Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning novelist & outdoors writer. He has also penned a fishing handbook and a hunting handbook. He is currently working on a bowhunting book.

Search This Blog

June 18, 2018

Weighing in on Hook Sizes & Fly-tying Material for Success

by Bob Banfelder

Beginning with last month's report on May 1st, in which I presented a guideline for hook sizes and weights referencing both wet- and dry-fly thread-body ant patterns, a couple of folks contacted me and commented that the listing proved very useful. Since we were tying a dry-fly hopper yesterday, I figured I'd offer a general guideline concerning those deadly flies as well as depicting popular size hooks and patterns for two of my favorite terrestrials anent the fly rod for saltwater and freshwater angling: ants and hoppers.

Let's consider four (4) slightly heavier hooks than the Mustad-Octopus Beak hook with which we tied ant patterns earlier in March and April. In sizes 2/0, 1/0, #2, and #4, the Mustad Wide-Gap hook will fill the bill quite nicely for both wet- and dry-fly hopper patterns. In general, the bigger, heavier 2/0 and 1/0 sizes are at home in salt water. The smaller, lighter #2 and #4 sizes are perfect for this large freshwater pattern. I have used all four sizes in both the brine and sweet water, and with absolute success. Here is a general guide for the Mustad Wide-Gap hook and materials for both wet- and dry-fly winged ants plus hopper patterns utilizing a pair of legs; weighted accuracy is within +/- 2.0 grains.

Note: In addition to Mustad-Octopus Beak hooks, corresponding sizes in Gamakatsu Octopus hooks weigh within +/- 0.2 grains of one another. That's certainly not enough of a difference to alter the formula. Weighing hooks beforehand as well as finished flies will save you a great deal of time when tying wet- and dry-fly imitations in foam. Without a guideline, the fly you tie and believe will float like a cork may suddenly sink in the water column after several casts. Layering two strips of foam will not only ensure that your fly will continuously remain afloat, and without the aid of messy chemicals, the fly is easily identifiable in your arsenal. The single strip of foam immediately indicates that it is a wet fly; the two discernable strips show that it is a dry fly. Good to go.

Guidelines for Hoppers ~ Mustad Wide-Gap Hooks:

2/0 hook weighs 9.2 grains ~ 1 strip of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 13.2 grains.

2/0 hook weighs 9.2 grains ~ 2 strips of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 16.6 grains.

1/0 hook weighs 9.2 grains ~ 1 strip of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 11.8 grains.

1/0 hook weighs 9.2 grains ~ 2 strips of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 15.4 grains.

#2 hook weighs 6.4 grains ~ 1 strip of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 9.8 grains.

#2 hook weighs 6.4 grains ~ 2 strips of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 11.4 grains.

#4 hook weighs 4.6 grains ~ 1 strip of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 7.8 grains.

#4 hook weighs 4.6 grains ~ 2 strips of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished ant is 10.2 grains.

You will note from the above table that the dry-fly foam patterns are a tad heavier than their wet-fly counterparts because of the added layer of foam. However, it is what gives the dry-fly its buoyancy and balance. Carefully weighing in on hook and material choices, these guidelines will aid the fly tier in constructing imitations that deliver unparalleled performance in the water column. Should you elect to employ other fine hooks such as Eagle Claw, Owner, VMC, et cetera, formulating your own chart is a breeze. A precision digital scale such as the Superior Balance Arrow-2000 covered on April 2nd is the ticket. If you're a bowhunter seeking matchless efficiency referencing broadhead accuracy, well, you've just killed two birds with one stone.


Top row, left to right: Mustad Wide Gap Hooks ~ 2/0, 1/0, #2, #4
Bottom row, left: Mustad Octopus Beak Hooks ~ 1/0, #1, #2
Bottom row, right: Mustad-Viking Hooks ~ #6, # 8, #10, #12, #14 — mainly for freshwater applications.

Suggestions:
For strictly saltwater applications, I would purchase the above hooks in stainless steel in lieu of a nickel finish. A nickel finish is fine for occasional use between saltwater/freshwater applications. A bronzed finish is fine for freshwater applications.
Good to go.

Bob Banfelder
www.robertbanfelder.com

Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association

Recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Who's Who in America


Several of My Award-Winning Crime Fiction Novels Incorporate The Great Outdoors

Top to Bottom:
Fiction:

The Richard Geist Three-Book Series ~ Trilogy


Dicky, Richard, and I. A story of madness in the making. A curious mix of a mother's care and cruelty concerning her young son, Dicky Geist, and the precocious boy's metamorphosis into that of a multiple murderer.

The Signing. An account of a clandestine murderous cult monikered the Inner Circle of Friends, led by Richard Geist. Geist and cult members are hellbent on creating chaos and bringing about the eventual collapse of our government.

