Project Healing Waters Fly Tying

I recently received this e-mail and photo from Jim Ottevaere, coordinator of Project Healing Waters fly tying classes at US Army Ft. Belvior and MCB (Marine Corps Base) Quantico. I wanted to share this information with my readers and blog visitors.

Here is Jim’s message:

“We’ve had a long, hard winter here in Virginia. It gave us plenty of time to hold fly tying sessions with our Project Healing Waters warriors at Ft. Belvior and Quantico. Here are some of the patterns we tied from Ruffed Grouse and Ring-necked pheasants. All the feathers were donated by bird hunting PHW supporters and volunteers from Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota.”

And here is the photo:

Project heasling Waters flies, tied by warriors in the program at Ft. belvior and MCB Quantico.

Project Healing Waters flies, original designs, created with feathers from ruffed-grouse and ring-necked pheasants. These were tied by warriors in the program at Ft. Belvior and MCB Quantico. Photo by Jim Ottevaere.

I am pleased to present these flies with Jim’s permission. They are a beautiful expression of creativity in the use of pheasant and grouse feathers, along with other traditional fly-tying materials.

Jim Ottevaere and his assistants are doing a fine job of helping the wounded veterans by leading them in their participation of this program. I am very pleased that Jim and his students have found the information in my blog to be a helpful element of this program. Thanks Jim for your leadership!

Fly Order (SPAM)

Perhaps I’m getting a little creative in an odd sort of way, by throwing the word SPAM into the title of this article. I have actually gotten quite a few laughs over the last couple years by reading the ever increasing volume of some of the SPAM that comes into Not that I spend a lot of time reading it, I don’t. It comes from everybody and their brother and their mother and their aunt and uncle and their in-laws and cousins and their lawyer and the pool boy and the plumber and brothers and sisters and where to buy shoes and drug companies and your credit score and porn sites and new windows and easy loans and online dating and Viagara and Cialis and Levitra and loan me money and best new food recipes and a host robotic cyber morons pretending to be a real person…ugh…it is actually pretty ridiculous.

This morning, after not checking here for several days, I had a new record-high for SPAM; 574 items. Course I don’t read these, I just fly through them ASAP and hit “delete, delete, delete, delete…” until they are gone into the trash bins of cyberspace. Or where ever it is that they end up…

So, getting back on topic, here are a couple pictures of a recent fly order that I shipped out, one of many that I have recently received through the site,


Flies…a mixed-bag order that went out to a single customer. Extended Body (my design) of closed-cell foam; Slate Drake duns and spinners in multiple styles, Green Drake Spinners, a few of my Floating Caddis-Mayfly Emergers, the RSP, my Low-water Inchworm, and also my own design of the Floating Inchworm. The gray wings on the Slate Drakes might look like CDC, but it’s actually plain, old poly yarn.

Macro of previous photo.

Macro of previous photo. Note the olive body on the Floating Caddis-Mayfly Emergers.

And a macro of the BXB (Bastian Extended Body) Green Drake Fan Wing pattern:

Fan Wing Coffin Fly

Fan Wing Coffin Fly. The Hook is a Tiemco 2488 light-wire, wide-gape, up-eye scud.

BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly, inspired by the Dette Coffin Fly

BXB Green Drake Coffin Fly, my original design; inspired by the Dette Coffin Fly and the Coffin Fly from Trout (1938) by Ray Bergman. Since these flies were tied, I figured out how to put three tails on these patterns, just like the real Ephemera guttulata mayflies have. I clip the hackle on the bottom so the fly floats lower in the surface film, and this also helps it ride right-side up.

An authentic original Dette Coffin fly, tied by the Dette's Fly Shop, Roscoe, New York. It is not known whether Mary Dette tied this fly or not.

An authentic original Dette Coffin fly, tied by the Dette’s Fly Shop, Roscoe, New York. It is not known whether Mary Dette tied this fly or not. This pattern is tied on a 1x long dry fly hook. This fly was a gift from a friend, fellow Pennsylvanian, Bill Havrilla. Thanks Bill!

As I slowly gain ground on my fishing fly orders, I am catching up a little bit. I shipped five orders so far this week, but I also received three new orders. Right now I still have twelve orders from stacked up, plus some other custom orders waiting to hit the vise. That’s the main reason why I have not been out fishing yet. In fact on Saturday April 12th, I was out late the night before, got awake at 3:15 AM, started thinking about stuff, never got back to sleep and got out of bed at 4:30, and by five AM I was already tying. It wasn’t until I went to the post office and drove past the Quiggleville Community Hall at 10:30 AM and noticed that I had missed the Annual Fishermen’s Breakfast. Dang. See:

It wasn’t until that moment when I drove by and realized I missed the Annual Fishermen’s Breakfast that I even remembered it was the Opening Day of Trout Season in this part of Pennsylvania. I missed out…more so on the breakfast than on the fishing. The water was high and kinda muddy, but I bet that locally grown, home-made sausage, farm-fresh eggs, and pancakes was real tasty!

Roadhouse Blues

This is why I’m having so much fun in my life lately; I’ve become the full-time drummer in the Pepper Street Band. It’s also partly why I have not been as active here, and also why I am lagging a bit on my fly orders. But I am working on them. Life has been good, and my health is great! Especially when compared to last year, when even at this time, I was still recovering from that flare-up of Crohn’s Disease.

Here is a pic from last Saturday night’s gig at a local American Legion Post, No. 617 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The Pepper Street Band - left to right;

The Pepper Street Band – left to right; Dave Houseknecht on lead guitar; Peter M. Codispoti on keyboards and harmonica; me on drums, guest lead guitarist Bob LaCerra, guest back=up vocalist Bert Smeal, and bass guitarist Bob Yoas. All four regular band members sing lead vocals.

Life is repeating itself, my cycle of friends, new and old. Pete was the drum major at the Williamsport Area High School back when I was in 9th grade, never got to know him until I joined this band. Bert and I were room mates at band camp on 1969, and he also played in several iterations of my ’70’s classic rock band. Bob is a little younger than me, but I’ve known him for more than thirty-five years. He is a mason by trade, and actually helped lay block and brick here at my home when it was built in 1977 – ’78. Dave knew who I was but I never met him until November 2013, I was asked to fill on on the New Year’s Eve gig. Bob Yoas, also, I did not “know” but we have a mutual long-time friend who is also a fly fishing buddy. My friend and Bob both belong to the same hunting and fishing camp. I am really privileged to be in a band with talented musicians!

Even better than the pic, here is a video taken by a friend from last Saturday’s gig, with the band doing a cover of the Doors, Roadhouse Blues. Both Dave and Bob do some lead guitar work. I decided to post it here so my readers can have a better idea of what I’ve been up to. Not bad for a little hand-held camera. Enjoy! (I hope).

Edit after two comments: One of my subscriber friends wrote, “The singer sounds just like Jim Morrison.” Duh! I forgot to say who is singing the lead vocal on Roadhouse Blues – it’s me! Singin’ and drummin’ at the same time!