The Timeless Nail Knot

The nail knot has been around for centuries and many knots we use today were derivatives of this very proven method of connecting two lines together. Since 1938, with the invention of nylon fly fishing has changed dramatically in certain ways. Nylon caused a jump start of other later mediums such as Dracon, Spectra, and PVDF. The ironic thing about technology is that it does not always change the simple things that it supposedly enhances or try's to make better. Many times technology is humbled by its own simple archaic functionality. Plastic fly lines have changed over the years and even silk has evolved and blossomed. Many fly casters say that the quality of the tapers have changed for the better. Others say lines have only suffered with technology and all of its gimmicky growing pains. Knots really have not changed through all the technological breakthroughs. The knot is still the single most important part of fly fishing. Without knots you cannot fish, period. Without knots all the high modulus graphite rods and super nanoparticle slick fly lines are rendered useless.

After centuries we still rely on turl knots, surgeons loops, clinch knots, and yes even the nail knot. The nail knot gave birth to many of the knots we use today. Centuries ago they had different names for these knots, these names changed over time. My father takes great pride in his knot tying abilities. His knots are really a piece of art. He sailed all over the world and mended his own sails and lines. He was a celestial navigator and a knot sensation which elevated him to rock star status in my world. Looking at his Eye Splices and Chain Splices as a young boy made my improved clinch knots look like child's play. He told me the nail knot was very important to learn and it can potentially be a life saver on a boat.

The leader to fly line connection is incredibly important for the transfer of energy. I often hear anglers talking way too much about the characteristics of fly lines when they should be more concerned about their connection between leader and fly line. Typically they are the ones using loop connectors. I always use this analogy~ “Does an experienced electrician splice two wires together that are meant to carry two very different currents, its a recipe for a short or a fire.” Loops don't cause fires but they do cause shorts. The loop connection is nasty. The transfer of energy is sloppy and creates a “dead spot”. The amount of bulk is plain sad. I have recently seen manufactured leader and fly line loops that are an entire inch in length. That's a pretty big hinge! The nail knot has very little profile, less than a quarter of an inch in length and about 1/32 in thickness. So why all the loops these days? It takes no more than two minutes to learn to tie a nail knot and there are a multitude of tools to help you tie these knots. Take command of your knot tying abilities and your fishing experience will never suffer. In reference to loop connections one of my Scottish fishing guides in Ontario chuckled and said to me while fishing the Grand River “loops are what you use to hang yourself after a bad day of fishing”...I could not agree more.
~Clint Bova


Silk Line~Streamside

The benefits of silk lines are vast when considering the overall performance of bamboo fly rods. They by far excel in accuracy, loading, and shooting of line. I have pretty much left the world of plastic lines altogether not because of traditional esoterics but because of silks overall performance. It just feels right. The marriage and cadence between fly rod and line is so noticeable that using anything else just does not make a lot of sense to me. The narrow diameter of the line, its overall density, and true to form tapers are much more specific to the very nature of the bamboo fly rod. That said silk lines are no more or less of a hassle to maintain than plastic lines. After about four or five hours of fishing all that is needed is two or three minutes to run a chamois swatch over the casting section of your line. Re-apply the mucilin with your fingers and buff the line lightly with some felt. I get felt at the craft store for about 20 cents a sheet and cut it up into small squares. I carry one or two in my vest along with a swatch of chamois in a small jewelers poly bag (above photo). Silk line if taken care of properly will last indefinitely.
~Clint Bova


Getting Your Feet Wet

 “sometimes I enjoy the company of a mayfly 
when I start planing bamboo”
I recently had a client call me and ask me if he should “get his feet wet” and make his own split cane rod. There is a lot of interest here in the U.S. especially within the last twenty or so years in learning how to make split cane fly rods. The craft has become more accessible in regards to information, tools, and even raw materials. I always try to inspire people to take a class in rod “making”. By “making” I mean creating something from scratch like a rod blank. “Building” a rod refers to taking an amalgam of components including a rod blank and constructing a rod. There is a big difference. Learning how to “build” a rod is important to better familiarize oneself with the materials and the construction behind the craft. Learning how to “make” the rod itself and its given components is a whole other chapter that takes time, patience, passion, dedication, and yes money.