The Triumvirate. A tale of Neo-Nazism. Three most powerful men covertly control governments around the globe. Fifty-year-old secrets begin to surface referencing Hitler's progeny, the Manhattan Project, and Nazi gold in this mystery within a mystery. It is the genesis of the Fourth Reich.

The Justin Barnes Four-Book Series ~ Tetralogy

The Author. A prolific serial killer is the author and architect of a covert operation whose job it is to place government operatives within the ranks of worldwide extremist groups. Justin Barnes, a street savvy Afro-American maverick, searches unrelentingly for the madman who viciously murdered Justin's female cousin.

The Teacher. Justin Barnes, working clandestinely with Suffolk County homicide detectives on Long Island, is assigned to help track down Malcolm Columba's associate, serial killer Professor Clarence Emery. The pair had worked in concert, and Justin is out to stop Emery before he strikes again. A terrifying tale of evil and what it takes to stop it in its tracks.

Knots. Kalvin Matheson, an out-of-work insurance salesman obsessed with immortality and hero worship regarding two notorious serial killers, follows in the footsteps of his two diabolical pals, but with a subtle signature twist, utilizing intricate knots.

The Good Samaritans. In this final four-part series, Justin Barnes, once again, assists Suffolk County homicide detectives as part of a covert operation in tracking down Sep Cramer, a politically well-connected, ruthless serial killer.

**********


Trace Evidence. Inspired by the Robert Shulman Serial Killer Trial in Riverhead, N.Y., Robert Banfelder spent every day for 15 months as a spectator to obtain fodder for this novel.

**********


Battered. Based on a true story of an abused woman who murdered her husband, Robert Banfelder communicated with abused women, one of whom spent 15 years in prison for her crime.

Nonfiction:

The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water. A concise yet comprehensive angling and on-the-water activities handbook covering spin, bait, fly-fishing, fly tying, clamming, crabbing, kayaking, canoeing, seafood recipes and much more. For novice through experienced anglers. Endorsed by Left Kreh and Angelo Peluso. [black & white photos]

The North American Hunting Smart Handbook: Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game. A concise yet comprehensive small and big game hunting handbook covering guns and bows. Includes upland bird hunting, land management, whitetail tactics and much more. Special bonus feature includes stories of big game hunting in Africa and Australia by seasoned hunters. [color photos]

The Essential Guide to Writing Well and Getting Published. A must-have guide for both novice and veteran writers. This handbook includes tips on how to make money and gain rewards from outdoors writings. Color-coded lessons for easy comprehension.


June 17, 2018

Tying a Deadly Foam Dry-Fly Hopper for Absolute Angling Success

by Bob Banfelder

As with the ant imitations we tied earlier while employing foam bodies, let's tie a deadly foam hopper that is at home in both fresh water and salt water.

Materials Needed

Hook: Mustad-Octopus Beak 2/0 or 1/0
Thread: Danville's Flat Waxed Nylon ~ black
Body: Two strips of 2 mm-thick foam ~ 3/8 inch wide ~ one yellow, one light brown (6-inch lengths are easier with which to work).
Underbody: Peacock Herl
Legs: TNT Hopper Legs ~ brown
Wings: Deer Hair natural color from belly or tail (bucktail)
Head Cement: Hard-as-Hull or 2-part 5-minute epoxy

Step 1: Wrap a thread base starting behind the eye of the hook to a point halfway around the bend. Come back up with the thread to the top of the bend, thread perpendicular to the hook's barb.

Step 2: Tie in the two strips of 3/8th-inch foam at the top of the bend (yellow on top, light brown on the bottom), excess material facing toward the rear of the hook. Wrap the strips down securely to this mid-point section in the bend.

Step 3: Tie in a strand of peacock herl and wrap the thread forward to the top of the bend. Lock the thread with a half hitch then bring it forward to the eye of the hook, resting the thread on the bobbin cradle. You will now be able to wrap the peacock herl, unencumbered, as the bobbin is out of the way.



Step 4: Wrap peacock herl to the top of the bend, being very careful not to apply to much tension or this delicate strand will break. Remove the bobbin from the cradle then lock in the strand with secure thread wraps.



Step 5: Bring the foam strips forward, just over the section of peacock herl. Wrap foam down securely. We have created the hopper's underbody.



Step 6: Cut off excess foam and set aside. Secure with several tight, contiguous wraps until the ends are completely covered. Tie off.

Step 7: Now, we need two more pieces of foam to form the front of the hopper. Only this time, you are going to momentarily invert the colored strips; light brown on top, yellow on the bottom. Tie in the two foam strips ¼ inch behind the eye of the hook (excess material initially facing rearward), wrapping the strips down securely with contiguous wraps to a point where they practically join the rear section. Bring the thread behind the strips and continue wrapping to form a 1/16th inch gap.

