The One Permit Fly To Rule Them All

In the not-so-distant past, anglers returning from Cuba brought with them news of a fly that was a game-changer for hooking up with permit. As permit are one of the most finicky species of fish to target on the fly rod, hardcore permit fishermen, a breed of angler separate from the rest of us, spoke of the fly in messianic tones.

Rumours of NASA scientists playing a hand in developing the pattern accompanied the talk of the fly. Pages of notes, and years of testing, were apparently involved. Detailed diagrams and blueprints were said to exist.

It was the one permit fly to rule them all. Not to downplay the hype, the fly has its own Facebook page, and a web page is dedicated counting the number of permit it has tricked.

It is the Avalon Permit Fly.

In truth, years of testing were involved in the development of the fly pattern, though the NASA connection remains unsubstantiated. And pages of notes can certainly be assumed to have been collected.

The Avalon fly was developed by permit angler Mauro Ginevri, who started fishing the Cuban flats for permit in 2000. Mauro became frustrated with the success rate of hooking up with the fussy permit. With the obsession dedicated permit hunters are known for, he started research & development of an ideal permit fly in 2001.

Mauro sought out the prey species in the Cuban waters where he fished and discovered numbers of large, 9cm-long shrimp with each pass of the mesh nets they used to conduct their survey on the flats the permit fed on.

With the prey species determined, he turned his focus toward the actions of fly patterns underwater. He spent extensive time in a swimming pool watching flies sinking and being stripped; while many patterns sank hook-up, most twisted sideways once stripped. Thinking this could be a reason for the refusal, he aimed to develop a balanced fly that remained hook point-up while stripped.

Avalon Fly designer Mauro Ginevri
The solution was presented to Mauro by a guest of the lodge in 2007: the guest presented him with a fly with a keel of hard monofilament with steel beads added for weight. Mauro incorporated the mono keel in his design, and set out to perfect his permit fly.

In April of 2009, Mauro was satisfied with his design and handed guests of the lodge his new fly pattern to try out. The result was the stuff of legends.

Is it Avalon fly the one permit fly to rule them all?

That's really up to the permit to decide. But at the time of writing, the Avalon Fly Permit Counter shows 351 permit caught with the pattern since its inception in 2009.

*          *          *

Clear Cure Goo Pro Staffer Ian Wallace put together a step-by-step for his variant of the Avalon Permit Fly, shared with us below.

  • Hook: Mustad 34007, #2
  • Thread: orange 3/0
  • Eyes: black nickel dumbell, 4mm (5/32") 
  • Mouth: orange McFlylon yarn
  • Feelers: black crystal flash
  • Legs: round orange rubber, barred black
  • Body: cream marabou (or tan)
  • Body cover: pearl diamond braid
  • Monofilament keel: 20lb, stiff/hard
  • Beads: 4 x 2.8mm, nickel or stainless steel
  • Wing: Cream & brown-barred rabbit zonker (or tan & black-barred)
  • Head & under body: Clear Cure Goo Thin (or Hydro) and Fleck

Step 1: Tie in your dumbbells and take the thread to the point just above the hook barb.

Step 2: Rotate the vise & tie in a short piece of the orange McFlylon yarn.

Step 3: Rotate the vise back and tie in a doubled-over piece of the black flash. On top of the flash, tie in a double strand of the orange rubber legs

Step 4: Tie in two pieces of diamond braid, one on each side of the hook shank, then tie in two pieces of the stiff, 20lb mono on top of the shank. Cover the mono completely with thread.

Step 5: Tie in a whole marabou feather by its tips, and bring the thread to the eyes.

Step 6: Twist the marabou into a rope and wrap forward. Tie off the marabou just behind the dumbbell eyes. Cut two strips of rabbit zonker, keeping the leather of the zonker slightly longer than the hook shank. Tie these in just behind the dumbbells, one on either side of the shank.

Step 7: Rotate the vise and pull the diamond braid up to behind the dumbbell, having one of the pieces of diamond braid on each side of the body. Tie off on both pieces of diamond braid on the underside of of the dumbell eyes.

Step 8: Dub some of the remaining marabou (after trimming in Step 6), and cover the area behind the dumbells where the zonker wings are tied in. Bring thread to the eye side of the dumbells.