To be realistic initially one needs to invest several thousand dollars to get started in order to make bamboo rods. You need space, time, and the ability to soak in a lot of information. You need a set of planing forms, bamboo culms, decent block planes, a tempering oven of some kind if you chose, a binder, sharpening jigs, plane irons, a clean space to finish rods, files, sandpapers, a multitude of glues, a workbench, a heat gun, various rod components including everything from guides to ferrules, cork blanks or rings, nickel stock, a lathe to turn hardware, a roughing beveler if you chose to use one, a rod turner, jigs...did I mention the the part about the initial investment of several thousand dollars?

If this sounds all too overwhelming well it can be BUT if you slowly familiarize yourself with the craft over time and be patient you will make leaps and bounds.  Finding good mentors is important, read a lot of credible books, be a sponge rather than a leaky faucet, eventually you will be well on your way to picking up a block plane. Be especially careful of internet forums, there are scads of self seeking biases, late night armchair hobbyists, and avatars posing as rod makers many of which will steer you in all directions known to man. Find one or two great mentors, you will learn much more and be less confused as you move through the learning curve of rod making. Also if you want to learn about new information in the rod making world, both historical and technical, get a subscription to The Planing Form created by Ron Barch. This printed journal has very good credible information and the publication has been around a long long time. Lastly take a rod making class from a good teacher! Be mindful that you should do your research and find an established rod maker who is a good teacher and has been doing it a long time. You may enjoy the process so much you will eventually want to take the big plunge, or you may find you just want to make one rod. Approach it with an open mind when you first start and it will be that much more enjoyable in the short or long term. I started getting into rod making in my late 20's and have been driven by an insatiable passion to make rods, and practice the crafts rituals religiously. I continue to be smitten by the craft of making rods to this day. I enjoy fly fishing that much more because I make cane rods. So yes! I encourage “getting your feet wet” when it comes to rod making, it will only make your fishing experience that much more rewarding, intriguing, and well rounded.
~Clint Bova


Vantage Point

 “Under the Rainbows” Photo: Clint Bova
 It is as hard to see one's self as to look 
backwards without turning around.
~Henry David Thoreau


Driven by Process

I often get asked what is your favorite part of making bamboo fly rods? I typically respond by saying “fishing them”. My follow up response is simply “handling the cane”. There are many ways to experience the process of making a fly rod I choose to experience it without the use of tapering bevelers, gang saws, and a crew of craftsmen. The final result is typically a great rod of some kind either way. I just choose to experience the process in a more intimate way when it involves splitting, straightening, and planing. I have used all of the above mentioned equipment at one time or another but I feel when I do I have missed out on the real joy of making cane rods. I always have accepted the merits of using more machinery but I don’t experience the same level of intimacy with the cane when I do. Experiencing every inch of a spline and its given nodes track and echo around in my head at night like an endless ticker tape. The level of peer pressure I get to use more machinery is somewhat daunting but I suppose if it came to that I would probably stop selling rods altogether and just make rods for myself and friends. I will probably be eating my words when my orthopedic surgeon tells me my hands and arms are no longer operable. Oh well if the process brings me to my ultimate demise so be it.  ~Clint Bova

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
~Friedrich Nietzsche 


Leave The Craftsman Alone

 In regards to the Gibson Guitar shop raid incident:
When the Government starts harassing the small guild craftsmen and women over justifiable raw materials I draw the line. I normally do not bring up current events or political views in my “Shop Notes” section but I am outraged that this is remotely tolerable in the USA. “Job Creation” is not driven by harassing the very roots and soulful enterprises that bring meaning to the American spirit. This is simply unacceptable.
~Clint Bova

“Be a warhorse for work and enjoy even the struggle against possible defeat.” ~The Artist Robert Henri, “The Art Spirit”

*The raids forced Gibson to cease manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day while armed agents executed the search warrants. “Agents seized wood that was Forest Stewardship Council controlled,” Juszkiewicz said. “Gibson has a long history of supporting sustainable and responsible sources of wood and has worked diligently with entities such as the Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace to secure FSC-certified supplies. The wood seized on August 24 satisfied FSC standards.” Juszkiewicz believes that the Justice Department is bullying Gibson without filing charges.
~Gibson Lifestyle


