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website addresses: www.ldfflyfishingtackle.com * www.littledixieflies.com
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Have any of you heard about the Hokie Pokie Clinic? They say itís where you turn yourself around. Iím sorry, Iím sorry, Iím sorry!!

This online version of the newsletter is bigger than what you might have received in the mail. Of course, the whole print end has had to be cut back as this business began shrinking after 2000. Smaller but still alive!

Good to be back and back in touch with all my great customers!

Speaking of whom, let me say that I was glad to hear from Mr. Scucci again. And Ted Laska took a trip to Alaska in the later part of the year. He sent me a shot of a great rainbow! I wish I could name you all and buy you all a Coke! I really appreciate your business.

Get thisónobody has heard me gripe about drought out West for quite awhile. Along the lines of good water out West, I got a very interesting report from customer Dick Curran. He fished the Big Hole, which in years gone by had dewatering troubles the likes of which you canít imagine. Anyway, he told me he caught some grayling. What a good piece of news that was. Thatís one fish Iíve never even seen. Frankly, I probably never will. What it means is that water conditions in the Big Hole must have improved greatly in recent years.

Our weather was nuts. It was impossible to get out in the first 6 months. We had tornadoes through June. 32 inches of rain through the end of June. Then bad heat and drought well into September. However, by August, water conditions in our springs got to be pretty good and with the temperature near 100 every day, those 55 degree spring creeks werenít bad at all.

Iíll say it again, I hope those of you with internet access will look up LDF Fly Fishing Tackle on Facebook. You all can get in touch with me right away on Facebook. Feel free to post PHOTOS, notes, comments, experiences or just talk about the outdoors. It really is easier than emailing me with a story and then waiting for me to post it on the website. Of course, the website is there, ready for your orders, but for info and socializing, nothing beats the Facebook page.

1)Peacock Wooly Bugger2)Black/Black Wooly Bugger3)Black/Olive Wooly Bugger

The number one selling fly for í11? Once again, it was the Beaded Peacock/Olive Wooly Bugger. Yes, it beat out the Olive Helgramite and all the versions of the Parachute Emerger. They all are great flies, though. Try them all! I did sell more of the all Black Wooly Buggers and the Black/Olive version than I have in quite a few years. Also, the Green Eyed Wooly Bugger version continues to hang in there. I have a few customers who tell me that the Green Eyed bead fishes better than the gold. Remember, itís always fish landed that tell the tale.

Black Egghead Flashabugger

Here's a Flashabugger version that a few of you know, but many more should know. It's the Black Egghead Flashabugger version picured above. (LDF also sells an Olive version.) The picture above shows that fluorescent orange head. That's the egg. It's made of fluorescent orange chenille. What's the rest of the fly? It's the usual stuff composing a Flashabugger--black chenille body, black marabou tail, and a strip of silver flashabou down the sides. That rear end of the fly is supposed to be a leech, what I call the head is actually a salmon egg being eaten by the leech. Well, maybe! It is a great fly for bigger fish and sometimes even smallmouth. Yes, guys have told me they've pulled these things out and caught smallmouth on them. Still, it is meant as a big trout and a salmon type fly. The guys who travel to Alaska have bought them from me for years. The guys who go to the Great Lakes to catch big trout have used them for years.

You can get them tied on a standard streamer hook--the Mustad 9672. Or you can get them tied on the salmon hook--the Mustad 36980. WARNING: if you plan on using this fly to catch big, fast running trout like steelhead, I do not recommend that you save a few cents by sticking with the streamer hook. Go to the salmon hook version. Call me if you want that same advice over the phone!

Now for a little discussion on hooks. I'll bet that those of you who tie, and even some of you who don't, might be a little fed up over what has happened to Mustad hooks in the last few years. No more 100 quantity. So to that you say, "Oh well, economic reality hits." Quality changes. Now we're getting serious! Let's talk about the old 3906 model.

What was so great about that 3906? It had a shank that had a reasonable length. I could actually tie a G.R. Hare's Ear nymph (as so many of you know) on that standard length shank and get a good result. Good how? The body had good looking propertions, plenty of room for a fat thorax, and, with that sproat bend, I could tie the body down the bend to make the nymph look slightly curled. Does that say life to a fish? Yes, it does. What's more, the old version had good weight. It could tolerate a little banging around and sink readily.

What now? The hook shank has been shortened. Change quality to save money? The metal in the hook is much thinner. Again, change quality to save money? All I can say is that customers started calling me to ask about the "Made in China" on the box. Third time, change manufacturing location to save money? That certainly has to make anybody think twice about using the hook. Fact is, I just cannot tie good wet flies or nymphs on that hook anymore. So, I've changed to the Daiichi 1550. That hook has similar proportions to the old 3906. However, it is lighter than the old 3906. So I'm stuck but I think this is the best I can do.

Tying material issues. If any of you live in states with good hun partridge populations, donít hesitate to save the feathers if you shoot the birds or talk your bird hunting friends into saving them. Theyíre valuable. Woodduck supply is no better than last year. Moose is going to be tough again this year. I do have plenty of Missouri whitetail in square foot size. It looks as though I will have some gray squirrel skins and tails. Stay tuned!. Fox squirrel remains in short supply. I do my best, but theyíre not always easy to get around here.

Iíll close with this question. Why donít more wildlife/conservation departments stock brookies and cutthroats? I know. Both species are too easy to catch, the rainbow is easier to raise to 10Ē and the brown will resist catching and live to a big size. I know those things. Still, it would be nice to catch the occasional brookie or cutt in some of these streams. Thatís one of the neat things about Arkansasótheyíve got all four main species in their waters. Itís a real treat to get a brookie once in awhile.

We do still have a few leaders and tippet spools left. Just check the website, call or email.

For 2012, my project will be to get some tying videos up on YouTube. If you're interested, let me know. If and when I do it, I'll put the notice up on Facebook and, of course, on the LDF website. I'm hardly the best, but some of you might be interested to see how I do these things.

As usual, Iíll close by saying good health, good fishing and great outdoor experiences to everybody this year of Ď12! Let's hear from you this year!

Robert Schneider LDF Fly Fishing Tackle