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No new flies here since November? Everyone must be tying in secret for the Blowout contest. Or is everyone into ice fishing?

Though my wife's recovery from surgery is still job 1, I did manage to fit in a few. the article on blockheads in the last bulletin inspired me to get some blockheads and try them out. I also figured out how to use the auction feature on my camera to put several views of one subject into one frame. Results.

Lefty’s Blockhead
https://www.flickr.com/photos/141375071@N06/24761999688/in/shares-921909/

 

x0v01t.jpg
Miller's Roadkill pattern reminded me of Lefty's classic. I eliminated the hackling as Lefty would.

Gerbubble Blockhead

 

2h7hrfc.jpg
This is a 4th incarnation of the Gerbubble Bug. The first from the 20s featured a balsa body gruved along the sides for hackle wiskers. Dave Whitlock reincarnated it as a deerhair bug with hackle wiskers along the sides. Dave Bartlett used a keystone shaped body with marabou wiskers. I was having trouble figuring out how to do the body till I saw the blockhead.

Gabe Blockhead

2rw40gy.jpg
Yet another Gabe. The head just seems right for this fly. The banjo string brush guard goes with the theme. For best results hum,

"Froggy went a'courtin'..." as you cast.

 

PS Converted to Tiny Pic for these. Can't figure out how to link to Flickr. Yet.

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I too have been tying blockheads right and left. I will be selling these at the Tinley show:

 

14sh34l.jpg

 

Here are a couple of close ups of my favorites:

 

2d7sv91.jpg

 

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2mq0zsz.jpg

 

Stop by my booth at the Tinley show. I will have, in addition to the blockheads, my Ghost Fly, bass swim jigs, my new Muskie swim jigs, and float n fly jigs for sale.

 

Also, anyone interested in booking a guide trip for 2011, can do it at the show as well.

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Mike,

those look great. You'll have to report back how they work as the season progresses. Especially curious how that ultra simple Lefty's popper does. Thanks for sharing.

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<br />No new flies here since November? Everyone must be tying in secret for the Blowout contest. Or is everyone into ice fishing?<br /><br />Though my wife's recovery from surgery is still job 1, I did manage to fit in a few. the article on blockheads in the last bulletin inspired me to get some blockheads and try them out. I also figured out how to use the auction feature on my camera to put several views of one subject into one frame. Results.<br /><br />Lefty’s Blockhead<br /><img src="http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o46/MikeG742/MikeG2011/LeftysBlockhead.jpg" /><br />Miller's Roadkill pattern reminded me of Lefty's classic. I eliminated the hackling as Lefty would. <br /><br />Gerbubble Blockhead<br /><img src="http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o46/MikeG742/MikeG2011/GerbubbleBlockhead.jpg" /><br />This is a 4th incarnation of the Gerbubble Bug. The first from the 20s featured a balsa body gruved along the sides for hackle wiskers. Dave Whitlock reincarnated it as a deerhair bug with hackle wiskers along the sides. Dave Bartlett used a keystone shaped body with marabou wiskers. I was having trouble figuring out how to do the body till I saw the blockhead.<br /><br />Gabe Blockhead<br /><img src="http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o46/MikeG742/MikeG2011/GabeBlockhead.jpg" /><br />Yet another Gabe. The head just seems right for this fly. The banjo string brush guard goes with the theme. For best results hum, <i>"Froggy went a'courtin'..."</i> as you cast.<br />
<br /><br /><br />

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I have a couple of quick thoughts on the blockhead designs.

 

The ultra simple design, ala. the Lefty tie, will work and is effective. However, I like to add hackle for two reasons. The hackle it adds bulk to the whole process making a bit more commotion. And more importantly, the hackle can aid in suspension of the rear part of the hook. This is not a big deal when using a light wire hook, however as you tie my (or any other popper-type bodies) blockheads with heavier stainless hooks, the hackle will help ride the fly more horizontally and keep it from sinking down in the rear.

 

I also like the deer hair tail to extend at least one inch behind the hook to aid in flat flotation of the fly. A softer wing or tail material does not provide this level of support as material like marabou will stay wet and not dry with false casting as the squirrel hair will.

 

I've tested my Roadkill design with and without the supportive hackle and found the hackled fly to be superior. I use two hackle feathers with the height of the hackle fibers at or only slightly longer than the gap of the hook. As an added bonus, this double hackle will not cause the fly to spin and ruin your tippet, as we see too often with other hackle flies (the Stimulator comes to mine...). I believe this is partially due to the heavier 8 lb. test tippet (or greater) used for bass fishing. I also use these for baby tarpon and generally run at least a 20 lb. tippet for them.

 

I'll be interested on what you guys find out about these design variations this season!

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Been working on a few of em...I developed this version a couple years ago..I call it the the Leroy Brown....Blockhead Charlie Brown's badder brother.

 

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=89970&id=1647470288&l=02fd77b874

 

Its first victim...

 

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=368354&l=1fb1dfc844&id=1647470288

 

Box full...

