Author Archives: ondafly

happy birthday lefty!

card designed by Al Q

card designed by Al Q

What an amazing life and still going strong at 90 years young. Lefty still continues to drive and fly around the world fly fishing with royalty. He will always be my mentor and the fountain of saltwater fly fishing knowledge. We are all blessed to have had him affect our flyfishing lives in some form or fashion… happy birthday pal.

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sharpen your carpin!

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Mark your calendars. Conway and me will be holding a little carp seminar entitled, Sharpen Your Carpin” at Lake Hodges on Saturday, May 3oth at 9am as a prelude to the Carp Throwdown at Lake Henshaw on Saturday, June 13th. Check in with the boys at The FlyStop in La Jolla for more details. It will be free and it should be a great way to get your game on for the Carp Throwdown at Lake Henshaw which can be a finicky, technical fishery if those hoppers aren’t hopping. LOL

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mark your calendars…


I highly recommend coming out this june to the hodaddy of all carparandum, the bowman/q carp throwdown. this is a feel good, fun event held at lake henshaw. we have partnered up with the fly stop this year so please stop by their shop and show some love. barbecue and live music on the friday day night before. camp out or rent a bungalow. great prizes. this will be our forth one. we try to time it right around the famous hopper hatch, when grasshoppers literally get blown into the lake and are gorged upon by acres of carp. the event is a fly only tournament, and most of the fish are caught believe it or not on dry flies on the surface. wade or boat, it’s sick, it defies logic but it all happens in june,  join us! it’s on!  registration should be up on the fly stop website soon.

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fff flyby this saturday at long beach casting club…



Come out to meet some of the top fly tiers in southern california and help support the southwest council fff this saturday, January 31st from 9am to 4pm at the historic long beach casting club. There are lots of great prizes to win in this year’s raffle.

Casting lessons from Federation Certified and Master Certified Casting Instructors will be available for $1 per minute (15 minute minimum).

Tell us which item raffle # bucket you want your tickets put into, and we’ll make sure you get a chance to win some great prizes for showing your support for the fly fishing community and helping out Shane Chung’s son. As a lot of you know, Shane, who was a great supporter of the fly fishing community, and a brilliant fly tyer, tragically passed away way too early last year leaving a wife and a young son.

2015 FlyBuy

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carpland…on the fly fishing film tour

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Our friends at the Fly Stop in San Diego and all-star cameraman Austin “Dirtycarp” Trayser of Beattie Outdoor Productions put together this sweet carp adventure film. Look for it at the Fly Fishing Film Tour this year…

visit the CARPLAND page

watch the CARPLAND TRAILER here!

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stripah on steriods…


i just got my drake magazine (love this publication) and on the cover there was a topic line, “biggest striper, page 36″ so what do I do?, being an old east coast striper fisherman, I rip through the pages and go directly to to page 36 to find this awesome graffiti image painted by Will Harden located under the Barnstable railroad bridge in Cape Cod. It apparently is something like 12 feet long. there is a great story behind the painting which is worth the read. It was photographed by Tosh Brown. next time I find my self in the cape, I plan to pay homage to the concrete cow!

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not tuff, with tuffleye…

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I am honored to be a pro staff member of Tuffleye/Wet a Hook Technologies over the years. I dig all their products mainly because they use safe blue light and are of high quality. Tuffleye has changed the game for fly tying by allowing you to construct and build flies easier and more durable. Here’s a fun email I got from one of the founders of Tuffleye, Ned Lunt.  Visit Tuffleye!

“I have worked with Dr. Kenneth Krysko in FL to get them the tuffleye material and instruction needed for this project in the Florida Museum of Natural History. They have been very kind to us in their credits. 

Hope you have a Merry Christmas. Thanks for all you do to support this company and it’s safe technology.”
Click here to watch this cool time-lapse video of reconstruction of a Burmese Python, measured at 17.7 feet, weighing 164.5 pounds using Tuffleye!
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tapers and tunny

video grab courtesy of Thomas & Thomas

video grab courtesy of Thomas & Thomas

Taper & Tunny is a really nice short video on my old buddy, Tom Dorsey of Thomas & Thomas. It is shot in Montauk, Long island and has some neat footage of false albacore during the fall migration. The boat the video is shot off of, is captained by another old friend, Capt. Paul Dixon, who is one of the pioneers in flats boat style, sight flyfishing around the fabled waters of Montauk. Hope you enjoy.  Click here!

