AHREX SA 210 Bob Clouser Signature Streamer Hook
Recently I sat down to tie a few of Bob Clouser’s famous Deep Minnows. This is undoubtedly one of the most effective flies ever devised in both sweet and salty waters. A must have. Don’t leave home without it. This time around I felt like trying a new hook. And what better hook to try than one specifically designed by Bob for the salt – The Ahrex SA210 Bob Clouser Signature Streamer Hook.
Made in Scandinavia, this high quality salt water hook has a straight eye, a true micro barb, a long shank, a needle point and a wide gap. Below you’ll see a comparison between this hook in size 1#, and a Mustad C70SD size 1#. (The Mustad is on the bottom.) By the way Ahrex also makes a standard shank length salt water streamer hook as well – Model SA220
As nice as this Ahrex SA210 Bob Clouser Signature Streamer Hook looks, and it does look like a winner, there is one question in my mind. Although this baby is meant for the salt, it is carbon steel, not stainless. Ummm, odd. Ahrex explains their choice of metal this way.
“We’ve chosen to make the hooks from carbon steel. Carbon steel is stronger and holds a point better than stainless steel. But it’s not stainless. They are however coated with the brand new A-Steel finish, which makes them very resilient and resistant to saltwater – even the high saline salty environments of the tropics.”
Will the A-Steel finish hold up? I can’t say yet, but comments on the internet are encouraging. Expect me to report back as the season progresses. In the meantime I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Colonel Joseph Bates, in his fine book “Streamers & Bucktails the Big Fish Flies”, reports that this fly was created by Frank Hornberg, a conservation warden in Portage County, Wisconsin. Designed to mimic a small minnow, the Hornberg was born almost 100 years ago and sold commercially by the Weber Tackle Company, becoming widely popular in many waters.
The Hornberg had no tail, the body was flat wound silver tinsel, over which two yellow hackles made an underwing. Over that wing, were tied pale grey mallard feather cheeks that extended back beyond the hook bend. Jungle-cock eyes were added on top of both cheeks with several turns of grizzly hackle forming a collar up at the eye.
Upon landing on the water, the grizzly collar had a tendency to momentarily cause the fly to float. This allowed anglers to briefly fish the Hornberg as a dry fly, perhaps imitating a caddis, or stonefly, or even a hopper. Once submerged it became a conventional streamer, making it a versatile fly.
Originally this fly was tied upwards of size 6, but today size 10 is the most common on a hook such as the Mustad 9671. Silver braid has replaced the tinsel and the yellow hackle has given way to yellow bucktail. Otherwise, the fly is much the same. In his “Book of Fly Patterns”, Eric Leiser tells us over the years many variations of the Hornberg popped up, often utilizing colored mallard wings, noting that well-known tyer Dick Steward even made a flat wing version of this fly.
Days on the Delaware River
Just got back from a few days on the Delaware River, in upstate New York. Magnificent country, endless trout waters, funky little towns, all of it surrounded by the Catskill high country, part of the Appalachian Mountains.
The Delaware was new water for me. Eons ago I fly-fished the Beaverkill River and the Willowemoc Creek, but not the Delaware. Somehow it never made it on my radar screen back then. That changed when I got an invitation to spent a few days on the Delaware River with Captain Pete Farrell, who knows these waters well.
So how was the fishing? Well, first the bad news. During the prior week the Catskill experienced heavy rains and all the rivers were swollen. And the high water not only affected the wading, it greatly reduced the hatches the Delaware is famous for at this time of year. As always Mother Nature holds the cards.
So, as you can imagine. there were long faces in the fly shops. We should have been seeing rafts of Hendricksons, March Browns, Blue Quills, Grannon caddis, and Yellow Sally Stones. Oh well.
But hold on, there was some good news too. Our days on the Delaware did have a few shining moments. Both Pete and I managed to land a large trout. Pete had a big beautiful “bow”. Nice going Pete! And I got a thick 23″ butter yellow brown on a Hendrickson dry. It was one of the most beautiful trout I had ever seen – fat, a perfect specimen in every regard. Captain Pete estimated it to weight 5 or 6 pounds. Ahhh, days on the Delaware!
For over a year, Phil has been jonesing for a boat. And his girlfriend Catherine was onboard with the idea too. So Phil has been searching far and wide for the right one. Looking in the paper, looking on the internet, looking on Craigslist, looking on Facebook, looking, looking, looking. High and low.
The Proud Owners
Well last week the stars aligned – bingo. All that planning finally came together. Phil found a 15′ Stonington Skiff in super shape. Recently remodeled, and recently rewired, it was priced right and has a decent trailer and a dependable motor. Done deal. You gotta love it.
Yeah, there are still things to do before they can launch. Registration, ship to shore VHF marine radio, life jackets, rod racks, extra rope, cushions, and beyond. But that’s no big deal. Next thing you know Phil and Catherine will be on the water smiling big time. Let the fun begin!
A Day on the Salmon River
Salmon River Angler
I’ve mentioned this small trout stream several times over the years. Fun spot. Now there are a zillion Salmon Rivers in the USA, so allow me to zero in. I’m referring to the Salmon River in Colchester, Connecticut. Its springs from the union of the Blackledge River and the Jeremy River. And then runs a few miles to the Connecticut River, through a forested landscape.
Recently I did a day on the Salmon River. The water level was low due to the lack of snow.
Salmon River Angler
When I was a kid, Connecticut averaged about 48″ of snow each winter. These days the average is 37″ inches, and this winter I figure we got upwards of a whopping 10″. Quite a drop!
The trout fishing is mainly found upstream of the Comstock Covered Bridge. The state had stocked the Salmon River very well with some chunky trout. I saw several landed that were 15″ or larger and one angler reported releasing a 24″ trout the prior week. You gotta lover that. I did see a caddis hatch in the morning, but the best way to fish the river is subsurface. If the river is up with snow melt, streamers are effective. When it is low, like it is now, small nymphs rule. Hope to see you on the water.