 

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1582808&l=78fa9761eb&id=1647470288

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Guest rich mc

mike, when i saw your post i thought it would be a chessehead blockhead in honor of the packers. For the Gabe fly i would shorten the white legs and double wrap the thigh area to kick the legs outward. also the velvetspun chenille comes in a light yellow. rich

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Guest airbornemike

I've been using blockheads for 3 seasons running and they are a great design, I purchased a couple "bitsy blockheads" off of Tim Holschlag last season at the fly show. It helps to have at list two or three sizes in your box, the bitsys were the only thing that would work at times, I think water clarity and fishing pressure had something to do with it. Big blockheads worked very well for LMB, I also fish some swampy water and a front loop disigned weed guard works best and doesn't interfere with hook set.

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mike, when i saw your post i thought it would be a chessehead blockhead in honor of the packers. For the Gabe fly i would shorten the white legs and double wrap the thigh area to kick the legs outward. also the velvetspun chenille comes in a light yellow. rich

 

Rich,

 

You will get your chance to shorten the legs since I am sending the Gabe Blockhead to you. I deliberately left them long so that the final user could shorten them to taste. I understand that silicone skirts on bass jigs are left long so that the user can trim them to taste just like Denny Brauer. So I am doing something like that. I will also send some small willowleaf blades in case you want to tie them to the ends of the legs for more action.

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It is great to see the variety of patterns people are tying around the blockhead. I was wrong; you are not all icefishing.

 

Is Lefty’s Blockhead a radical pattern?

 

 

I have to admit I have been soaking up a lot of the gospel according to Lefty lately. At 85+ years young he is really unorthodox when it comes to bass bugs. That cam be seen in his signature Lefty's Bug. I tried to incorporate his radical recommendations into the Blockhead.

 

1. Color-Choose a color that is easy to see. Bass key on the surface fuss and do not seem to be picky about color.

 

2. Eyes, Dots, Stripes, Finish in general-These are not necessary. Because they are above the surface of the water, bass don't see them.

 

3. Hackle Tails, Hackle Collars-Avoid these for two reasons. First, their bouyancy lifts the hook in the water making hookups less likely. He likes the hook to angledownward at 30-40 deg. Second, the fluff adds wind resistance making casting more difficult.

 

4. Squirrel Tail Tails-Squirrel tails are a must tied at the rear of the shank. The relatively stiff fibers will not wrap around the hook like other materials. They do not bouy up the rear of the hook. They soak up little water so casting is easier.

 

5. Rubber Legs and Marabou Whiskers-Use these for still water fishing. They provide action even when the bug is sitting still on the surface. Largemouth Bass are suckers for that lazy waving action.

 

Well that is the theory. We will see how it works this season.

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I've been using blockheads for 3 seasons running and they are a great design, I purchased a couple "bitsy blockheads" off of Tim Holschlag last season at the fly show. It helps to have at list two or three sizes in your box, the bitsys were the only thing that would work at times, I think water clarity and fishing pressure had something to do with it. Big blockheads worked very well for LMB, I also fish some swampy water and a front loop disigned weed guard works best and doesn't interfere with hook set.

 

Mike,

 

What is that "front loop designed weed guard" made of? What does it look like?

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Guest rich mc

mike g, nice idea of leaving the legs long to suite. ill trim them . never gave a thought about adding a blade to the legs. thanks , ill be waiting for them , and the ice to melt too. rich

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I have to admit I have been soaking up a lot of the gospel according to Lefty lately. At 85+ years young he is really unorthodox when it comes to bass bugs. That cam be seen in his signature Lefty's Bug. I tried to incorporate his radical recommendations into the Blockhead.

 

1. Color-Choose a color that is easy to see. Bass key on the surface fuss and do not seem to be picky about color.

 

2. Eyes, Dots, Stripes, Finish in general-These are not necessary. Because they are above the surface of the water, bass don't see them.3. Hackle Tails, Hackle Collars-Avoid these for two reasons. First, their bouyancy lifts the hook in the water making hookups less likely. He likes the hook to angledownward at 30-40 deg. Second, the fluff adds wind resistance making casting more difficult.

 

4. Squirrel Tail Tails-Squirrel tails are a must tied at the rear of the shank. The relatively stiff fibers will not wrap around the hook like other materials. They do not bouy up the rear of the hook. They soak up little water so casting is easier.

 

5. Rubber Legs and Marabou Whiskers-Use these for still water fishing. They provide action even when the bug is sitting still on the surface. Largemouth Bass are suckers for that lazy waving action.

 

Well that is the theory. We will see how it works this season.

 

 

Mike, I might agree with all but the one point underlined above. I can't say for sure that markings or eyes on your popper make it more attractive to fish but the fact that they are above the waterline does not mean the bass can not see them. That is false, fish can and do see above the water surface quite well. I know this for two reasons, a doctorate in optics and zoology and the fact that last summer I had on two occasions a bass leave the water and literally catch my popper in mid air one to two feet above the surface before it even touched down. And of course we've all seen them trying to catch dragon flies on your local pond in mid air as well. I personally like "eyes and stuff" on my poppers but only because they appeal to my eye, and you're right, the fish probably couldn't care less. I'm definitely going to follow your lead and tie up some Lefty's minimal poppers and give them a shot this season. Again, thanks for sharing your photos.

