The 2019 Maine Bar Fly season is in the books! Last night we rounded off the tying nights at Stars & Stripes Brewing in Freeport. This particular brewery I thought would be a great way to end as it brought the work with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing full circle. Stars & Stripes Brewery is a veteran owned establishment and I had heard great things. We tied two different crab patterns with local tyer Travis Shipman. We tucked ourselves into the S&S tap room and learned the techniques behind a fly that is probably the most talked about here for striped bass anglers in Maine. With a combination of its intrigue and effectiveness, crabs are the single most asked about pattern for salt anglers in my shop. I personally tie a variation of a Merkin/EP crab for stripers, but to see Travis' skill in different versions/patterns was quite cool. I was particularly interested in his "Red Claws" crab which utilizes deer hair, schlappen, and rabbit strips! I'll be trying to add that to my arsenal for the upcoming season. (Side note: this was probably the most technically challenging of all the Bar Flys yet, so kuddos to all the tyers that came!)
I appreciate everyone who joined in on this season's Maine Bar Flys. Not only am I continually impressed with the attendee's willingness to try new patterns and explore techniques they are unfamiliar with, but this year's nights had a specific association and effort raise money for Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. Everyone who came out were willing to help donate to this great organization. Hard to ask for anything more...
I want to also specifically thank Shaun Baggitt, Nate Wight, Aaron Lockwood, Travis Shipman, and of course Jon Larrabee (HMH Vises) for all their help. Would not be possible without your involvement!
See you next year!
Words + Photos: Josh Thelin