Step 9: Put two beads onto each piece of mono, slide the mono through the hook eye and secure with thread. When securing the mono:
  • make sure the loops are even so the fly will sit on an even keel when inverted,
  • ensure the ends of the mono are secured in the middle of the head underneath the shank; as the mono acts as a weed guard.
Coat the head & wraps of the dumbbell eyes with Clear Cure Goo Thin or Hydro and zap it with the light.

Step 10: Trim the weed guards to in line with the hook point, bar the rubber legs with a Sharpie or Copic marker, and trim the legs & feelers to about 5cm long. To give the fly a more pronounced back, coat the underside of the fly (between the two strands of diamond braid) with Clear Cure Goo Fleck, and cure it with the light.

The bottom of the finished fly is pictured above, with the top of Ian's Avalon Permit Fly variant pictured below.


Blane Chocklett Joins CCG Pro Staff

It's official: Clear Cure Goo has some of the world's best MUSKY MINDS! CCG is very pleased to announce musky guru Blane Chocklett has joined the CCG Pro Staff.

Blane Chocklett began fly fishing in 1985 on a small mountain stream not far from his home in Blue Ridge, Virginia. Eight years later, he started his own freelance guide service. In 1996, Blane opened Blue Ridge Fly Fishers, a full-service fly shop located in Roanoke, Virginia.

Through the years, Blane has supported the sport of fly fishing by serving as a member of the American Fly Tackle Trade Association’s (AFTA) Dealer Advisory Board and by consulting with several fly fishing manufacturers' pro staffs. Blane has also been featured by many outdoor writers in books and magazine articles over the years.

Since 1998, Blane has served as a fly designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants. Through his Hybrid SeriesTM and other innovative designs, Blane crafts traditional and synthetic tying materials to achieve the subtleness of flies and the strike-generating action of conventional lures.

Today, Blane operates New Angle Fishing Company and specializes in float trips on three of Virginia’s premiere rivers: James, New and Jackson Rivers.

Welcome aboard, Mr. Blane Chocklett!


Help CCG send the troops tying material!

(photo of FOB Apache courtesy of Tim Wimborne/Reuters)

Clear Cure Goo has been approached to help some soldiers that are stationed at Forward Operating Base Apache to get them some tying supplies.

They are in need of everything: hooks, thread, materials, anything, and everything else you can think of.

They have a group that gets together at tie to blow off steam.

If you wish to donate anything we will be shipping off our box on Friday, March 29th.

Please send donations to:

Clear Cure Goo
PO Box 92661
Southlake TX 76092


Geist's CCG Deceiver: A step-by-step

A few weeks ago we featured CCG & Regal Vise pro staffer Tim Geist's variants of the Deceiver, with promises of a step-by-step tutorial. Well, we here at CCG deliver on our promises. Enjoy!

I’m not a very innovative fly tyer. I think a lot of tyers think they are (and are told they are) but honestly we are all just replaying what we’ve seen in our fishing lives. Most of the baitfish in my box are variations of a Lefty’s Deceiver. Those were the first big streamers that hit my hands when I was a kid and it became the base for so many flies along the way. I’m sure Lefty was influenced by somebody else but for me – Lefty’s was THE FLY. I’m sure I’m not alone.

The Deceiver is the jack of all trades when it comes to baitfish patterns. At times I feel bad for perverting Lefty’s inspiration with globs of sticky goo and big plastic eyes. Yeah, I’ve really done a job on The Deceiver. Over-dressed wet mops that need a two-hander to hurl, or under-dressed hooks with a feather and 12 bucktail fibres; some were hard on the eyes, but they caught fish thankfully.

Sometimes one may have to look hard at my baitfish to see it, but the Deceiver is there. I think it’s safe to say that everyone knows how to tie a Deceiver: there are plenty of videos and step-by-steps. So rather than a traditional step-by-step on how I tie deceivers, I'll discuss certain “deceiver” techniques I have learned over the years and how I have melded those techniques with CCG. Then I’ll tie one up and show some of the techniques I use to make various types of deceivers.

“Tim, Where’s the recipe?”
I get a number of emails asking for recipes of certain patterns that I've tied, or other patterns that I have photographed and entered into the Flybrary. Although the German blood in me agrees with those requests for rigidity and formal organized recipes, I really don’t operate like that as a tyer. Recipes are for dry flies and salmon flies.

