|Column nr.4 2001|
FIRING THE MAGIC BULLET
Learning how to work any of the traditional early season streamers can be as difficult as learning how to cast in the wind. Those fly fishers who are either new to the sport or stuck in ancient deep diving nymph strategies may want to read further! The advantages of learning the secrets of choosing the correct streamer or early season terrestrials are many fold. To begin with, lets explode afew early season myths about enticing sleepy, cold, lethargic trout into hitting your meager offering. There are no exact techniques or systems which will catch trout during this early period. It depends on so many factors, it would take volumes to cover every possible situation. Those who are tried and true deep diving nymph fly fishers are missing out on the whole point of fly fishing. One must learn to quickly change flies and try every possible bug in your box , if nothing seems to work. I will almost always begin with one of my own streamer creations which are extremely buggy and gaudy. These patterns consisting of my "White Dragon" " Fallon Slayer" "Black Magic" and my never miss killer "Lady Di". Have never let me down in any situation on any water at any time of day! Why is that and how could anyone make such a bold statement? Because trout and all game fish are feeding opportunists and will on impulse hit almost anything they think will make an easy meal floating by. These buggy looking streamers I tie each season work well because they have the colors and the hairy insect look which trout cannot resist period.
The two most believed myths about early season fly fishing are universal and have caused many boring mornings and afternoons for our sisters and brothers! First, has to be deep diving nymphs are best and have to be inched across the bottom with a twitch now and then. The other myth is one must use only sinking line to get the fly down and keep it down low. Bull----, if you get used to using floating line and nine foot leaders followed by six to seven feet of tippet with a split shot 15 inches above the fly which is also weighted. You my adventurous bug tosser will begin to get more slams and exploding hits then you can imagine. Why the hell is that you ask, because the floating line will keep the fly moving with the tension of the surface current and wind. Sinking line tends to cause the fly to move very sluggishly and hug the bottom. Floating line will keep your bug moving and acting wounded or lost. This sports fan is what drives sleepy trout wild and they can't help but hit your buggy presentation hard every single time!
When throwing these streamers it is important you never obey any rules as far as where or how to throw them. Why is that, wise ass outdoor writer you ask? Because these streamers work best in places you might never imagine fish would hide. Work these streamers up stream near stream edges and around boulders and across stream currents.
If you learn how to imitate dying wounded insects as they twitch and move every which way. This alone will double your catch and release numbers for certain. If you have no idea what dying bugs actually look like? Then stop fishing for a couple of hours and spend time watching bugs take the last flight and twitch and squirm their way into the next life. This time spent watching and learning will help you more then reading all the fly fishing books and columns in the world. I tie my streamers to look very buggy because the bugs I see everyday look hairy and weird. I have never seen any insect that looked anything like the perfectly tied insects you see at most shops. Please believe me when I say fish eat what looks natural to them. They do not eat bugs that look perfectly tied and neat and trim to the human eye. Take a walk down the isle of your local fly fishing store and carefully look at all the perfectly tied creations which make their owners so happy! Those flies are so well tied and trimmed because everyone ties them to look exactly like all the other standard perfectly tied patterns in the world. Now, I'm not knocking my expert fly tying brothers and sisters out there for tying those bugs so perfectly. It is just that in the natural world very few if any bugs look like the ones you have stuffed in your vest pocket. If your learning to tie flies and wish to create patterns which look exactly like the bugs out on your local rivers and streams. Here is a suggestion, take a field trip and capture as many bugs as possible and take them home to study and observe. Then take photos of them from many angles and even make drawings if your capable.
Now take those bugs and place them in a aquarium and watch them develop and pass through the stages leading to the final buzz. If after watching and studying you still think perfectly tied patterns resemble real life insects, call me collect from anywhere in the world... The art of tying patterns which look more like the real thing takes as much energy and practice as tying the look alikes. In fact here is another suggestion, if you really want to excel in this difficult sport. Take blown up photos of as many local bugs as you can find that live on or near your favorite rivers and streams. Study them and then sit down and practice tying patterns that precisely match the photos. In the beginning you will notice the natural colors are nowhere near as blatant and rich as the patterns your used to tying. The real insects out there are hairy and rather odd looking things with legs and wings which are not always perfectly sized and matched. I do not take credit for these revelations, but, I have made an effort to truly imitate what I see on the waters I fish.
