“Quiet as an Indian” The Upstream Approach

 “Under the River Brush” 6x8 inch oil study, on wood panel 
Clint Bova, Memoirs on The Mad, October 2016

I recently spoke with a gentleman about the Mad River and its fickle ways. He asked me how I typically “find fish” on The Mad. I replied “with great skepticism” not because of a lack of fish but because it is very easy to spook a 100 yards worth of fish with the wrong step. The best bit of advice I gave to him was always approach the fish from an upstream position and hug the bank quietly. No need to feel like you have to shoot out a gazillion yards of line out. A short rod will work just fine. Maybe its the American Indian blood in me but the quote from Daniel Boone “quiet as an Indian” holds true for The Mad. 
                     ~Clint Joseph Bova


Keeping It Simple

A field study on a feeder brook to the Mad River 
“Late Morning Light” Oil on 6x8 wood Panel, Clint Bova Sept 2016

I suppose as I get older I streamline my life year by year. I consciously try to simplify and distill everything around me so I can see clearly, focus on the moment, and most importantly reflect upon joy. The joy of having a family, friends, and feeling a closeness to everything around me. Contentment is very very powerful. It is uncluttered and allows me to stand outside of myself and observe. Seeing simple creates space, pause, and ultimately fosters concentration. I have busy hands, they never stop moving. Yes...keeping it simple is a very good thing.
                       ~Have a thoughtful and compassionate Fall 2016

          Clint Joseph Bova


Grass Wasp Fly Patterns (Part 2)

A client of mine asked me to tie up a dozen Grass Wasps for him before traveling to the Albany River in Ontario. He wanted to fish the wasps near steep fast stream banks and in some broken water so wanted extra flotation and profile. Using soft hackle in tandem with a conventional criss-cross hackle collar will add great buoyancy to this fly when fishing faster water. The added barbell eyes create a distinct profile from below. Using underwing material such as Aero Wing Dry Fly will also help keep the fly in the surface film at the proper angle.
Barbell eyes created with 20lb singed mono with 2-3 coats of Sally Hansen Hard as Nails (Extreme) Black Out. Abdomens created with thread teardrop profile then 2-3 coats of  Sally Hansen Hard as Nails (Extreme) Black Out. Unlike most UV Resins available you cannot beat nitrocellulose (cellulose nitrate). Nitrocellulose is a highly combustible material that is also used in making dynamite. It would take a trout a mouthful of dynamite to destroy most of my fly's coated with SH product. Once fully dry this product promises its namesake, hard as nails! That being said you need to add a bit more flotation to your fly even though the TMC 212Y is a great floating hook. Black Aero Wing Dry Fly fibers are used as an underwing material which creates great buoyancy for faster water.
Thread: Veevus 14/0
Hook: TMC 212Y sizes #11-#15
Eyes: 20lb. mono singed and coated with Sally Hansen Extreme Hard as Nails (Black Out)
Abdomen: Teardrop thread bump accentuated with 2-3 coats of SH
Thorax: Beaver Belly
Legs: Knotted pheasant tail dyed black
Underwing: Aero Wing Dry Fly black (Tiemco)
Hackle: Hen and conventional hackle wrapped criss-cross around thorax around 5-6 turns is all that is needed
Wings: Hen tips dyed black

~Clint Joseph Bova


Effective Wasp Patterns~The Grass Carrying Wasp

The Grass Carrying Wasp is an abundant wasp both in the Midwest as well as in the North East. If  you fish water that is near forest edges, meadows, or gravel banks there are probably wasps present. There are around five species of Grass Carrying Wasps here in Ohio. They have a distinct teardrop shaped abdomen and a thorax that supports six robust legs. The waist that separates the abdomen from the thorax is quite thin and on the adults measures around 6-8 millimeters.
Wasps can be a very effective pattern in the mid to late summer months and into the fall. I usually tie my wasp patterns on emerger hooks primarily because the partially sunken abdomen seems to evoke a heart stopping slashing takes. I also believe that when the wasp is stuck in the surface film it bends its abdomen downward while the legs struggle to help take flight out of the surface film.

above: An abdomen built up starting with a black quill wrapped around a thread tear drop profile. Then UV glue built up around the quill to slowly develop the abdomen geometry. The waist is also coated to make a smooth transition.

