|Column nr. 1 2006|
CATCH & RELEASE PLEASE!
The often used phrase, "Catch & Release" echos from rivers and streams across the world begging the question why? In these times of unlimited hatchery raised salmon and trout usually dumped by the ton into rivers, lakes, streams each spring, why take the extra time to carefully catch and then release game fish that appear to be so abundant? In this column I will not address the folly of dumping hatchery fish into waters that also hold wild trout or salmon without being considerate of the available food sources or in cringing on wild stocks! This sad state of unthinking fish management will be addressed in future columns. What are the benefits short term or long for being careful catching and then reviving game fish before releasing them to be perhaps caught again and again...
When I witness unthinking usually younger inexperienced anglers rip trout, salmon lips with far too much energy upon first strike and then muscle and slam fish to net, then with big smiles on their faces toss the exhausted trout back in, I cringe and wonder what they are thinking? The aquatic underworld that we fly fishers cherish is a delicate usually unseen place where human understanding of right and wrong in my mind is sorely lacking! All game fish are from birth engaged in one over riding passion, survival period. When you use hooks with barbs and set the hook as if your yanking a bad tooth, what happens is the fish is left with a mouth wound much larger and ragged then a barbless hook would make and gentle first strike would induce. Now that trout will have to deal with both sudden shock, a wound that will attract aquatic bacteria and more then likely lead to death!
If the respected trout fly fishing schools would take the time to study and understand why trout, salmon and all game fish must be respected and handled like the precious living creatures they are, our sport could become the leader in respect for our aquatic friends and allow them some basic consideration. You new fly fisher will be doing a great service by adopting these few simple rules often taken for granted. Number one must be always use barbless hooks, hooks with barbs are killers and completely useless, I often wonder why they are still manufactured? Replace all your hooks with barbless today. When you feel a trout taking your fly and the thrill of actually catching that pretty rainbow hits your wrist, a gentle flick of your wrist is all that is needed to set the hook. Do not slam the hook into the delicate mouth flesh and cause serious damage, practice a more humane easy first strike impulse.
Now that you have the fish hooked, let him run a bit and then quickly take him to hand or net. If you have to use a net keep it wet and in the water as your net will scrape off the natural coating that protects all fish and helps insulate them against loss of energy and illness. It is best to leave the trout, salmon in the water while using your forceps to remove the hook. Now if photos are to be taken, if possible never take your catch out of the water, why not take the shot of your trout just under the waters surface quickly? Gently holding your catch and moving it back and forth under water until it revives and pulls away from you. Great job new fly fisher, welcome to the world of considerate fly fishing where trout, salmon actually have rights, rights to life....
It gives me no pleasure to announce what appears to be a sad day for those who covet Bamboo fly rods made by masters. Glenn Brackett of famed Winston Rods has decided to leave the company he once owned and helped elevate to near reverential status among those who cherish his work. Many years ago Glenn lent me a bunch of his shop Bamboo to take on my Alaska quest for world record King Salmon caught with light 5/6 weight Bamboo. Eight Bamboo companies were asked to take up the challenge, all refused except Mr. Brackett. I will always be humbled by this man's kindness and uncompromising skills. In an age when more corporate profits and lower manufacturing costs dictate what is created, our fly fisher world has been dealt a sad blow! E.C. Powell, Walt Powell, Leonard, and modern masters like Gary Dowbrowski, Don Anderson, Thomas & Thomas do fine work and garner much respect. In my mind Glenn was and is right there with the very best in this game of creating Bamboo rods that are works of art. Thank you Glenn and may you find another home for your rare skills, I salute you sir...
On a more upbeat note here is a photo of my friend Karen Graham and her Alaskan Char/Dolly. Karen and her husband Tom fly their own planes and have sampled fly action world wide. How many Vogue Magazine Cover Girls ( 27 covers ) have you seen so handy with a fly rod? Best to you and Tom your ethereal sublime one...
Hook: #16-20 Barbless.
Hook: #16- 20 Barbless
"ADVENTURES OF FLETCHER QUILL"
His high Holiness the Dali Lama and Fletcher Quill, Duke Parker, Quill's beloved Siamese Cat Timba are being quickly led into the VIP lounge as Slick Braine's super sonic titanium reactor powered tri jet moves onto the tarmac. His Holiness travels with a three man security team of boys with skills such as kick boxing, psychic discernment, small weapons expertise and complete devotion to the boss apple sauce... No passports or baggage are checked as the semi holy triad watch airport security perform one last electronic sweep of Slick's too fast jet.
"I look forward to seeing your castle and having dinner with Sharon Stone Fletcher, I may have to change these saffron robes as I had a little accident when you hit one eighty on hiway two eighty fellas. Ferrari's, rocket bikes, Sam Kinnison and San Francisco have taken me just a tad off my center! We must all group meditate when we board."
Duke Parker and Dali's security team are talking exotic weapon's as Quill and Dali Lama are approached by airport security, " Excuse me your Highness, we have a situation developing. Mr. Slick's jet may have stowaway stashed. Our sweep can't find him or her, please be careful and have your security team stay vigilant!"