Bamboo “In the Strings”

I recently had a client ask me if he could see what a rod section looks like after the splines have been wrapped in the binder. The splines are actually wrapped twice, once before heat treating, and then after the final planing during the process of gluing up all six sections. The photo above shows a swelled butt section of a 7'9" 5wt “in the strings” prior to initial heat treating. Special care is taken to tension the wraps around a swell and measure out the exact location of the swell and the grip.
~Clint Bova

The 7' 4wt. “Johnny Logan”

 A nice Brown caught on the 7'4wt. “Johnny Logan”
I have sold many of these rods to those who enjoy a light rod for small mountain streams and spring creeks. I have always called it a true 4wt. that is great for small delicate quiet presentations. The above photo is a fish that was taken on a #18 Para ant in small water in central PA. I have fished this taper for the last decade and especially enjoy it for fall midge fishing.
See details for this rod at www.cjbovarods.com or madriverrodco.com
~Clint Bova


Heritage & Hardware Evolved

Above: Mad River Rod Co.“Little Mecoche” 6'9" 4wt.

Many of my flared reels seats echo some of the late great Fred Divine reel seats of yesteryear. My seats are one of a kind and are turned from larger stabilized blocks of spalted maple, burled Koa, and Circassian walnut. 

Above: this particular seat that dates back to around 1917 is from Fred Divines “Special Dry Fly” model

My reel seats have varied profiles that complement the geometry of the cap and ring sets. Typically I use these seats on 7’3” models or smaller and are proportioned accordingly. These seats are a little more involved than what meets the eye. In order to get a reel foot secured properly with these seats I spent a lot of time over the years working with the interior design of the ring set. The correct chamfering and orientation of the ring set as well as the mortise depth and contour are important considerations to make the reel secure. I make the nickel caps either with a three tiered detail or a smooth dome profile either blued or chrome nickel finish. I typically ask a customer what kind of reel they intend on using prior to making the hardware to make sure it will accommodate the foot. Generally all my hardware accommodates Peerless, Hardy, Saracione, Orvis CFO, and Ted Godfrey Reels. If somebody has a reel make that has a heavier or lower profile foot I can easily accommodate their matching reel. I have gotten frequent inquiries about selling my seats and hardware separately to other dealers and rod makers but I no longer do this as of late 2008 with the exception of a few commissioned orders.


Seasonal Grace

“The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man's heart away from nature becomes hard.” 
~Luther Standing Bear


Sizing Up Your Wings

Wings ~ Miroslav Holub (scientist & poet 1923-1998)

We have a map of the universe for microbes,
we have a map of a microbe for the universe.

We have a Grand Master of chess
made of electronic circuits.

But above all we have the ability to sort peas,
to cup water in our hands.
To seek the right screw
under the sofa for hours

This gives us wings.


Davie McPhail Hoppers: Part 3

 Personal criteria for my favorite grasshopper patterns: 
1 ~Use of all natural materials
2 ~A pattern that can be tied in less than eight minutes
3 ~Least wind resistant geometry on a hook no larger than a #10
4 ~A pattern that casts well using tippet down to 6x
5 ~Create a geometry that can be fished wet or dry successfully
6 ~A wing that does not use turkey feathers or other primary feathers
7 ~A hybrid pattern an attractor/imitation
8 ~Legs wispy and very flexible as not to influence a take or hook set
9 ~Can be tied as small juvenile or adult (variables only in hook sizes)

Davie McPhail is an outstanding Scottish fly tyer. Davie grew up in the south west of Scotland and fished rivers such as the Stinchar, the Nith, Girvan, and the river Doon while growing up. After watching Davie tye flies over the years, both traditional and contemporary I quickly came to realize that he definitely has a particular point of view and unique methods that make him stand out in a crowd. I can honestly say he is one of my favorite tyers next to A.K. Best. Davie ties three grasshopper patterns that fulfill my criteria for great hopper patterns. The first pattern is called his “International Hopper” which is absolutely deadly. The second is the “Half Blood Prince” a black hairwing fly with red dyed pheasant tail legs. This fly I have used as a cricket pattern quite successfully with some slight adaptations. The third fly is called the “Jungle Bunny Hopper” that uses a Jungle Cock wing, knotted black dyed pheasant tail legs, and a black hackle collar. This is a gorgeous fly to say the least. Overall his patterns have both influenced me and inspired me to take a hard right turn and a closer look at tying successful small and large Grasshopper patterns.