Hook: TMC 212Y #12-16
Thread: Veevus 14/0 Black
Abdomen: Black quill wrapped around a thread profile then coated with Loon UV Flow
Thorax: Fine dubbed Beaver Belly
Legs: Black dyed knotted pheasant tail
Hackle: Black hackle colllar
Wings: Black hen tips

 Knotted pheasant tail (natural) legs tied into thorax area and hen tip wings added dyed black.

Black hackle collar wrapped in a crisscross pattern around thorax area and one final turn just behind the hook eye.

This is a simple and effective pattern to tie. The abdomen can also be simply dubbed or a single black dyed peacock quill can be wrapped around a thread profile and UV glue can then be used to create a glossy transparent shell either works equally well. I have a lot of fun tying these up...equally I have a lot of fun catching big Browns on them!
~Clint Joseph Bova


A September View

Field Study, “Glimpse Through The River Bank” 
~Clint Bova, Oil on 6x8 Panel
 (Upper Valley Pike, Mad River)

Many fishermen think trout are colorblind, but that is nothing to what trout think of fishermen.
~Ed Zern


The Rusty Midge Pattern

When Autumn sneaks up on me and the trout become increasingly more selective on the surface my midge box becomes a little more specific. I have used midges in a few color ranges at this time of year and one of my favorites is a cinnamon colored midge pattern that is tiny, stealthy, and quite deadly.

Thread: Veevus 14/0 rusty brown
Hook: TMC 2488 #18-24
Dubbing: Awesome Possum Burnt Orange
Rib: Fine Gold wire
Legs: Natural Knotted Pheasant Tail
Underwing: Dun Aero Wing Dry Fly Fibers
Wing: Dun Hen Tips
Hackle: Medium Dun
This is a fairly simple pattern to tie up and this fly pays dividends when the fall progresses and the trout become more and more selective. I carry this in pattern in black, tan, and dark dun colors. Hopefully you will enjoy tying this pattern as much as I do.
~Clint Joseph Bova


Early Morning Midge Fishing

“Track to Lippincott Run” Clint Joseph Bova Oil on 6x8 Panel

I take long walks in the early morning hours to get to the fish. The walks provide me with time to think about how I'm going to fish, how I am going to enter the water, and what I will be fishing with. I suppose walking creates mind space for positive affirmation and the creative visualization process I need to go through prior to getting my feet wet. This always provides me with the confidence and wherewithal to pursue difficult trout. Along the way my mind takes me to oil painting and if I am lucky I may see something that I really want to paint. There is so much inspiration around me it is often easy to get side tracked and the fishing just becomes a fraction of the daily experience.
I think just getting myself lost in the moment is my mental attitude this season, it seems to be working because the fishing has be phenomenal.
                                            ~Clint Joseph Bova

Clint's Cinnamon Sedge Extended Body

I got a call from a friend the other day and he asked me if I had seen any October Caddis on the water yet. We have had a lot of rain on the Mad River so between the storms I took my bike down the street to go have a quick look. I typically see Caddis fluttering about at a little cattle crossing where there is a lot of oxygenated water. When the weather is in constant flux Caddis tend to pop up here and there at this time of year. It helps living so close to a trout stream, the downside is that my buddies call me for the daily river scoop. Lo and behold I had a few short glimpses of the little rusty colored Trichoptera. So I reported back to HQ and Ben asked me to tie up some Rusty Sedges for him. This pattern is a great extended body pattern I came up with on a short shanked hook. I tie it using medium gray, warm gray, tan, cocoa brown, and even a golden straw color.

