The “Fore & Aft Quill” ~My Simple Midge Pattern

Over 15 years ago I started tying a lot of quill patterns from white Chinese Rooster hackles, stripped, bleached, and dyed. I began dying all of my own quills to get the exact colors I wanted, the suppliers color palettes just looked wrong to me and were prone to cracking because they were over bleached. Quills prove to be a great asset with midge patterns, they are buoyant and when wrapped correctly they provide beautiful segmentation.
 When I was in my mid-thirties I developed a midge pattern that is similar to “The Renegade” after spending a few months in the Cascades in Oregon. The Renegade was too loud and “fancy” for many of the spring creeks that I typically fish on. For Rainbows and Cuts it was a great general pattern but I needed something that could be used in very slow and shallow water where weary Browns could be hopefully fooled. After a few seasons of great success in the North East with what appeared to be a quilled fore and aft fly I settled on a simple and extremely effective pattern. I called it a “Fore and Aft Quill Midge” it was my favorite fly in my arsenal.

 I turned on a bunch of anglers and guides to this fly up in Ontario many years ago on The Grand River after an evening hatch of Drakes and Hendricksons. The evening hatch proved to be masking what the fish were actually eating, or not! Essentially this fly can give the impression of a midge cluster, a midge, and even a shucking nymph or emerger of a mayfly. A fly with a lot of tricks up its sleeve no doubt. That evening two guides saw me catching fish after fish North of Fergus. I showed them the pattern and one of them said “what kind of yank pattern is that!” (Scottish Folks) after chuckling I handed them a few of them and their clients were happier and more giving for it.
Anyway the pattern is carried in my vest throughout the season and always proves itself as a mid-summer, fall, and winter pattern and are extremely simple to tie.

Hook: TMC 513 sizes 16-24
Thread: Veevus 14/0 green or gray
Hackles: light dun on aft, ginger fore 
(this orientation has always perplexed me but proven dividends)
Body: Light gray, black, or green quill
Trailing Shuck: Duck flank dyed or undyed or barred CDL

I go through these little guys like Tic Tacks throughout the fishing season.
~Clint Joseph Bova


Bamboo Rods & Seasonal Care

Feeder Spring~Mad River

For many September 26 marks the official end of the fishing season. I typically stop my trout fishing by mid-November and go through my ritual of cleaning all of my equipment, most importantly my rods.

I pull my rods out one by one and wipe them down with a warm soapy mixture of water and Dove Soap. Wipe the rod dry and make sure the guides are clean. You can use a little bit of mineral spirits on a Q-Tip to get any additional residue off of the guides. Make sure you clean both the female and male parts of the ferrule. Again you can use a small amount of denatured alcohol or mineral spirits to clean them out using a Q-Tip. Many hang their rods in their given bags up in a cool dry closet, this is a good ritual. I just keep them in their given cases, take the cap off, and place them upright in my rod racks. I typically am very diligent about keeping a journal so I record the amount of use I put on any one particular rod, its kind of like keeping track of your mileage on your car. I do this primarily because I track and rotate my tips from one season to the next rather than throughout any one particular season. This allows me to keep track easier and its one less tip to clean in an entire quiver at the end of a season. A journal is also a great way to keep track of what rod needs some extra TLC, cleaning, or repairs. I recently received a rod from a past client that needed some refinishing work after a decade of hard use. He sent the rod back to me in the spring because he simply forgot about the task from the previous fall. He wanted to get his rod back for the Hendrickson Hatch in PA about a week later, needless to say he was able to use the rod at the tail end of the hatch. Its a lot easier to send the rod in the fall for a winter “face lift” if needed. Again a journal can prove to be helpful in many ways from season to season.
        ~Clint Joseph Bova


Fall Gifts 2014

“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
Henry David Thoreau,

Hope everyone has a relaxing and memorable fishing experience this Fall 2014, so far it has been outstanding! ~Clint  Joseph Bova


The Early Spring Midge

Midges are out with the earliest Stonefly and Mayfly hatches, often the fishes are ONLY hitting midges. Why is this? Well its the old “pounds per meat law” trout zero in on the most plentiful morsel in the water in order to save energy. When the water is still very cold this is often the case.

A very productive pattern I have found over the years is something I call an “early spring midge” that consists of a few special materials but is quite simple to tie.

Hook: TMC 111 #14-18
Thread: Veevus 14/0 Black, Gray, or Rust
Abdomen and Thorax: Beaver Belly
Wire: Extra fine French silver wire
Legs: Tightly knotted Pheasant tail
Wing and Head Post: Light gray Tiemco Aero Wing
Hackle: Black

This pattern can be floated on the surface or just under the surface film with great success. The Aero Wing head post and wing makes it easy to spot in contrasty early season water. The nature of Aero Wing material is a hollow fibre that is very buoyant yet is gossamer enough for quiet still water conditions.
~Clint Joseph Bova


Figuring Variability (fly rod wood spacers)

I get a lot of requests for light, medium, or dark figured spacers. The three spacers above show this variability even after being stabilized. All three of these spacers came from the same piece of lumber that I brought back from Hawaii three years ago while visiting my family. By cutting the wood while paying attention to the cross-grain you can get this variability from a single piece of Koa especially if it is slightly spalted. Figuring refers to the appearance of wood, as seen on a longitudinal surfaces. The side-grain of "figured wood" is not plain but has a curly sheen.

The figuring on a particular piece of wood may be due to the cut, or to innate properties of the wood. Some tropical hardwoods, like Rosewood, maple, and Koa can have quite spectacular figuring. Colloquially speaking "figure" is often referred to as "grain."

Nomenclature describing figuring include bear scratches, bird's eye, blister, burl, curl, dimple, fiddleback, flame, ghosting, quilted, and spalting. Many people from different regions around the world describe it differently. Curly wood is believed to be caused by wind swept conditions in its given area. The striking wave-like patterns are highly sought after by woodworkers. Curl is also commonly referred to as fiddleback for its traditional use in making musical instruments especially stringed instruments.
~Clint Bova


A workbench with a view

 Above: my bench with a view

Lawe i ka ma'alea a ku'ono'ono.

“Acquire skill and make it deep” 
New Year wishes to all
~Clint Joseph Bova