Thursday, March 30, 2017

Shrimp Tails from Fish Skull

Recently, my long time friend Tom Merker, sent me an e-mail regarding some bonefish flies he had just tied using a new material. Tom is a very experienced bone fisherman having fished all over the Bahamas, so I was very curious what he had just come up with. Tom said he would mail me some samples. The flies came in a few days. When I opened the envelope, I could see this was something new and innovative and definitely merited closer attention.
The Shrimp & Cray Tail is a stainless-steel, weight molded in the shape of crustacean tails.

In the company's words:
Quick and easy to tie, the Shrimp & Cray Tail™ is a simple alternative to bead chain eyes and dumbbells – two general-purpose fly tying materials which add the needed weight to shrimp and crayfish flies, but require ungainly tying methods and lack the distinctive tail profile of these creatures.

Not that bead chains are bad [and lead eyes]... in fact, bead chains or small dumbbells have been one of the most successful and enduring fly tying materials ever since they were first popularized several decades ago.

However, their sole purpose on shrimp or crayfish patterns is purely as a weight. On these flies we're trying to imitate shrimp and crayfish that typically swim backwards (often assuming a diving, defensive posture), their purpose is purely functional. They simply add weight to the fly, and being tied in underneath the hook shank, they play an important role as a weighted keel, helping to keep the hook oriented upwards.

Think about it  as fly tyers we put a tremendous amount of creativity and innovative use of materials to realistically imitate the appearance of shrimp or crayfish eyes, feelers, mandibles, and other body parts, and then blow it by placing an unnaturally shaped piece of metal in the place where the tail of the fly is supposed to be.
Thus began the idea to create a fly tying product that would provide both form and function.

Here is the more information from their blog.

...and here are instructions on how to tie a gotcha using these new shrimp tails:

My thanks to Tom Merker for drawing my attention to this innovative new material. If you give these shrimp tails a try, let me know how they work. I'm going to try them on Crooked Island in the Bahamas in May. I'll post a report on how they worked after I return in late May.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Havana, Cuba: More Photos

Recently, as you probably know, the rules were relaxed making it much more easy for American citizens to visit Cuba. The influx of visitors from the states has begun! Hopefully, with the tourist hoards on their way, the wonderful friendliness of the Cuban people will not be lost.

The cruise shops have begun to arrive...

and the Americans are coming....

The Cubans that try to shake down tourists are dealt with harshly.

Music is part of the culture

We visited Hemingway's favorite bar, La Bodeguita del Medio, for dinner and a few mojitos. The food, music and dancing were great!

Yes, the Cubans do love their cigars!

There are signs of the revolution everywhere... if a bit tattered and frayed at the edges.

At the Museum of the Revolution, American presidents along with the deposed Cuban president Batista are called cretins and for solidifying the opposition, the "best friends of the revolution".

Baseball and football rule the sports world in Cuba

I have no idea why this young couple was having their wedding photos taken right in the middle of traffic!

Warriors at the boxing academy... we just happened to see a guy running (see next photo to see the weakling). W saw him duck into a building so our curiosity was piqued. We peeked in the door to find men of many weight classes intently following the instructions of their trainer.

Want to box this dude?

Scissor sharpening

Sara passed out pens and paper pads to these children: this father wanted one for his daughter.....

The little girls immediately began writing. She was thrilled and so very cute.

A salsa lesson. We peeked in and watched. The women were good.... the men, not so much!

Thanks Sara, this was a wonderful trip!!