Seldom Seen Cane Rods ~ the Silent Partner

“Seldom Seen Pond” oil on wood panel 6x8 
Field Study by Clint Bova 2017

An early fall and hot weather has made for some interesting color this year as well as some interesting insects that have been hatching out of season. Fumbling through fly boxes that are out of season and modifying patterns to keep up with the idiosyncrasies are a common fly fishing occurrence for the last three or so weeks. I suppose it keeps the angler on his toes and keep the creative juices flowing. My motto is “failure is always an option” just don't let it get you down.
I think my bamboo rod is the only familiar partner I have during this strange uncharacteristic season.

Some fall signs in the middle of August, the little black 
surface midges prove a worthy fly to carry


Mad River Summer 2017

 “Mad Storms Coming 
field study, Oil on 6x8 wood panel, by Clint Bova

The summer of 2017 to many fisherman was a very disappointing summer. It was a summer of constant rain and wind with fronts coming in from the west that seemed never ending. Relentless patience and perseverance was really the only tactic to track down the Brown Trout. As for myself I often put down my rod and lifted up a brush instead of fighting it. I was amazed at the light, color, and atmosphere these storms presented. I can only say failure sometimes brings new perspective. I failed often this season only to find consolation and beauty in and out of the Mad. I suppose at some point I just embraced whatever Mother Nature slammed down on me and tried to capture the moment.
         ~Clint Bova


“Downstream Winds”

“Downstream Winds” 6x8 oil on wood panel by Clint Bova
Field Study, Mad River June 11th 2017

“Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay at eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain”
~Henry David Thoreau
Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henrydavid106919.html


CB's Japanese Beetles

 above photo: Provided by Debbi T. Walker an Ohio Photographer. 
Debbi is a talented outdoor photographer who loves to take pictures of insects, animals, and landscapes and often shoots photography around the Mad River and Cedar Bog.

In the heat of the summer many fish hunker down during the day and will pass up the occasional Caddis, midge, or ant floating overhead. Often fish conserve energy for a larger more nourishing food item. During the summer months fish want to conserve energy and exert themselves only for the most significant meal. 
This is called the “Pounds Per Meat Law” again the least amount of energy is expelled for the most nourishment possible. This should be the mid-summer mantra for both fishers and fish!  Large ants are another food item that fish will come off of the bottom for during the midday sun and heat.

Japanese Beetles are one of those items on the surface menu that will spark a fishes interest when nothing else seems to work. Rises to beetles can be vicious and lightning fast by both large and smaller trout. This pattern has saved my summer days on the stream time and time again especially when its hot or windy on the river.

This Japanese Beetle pattern is one I have refined over the years and even have changed up since the advent of some better synthetics. Sheet foam over the years has become more accessible as far as thicknesses and color range.

I'm particular about foam thickness as much as I am about feathers and color ranges. Hopefully this pattern will serve you well as a close imitation to the naturals. This particular pattern is always in my vest from July through October.

CB's Japanese Beetle
Thread~ Veevus 14/0 Black
Hook~ TMC 531 #14
Body~ Beaver Belly Dubbing
            Peacock Herl x3 strands
            Uni Wire Fine green
Wing Case~ Loco Foam Beetle Green
Rear Legs~ Knotted Black or green Pheasant Tail
Front Legs~ Black Hackle Collar x3 wraps

1) Near the hook bend:
Tie in Green Loco foam a .25" wide segment.
Tie in 2 to 3 strands of peacock herl.
Tie in Green Uni Wire.

2) Begin by dubbing black Beaver Belly into an egg or football shape to create the profile of the beetles abdomen. Now wrap the Peacock Herl covering 1/2 of the hook shank over the dubbing profile. Now wrap the Uni wire in the opposite direction that you wrapped the Peacock Herl. Now tie in 4 knotted pheasant tail legs, two on each side of the hook. the Legs should extend about .125" behind the hook bend. The tie in point fore the legs is right in front of your abdomen. See all images below.