I may use a recipe to understand the components of someone’s fly and look further into what techniques he or she employed to get a particular look. Also, I don’t sit down and fabricate a dozen or two of a particular pattern. I am a free tyer; with a certain trip or body of water in mind, I usually sit down (the night before) with a handful of materials and certain colour combinations in mind and go from there.

When I get to the water, I have many variations of a theme that I can fish throughout the water column as the conditions permit. I start with the base design that I’ll show you here, and change the head to give the baitfish different looks and different fish-ability. You could finish these with traditional jungle cock eyes or CCG eyes.

For my small snake flies (Size 2-8), I take a deceiver base tail and spin hair up front to keep the fly high in the water column – almost neutrally buoyant. Lately I’ve been stacking deer hair and Congo Hair over the synthetic CCG dumbbell eyes. You could even stick a section of CCG Flex tube over the front to create a long sand eel like body that will get down a little further. The choices are endless.

With that in mind, here are a few of my influences over the years, and how they are incorporated into my versions of the Deceiver:
  1. It’s a Deceiver; we have to mention Lefty Kreh. Lefty developed this pattern to imitate various baitfish in many types of water. The pattern is based on bucktail and saddle hackle and a little flash. I think it’s safe to say everyone is familiar with this pattern; if not, here’s one of Lefty’s Deceivers.
  2. I've incorporated a spine in my patterns since seeing David Skok’s Mushmouth. The idea of a spine is critical to non-fouling. Many of you have heard Skok say, “If a fly fouls once, it's useless”. I scream at my computer screen every morning when I see beautifully-tied flies that have the worst thing in common: THEY WILL FOUL! How often have you dragged a fly back to find it twisted up? At that point you're no longer fishing - you're retrieving. If the fly fouls on the final forward cast, the entire presentation was for naught. Designing flies that are foul proof is critical! For me, some sort of spine always does the trick. Skok made a spine with Softex, but that stuff is nasty and has melted many brain cells. We’ll use Hydro and not fall off our chairs.
  3. Flat-wings: Lefty put his feathers on the side and then surrounded them with bucktail to keep them from fouling. I've always liked my friend Ed Janiga’s sparse take on Ken Abrames' flat-wing; his flies are shorter than Abrames', and very sparse. But the whole 'pillow' and such was tedious. I probably wasn’t tying them right and they fouled a lot. Before CCG, I would glue the feathers together with Sally’s Hard As Nails to make a stable platform and a hard spine, which worked well. A few years later, Ted Patlen showed me a bunch of flat-wings tied by Bill Peabody (which pre-dated and actually inspired Abrames). Peabody leaves the hackle fluff on the side of the fly, giving extra breathing action. Also note the blending of colors over a lighter belly.
  4. Bob Popovics’ tied a featherless Deceiver; his techniques for using bucktail had a huge impact on my flies (I'll even tie synthetics using his methods). For a sleeker design, I will usually tie bucktail 180° on the top or bottom of the shank. But if I want to widen the profile of a fly, I'll use Bob’s reverse / hollow method. Using Hydro allows me to hold the shape of the fibres at the desired location and gives me a wider (or tighter) profile without giving up movement.
The Tutorial
First off, try not to get hung up on the steps and the recipe. These steps are various tricks you could omit or rearrange to get a baitfish of your liking.

For the intent of this tutorial, if I mention certain materials, I beg you to look for substitutes to create a pattern with your own signature. You might substitute Kankelon or any other synthetic fibres for bucktail. I prefer synthetics over bucktail: they're cheap, readily available, and can be trimmed to shape. Have you ever been to an African hair-weaving supply house? You should go. Really.

Step 1: I'm using a Mustad C68SS here; they're an inexpensive, heavy gauge hook and have never opened or broken on me. If I’m spinning a deerhair head, I might go for a longer shank C71SS or 34011.

I start my thread above the hook point. Note I don't wrap the whole shank with thread, for two reasons: one, I want everything to slide back to this anchor point; two, if I decide to spin hair, I need a bare shank. However, if you need some grip, feel free to base wrap the shank.

Step 2: Take a small clump of bucktail and tie it above the gape of the hook. At this point you have to decide if how sparse your deceiver is going to be. For the purpose of this writing, I tied this fly heavy (and with some bright colors) so you could see the moves a bit better, but typically I might use 25% of the amount of materials you see here.