Clint's Cinnamon Sedge Extended Body 
(October Caddis)
Hook: Kamasan B160 sizes #14-20
Thread: Veevus 14/0 Rusty Brown
Hackle: Ginger/Natural
Extended Abdomen: Micro Chenille Small burnt orange
Dubbing: Awesome Possum Rust
Legs: Natural knotted Pheasant tail (two knots for each leg x4)
Wings: Dyed Turkey Biots (Rit Tan over dyed orange and Cocoa Brown)
Underwing: Aero Dry Fly Medium Dun
click on images below to enlarge
Hope you enjoy tying these up as much as I do do!
              ~Cheers Clint Joseph Bova


Green Quill Adult Midge

During the summer months my midge box evolves and changes slowly. Hook sizes progressively get small and smaller, and the patterns themselves get more and more sparse. My quilled green midge fly is one of my most productive patterns. It is easy to see, floats great when tied on a short shank wide gap hook, and seems to fool the fish in the most shallowest of water. As the summer transitions into fall my midge colors become darker and eventually black is the dominant color in my box. The green midges are relatively successful for me through October.

Green Quill Adult Midge
Hook: TMC 531 #16-22
Thread: Veevus 14/0 light green
Body: Quill dyed Ritt Apple Green over dyed Kelly Green
Legs: Pheasant tail dyed Ritt Brown over dyed with Ritt Lemon Yellow
Underwing: Aero Wing Dry Fly small clump of fibers Medium Dun
Wing: Hen cape tips dyed medium dun
Hackle: Medium Dun

This is a relatively easy fly to tie. A single quill body wrapped around a short shanked wide gap hook such as the TMC531 is a great choice. Tie on 2 sets of double knotted pheasant tail legs dyed brown or a brownish yellow color. This is followed by tying on a single small clump of Aero Wing Dry Fly fibers in a medium or dark dun. This tiny clump will act as an underwing and add some flotation to the rear of the fly. Hen tip wings are then tied in on top of the Aero Wing fibers. Make sure your thread is properly waxed because the threads will tend to slip on the Aero Wing fibers. Finally take 3 to 5 turns of medium dun hackle and trim a small “V” out of the bottom of your hackle collar. This will ensure the fly to sit close in the surface film.
                                                         ~Clint Joseph Bova


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.


The Mark of Detail

Turning a tiered winding check for 
a new “Trails End” 7' 4wt.
If you've ever seen a model 1873 Colt .45 Peacemaker from the barrel to the grip all of the elements of the hardware have a definitive cadence. The craftsmanship when it comes to the original intent of the firearm from function to form is unwavering. I often use the term “Mr. Potato Head” when I look at a fly rod, firearm, automobile, etc... that have both features and functions that are unintentional adaptations and lack harmony. Unlike the Colt .45 Peacemaker, the result is a product that has no sense of place or point of view. 

When I was 26 years old I was called out of class at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena CA and driven out to San Bernardino to meet the engineers and designers at Saturn (prior to the brand launch in the marketplace) they were unveiling their vehicles for the first time in a large auditorium. I was 1 out of 8 other designers pulled from ACCD to critique the new Saturn vehicles. After a highly descriptive crit from a transportation designer sitting next to me it was now my turn and around 300 people including video cameras were focused on me. The car designers were sitting behind me, which made me a bit apprehensive. I simply stated that the 7 shiny prototypes that sat in front of me “had no sense of place, they were an amalgam of many vehicles which reminded me of a series of Mr. Potato Heads, they could be from anywhere, and from several different manufacturers”. At this point I felt a hand on my shoulder, it was one of the car designers leaning forward and he whispered that I was “very perceptive in my point of view”. I was then asked to leave. On my way out of the auditorium one of the Saturn designers came running out from behind me and shook my hand and told me that they had in fact had created a series of vehicles that were very much like a family of Mr. Potato heads.

Finished tiered winding check to complement the 
“Trails End ” butt cap as well as cork check
Often I see bamboo fly rods that are an amalgam of factory made grips, spacers, nickel hardware, etc...I feel that if somebody is going to pay a lot of money for a fly rod they should not be getting a Saturn. Instead they should be getting the recognizable and intentional marks of its given craftsman. A definitive geometry should give the artifact a sense of place and reason to be.