3) Now pull Loco Foam over entire abdomen section and make 4-5 tight wraps while pinching foam between your index finger and thumb. Snip off tag end of foam and secure down tightly. Now you will have a defined wing case segment. Tie in black hackle in front of tied off section of foam. Now wrap black hackle 4-5 turns. This will imitate the front legs and give the fly more stability.

4) Build up a thorax section using black dubbing in front of hackle collar.Make sure you do not crowd the hook eye. This is actually the hardest part when tying this fly, get your proportions correctly early on and the whip finish will not leave you spewing explatives.

5) Waterproof the fly with CDC floatant. I recommend this because float foams react to chemicals in many floatants and you may cause the finish on the Loco Foam to melt.

         ~Clint Bova


Mac-o-Cheek Reflections and The Piatt Castles

 “Mac-o-Cheek Wet Bridge” oil on 6x8 wood panel 
field study ~ Clint Bova spring 2017
The Mecoche Division of the Shawnee lived along the Mac-o-Cheek creek hundreds of years ago. Today the creek is still flowing just north east of West Liberty Ohio. Its a tiny creek that in most sections is no wider than a pickup truck. It runs cold year around and supports Brown trout that were stocked originally by the Piatt's in the late 1880's. The Mac-o-Cheek is one of my favorite little creeks not only in Ohio but in the North East. I designed the “Little Mecoche” cane rod specifically for this little creek which can be referenced in my main site under rod types.

A visit to the Piatt Castles is a must for any fly fisherman to uncover the mysteries of this little gem.
please visit: www.piattcastles.org
                              ~Clint Joseph Bova


The Upstream Approach

“Upstream Under Cover” field study, N. Lippencott 
oil on 6x8 wood panel ~Clint Bova

When fishing in narrow creeks and smallish streams the mantra has always been move slowly and fish in the upstream position. There is a lot of truth to these precepts for about a half dozen different reasons. If you have ever read In the Ring of the Rise by Vince Marinaro he speaks about moving in the upstream position with great conviction. Marinaro is a master of deception when it comes to remaining invisible to trout and moving with catlike stealth.

~The upstream position or 12 o'clock position allows you to move without creating any siltation that will often trigger a flight response from fish.

~The upstream position allows you to stay out of the fishes peripheral vision and what we call the absolute window. Just recently marine biologists are discovering that the fishes eyesight is much more acute above the surface than previously understood.

~The upstream position allows the fisherman to reposition casts without creating splashes and water disturbances that will eventually move over the fish.

Some simple common sense stuff that will make for a better day of fishing.
                 ~Clint Joseph Bova


The Venerable TMC 212Y Dry Fly Hook

Many people ask me what kind of emerger hooks I prefer to use on  my patterns? Specifically for caddis, midges, and mayflies. For many years I used the TMC 2488, 2487, Dai-Riki 125's, Gamakatsu C-15's, Daiichi 1167...and the list goes on. What I have found is that these are all good hooks in general BUT what makes a good all around emerger hook? There are three traits to the hook geometry that make it a great hook. 

~The first great hook trait is the fine wire diameter for properly suspending a fly in the surface film cast after cast. The hook needs to be strong and fine. The hook cannot be to heavy since the gossamer materials used to mimic this life stage need to be somewhat minimal or sparse in appearance.

~The Second trait is the hook profile needs to offer you enough real estate to actually tie a proportional facsimile. If the hook is too long it may only be appropriate for a very narrow genre of insects. If the hook is too short in gape, bite, shank, or bend, the materials used can inhibit the hooking potential. This is a bigger issue than you think and unfortunately not discussed enough among tyers.

~The Third Trait is what I call “hook mojo” in order for you to feel confident and actually use the fly on stream you need to have a good track record with a particular hook. You have to believe in it!

The TMC 212Y has always been very consistent in holding power and control in my experience. It offers the golden mean for proportion when it comes to gape and bite. If there ever was a Vitruvian Emerger Hook the TMC 212Y would fit the build.

                   ~Clint Joseph Bova