Timba and Quill are busy rebonding with endless cat kiss's and head butts as Dali's security team signal the posse can begin boarding. Duke Parker acts as human shield as his boss and the Dali Lama cross the tarmac and enter the coal black uber quick jet. Parker notices the jet crew is composed of the current starting line up of the famed Mitchell Brothers adult fantasy club where much of Quill's worthless reckless youth was spent.
"Man oh man Fletcher we got some kind of flight crew this trip! Good morning is that you Seka?"
"You hit it right Duke Parker, long time no lap dance Marine Hero! When this bird gets airborne, let us reup your Mile High Club membership big boy..."
"Excuse me Mr. Parker explain what is this Mile High club ritual?"
"Your Holiness it is much like the ancient mariners and their rituals while crossing the equator, only a bit more personal."
The Northern Ireland castle bound crew now happily ensconced in their individual private suites have settled in and the captain has announced the jet is about to taxi and take off, when Chaos and his brothers Chance and Fate take a seat..."
"Quill, Listen Marine we got an intruder on board, this cat wedged his self under the liquor cart in the galley. The Lama's boys are trying to get him unstuck, you better come forward and check this out!"
From deep inside the single malt stash a familiar voice is heard singing, "Never kept a quarter past Sunset, always burned a hole in my pants, never went to school, never had a second chance..."
"Keith Richards is that you dude?"
"Happy, baby won't you make me happy..."
"Its ok boys, we know this man all too well, come on Glimmer Twin, get out from under my thumb."
"Quill old mate, you forgot to give me that limited edition rock star dry fly set you tied back stage at the second concert we did together? So I say's to Sir Mick, "Think I might take a bloody break with our boy Fletcher and sip a taste of the Speyburn Single Malt while drooling over his Sharon..."
"Great to see you pal,
this reminds me of my favorite Robinson Jeffer's Poem " Someone"
One of the way too hot Mitchell Brothers flight attendants whispers into Quills ear, "Sir we have collected more then fifty samples of famous Americans hair left on this jet after joining our little "Mile High Club". Might you tie a special dry fly series featuring Mile High inductee's?"
"Man, fabulous idea, please have Duke Parker bring me my solid gold miniature fly tying kit and I'll take a shot at that series right here!"
Quills civilian cell phone goes off as he begins to set up his one of a kind traveler tying kit.
"Fletcher old man Abbott Sammy here, forgot to tell you that we decided to give you a special gift few mortals can imagine. You can choose any one ancient female spirit and one equally ancient male spirit to inhabit for a period of thirty days any two living mortals you desire! Be careful this is quicksilver stuff old buddy. You pick the two spirits and we will do the transfer here in Golden Gate Park."
"Oh yeah, love this, right off the top how about the spirit of Queen Isis dropped into my girlfriend Sharon Stones pretty haughty little noggin? Then maybe the spirit of my man the real king Elvis poured into our Jason Aki's handsome head?"
"Done, give me three minutes and call your Sharon for conformation, she will be an easy transfer."
Suddenly Slick's way fast jet begins to dive straight toward the ink black ocean as the captain breaks the mood.
"Gentlemen excuse the interruption we are just over a huge gang of migrating King Salmon, if you look out the port windows, eat your heart's out boys!"
His Holiness the Dali Lama now deep in celestial meditation sits cross legged in his plush private suite as the quick jet banks hard left for a last look at the pod of King Salmon numbering in the hundreds. While Keith Richards and Duke Parker begin riffing old John Lee Hooker standards like "After Midnight" and " I'm a King Bee Baby" Keith yells back to Quill now looking through the famous Mile High hair collection, "Hey fifth Stone how about we get you on the mouth harp while Duke and I kick off "Ruby Tuesday " and then just a taste of "Lady Jane" ?"
In less then ten minutes Quill's cell goes off and it's la Sharon or her Supreme Highness.
"Is that your soothing voice my Prince, are you winging back to me from distant lands?"
"Ahhh, Sharon is that you sweetness? You know sweetness is my weakness..."
"It is I Isis my Prince, my aching body awaits like the river Nile welcomes schools of fish."
"Ok, say Isis is my castle prepared for his Holiness Dali Lama and my old friend Duke Parker?"
"Yes my Prince your servants will be washing your feet upon arrival and then a great feast will welcome you home."
Another cell call cuts short her Highness as Quill turns to Duke, " Yeah baby, that's what I'm talking about, too bad its only for thirty days, bummer dude."
"Excuse me is this the Colonel, I ah hope I got the right number, this is the King Baby!"
"Jason Aki, dude is that you Invisible Surfer?"
"No man, this is the King, put the Colonel on the hook son, I got serious bidness going on here."
"Elvis, man I got Keith Richards right her with me, we could use your harmony dude? Oh, I have been making fat money on your hair tied into my " King Midge " fly old buddy."
Safe flight home for the semi holy triad? or will chaos rule?
Read about Fletcher Quill in earlier chapters:
Written by Dan
Fallon © 2006
For Dan Fallon's earlier
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