Every piece of hardware has to sing in tandem with it’s given rod. It’s kind of like putting a pair of dragon fly wings on a mayfly, some things have to be created as a single thought in order to fly right.
                ~Clint Joseph Bova


Tiemco 531 Part 2

 I wanted to do a second followup post on the TMC 531. In my original post I spoke briefly about the merits of the 531. I also mentioned to be mindful of the fine wire on this hook and that care must be taken with larger fish. The photo below shows a recent 18" brown taken on a TMC 531 #16. Noticeably the following photo of the actual fly the trout was taken on shows the hook bent to about the 4 or 5 o'clock position. The hook still held the fish securely till landing. For picky large browns the venerable TMC 531 is a great choice.
above: A large Mad River brown taken on a #16 Biot Wing Caddis (BWC)
below: The fly it was taken on using a TMC 531, still in tact and held till landing the fish. Notice the the deformation of the hook gap.


“Tying Small” With The Tiemco 531

The world of dry fly hooks can be a mind numbing experience when considering all the choices worldwide. There are a lot of considerations when it comes to the specific pattern and hook. The geometry of the dry fly hook and uniform scale relative to the pattern is what I always think about. If your testing patterns constantly like I do it can keep you up at night. I have gotten in some mind numbing conversations with guides (typically Canadian) and weekend warriors alike. Over the years I have found a common ground with my tying tastes and given fishing circumstances. I typically “tie small” which means that the patterns tend to be somewhat sparse, compact, and often deceptively small. The Tiemco 531 is the hook I use to tie deceptively small. The 531 is the most effective hook I have ever used, and I have used it for years. I would say seventy percent of my dry flies are dressed on a TMC 531.

The 531 is a fine black wire hook with a slight barb. It is a short shank hook with a wide gape and the bite/throat is deep. The bend is very uniform compared to a standard dry fly hook such as the TMC 101. The eye is smaller than its same sized counter part and bears a less drastic angle. The 531's front length tapers gently into a extremely sharp point as seen below. The first time I tied with one of these hooks it was love at first sight. The first time I fished with it I was a complete convert and am till this day. The only pitfall with this hook is it is somewhat fine and I have bent these while fighting large fish but have never straightened one completely so care must be taken fighting the girthy Browns and Rainbows.
I have always felt that the TMC 531 is a better hook for my patterns than the TMC 101. Hypothetically if there was only one hook I was allowed to use it would be the 531 hands down.
Tying small takes some practice meaning that the short shank is not an obstacle, it is simply a mindful consideration when getting proportions worked out especially on Mayfly duns. All of my adult Caddis patterns are tied on the TMC 531 and dry emergers on the TMC 212Y. Both of these hooks are somewhat difficult to get here in the USA but are easily found in the UK and CZ. Noticeably these hooks float very well with its given dressing. Hook ups are very positive in my experience not to mention the very slight barb allows you to remove it by flicking it with your index finger.
I hoard these hooks primarily because they are hard to find! If they were readily available here in the US I would be able to sleep better at night and I would be less inclined to strip old flies down and salvage the hook. I suppose time will only tell but I am not holding my breath.
~Clint Joseph Bova

Keeping Cane Fly Rods Looking Like New

I have spent many years using a product by the name of Novus. Many years ago I wrote an article for The Planing Form news letter on this particular line of products. Novus cleaners and polishes will clean water spots, clear up minor scratches, and maintain a clear conditioned finish on your rod sections and wraps. Originally this product was used for keeping aircraft cockpit canopies clear and conditioned. Over the years it has proved itself in many different categories when it comes to cleaning and conditioning both plastics and certain finishes. Polyurethane, spar, spar polyurethane, and even tung oil finishes benefit greatly when combined with a regular cleaning regimen using the Novus line. Graphite rods also benefit when using this product for cleaning and conditioning purposes.