Take 5 or 6 purposeful wraps and clip the butts. I'll also make a wrap or two under the fibres to tip them up, like a Mushmouth’s Ultrahair spine.

Step 3: I brush a light coat of Hydro on the fibres beyond the bend of the hook – a hook shanks length, not the whole tail.

Step 4: Cure the Hydro. I pull tight on the clump, but you could take the tension off and cure to widen the tail. You might add some mylar or flashabou before curing. I’ll typically add some green angel hair here.

Step 5: Pull a short saddle off a neck, probably not one you would use for anything else: short and webby, with lots of side fluff. Tie it in curve-up.

Step 6: Clip the butt end.

Step 7: I dab a tiny bit of Hydro along the stem, but hold off on curing.

In this picture, you can see the darker lavender – that’s where I run the Hydro, but not too much or it will screw up those fluffy fibres. You want to work quickly here because the Hydro could bleed out and work its way out away from the stem. It can get messy with too much Goo.

Step 8: Two saddles and they are longer (note I haven’t yet cured the Hydro on the first feather).

Step 9: I lay those feathers on top of the first and tie down.

While tying them down, I press my thumb down and smooshing the Hydro up through the other two feathers.

Step 10: Now cure the Hydro.

The CCG Pro Light is more powerful and can penetrate further through the feathers.

Step 11: Flip the fly over and tie in a clump of lighter bucktail right under the trimmed quill butts from the last step.

Step 12: Push the clump with your fingers so the bucktail spreads evenly around the underside of the shank.

Step 13: I tied a clump of light blue bucktail over the feathers to lock them in.

Step 14: Add another saddle.

Step 15: This is where the traditionalists laugh at me, but these flies are going to be tossed in the suds and attacked by toothy critters: they need to stay together and not foul.

Apply some Hydro around the base of that blue grizzly saddle. Wait; don’t cure it yet.

Step 16: Add a little flash.

Step 17: A little more Hydro. Try to go easy on the Goo: a little goes along way.

Step 18: Cure it.

Step 19: Flip the fly over, tie in some more lighter coloured bucktail just in front of the last step on the underside.

Step 20: Tie in some Chartreuse (or “it aint no use”) bucktail on top. Make this clump a little heavier, as it's going to support a few more hackles.

Step 21: Tie in two long, thin grizzly saddles. They are tented slightly.

Step 22: Similar to those blue saddles, give the yellow ones a little goo – approximately ¾" back.

Step 23: Here I added blue flash and purple buctail, and cured it all.

Step 24: The last belly clump is reversed. Note: you could reverse-tie the entire fly, if you wish.

Step 25: Before folding the bucktail back, put flash over the wraps. You can hide a lot with some shredded mylar, and if you add too much you can pull some out at the end.

The peach flash will make the bait belly look bloated and imitate gills.

Step 26: Why not add the slightest little bit of Hydro? Hold off on curing just yet...

Step 27: Fold back the reversed fibres and pinch with your fingers.

Step 28: Cure the belly. If you get a shape you like, brush a little more Hydro in, and cure again.

Step 29: Here I'm taking two colours of shredded mylar and mixing them with my fingers. This will be the topping of the baitfish’s back; in this case, purple and blue.

Step 30: Tied in similar to a Mushmouth.

Step 31: Add a little more Hydro before folding the mylar back.

Step 32: Mylar folded over. Your Deceiver is starting to look like a fish.

Step 33: Another light coat of Hydro to lock the fibres in place...

Step 34: ...and cure.

Step 35: This photo was taken just after giving the fly a hot bath under steaming tap water for a minute or so. I do this with all my flies; it's a critical step because it relaxes all the fibres to a more natural shape.

Step 36: I’ll rotate the Regal on its side, grab an eye, put a little CCG Thick on the back side and set in place (work quickly here).

Step 37: Cure in the eye, and repeat for the other side. I like to fill in the empty space between the eyes with CCG Thick, rotating while curing to ensure an even set. The Regal is nice for this type of work.

Step 38: Brush the head with a generous amount of CCG Tack-Free or Brushable.

Step 39: Rotate until you get a nice, even head, and cure. Sometimes I'll take a needle to push the Goo into the fibres evenly.

Step 40: Another light coat of Hydro here…

Step 41: ...and here. Cure.

