Divine Inspiration

For those who have inquired about my custom extended dome cap and ring sets (Fred Divine inspired) The geometry for these little gems balance well with my 7'6", 7'9", and 8' 4 and 5 wts.

Most of my cap and ring sets are slightly reminiscent of Divines “Classic Reel Seat”. The cap is slightly elongated, a pronounced taper, with an even more pronounced domed butt. The rings are chamfered and banded (Knurled banding is also an option) and echo some of the trim detailing not only on the cap and rings but also adapting on the cork check and winding checks as well. Generally speaking Divines hardware is very elegant and simple. When I glance at the few Divine rods that I own I break into a Cheshire Cat grin, these old rods have always been inspirational for me.

Thank you for all of the kind complements out of the Mohawk Valley once again
~Clint Bova

Shades of Spalting

I get a lot of interest in spalted seats and I usually ask clients if they like a dark chocolate spalted seat or a lighter maple seat with distinct black figuring. The darker of the two is much harder to find.  Both look great with blued or bright nickel hardware. Above is a shot of the two maple blanks that look distinctly different. Both have been stabilized so the color deepens slightly but not much. I carry spalted Tupelo, spalted Koa, and spalted Maple. Below are two finished seats, one is the lighter maple, the other is the darker shade of maple.

                                      ~Clint Bova

Custom Ferrule Plugs

 above: ring core removed and a nickel plug fitted with cork
above: the finished blued ferrule plug for a 
model 7'6" 4wt. “Shawnee Rose”

All of my rods come with a ferrule plug that complements the hardware of it's given rod type. Every ferrule plug comes from the inner core of it's given nickel ring set or threaded barrel down locking hardware... “Waste not want not”
~Clint Joseph Bova


Biot Caddis

For many years I have been tying a Caddis pattern for spooky Browns in slow, shallow, and very clear water. I use this pattern when the odds are stacked up against me and the typical bushy Caddis patterns are not even an option. The biot winged Caddis that I tie is from a medium dusky warm gray to a dark gray color. I tie it with both a gray and green abdomen with an occasional pair of antenna. Typically I tie this pattern small from sizes #18-#22. Biots make for a great winging material they are waxy looking like the naturals, are translucent, and dye easily to the color that best suits your stream naturals. Caddisflies are actually very streamline when at rest. Their wing cases create a long delta pitch and their legs splay only a minimal amount on the surface film. Creating a Caddis pattern for slow, clear, and shallow water is a never ending creative visualization that always seems to have room for improvement. This is a very easy no frills guide pattern. Once you get the winging technique dialed in you can crank out dozens of these very quickly. 

~Using a TMC 531 hook, #18-#22, dub a carrot shaped 
abdomen using gray or green. The TMC 531 is a 
great hook with a shorter shank but proportionally 
larger gape that hook sets well with the slashing 
rises that these flies most often induce. 
 Note: the TMC 531 is a difficult hook to find 
here in the USA so call around to your local 
fly shops to locate a box or two.

~Use Coq de Leon feathers for the underwing material.
These are very stiff fibers that help with flotation.
I get my feathers from the Leon District of Spain 
in light pardo, medium pardo, and dark pardo.


~Using biots from left and right wings of a turkey feather 
place both biots together between your index finger and 
thumb so the convex sides face out and away from each other. 
Using fine tipped scissors snip a delta wing profile. Make 
sure the spline of the biot is oriented on the top portion of the 
wing the thinner translucent edge is on the bottom.

 Tye these in like you are tying in a turkey 
flat parachute post. Lean the pair of biots in towards you 
and as you wrap twist it away from you with a few secure 
wraps. I put a drop of head cement on these at this point 
because they tend to be a bit slippery. 

Tie in a hackle collar using a light, 
medium, or a dark dun feather. You can snip away
the bottom portion of the collar flush with the 
abdomen or leave it as is.
This is a very simple, productive small fly that pays dividends in quiet spookey water.
(photos: Clint Bova)

~Clint Bova  


A Better Biot

Inspired by A.K. Best for nearly twenty years I now look back at all of my dying and bleaching notes in various drawers and files and I still am able to fuel my affinity for dying all of my own natural materials. For the last 15 or so years I have been dying and bleaching my own materials, quills, necks, deer hair, furs, dubbing silks, and biots. A.K. Best’s Book Dying and Bleaching Natural Fly-Tying Materials set my course on the right foot. My old place of residence looked more like a scene out of Silence of the Lambs than a bachelor pad. Industrial cafeteria equipment riddled my living room, hotplates, and 10 gallon buckets filled with bleach made for some interesting visits from the landlords as well.

I honestly felt the need to get better results from the natural materials that I used to tie flies. I learned all of the mistakes from what was, and still is, currently out in the marketplace. One example was the poor quality of quills. Due to excessive bleaching pre-packaged quills cracked constantly due to over-bleaching and the colors were not to my liking. I am not a production fly tyer but just another obsessive compulsive vice rat. I simply want my color close to what the naturals color represents.

 above: The Biot on the left was dyed to “med-dun” by myself,
the one deemed “med-dun” on right by supplier. 
Notice the white streak down the middle of the one on 
the right where the dye did not take.

Biots are typically dyed as a whole feather by the suppliers and the dye never really soaks into the inside portion of the turkey or goose feather. What you end up with is a biot that has coloration on both outer edges but fades into an anemic color towards the center of the biot (see above photo). Eventually back in 1995 out of frustration I broke down and started dying my own biots among other materials. I tye lots of flies with both biot bodies and wings, it is a great medium that has a waxy sheen much like the naturals (Caddis, and Mayfly patterns).

above: These biots I dyed to a warm medium dun color that I most 
often use for Hendrickson patterns and Sedge patterns. This is accomplished by first 
dying grey, then over dying with Rit Tan.

Dying Biots: I have managed to create recipees for smaller and more color fast batches of biots using a large tea infuser and some simple paired down techniques.

1~ I remove all of the longest biots from two matching undyed turkey feathers. The left feather biots go in one bag, the right go in another, this way if I am tying biot wings I have a left and right orientation. Biots have the same geometry as an airplane wing. If you turn one side of an airplane wing in the opposite direction than the other the damn thing is not going to fly right nor look symmetrical.
2~ Using a large tea infuser ball (above) I separate the compartments using a paper towel and place the undyed biots, right and left, in their own compartments.

3~ Find a 5 cup Pyrex measuring cup fill it with 4 cups of water and put it into the microwave for about 30 seconds. Make sure the temperature does not exceed 150 degrees. Remove the now heated water from the microwave.

4~ Mix in one tablespoon of distilled white vinegar and one tablespoon of your desired liquid Rit color. I mix all of my Rit Dyes to get my desired color palettes. I mix a concentrate of powder Pearl Gray #39 because Rit does not manufacture this dye in liquid form, they never have.

5~ Mix the contents thoroughly and place your infuser filled with the biots into the mixture and agitate it for several minutes. (above photo)

6~ After several minutes immerse the infuser in cold water (below), this acts as a stop bath for the dyed biots.
 7~ Repeat this process with different colors, over dye as needed to get the desired results for very subtle coloration. I typically never dye with “out of the tube color” it defeats the purpose of dying. If your going to spend the time dying materials, and tying flies to your liking then you better like the colors and not just settle for someone else’s defaulted color palettes.

This is a quick and easy way to dye limited quantities of biots with great results. Again I am not a production tyer so I have managed to pair down time and cost expenditure greatly. Its simple and somewhat relaxing to do in my down time during the winter months.
~Clint Joseph Bova