Tfrank, you & I would get along very well I think!
The flies I fish with are not always nice looking! The fish don't care however!
Thanks for the compliment!
I'm usually aware of what's going on around me, but it's easy to forget where you are on some of those streams & not be aware when others approach. I know of many places along the Patuxent that a person could yell for help all day & no one would likely hear them. Best to be vigilant in paying attention to who's around!
Interesting mod! I use some Bonefish style flies as crayfish & I like to add splayed hackle sides or tails, usually natural cree or dyed grizzly. I like the barred look & the fish seem to approve too. I can see where ginger would do well.
Jay's recipe calls for Fox Squirrel taken from the side of the tail, but I actually like that topside hair better & I like it a bit longer than he recommends. It has more barring & IMO, still works well. I also don't remove all of the underfur most of the time. IMO, it makes them look more "buggy". But, like you I tend to tie them larger anyway. I believe Jay ties them mostly in size 10 or 8, which is a good size for MD streams, but again I've had better luck with size 6 or 4, but that might be because I fish for bass more than for trout.
I agree with you about the small barbells, or even bead chain. I also prefer to have the hooks ride point up to minimize snagging the bottom.
When I get the opportunity to fish for trout, I don't get too concerned about hatches, as I don't keep up with the what & when. Unless it's winter, I primarily stick to terrestrials or subsurface. I feel the Patuxent watershed is a good place for those types of flies.