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multi species man…

Some of the many multi-species landed by Steve Horgan on Christmas Island using Al Q's beach bug! Photos by Steve Horgan

Some of the many multi-species landed by Steve Horgan on Christmas Island using Al Q’s beach bug! Photos by Steve Horgan. From top left to right: Blacktail Snapper, Bluefin Trevally, Flag tail Rockcod, Juvenile Red Snapper, Honeycomb Grouper, Onespot Snapper, Paddletail Snapper & Peacock Rockcod.

Qs Beach Bug with palmered red chenille

Qs Beach Bug with palmered red chenille

I had the pleasure of running into Cincinatti’s own, Steve Horgan at the Honolulu Airport while waiting to board our Fiji Air flight to Christmas Island. We had never met before. Steve had been to CI this past May and was gracious enough to talk to some of our guys at the airport and brief them on the many exotic species we may encounter while fly fishing the reefs. He had identified many interesting reef species and had beautiful photos of many colorful species all caught of fly. Steve specializes in chasing multi-species on the fly and really enjoys fly fishing the inner and outer reefs. He has over one hundred and forty species to date. It was serendipitous to say Steve knew me by one of my fly patterns the Qs Beach Bug. He said he loved my fly and brought some to try out on his quest to add new species. Steve stayed at a different lodge so we didn’t see each other even though we were on the island at the same time. We exchanged emails and wished each other luck. When I returned I got an amazing email from him which I would like to share, it touched me deeply: He has since re entitled my fly the Beach Benz!

Hello Al,

I put your beach bug in my fly box for my recent trip to Christmas Island because it looks different than any other fly I fish.  I’m glad I took it.  I fished it for my first reef fishing episode which lasted about 2.5 hours.  Did my reef fish friends like it?  Does the sun shine at Christmas Island?  Fish hit it on the first six casts I made as soon as it hit the water.  They also liked it stripped slowly or rapidly.  And it’s the only fly I have fished on reefs that fish ate on the dead drop!  I caught about 75 fish in that first session.  And all of them came on the fly I started with.  Your beach bug held up very well.  The only area that had wear were the eyes, which is understandable considering all the rocks I was fishing around.  I have two thoughts about your bug.  If I were taking someone reef fishing for the first time it would be the fly I would put on their line.  And I have to wonder how a larger version would fish.  I think the bigger boys would definitely eat it.  As it turned out I caught eight different species on your beach bug.  Four pictures are attached to this email and four will be sent with a subsequent email.  I have sent a friend request to you on Facebook.  I have an album posted called Memories of Christmas Island November 2014.  If you click on the title of the album you can see the 34 pictures I put in it.  Wishing you safe travels and safe fishing.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Steve Horgan

These are some of the other species Steve encountered in blue water on his offshore flies. Way to go Steve, you are an inspiration to all of us!

Wahoo, Mahi Mahi and Tuna all were happy to eat the fly. Photos courtesy of Steve Horgan.

Wahoo, Mahi Mahi and Tuna all were happy to eat the fly. Photos courtesy of Steve Horgan.

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christmas in november…recap

Al Q with a nesting red footed boobie, photo courtesy of Jorge Salas

Al Q with a nesting red footed boobie. A bird photographer’s dream.  Photo courtesy of Jorge Salas

Well it was two years in the making, a fly fishing trip planned for a great group of 8 anglers including myself. We were anticipating this adventure and were all excited to experience Kiribati, the isolated atoll that is approximately 1400 miles south of Hawaii and 150 north of the equator on the international dateline, glistening in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Christmas Island was on my radar since the early eighties for me when I read about this place as a kid. The fabled bonefish destination with miles of shallow white flats and deep drop offs with marauding GTs. Christmas Island was named in 1777 by explorer Captain Cook when he landed there on Christmas Day.  CI greets the sunrise first each day around the globe. Its a special place every serious saltwater angler must experience for themselves at least once. Everyday on CI is like watching the discovery channel for real, in technicolor, with wonderful bird and aquatic life all around you. The large lagoons are painted with multicolored greens and blues, the clouds and flying birds often reflect these subtle colors of the water making the whole place a photographers dream.