Step 42: Finito!!

Once the fly dries, it will regain some shape. But, as you can see, despite all the Goo loaded on, the fibres still have a tremendous amount of movement.

And that’s the point: better living through chemicals; the Goo keeps the fly from fouling, but allows you to build a good profile without making you feel like you’re fishing with a Sluggo (gasp!).

Thanks so much to Tim for putting this comprehensive list of tips, tricks & steps he utilizes.

Be sure to check out more of Tim's flies and photography over at the Flybrary.



CCG Pro Staffer Brad Bohen in This Is Fly

Musky master and Clear Cure Goo Pro Staffer Brad Bohen has a feature in the February/March issue of the awesome e-zine, This is Fly. Check out that cover shot!

Click the image to go to the current issue of This Is Fly. Brad's feature can be found on page 20.

Stay up to date with Brad's muskie adventures at his Musky Country Outfitters Facebook page.


CCG Pro Staff Check-In: Mike Schmidt

We recently checked in with Clear Cure Goo Pro Tyer Mike Schmidt to see what he's up to. 

Mike chats about the Red Wings, commercial tying and hitting up the trade show circuit.

Clear Cure Blog: Hey Mike, what's up? How's winter treating you so far?

Mike Schmidt: Hey brother, it has been a fantastic winter interrupted only by being taken out of the game for two weeks with a nasty case of the flu. The fly business has been off the charts and when I have hit the water there have been fish willing to play…tough to ask for more!

CCB: How was Florida? It looked fishy, but rumour has it you were using spinning gear there.

MS: Florida was a fantastic time. It was the first time that Liz and I have left town to do something fun for New Years Eve; we headed down after work Friday to relax for a few days. Of course there was no way I could be down there and not hit the water at least once so I set up a day with my guide buddy Mike Mann, from Fat Fish Guide, and then counted down the days.

We met up with him the day before to hang out a bit and plot our morning, then proceeded to be a little over-served before racking out for the night. When we woke up the one-day cold front, which of course hit the day I had scheduled to fish, was in full effect. We were facing 37 degrees with a steady 30 knot north wind, so after a brutal few miles run north (so think 60mph wind chill) we got in to the creeks and decided there was no way that the fly gear would cut it.

I felt a little dirty picking up the spinning gear, and couldn’t tell you the last time that happened, but that feeling went away pretty fast as I proceeded to just tear it up jigging Gulp shrimp and swimming paddletails.

In one spot Mike told me to be ready as he slowly poled us around a point; there was a oyster bed along a trough that should hold some fish. Sure enough I proceeded to land five keeper reds on five casts. Add to that the Speckled Trout that went over four and a half pounds and I would say it was an epic day. I will still go exclusively fly every time I am down there if there is any choice in the matter, but if the conditions are super windy like that again I may not feel as bad about using the ‘other kind’ of rod…

CCB: When we first met, I noticed you have a Salt Life sticker on your fish wagon. Just how Salt Life are you? Scotty D from Lowcountry Fly Shop told me every time someone buys a Salt Life sticker, a school of permit dies. How do you feel about killing a school of permit, Mike?

MS: It is kind of like clubbing a baby seal but without the warm hat at the end of the tunnel…

I feel a little like the guy that got that script tattoo done in another language because it looked cool only to later find out what it meant...and it wasn’t good. I am currently looking for my tattoo cover-up in the form of another sick deek to place over the offending item and restore karmic balance to the ride.

CCB: I take it you're happy the NHL lockout is over. How are the Wings looking this year? How will they handle losing Lidstrom & Holstrom to retirement in the same year?

MS: Dude…I was furious when they went to lockout and that position was only further cemented when the Winter Classic to be held at Michigan Stadium between the Wings and the Leafs was cancelled. I wanted so badly to stay mad about it, but I got no time for hate. Ignoring it does nothing to the owners, meaning that I would just be pissing into the wind and missing the sport I love.

Coming in to the season the Wings were supposed to be fine on offence but thin on defense, and the first few games have shown they are actually struggling a bit on both fronts. Right now they are a M.A.S.H. unit with guys like Bertuzzi, Mursak, Colaiacovo, Kindl, and White on IR.