Davie McPhail “International Hopper”

Davie McPhail “Half Blood Prince”

Davie McPhail “Jungle Bunny Hopper”


Tying Knotted Hopper Legs~Part 2

 I pre-package all of my double knotted hopper legs because I size 
them for both adults and juveniles, each package contains 
enough legs for two hoppers. (x4 legs per juvy hopper)

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the grasshoppers geometry is its hind legs or “jumping legs”. These legs are often over dramatized or under dramatized in many patterns. Many of the pre-knotted legs we get from catalogs or fly shops are pre-knotted legs made from several hackle fibers of pheasant tail. Often these look like bottle brushes or the business end of a broom. If you look closely at a juvenile grasshoppers legs they are fairly slender and are most definitely tapered. By taking just two hackle fibers of a pheasant tail and tying a half hitch at the very end of the fibers and a second half hitch in the middle of the fibers you get two joint sections in a single leg. (as seen in the anatomical diagram below and the above photo)

Again you can see that the taper is very narrow at the last joint. So the pre-knotted pheasant tail legs sold commercially are far from accurate and also very wind resistant. These larger pre-knotted legs can potentially influence the trouts take and the hook set because they are fairly stiff throughout the length. The geometry of the hind legs in reality is much more refined. I use four to six legs on my patterns. In general I have found that using just two fibers of pheasant tail per leg is adequate for both adults and juveniles. You can adjust the two half hitch distances for larger adult legs as well.

Knotting your own hopper legs is easy and although more time consuming is a cheaper and more convincing solution for your favorite hopper patterns.
               ~Clint Bova


Your Inner Grasshopper: Part 1

If we go back in time and think about when we were playing in our back yards and had our first encounter with a grasshopper it was a simpler place in time. It is so easy to forget about the simplicity of these insects when it comes to their basic anatomy. When you look at the multitude of fly patterns imitating or interpreting this insect it is vast and overwhelming to say the least. 

As a fly tyer I have scratched everything I know when it comes to tying grasshopper patterns. I decided to start with simple observations this season and keep a journal as well as an open mind. So I went on a collection rampage of juvenile grasshoppers in the months of June, July, and August. I also decided to match the uniform scale of the insects and fish them earlier than normal during the season. What I have found is neither astonishing or abnormal. In the U.S. hopper patterns are tied on hooks typically ranging from #6-12. In many cases you may as well be throwing a grenade into your favorite pool or run. Many juvenile grasshoppers come out of cornfields and meadows and enter streams and rivers like they are storming Omaha Beach. Trout love these kindergarten sized morsels.

This begs the question; why are these patterns typically tied on large hooks and look like a Bratwurst?
Maybe as fisherman we are programmed to fish these insects at the point where they have reached full maturity because its the only way we have ever interpreted the pattern from others. After all we fish mayflies from sizes ranging from #10~#24 sometimes even smaller! Why not grasshoppers too? Reinterpreting the act of fishing the grasshopper pattern is of special interest to me so I have taken the time to research tyers in Europe, South Ameria, South Africa, and even the Middle East. I have collected specimens that are a fraction of the size of the adults and tied micro versions of them. I have presented my offerings to both Rainbows and Browns in the early season. I did this to satiate my own obsession with this terrestrial insect and hopefully derail common seasonal practices that have annoyed me season after season. There are thousands of hopper patterns emulating only the adult geometry with minimal focus on the “juvys”. Are the adult patterns the result of some kind of seasonal Pavlovian response? The creative spirit is ignited when the “what if?” transpires into “what is”.
                 ~Clint Bova