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Keep in mind one more thing...............depending on how your strip a blockhead, you can make it dive under the surface. I do it that way all the time. If it dives under the surface, the fish can definitely make out different details. Attaching eyes, while it probably makes little or no difference, only takes about 30 seconds. Get yourself some Loc-tite Ultra Gel glue and you are good to go.

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The doll eyes on the blockhead are one of the things I like best about it...They rattle and make plenty of noise when you twitch it. That can be a turn off, or a turn on...but bass tend to like rattles more than not. Cheers.

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Thats a nice looking frog Mike. Very old school, kinda like something Joe Brook's would have used.

post-139-0-15735700-1297439106_thumb.jpg

post-139-0-15697000-1297439122_thumb.jpg

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Mike,

 

Thanks for the picture. That looks like a McNally Frog to me. In his book Tom McNally describes how to make them using the tips of wooden matchsticks for eyes. Did you make that one?

 

Gavin,

 

Those two pictures are great. I see several forerunners of the blockhead there. That "chewed" Gerbubble Bug is the first time I have seen a picture of the original 20s version. They are a nice piece of Bass Bug history. Thank you.

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Interesting,

just to show all successful flyfishermen don't necessarily think along the same lines, above Brad Miller from FlyBass voices his support for the hackle dressing in the rear in order to get the fly up and parallel with the water surface but if you read and look at the drawings on page 80 from Lefty's book, "Presenting the Fly" you will notice that he feels you should leave out the hackle for that exact same reason, in that you want the hook to remain tilted down subsurface for better hookups. BTW, the entire piece is a pretty easy read.

 

go to page 80

 

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=j8c3Sklaz4AC&printsec=frontcover&dq=lefty+kreh's+presenting+the+fly&source=bl&ots=QGBGaYwqj1&sig=Xn9Y2MJ3XlEywuPgE9HY5FjkUUY&hl=en&ei=ZxdwTZzoHs608QO75KCvCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&sqi=2&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

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Rob,

 

I am glad to see you are researching the topic. Lefty is consistent in other books also, likeFly Fishing for Bass:Smallmouths, Largemouths, and the Exotics. Let the hook shank hang 30 deg or so below the surface.

 

Brad Miller has another theory. Let the shank be at the surface and parallel to the surface.

 

Now we have to decide whom we go with. I lean to the Lefty on this one. At the age of 21, Lefty caught his first Smallmouth on a fly in 1947 and has been fly fishing for them ever since. Was Brad even a twinkle in his father's eyes in 1947? Were his parents even dating?

 

Both angles will catch fish to be sure. Since I do not have all the time in the world to work this out myself, I will go with Lefty.

 

PS The design of Clouser's EZ Pop kind of agres with this. Then again, Clouser advocates glitter. UUGH!

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I've been using blockheads for 3 seasons running and they are a great design, I purchased a couple "bitsy blockheads" off of Tim Holschlag last season at the fly show. It helps to have at list two or three sizes in your box, the bitsys were the only thing that would work at times, I think water clarity and fishing pressure had something to do with it. Big blockheads worked very well for LMB, I also fish some swampy water and a front loop disigned weed guard works best and doesn't interfere with hook set.

Last year I ordered the biggest blockheads TH offers & found them to be surprisingly smaller than I expected.Bigger ones are available from Jonn.As you point out sometimes smaller can be better if the water's low/clear/heavily fished.My choice than is a sneaky pete.

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Hey guys, I love the blocks you've tied and posted.

I tied one with one eye on the bottom! Instead of on the sides give it a try. I did it thinking most dying baitfish or injured fish float to the surface on their sides...when they are in that position one eye and gills can be targets for bass to hone in on.

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Well I'll be darned if they don't work after all. Have caught a lot of green bass on them this season but I haven't yet connected on the smallies much using them. One thing I have learned using these unique poppers is that because they can move a ton of water and really pop loud enough to be heard in the next county if you so desire, I think they should be the ticket with moving water and/or windy conditions when you normally would have to work hard at getting your offering noticed. On low water, clear water or still ponds or lakes like this, I have done much better when I baby the blockhead back at me, being careful not to tug too hard or long so that I create a much more mild pop or gurgle. If you get too aggressive with this baby, only the biggest beasts below will not run for the hills. I give it two fins up.

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Nice fish Ro.

 

Blockheads work. But sometimes not the way you want. I was reminded that my first fish on a blockhead this spring was this overachieving hand sised gill. blockhead tied on a #2 hook.

 

DSCF0212.jpg

 

I figured a larger sized bug would keep the little ones away. So I went to a Stealth Bomber on a #1 hook. This 7 inch Crapie had to have it.

 

DSCF0219.jpg

 

So, sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn't.

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Mike, took up the chartreuse block head after your photos of inspiration and at first I thought, hey not bad...........

 

but then your bluegill curse took over and it was all downhill from there :)

 

008-2.jpg?t=1317162620

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