~For general cleaning halfway through the fishing season use the #2“Fine Scratch Remover” followed by the #1“Plastic Clean and Shine”. Rub the compounds in lightly using an old t-shirt scrap or a soft cotton sheet swatch. Let each coat dry for about 90 seconds and wipe clean. If you have hard water marks that have accumulated on wraps or on rod sections use a rooster quill, bone burnisher, or smoothed toothpick and very gently rub the spot. Tip section wraps typically get the white residue after a season of use on the foot of the guides. You will see a chalky residue powder from the water spot release from the surface. Just wipe clean and use the “Plastic Clean and Shine” #1 for the final rub down. The results are quite remarkable and will keep your heavily used rods looking like new.
above: “Johnny Logan” 7' 4wt. and a 18" Mad River Brown July 12 2016, over a decade of very heavy use this rod has been pampered using the Novus regimen for quite some time.

 The above picture is my own personal rod I made back in 2005 (same rod in first photo) and has been kept looking like new year after year. Over a decade later my trusty old 7' 4wt. “Johnny Logan” is still looking like new!

Hope this is helpful to all of you who have inquired about seasonal cleaning.
         ~Clint Joseph Bova


Detached Body Caddis with Biot Wing

Depending on where your fishing in the world odds are there will be a Caddis somewhere ready to land on the water. The variables of this prolific fly are seemingly limitless. Most of the Caddis coming off the water in my neck of the woods are a steely gray that leans towards a warm bronze color as seen in the above photo. These little guys are generally what you see throughout the summer months but vary depending exact hatch and month.

I tie a lot of detached body patterns using my own dyed micro chenille. The Caddis fly in a few of it's life stages lends itself to using a wide gap hook such as the Kamasan B160. In tandem with the detached body I use dyed biots for wing cases.

The Detached Body Caddis with Biot Wing (click below images to enlarge)

Thread: Veevus 14/0 Gray or Brown
Hook: Kamasan B160
Wing: Book matched dyed bronze gray biots (left feather biot, right feather biot orientation~ both biot ribs meet at top portion of wing case, concave around dtached body see below photos
Dubbing: Beaver Belly
Legs: Dyed duck flank
Abdomen: Dyed Chenille Gray or Tan/Brown
Underwing: Aero Wing Dry Fly
Hackle: Rooster cape Bronze Gray~ dyed Ritt Gray then over dyed Ritt Tan

The Dying Process:
I have always dyed my own materials simply because the color palettes of many materials at retail are very limited. Depending on where you live insect colors are very subtle and vary throughout the season so as a frustrated fly tyer I have always dyed my own materials.
The dying process is very very simple and I urge you to try it! Find an old coffee maker, some white vinegar, and some Veniards or Ritt dyes. The recipe is as follows:

~8 Cups hot water that has run through your coffee maker 150 degrees max heat ( use a thermometer)
~2 Tablespoons white vinegar, mix into hot water
~Add 1 tablespoon of liquid Ritt dye to hot water, match your color ways stir for 30 seconds
~Add your materials once water has reached 150 degrees F
~Test dye times and take notes as you experiment!
~Once you pull your materials out of the dye bath immediately soak in cold water for a minute or so, then use a hair dryer to thoroughly dry. 
The above photo shows micro chenille that has been dyed using the process as described. The lightest above chenille is the original light gray color. The other four gray versions run from a warm light gray, a deeper value warm gray, a bronze warm gray, then finally to a dark warm charcoal color. Often micro chenille that comes off of the card is kinked and matted, once it is dyed and blow dried it puffs up again and retains its original shape.
If you wish to learn a lot about dying and bleaching materials Read A.K. Best's book Dying and Bleaching Natural Fly-Tying Materials, a book I purchased in my younger years. A.K. taught me how to dye and bleach when e mail first was available and I was fortunate enough to have a pen pal in Colorado for quite some time. He often sent me feathers through the mail and turned me on to Coq de Leon in the mid 90's. I have a binder filled with all of our correspondence back in the early 90's. I highly recommend all of his books from this very giving man!

This is a very simple fly to tie, and it is a fly that I always carry in my fly box. Hope you enjoy tying the detached bodied caddis, happy fishing.
~Clint Joseph Bova