Casting Discipline~Tactics In the Heat

 Creeping up on a pool of big Browns. Knowing that my first cast will be the most important cast of the day will prompt me to slow down, be observant, and crawl well behind the pool.
“Every shot counts” is the mantra that you will hear from not only hunters, but archers, and competition shooters. Your next cast can either make or break your day on the water especially when fishing over weary and skittish trout. My success on the water is only as good as my last cast. Prospecting using search patterns always requires a level of precision, focus, and attention to detail. Prospecting is no different than sight fishing when considering the quality cast and visualizing your potential targets. If your prospecting in clear low water you have to be mindful that your first cast could scare the entire pool of trout. Tactical methods are best used in either approach. Focus less on your equipment and more on your casting discipline even when the fishing is slow. Your rod will only serve you well if you pay less attention to it and more attention to the water in front of you. Slow down, be observant, focus on the water and not yourself. Make every cast count in the hot summer months. In small water be more diligent about actually getting out of the water and approaching potential targets from directly behind. Sloshing while casting downstream is totally unproductive not to mention disturbing to other fishermen.  Recently a loud fisherman on his cel phone came sloshing downstream scaring the entire pool I was fishing and complained he had a frustrating day of fishing. He walked right under my rod tip...need I say more.


A Country Pathway

 above: “Tecumseh” 7'6" 5wt. 2pc. with Early Morning Brown

I come upon it suddenly, alone-
A little pathway winding in the weeds
That fringe the roadside; and with dreams my own,
I wander as it leads.

Full wistfully along the slender way,
Through the summer tan of freckled shade and shine,
I take the path that leads me as it may-
Its every choice is mine.

A chipmunk, or a sudden whirring quail,
Is startled by my step as on I fare-
A garter-snake across the dusty trail
Glances and-is not there.

Above the arching jimson-weeds flare twos
And twos of swallow-yellow butterflies.

~James Whitcomb Riley


When Life Gives You Lemons....

 The “Shawnee Rose”, a #18 dry fly, and a nice brown in the rain.

A couple of Blue Wing Olives I decided to take with me and dry off.

In the midst of all this spring torrent the BWO still comes to the rescue.
Hopefully everyone can salvage their spring quick.


Ferrule Plug Patterns

Ferrule plugs come standard on all of my rods and I offer three basic patterns. Ferrule plugs keep dirt, dust, and moisture from getting into your female ferrule. Plugs come in handy when packing rods into remote areas especially if you are camping. Campsites increase the opportunity for dirt to work it's way into just about everything and the last thing you want is dirt jammed into your ferrule. I turn these plugs with extremely small cutting tools under a magnifier.

Flor grade cork and nickel are turned in tandem resulting in a smooth even profile~ Figure 1 profile as seen in above illustrations

All ferrule plugs are solid milled nickel, either polished bright chrome, or blued. The cork stopper provides an easy fit without wearing the interior of the ferrule.
                                          ~Clint Joseph Bova


The Mecoche

written from the banks of the Mac-o-chee Brook, 1850
(click on image to make bigger)

Some call it Mac-o-chee, some call it Mac-o-cheek. The Shawnee who lived along this little stream were the Mecoche tribe which translates to Smiling Valley. The Mecoche tribal Chief was Moluntha who was captured and murdered later after he defeated 182 Kentuckians at the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782. My ancestors intermarried with this tribe (French & Indian) so the Mecoche people hold a special place in my heart. Most of my ancestors are buried in present day West Liberty and Bellefontaine Cemeteries.
~Clint Bova


#9343 7'9" 4wt 3pc.

There has been a noticeable enthusiasm for my #9343 7'9" 4wt 3pc. tapers. This is a wonderful crisp dry fly and nymphing rod that roll casts great and can handle many different fishing situations from small to medium water. Comes with a down locking seat with a domed cap, and distinctive swelled butt. Wraps are either black with intermediates or clear with fine black tipping.