LOADING FIRING & WORKING MAGIC BULLETS
I will attempt to replicate my own interior thoughts while working early season streamers and terrestrials. " Oh man its cold out here this morning- look at that duck just gliding around and dunking his head,,, There is a rise near that stream edge, and another. here we go. think I'll tie on a nice black ant and bounce it about 18 inches from that ledge. Dam, first throw is on the bank, OK, settle down and ease that ant just close enough and upstream from those last rises. yeah, that's it. Dam, I missed that bump and it was a good trout of course. Better get alittle closer and gently glide that ant and pick up the slack... Yeah, got em, now let him run and try to throw the ant. Hey, not a bad fish-here you go boy, I'm not even going to take you out of the water while I very carefully remove the barbless hook. See ya next time. Oh well the ant worked and now it gets no action, better tie on a " White Dragon " attractor and see what happens. If I can only get this baby to slide off of that big a-- boulder- nope can't seem to catch the wind just right- yeah, that toss looks good - now let it drop for three seconds and start slowly taking up slack and- BAM, what a hit, here we go, Oh no he's heading around that half submerged branch. Sh--t I lost him and my best " White Dragon " Ok, lets tie on a " Fallon Slayer " and get some cheap thrills. This stream looks perfect for cross stripping my baby- Hey, not a bad throw in this wind, it sank quickly and it does look buggy as hell. If I can just get the twitch right- have to give the rod alittle snap every fifteen seconds and now were rolling. Lets throw it again, but ten feet further up and across stream this time. Listen to all those song birds- Boom, got em, hey this guys been working out and eating very well. Oh, he jumps, man what a fish, that's it come to poppa, oh boy he wants to run, so lets go..... Now we see what you look like my fat friend, lets ease you in close and gently leave you under water while I remove my barbless."
The above scene is played out countless times wherever I go during the regular season. I make an effort to stick with barbless hooks and never take the fish out of water while removing the hook. It takes practice, but, you can still take a good photo of a fish submerged just under the surface. Why take him out and grapple and handle him for your own satisfaction and photo opportunities ? In fact I recently learned a good lesson about being careless and not paying attention. While fishing near my home in Sausalito California early this year. I was out with my buddy throwing flies at a local reservoir and not really thinking about the flies in my vest. I had thrown in a bunch of flies bought at shows to study and maybe use. Because I was lazy and not thinking as every fly fisher ought to. I tied on a good looking buggy fly that was barbed instead of barbless. My Irish luck ran out when an on the ball game warden stopped me to check license's and so forth. After several minutes just as he was about to walk away, he says " Reel in your line and lets take a look at that fly " He rightly cited me for the barbed hook and I hung my head and offered no excuses. well the short story is the citation was dropped by the local authorities. It was the first and only citation I have ever gotten in over forty years of outdoor adventures. I deserved it and would have taken whatever punishment dealt. Please learn a lesson from this humbled fly fisher, be careful out there, obey all the rules and hope this never happens to you!!!!
YVONNE GRAHAM NEW I.W.F.F. PRESIDENT
In the words of the new President " I'm proud to be your new President. There isn't another organization in the world like ours." I have to second that emotion with a hearty YES !. This wonderful organization composed of many of the worlds most learned woman fly fishers is lucky to have such a distinguished new President. Yvonne Graham and her husband Gary operate an Orvis endorsed company called " Baha on the Fly ". Among the many impressive fly credentials listed under Yvonne's company masthead include: First woman to catch Striped Marlin on both 6 & 12 pound test in the same season, three time IGFA world record holder, twice receiving the prestigious 10 to 1 Award, helped introduce underprivileged children to sport fishing, co-director national coalition marine conservation West Coast, instrumental in efforts to ban drift gill nets off California, conceived, compiled & edited " Guide to Fly Fishing Favorite Waters ". This gem of a guide book consisting of 42 of the most experienced woman fly fishers clearly mapping out where to and how to fly fish many of the best waters in America. Is in my opinion the finest work published to date on the best waters left in this country to throw flies!
