Product Reviews

Angler's Choice Tying Materials

Monthly Contest Prize Package!

by Craig Gittings

At first, I wondered, "What the heck am I gonna tie with this stuff?"

I should first give this disclaimer, I am fancier and tier of big ugly flies. No dry fly fisher would be caught in my presence on a river or so some guys say who razz me at my fly club. If we have a free tying evening on our outings, I almost get ostracized from the group. Good thing for thick skin. They don't look pretty, but they do catch fish. They never resemble an insect, it is assumed the patterns just entice a territorial instinct from the fish I seek.

In the past, I always stopped by the Anglers Choice booth at the San Mateo International Sportsman's Expo. Shim Hogan is always there, same booth location, too. He's pretty good, he doesn't bother you when checking out his materials. I usually walk away wondering what stuff to get, guess that I should never admit to being overwhelmed. His materials are a little exotic to say the least. Now, this is not a bad thing, just that you are trying figure out how one might go about utilizing the stuff. He incorporates a lot of different materials into his blends which make them pretty useful though.

The first thing I messed around with was the rubber legs material. I had read an article by Andy Burk in the California Fly Fisher magazine just before I received my contest package from the Fly Anglers Online Monthly Contest. The photo included in the article had some traditional nymphs tied with rubber legs, interesting concept or so I thought.

I had a trip to the McCloud River coming up, primarily to concentrate on nymphing techniques with a friend from the fly club and thought I'd tie a few flashback pheasant tails, bead head princes and hare's ears but with rubber legs in sizes that ranged from 12-18. Included in the prize was Ultra Holographic Dubbing in silver. Heck, if this didn't scare the fish it might easily get their attention.

I wasn't sure if I should be listening to the Grateful Dead while tying up these patterns. I was real skeptical about the holographic material, way too much sparkle for a nymph pattern, no way would it catch fish. But it did! These two materials alone made me a believer in this stuff. While on the water, I actually tried a glass bead bodied pattern with some Llama Plus material (llama and a hint of ultra holographic) as a light dubbing to simulate a caddis nymph. Funny thing, these patterns all caught fish!

What was I going to do with the Poly Bear stuff that I received? I have some nice minnow/bait fish imitations tied for my next trip in ivory and tan with some rainbow and peacock angel hair as a lateral line. They look good in the bath tub, wonder what it will do for the predatory instincts of larger fish. The Poly Bear in fluorescent orange and chartreuse were used for silver salmon patterns for Alaska in September.

Included in the prize was the Angler's Choice Body Floss, stretchable stuff for midge patterns and soft hackle bodies. Tied but unfished, next trip. Also have some Dazzle Dubbing in blood red and damsel nymph, I'm sure both of these materials will be put to the test.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the materials that were hand-selected and shipped to me. I probably would haven't tried the materials (refer to being overwhelmed at the San Mateo show) but having received this great stuff, I had to give you some feed back.

When I go through this stuff and need to replenish, you can bet I'll be buying it as replacement. Heck, I'll even give these patterns to those dry fly guys in the club. It'll break their hearts until they catch fish with them.

Thanks again for drawing my name. Shim, nice tying material, must admit, it's pretty innovative stuff. The packaging is pretty clean, labeling is great. I'm hooked. ~ Craig Gittings

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