“The length of this rod is perfect for new river prospecting on spring creeks and freestoners around the U.S.”
                                                ~Sam Carlson / Charleston WV

 I have been getting inquiries in regards to this desired length over the past two or so years and it has become increasingly popular size for travel as well as my 5wt. model the #9343. As people describe it...“its shorter that an 8' rod but a bit more flexible river wise than a 7'6"... its a great throughout the season go anywhere rod” 

~Clint Joseph Bova

Custom Orders

Lately I have had many inquiries for custom orders. I have taken many custom orders over the years and will continue to do so. My listed rods on my site are the majority of rods that I sell both in 2 and 3 piece models. If you wish to inquire about other weights, lengths, hollow-built, alternate hardware, and finishes please call me directly. Based on the nature of materials in the bamboo rod making world anything is possible. I always hope to come up with creative solutions to bring a fellow fly fishers visualization of his or her dream rod to life.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
~Henry David Thoreau


The Calm Before the Rise

Nice Mad River Brown and my “Little Mecoche” 6'9" 4wt.

Eventually we all find our favorite river and come back to it season after season to reacquaint ourselves with ourselves and hopefully catch some fish. We hear our own breath and heart beat after a long winter in an environment that is always conducive to clarity and focus. We also hope that we can let go of our expectations, frustrations, and distractions the moment we hit the water. I recently fished when I was very ill and it reminded me of an important lesson that I learned nearly thirty years ago from a very wise man.

Robert Gilmore was not only a great teacher but a great artist. His still life paintings would stop you in your tracks and leave you weak in the knees. I can still smell the distinct odor of his favorite pipe tobacco (Amphora). He was a short stocky man with a twinkle in his eye and a gruff but good natured personality. Gilmore studied with the late Walter Murch a student of the Art Students League of New York. Murch was a well known illustrator for publications such as Scientific American for many years as well as a successful teacher (Pratt Institute NYC) and a popular showing artist of his day. I left everything that was familiar and comfortable to study under Robert Gilmore. His mentorship was one of the greatest experiences of my life. As I remember the first time I set up an easel in his studio in Spokane Washington I spilled a whole quart of gesso down my pants. I found myself intimidated, embarrassed, and a bit physically uncomfortable. Gesso tends to dry quickly like most acrylics. My underwear at the time was properly primed for some serious oil painting.

One winter night months later I was alone in the studio painting and that familiar smell of Amphora tobacco seemed to get stronger by the minute. I was very sick and had a fever but was motivated to get deep into a painting. Gilmore turned the corner out of the darkness, looked at my painting, and smoked his pipe for a few minutes. He squinted and stared at my canvas for a few minutes that uncomfortably felt like hours. He said nothing to me.

He finally pulled his pipe from his mouth and said “are you sick?” I replied “very much so” he then said “I can tell because you are outside of yourself”. He stuck the pipe back in his mouth and left the studio.

The “fever painting” I was working on eventually ended up in a show at the Cheney Cowles Museum. I later understood what he meant by “outside of yourself”. When we are under duress and discomfort our defenses, and predispositions tend to come down and we think less and let our instincts take over. Our bodies are stressed so our minds become calm and focused, our defenses and bad habits crumble. Eventually Gilmore was convinced that I painted best when I was sick, wounded, or bleeding out of some extremity. I suppose the damaged and dark loner that quintessentially represents the craftsman state of existential angst holds some merit when it comes to a passionate and enlightened brush stroke or wood shaving.

Staring at a blank canvas can be as intimidating and vast as stepping into a new river with no rise forms. This logic I put to practice to this day. If you stare at a twelve foot bamboo culm, in its natural form, and imagine it as a finished fly rod its enough to give anybody the shakes. But if we empty ourselves and approach an activity or situation with a lack of self-focus we can “be outside of ourselves” and actually become part of the action in a genuine and unfettered natural way. I suppose I learned this precept through sheer physical discomfort early on from past health problems. By simply letting yourself be as you are and taking your guard down, you eventually develop genuine energy between your environment and your engagement with it. If we can visualize our hands completing an activity before we’ve started, we can find genuine confidence in actually achieving it. Similarly if we can creatively visualize the calm before the rise form, we can see the trout eventually on our hook.
~Clint Joseph Bova


Lenticels~Doping the Scope

 I recently had a customer comment on the great quality of my grips so I though I would comment a little on the topic. Cork is a beautiful thing in its most natural form and is warm to the touch. Typically I look at them very carefully. I do not use fillers in my grips simply because I do not have to. 

If you have ever seen cork grips that look like they should be hanging off of a fishing net in the middle of the Atlantic look a little closer at many of the rods sold at retail today. Many grips with fillers look like the grip has been extruded out of a sausage maker. 

