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This online version of the newsletter is bigger than what you might have received in the mail. Business began shrinking after the year 2000, so I have had to cut back. As I say, smaller but still alive!

Here I am, I'm working hard, but so far, I refuse to follow one famous politician's lead. I am announcing that I will not be calling for notebooks full of women. Yes, though I barely made it through 2012, I refuse to ask for notebooks, binders, or any other form of document container full of women. Not me!!!

For the third year in a row, I'm back by the skin of my teeth. One rough year. I thank all of you who supported LDF through the year. Itís also great to hear and read the fishing reportsóand any other outdoor info you pass along.

Of course, some of you did call up and heard me cry like a baby. That was because I've been losing USA material suppliers right and left. (I wonít name names!) Even the hook situation is a mess. Do any of you like the old Mustad hooks? I used to and I know many of you used to. As good as the Japanese hooks are (and they are good), the Mustad styles had their virtues. They had proportions and strength that really appealed to me. That's why I loved (or used to love) the 3906 style. If you have ever purchased an LDF tied Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear nymph or most of the standard wet flies, you got a fly tied on the old 3906. Sorry, but those days are over. Made in Norway? (Is it Norvege?) Nope; not no more! Now, theyíre made in China. Results? Mustad 3906 has changed to the point where I wonít use the style anymore. The metal is thinner; the shank length is shorter; the bend is slightly different. It just won't work for me.

Even the venerable 9672 style has become tough for me to get. I might or might not have a good supply of them going into 2013. The style itself really hasn't changed much. I find it still a good, useable hook. However, I can't find a reliable supply. What am I doing? Trying, but not happy. I have replaced the 3906 with the Daiichi 1550. Not a bad switch, but the Daiichi is a lighter hook than the 3906; it also has a slightly longer shank than the 3906. The old G.R. Hareís Ear will never be the same! I will stick with the 9672 as long as possible, but there might come a time where I'll have to switch to Daiichi 1720. I hope not, but we'll see.

Here's a little aside. Have you ever worked for a manager who says that you can always get the same result even though inputs change? You have? Anybody who says you just need to try harder and youíll find a perfect sub is wrong.

AND I havenít had poly yarn that works well for wing posts in a few years. I had a brief discussion with Dan Curran about this. The fibers in todayís polyyarn are too thick to mash on a hook shank. So you choose. You either get a full wing with a very big bump on the body, or you get a slim body with a very thin (too thin) wing. So? Iíve been substituting white egg yarn. That gets me a full wing with a reasonably slender body. I do get a nice thick wing, but it doesnít repel water the way the old poly does. The best advice I have is be sure to give the wing a good coat of fly float.

Now how about this? One of the best buys in saddles for years was a specialty grown grizzly saddle that had very long, slender hackles. I used to get them in a dyed olive shade that was perfect. They had beautiful feathers that made great Olive/Peacock Wooly Buggers. I never even knew the name of the grower, but one of my suppliers had them at a reasonable price and believe me, I used to grab them. Then the word got out so the price went up. Fine. Now, the demand has gotten to the point where they get bought out in no time! I couldn't get any during 2012. Iím going into 2013, using solid olive dyed Metz. The flies should still be good, but you regular Wooly Bugger buyers will note a slight difference. Iím crossing my fingers I can get the old saddles during the year. Otherwise, I go with Metz medium olive.

Get the picture? Sorry to go on--I better stop. Part of the problem is the overseas manufacturing soaking up material and driving up material prices, but thatís an old complaint and Iím sorry again!

2012 was not really a good fishing year around here. You canít beat that kind of heat and drought. I have to say though, that I got some good reports from Montana and from up in the northeast USA. Great to hear reports like that! For 2013, in Missouri and Arkansas, I am hoping we have normal rain. My suspicion is that normal rain would produce outstanding conditions. The ground water would still not be recharged, but there would be enough ground water to keep temperatures in the 55 degree range. Normal rain would also assure low, clear water conditions. For my part of the US, those are ideal trout conditions. They're great for the trout hunter type fisherman.

For those interested in the warm water fish, it might be another matter. Smallmouth in streams would be more vulnerable; crappie would be more vulnerable as the lakes get low and the timber pokes through the lake surface. However, I'll tell you, in low water, bass and crappie will pay as the summer goes on. They need some deep water once those temps hit 95. Take it away and they slow their feeding, they swim a lot in an effort to cool or locate cooler water, they lose weight or just don't make it.

A few customer notes. I was glad to hear from Mr. Scucci again. Ted Laska took a trip to Alaska in the later part of the year. He sent me a shot of a great rainbow! I heard from Mr. Hallam in PA and Dan Curran from my parts. Itís great to hear from you all!

In 2012, no single fly pattern really stood out. Usually, itís a tough competition among Peacock Wooly Bugger, Parachute Emergers. So no real champion. The Green Eyed version of the Wooly Bugger continues to hang in there as a good seller. I have to say that I am now a confirmed believer in the superiority of the Green Eyed. I wonder if itís because it rides higher in low water? I have a few customers who tell me that the Green Eyed fishes better than the gold bead. Iím with you all because, remember, itís always fish landed that tell the tale.

Green Eyed Wooly Bugger. The body is made of peacock herl. Just click on the pic. The larger pic will show the herl detail.

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. I think it's a great conservation issue. Woodduck supply is terrible. So what else is new? I have heard from my duck hunting people around here that this duck season has been terrible. Still, good, bad or indifferent, woodducks do get shot every year, but the feathers get thrown away. Too bad. Moose is scarce. Not many moose hunters out there. I do have plenty of Missouri whitetail. It looks as though I will have some gray squirrel skins and tails. Stay tuned! Fox squirrel remains in short supply. They should be easy to get around here, but theyíre not.

Iíll say it again, I hope those of you with internet access will look up 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.

Here are a few pics of the Wooly Buggers. Most of you already know these patterns. They're great for nearly everything. For the bigger fish, be sure to get the egghead version with the salmon style hook--it might not be easy to get the salmon hooks this year. I think it could be a frustrating year for this one. Still, for big fish, you gotta have a strong hook.

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

I am still trying to get some tying videos up on YouTube. Bear with me. Maybe I can even get a few videos of fishing areas. 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 Ď13! I hope to hear from you this year!

Robert Schneider LDF Fly Fishing Tackle