhesive property. Loon's UV Clear flow has been a god send for my fly tying endeavors.      www.loonoutdoors.com

                             ~Clint Joseph Bova

The Process of Making a Cane Rod Come to Life

Now coming on my 16th year of making bamboo fly rods I have developed my own way of working with cane and it has become a lifestyle as well as a honed craft. I still make them one by one in limited quantities and each spline is carefully straightened, nodes filed and pressed and dressed. Every step in the process my hands do not leave the cane. I have evolved my tapers over time through simple trial and error and have a quiver of tapers that best suit not only my own style of fishing but other styles as well.

In a world of mega brands and imported parts and pieces I am still holding fast to turnkeying all aspects of the bamboo rod making process. Reel seats, nickel hardware, grips, etc. Finding an easier way of making a bamboo rod is not at all in my vocabulary, quite simply because I enjoy the process so much. Without sounding too spiritual or metaphysical, making a cane rod is much like a dance. I find it consuming, serine, spiritual, and very satisfying. Nurturing a rod from start to finish becomes a labor of love. One year while I was in the Smokey Mountains a woman in a Lodge was looking at one of my fly rods and she said “it looks like you put a lot of love into these rods” I remember shyly saying that “each one never really leaves when it goes out the door” it sounds a bit sentimental but its very true.
                      ~Clint Joseph Bova


Dying Your Hackles~ Pearl Grey Rit Liquid Dye

So it took what felt like four decades but Rit finally shelved Pearl Grey in Liquid form. This is sweet news to the ears of most hardcore fly tyers because powder versions of grey can be very very inconsistent. Many of the greys lean towards warm to magenta and mixing grey as everyone knows is very difficult because of the variables. Now that Rit makes Pearl Grey in liquid for you can simply warm it up or cool it down using the other colors such as magenta or cyan. Most of my grey batches I add a smidge of red to warm the liquid form. I have found the liquid form is very consistent from bottle to bottle as opposed to the traditional salt crystal packs.

The above photo of the biot dun illustrates the liquid form results with a tad of red added for depth, and warmth. Hackles, tailing fibers, biot, and hen tips all dyed with the new liquid form.
The consistency is what excites me and cuts the guess work and dilution time in half. Happy dying everyone!
                    Clint Joseph Bova


The Midge Fest

Spring Buffet, Clint Bova, 5" x 5" collage

During the early spring dashing through the woods avoiding lightning and getting smashed by falling branches is a challenge in itself. Another challenge is spotting insects that the trout are zeroing in on. Being a creature of habit and optimism I grab my box of midges without even thinking. Fore and Aft patterns, A.K. Best styled midges with modified biot wings, and the old standby, parachute emergers.
The “Dark Child Box” is my pet name for flies that work best for me at this time of year. This is because the colors are cool grays that lean to near ivory black. Prospecting is out of the question for this time of year for a surface session. Go look for the fish from the banks. I don't even bother getting in the water if I do not see any surface activity. Be slow and methodical, don't feel rushed, and most of all keep your expectations in check. The spring fever is always entertaining and seeing other anglers whip the water up till it turns to butter is like sitting at the mall and people watching for me. There is always one fly fisher smoking a stogie and swearing like a drunk sailor. Think of fishing at this time of year as a nice stroll in the woods interrupted by...fishing.
Happy Spring 2016
Clint Joseph Bova