I think if they can get to full strength then they will be a playoff contender, but they need to get to that point without falling too far behind and 0-15 on the power play will not get you where you want to be. So far the only bright spot has been the super sick toe drag goal scored in the shoot out by Brunner to win game two.

Losing Lidstrom, Homer, and Stuart in the offseason really hurts so they will need the young guys to step up and fill that void. I believe that Hank will be a solid captain and the guys will rally; they will make it 22 straight years in the playoffs!

CCB: Do you have any NHL advice for someone who, say, lost their favourite childhood team based in Quebec City, might have a strong dislike of Gary Bettman, and has given up on the sport?

MS: I do not think there is a deep enough hole for Bettman to crawl in to and disappear.

You’re in a tough spot, man. It is easy to say hate the player not the game, but in practice you can’t exactly switch allegiances on a whim. I suppose I would have to try and pick my favourite player and try to follow them, then hope that small seed of fandom sticks and grows over time. That, or just pick the team that beats on Crosby the most and root for them…

CCB: How was the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset last weekend?

MS: Somerset was fantastic this year. Thursday night I rolled in around dinner time and was lucky enough to have Joe Humphreys come over and hang out for a few minutes; it is hard to beat enjoying a few moments with a true legend of the sport.

The show itself was solid for everyone that I talked to, thanks to some serious traffic throughout the weekend. It seems that people are striving to get back to normal in the wake of Sandy. They welcomed the chance to get out to talk some fishing and pick up a few ‘needed’ items.

I sat between Pat Cohen, deer hair guru and warmwater aficionado (and fellow CCG Pro Staff), and Mike Heck, spring creek expert, so there was never a shortage of laughs throughout the day and in the evenings the wheels were turning on possible collaborations that could be rolled out this year.

I did hear about a few stellar books that are being wrapped up as well and should be out this year, so looking forward to some new reading material!

CCB: You seem to hit up quite a few shows & symposiums; what's your favourite part of them?

MS: Short and easy answer…the camaraderie and people.

Every show has a different vibe, new stuff to both teach and learn, and is a chance to be around other people that are passionate about the sport even though they may come at it from a completely foreign angle than you are used to.

Shows are a place that all sorts of patterns and ideas are being discussed and thrown around, so it helps to me thinking about the next thing to try in the vise or technique to adapt and/or adopt. I like doing shows in different regions as the fly patterns and techniques can be very distinct from one to another; it keeps things fresh.

CCB: As a commercial tyer, do the shows help fill the order books for the season, especially with the 'non-online' crowd and those who haven't seen your flies in-person before? Or have the commercial side of things shifted more exclusively online?

MS: In the ADD world we live in I see a lot of the ‘gotta have it now’ mentality, so the commercial side of the business is almost entirely online these days unless you have the stock on the table right in front of them.

It has been my experience that in the short term you have to make the sale on the spot or the sale will not happen. Some of that business does come back farther down the line though, usually when a trip is being planned and the customer remembers a fly you tied up, but to what extent that occurs is extremely hard to quantify. The shows are a great way to connect with shops and guides though, so those connections can be built through the shows and do help to span some of the slower time.

The funny thing about fisherman though is they are willing to go to some serious lengths to get their fix on the water, so with travel as an option the commercial fly tyer sees fewer and fewer slow times. For commercial tyers it is increasingly becoming a 24-7-365 fly cycle.

CCB: Any shenanigans to speak of for the weekend? Huge chicken wing & beer tabs? Did anyone we know get blamed for a bar fight that they had nothing to do with, like at the Symposium in November? I mean, just because someone their opponents' shirt over their head, hockey-style, doesn't mean they're Canadian...

MS: This one was actually pretty reserved on the shenanigans front: no $1000 tabs, fisticuffs, or disrobed hallway awakenings that I am aware of.

The TK's time vortex was in full effect though; I would be hard-pressed to name a bar that can be harder to get out of in a timely manner than that place when it is full of fly fisherman talking shop.

CCB: Your fly patterns, methods & tying style has more than a few fans in the fly fishing world. How would you describe your tying style?

MS: Meaty and progressive…is that a valid style?

I try to change things up and add techniques and patterns all the time but I always have streamers, and more specifically articulated streamers, on my mind. I love tying protein imitations to fool fish regardless of species, and find different combinations of materials to give the fly great movement.

CCB: Who would you say had the biggest impact or influence on your tying style?