We choose the full moon November tide for our week because I was told it could bring monster spawning bonefish onto Paris Flat and it did. Three days after the full moon, large female bonefish and some of the smaller boys school up into large brown clouds that move slowly across the deep flat. Throwing a fly anywhere near this cloud can produce a 4 to 12 pound fish. You literally see all these bonefish  heads lifting out of the water to chase the fly. We hit it right! It is a memory i will never forget, all our guys with bent rods walking fish back to the beach. The best part was as the school drifted out of casting range we deep waded onto coral heads, (similar to montauk rock hopping) stood up and casted to the cloud, hooked up, jumped off the coral and waded back to the beach landing big bones to ten pounds.

After first wading out and landing a 7 pound bonefish, I told Zino to get out there and he immediately hooked up. photo by Al Q

After first wading out and landing a 7 pound bonefish, I told Zino it was his turn to get out there and he immediately hooked up on fabled Paris Flat 1, as did the rest of the gang.  photo by Al Q

There were many species landed during our week. Giant Trevally, Blue Trevally, Golden Trevally, Bonefish, Goatfish, Triggerfish, Picasso Trigerfish, Queenfish, Surgeonfish, Puffers, Wahoo, Skipjack, Yellow Snappers, Groupers, Etc. For me wading the flats and stalking spooky bonefish was a highlight and my local corbina fishing definitely keep me sharp. I fished the rio redfish lines on the flats and liked the way they handled, they cast well into the wind. I used the Rio GT and Leviathan lines for the GTs. The leviathan which isn’t made any more has a inner core of 70 pounds which I preferred. The new GT lines have a 50 pound core, which still worked fine but could be sacrificed on larger fish over 80 pounds. Most bonefish flies used size 6 and 4,  tan, tan orange with gold dumbbell eyes. Christmas Island specials, Chilli Peppers, Gotchas, etc. Not much flash! It is good to have a variation of sizes. For instance when we fish Paris a larger size 2 seemed to produce larger fish. Triggers ate the same bonefish flies, but #4 squimps or crab patterns produce too. GT flies were any type of baitfish patterns in 2/0 to 5/0. Wahoo and tuna flies were flashy, wired custom flies I tied.

It's usually one fly per wahoo! Photo by Al Q

It’s usually one fly per wahoo! Photo by Al Q


A nice wahoo on a trolled Al Q fly by James Bygrave. Photo by Doug Spieske

A nice wahoo on a trolled Al Q fly by James Bygrave. Photo by Doug Spieske

We stayed at Shark’s Place. Our guides, food and accommodations were good. We actually had air-conditioned rooms run off generators which made sleeping at night perfect and kept the bugs away. We all had a great time, not only because of this exotic location but because everyone got along and laughed all week. I am going to miss the afternoon platters of yellowfin sashimi and fried breadfruit to end a long day of fishing, and I am going to miss those spectacular sunsets, puffy clouds, endless clear lagoons and fond memories of happy locals and being with good fishing buddies. A special thanks goes out to our good friend Peter Koga who due to health reasons was unable to make our trip but was there in spirit. I even named a flat after him, Koga Flat! LOL Look forward to the next adventure…


an exotic Surgeonfish that ate a fly. Courtesy of Doug Spieske.

an exotic Surgeonfish that ate a fly. Courtesy of Doug Spieske.

Photos by Zino Nakasuji

Bonefish caught on Koga Flat! Photos by Zino Nakasuji

Paul Cronin, Al Q, Doug Spieske, James Bygrave, Jim Solomon, Mike Ward and Photographer extraodinaire, Jorge Salas.

Zino Nagasuji, Paul Cronin, Al Q, Doug Spieske, James Bygrave, Jim Solomon, Mike Ward and Photographer extraodinaire, Jorge Salas. The Yo Yo Ma Kiribati wrecking crew!



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