 The above photo shows what a premium grip looks like after 
going through the extra step of locating the lenticels, numbering the 
measured rings, and placing them in sequence. Thus avoiding them 
during the final turning process.

I start out by using the best cork I can get and then take it one step further. I measure all the clusters of lenticels in the rings to miss the final surface diameters of the intended grip profile. By doing this I avoid the interruption of lenticels on most of the surface area. Filler free is my motto... always.
 ~Clint Bova

Ginger On the Fly

 The picture was taken for a cover of LIFE back
in 1942 by photographer Bob Landry

“The most important thing in anyone's life is to be giving something. 
The quality I can give is fun, joy and happiness. This is my gift."
~ Ginger Rogers


CB's Black Fly Pattern

 Above: this quilled parachute pattern that I tie 
is simple and very effective (photos by Clint Bova)

During the summer months our terrestrial fly boxes are stocked with hopper patterns, ants, beetles, spiders, and crane flies. A much overlooked morsel in the trouts diet are black Flies and they can be found throughout the United States and around the world. After fishing over the years in Canada I quickly came to realize how much I hated these things. They can literally bite through layers of clothing and leave you cussing for hours on end. If you cant beat em, put em on the end of your line.

I have developed a pattern that I use when these water born nasties hatch during the summer. The Black Fly is from the Order of Diptera and hatch from running water. It is there that the larvae attaches to submerged rocks using silk holdfasts and threads to move or hold themselves to a structure. Eventually they pupate under water and emerge in a bubble of oxygen as an air born adult. Its surprising that many fly fisherman do not know that these are water born insects. They are kind of like the neglected middle child of the aquatic insect world. Trout eat them like I eat M&M's at the movies. I carry my Black Fly imitation in my vest in three different sizes.
 “CB's Black Fly”
Hook: TMC 531 sizes 14-18
Thread: Black or brown
Body: Black dubbing, peacock herl, and a black quill
Wing: One pair of light dun hen tips from a pullet neck
Wing Post: Turkey t-base or turkey flat feather white or gray
Hackle: Black

Step 1) Attach one black quill and two segments of peacock herl to a #14, #16, or #18 hook. I use the TMC 531 it has a black finish, wide gape, and 2x short. A similar truncated hook works fine. Build a up a dubbed body that has the geometry of an egg in shape.

 Step 2) Carefully wrap the peacock herl in a tight spiral to cover the entire abdomen and tie off. Now wrap the black quill in a loose spiral so the herl squirts through the quill. This imitates well the fuzzy abdomen on the black fly and the herl is somewhat iridescent. Now tie in a wing post using a turkey flat give a two hook eye distance between the abdomen and the wing post, this will allow space to tie in the hen wings and dub the thorax.

 Step 3) Take a light dun pullet neck and match up two wings that extend beyond the hook by one hook eye distance. Secure the wings like you were tying up a pair of dun wings. Now pull them back and secure them with a couple turns of thread to create a delta wing profile. Now dub a black thorax just behind the wing post.

 Step 4) Tie in black hackle as you normally would tie in a parachute pattern making sure not to interrupt the wing configuration. The hackle will lay slightly on the front portion of the wings.
Put a little head cement on the wing post to secure the hackle and just behind the hook eye.

This is a pattern that has served me well over the years that takes about 5-10 minutes to tie using traditional materials at a very minimal cost. Best of all they float and look like the natural.
~Clint Joseph Bova


Tube Revival

All of my rod tubes are turn of the century antique styled cases and are commonly 1.625" and 2.0" in diameter. The top and bottom caps are solid milled brass with beautiful tooling. The rod cases comfortably fit two and three piece rods with two tips and have a leather insert in the caps. I also make custom pvc carriers for indestructible travel via air, mule, camel, or Sherpa. A heavy walled tube is always appreciated when there are baggage handlers involved.


Early Riser

Early morning Fall Brown caught on a Trico spinner 
and a 7'6" “Shawnee Rose”  5wt.

Cultivate the habit of early rising. It is unwise to keep the head long on a level with the feet.
~Henry David Thoreau