Step 8: Within the gap, tie in a TNT Hopper Leg on one side of the body (two loose wraps then tighten); tie in the second leg on the opposite side. Bring the thread forward of the foam strips.



Step 9: Next, take a small bunch of deer hair (less than the thickness of a wooden match stick, approximately 2 inches in length (tips facing upward; i.e., butt ends down), placing it directly in front of the foam strips. Tie down the hairs securely atop the hook shank. Separate the deer hair evenly with your dubbing needle (bodkin). Gently pull the foam strips forward between the two clumps of hair to a point 1/8th inch behind the eye of the hook, wrap securely then trim excess foam. Secure with several tight, contiguous wraps, working the thread to a point directly behind the eye of the hook. You'll note that the dark brown foam is now on top and yellow is on the bottom.



Step 10: Gently bend and push the two clumps of deer hair down and rearward along each side of the body to form the wings. Cut off the excess foam and wrap to a point directly behind the eye of the hook. Secure with several half hitches.

Step 11: Apply a dot of Hard-as-Hull head cement or a 2-part 5-minute epoxy to the thread head.


Deadly hopper fly.

Note: The hopper legs are made of Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), which is an elastomeric polymer that produces soft, flexible, rubber-like appendages. According to Wikimedia, "the material has good clarity and gloss, low-temperature toughness, stress-crack resistance, hot-melt adhesive waterproof properties, and is resistance to UV radiation." I purchased several small packages of hopper legs in green, tan, and brown from the Dan Bailey fly-fishing shop, Livingston, Montana. The pair of these realistic-looking hopper legs weigh in at 1.0 grains on the money, so don't think that you're adding unnecessary weight to the fly. Legs and deer hair body lend realism and gives the angler an added edge.

Good to go.



Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.

Bob Banfelder
www.robertbanfelder.com

Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association

Recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Who's Who in America


Several of My Award-Winning Crime Fiction Novels Incorporate The Great Outdoors

Top to Bottom:
Fiction:


The Richard Geist Three-Book Series ~ Trilogy

Dicky, Richard, and I. A story of madness in the making. A curious mix of a mother's care and cruelty concerning her young son, Dicky Geist, and the precocious boy's metamorphosis into that of a multiple murderer.

The Signing. An account of a clandestine murderous cult monikered the Inner Circle of Friends, led by Richard Geist. Geist and cult members are hellbent on creating chaos and bringing about the eventual collapse of our government.

The Triumvirate. A tale of Neo-Nazism. Three most powerful men covertly control governments around the globe. Fifty-year-old secrets begin to surface referencing Hitler's progeny, the Manhattan Project, and Nazi gold in this mystery within a mystery. It is the genesis of the Fourth Reich.

The Justin Barnes Four-Book Series ~ Tetralogy

The Author. A prolific serial killer is the author and architect of a covert operation whose job it is to place government operatives within the ranks of worldwide extremist groups. Justin Barnes, a street savvy Afro-American maverick, searches unrelentingly for the madman who viciously murdered Justin's female cousin.

The Teacher. Justin Barnes, working clandestinely with Suffolk County homicide detectives on Long Island, is assigned to help track down Malcolm Columba's associate, serial killer Professor Clarence Emery. The pair had worked in concert, and Justin is out to stop Emery before he strikes again. A terrifying tale of evil and what it takes to stop it in its tracks.

Knots. Kalvin Matheson, an out-of-work insurance salesman obsessed with immortality and hero worship regarding two notorious serial killers, follows in the footsteps of his two diabolical pals, but with a subtle signature twist, utilizing intricate knots.

The Good Samaritans. In this final four-part series, Justin Barnes, once again, assists Suffolk County homicide detectives as part of a covert operation in tracking down Sep Cramer, a politically well-connected, ruthless serial killer.

**********


Trace Evidence. Inspired by the Robert Shulman Serial Killer Trial in Riverhead, N.Y., Robert Banfelder spent every day for 15 months as a spectator to obtain fodder for this novel.

**********


Battered. Based on a true story of an abused woman who murdered her husband, Robert Banfelder communicated with abused women, one of whom spent 15 years in prison for her crime.

Nonfiction:

The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water. A concise yet comprehensive angling and on-the-water activities handbook covering spin, bait, fly-fishing, fly tying, clamming, crabbing, kayaking, canoeing, seafood recipes and much more. For novice through experienced anglers. Endorsed by Left Kreh and Angelo Peluso. [black & white photos]

The North American Hunting Smart Handbook: Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game. A concise yet comprehensive small and big game hunting handbook covering guns and bows. Includes upland bird hunting, land management, whitetail tactics and much more. Special bonus feature includes stories of big game hunting in Africa and Australia by seasoned hunters. [color photos]

The Essential Guide to Writing Well and Getting Published. A must-have guide for both novice and veteran writers. This handbook includes tips on how to make money and gain rewards from outdoors writings. Color-coded lessons for easy comprehension.