MS: Oh man…that is nearly impossible to answer as there have been so many influences. Starting off I would say it was my Dad even though he did not tie flies or really even fly fish. He encouraged my brothers and I to go all in on the things that we were interested and to do them to the best of our ability every time. I try to apply that ethic to every fly every time I am at the vise.

In the late nineties I went to visit my brother in Traverse City MI and stopped in at the Troutsman. Kelly was not in the first time I went through, but Russ Maddin was and he was all about talking streamer techniques and tying. I think I was in the shop for two hours and left with my idea of big flies and how to fish them turned upside down in my head; it was a world changer for me.

The explosion of social media has made it far easier to connect with other like-minded tyers so there is a larger pool from which to draw inspiration. The list spans the species…musky guys, trout guys, smallie guys, salt guys…

These days I would say my largest influence is Rich Strolis. Most every day sees pattern ideas, techniques, and fly pictures popping back and forth between our phones as we try to dial in whatever project we are working on with one eye on the next project.

CCB: Let's talk fish. Pop quiz: One fish, one location, and with whom? Go!

MS: The easy sentimental answer would be one more time out with my Dad on the Driggs River in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for brookies.

For possible things there are so many options. I do not know Jono Shales outside of Facebook contact, but I am fascinated by sight-fishing giant Queenfish with him off Exmouth in NW Australia.

CCB: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat, Mike! What's on tap for you for 2013? Any adventures lined up?

MS: My pleasure, man. Based on the first few weeks it looks like I am in for another busy year between production and a few projects that are coming together.

To end the show season this year I am going a little farther than normal: Sweden. Super stoked about heading over there as it will be my first time and we will have a chance to hit some water before the show over the weekend. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they have Atlantics in early, but if not then I will dig whatever adventure we get ourselves in to!

*           *           *

Thanks to Mike for taking time to let us know what's going on in his life...and with the Red Wings.

Be sure to check out Mike's website at, where you can also keep up to date with his news feed

Mike can also be reached via the Angler's Choice Flies Facebook page, and on Twitter, @ACflies.


Geist drops some eye candy

CCG pro staffer Tim Geist sent over a few gems of a Deceiver pattern to the Clear Cure mailbag this week:

Stay tuned for an upcoming step-by-step from Tim for tying flat-wing deceivers here on the CCG blog.

Check out more of Tim's work on his website, the Flybrary, and the Flybrary's Facebook page.


Brian Wise Ties The Headbanger Sculpin

One of the coolest things about writing for Clear Cure Goo is watching what comes off the tying bench of all of the CCG Pro Tyers.

Here's a special treat: CCG Pro Staff Brian Wise of Fly Fishing the Ozarks drops a tying video of CCG Pro Staff Rich Strolis's Headbanger Sculpin.

To see more of Brian's work, or for more information on his guide service, visit the Fly Fishing the Ozarks website here. Brian can also be reached through the Fly Fishing the Ozarks Facebook page.


Friend of the Goo: Pile Cast's Dave Hosler

Here's a fly tyer to watch: Dave Hosler over at Pile Cast.

Dave ties big & meaty patterns, with a lot of creativity. We love his warmwater stuff, and he definitely doesn't shy away from using our Clear Cure Eyes on most patterns coming out of his vise (which, by the way, has one of the coolest bases ever).

When asked about his tying style, he says, "I try to tie flies that look good underwater. I never care what they look like when they're dry."

"I tie with a function over fashion mentality which is why I rarely tie flies to look pretty. I like flies that I can beat the crap out of, catch twenty fish with, sharpen the hook, and catch twenty more...if my knots don't fail or a tree doesn't reach out and grab the fly first..."

Well, Dave, we think your patterns look pretty awesome when they're dry. Here's hoping those trees mind their own business. Personally I'd be a little distraught if I lost one of these beasts in a tree...

Be sure to make Pile Cast a regular stop in your web browser. Dave can also be reached via Twitter, @PileCast.


Realistic Baitfish

CCG Pro Staff Rich Strolis (Twitter: @catchingshadow1) posted another great tying vid up this morning. Work off your turkey hangovers at the vise with this great pattern.

To view (or buy) more great patterns tied by Rich, check out his website at

You can see lots of great tying ideas and patterns frequently updated over on the Clear Cure Goo Facebook page by all the CCG Pro Staff!