The I.W.F.F concept was launched by Fanny Krieger internationally known fly fisher and wife of the living legend Mel Krieger. Yvonne has long recognized the need for woman to become more supportive of each others interest in the sport. The new guide book accomplishes just that. Woman like Lisa Cutter featured in this column last year, along with many of the great ladies of the sport like Joan Wulff and Alaska's famed Cecilia "Pudge" Kleinkauf. Have created a book that one can use wherever the fly fishing gods beckon. Those who have stumbled across this monthly column in the last three years are aware of my ongoing interest in featuring and promoting skilled world class woman fly fishers. It is a pleasure for me to have Yvonne appear in this months update. This well versed, highly dedicated fly fisher has another great organization near and dear to her heart. The CFR or Casting For Recovery program, a non-profit national organization which puts on retreats for woman recovering from the ravages of breast cancer.This wonderful group was created to help those recovering, gently exercise and become involved in fly fishing and casting in a therapeutic supportive setting. Those interested in finding out more about this group contact program director Susan Balch (888-553-3500).
Yvonne recalls her early years in the sport "During the first few years, our clients were mostly men. It was a rare woman who came along to fish. Until Fanny Krieger decided to hold a festival of woman fly fishers in San Francisco in 1996. I discovered woman do fish and I haven't missed a festival yet!" It is no longer unusual to find expert woman fly fishers in America and around the world. Those seeking more information on the I.W.F.F. and its new President can contact Yvonne Graham at email@example.com or call (888-811-IWFF) (-4933) I.W.F.F e-mail address is IWFF@intlwomanflyfishers.com
It gives me great pleasure to announce the honor bestowed upon me by the world renown fly rod maker Ira Stutzman owner of Hells Canyon Custom Rods" out of Oregon. Ira has been making special exotic wood handled fly rods for many years. Ira has made custom rods for President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn. The company has never offered this signed limited edition rod series to any other fly fisher, I'm truly humbled and urge all interested sportsmen to read my field test review of these artistic, yet fully functional works of art in last months column. Only 100 rods will be built and are offered as follows: Each rod is serial numbered and will include customers name with inlaid Chucker Feathers. Each rod comes complete with a balanced J. Austin Forbes Reel and Airflow Fly line. The rods will come with a special custom high grade leather case with brass cap. The cap will be engraved with customers name and serial number of rod. The rod is offered as a 7 foot 3 inch 3-4 weight- 3 piece graphite, with special Nickel Silver ferrules and hardware. A perfect traveling small stream rod that can become a hand me down treasured heirloom. This rod casts as well or better then any rod I have ever used and its quite special. If a customer would like another weight or length or any other special consideration? Ira will build to suit on request. The price is $2250,00, for more info contact Ira Stutzman at (541) 742-4828 or click on his web sight at www.hellscanyoncustomrods.com.
Upon the opening weekend of the 2001 California Trout stream season it has occurred to me one outstanding collective mindset would be wonderful. What if just for a crazy moment we all decide to go out of our way to respect the rights of our brother and sister fly fishers? What do I mean by respect, this weekend if you come upon a great looking stretch of water already occupied by fly fishers. Why not stop and consider moving on and finding your own section to work? If anyone sight causes tears to flow out of dedicated lifelong fly fishers. Its the ridiculous scene of shoulder to butt bug tossers flailing away ten deep within walking distance of their shiny Landrovers. This lack of common garden variety consideration for the private space of others makes me very sad! This sport is perhaps the only sport where quiet Zen like atmosphere is almost mandatory. We as a group may be close knit after fishing hours, but, while on the water love to enjoy peace and quiet........ My lone wolf tendencies are acute and highly defined in respect to fly fishing. I have one simple rule, if I can see you, you are too close.
BEGINNER FLY SCHOOLS
Those who have been calling and E-Mailing me in regard to either my Yosemite fly fishing school this spring or the Shingletown school. Can get more info and exact dates by contacting the world famous Yosemite Hotel Inn B&B at ( 800) 317-3244 and speak to Lynn. The Shingletown beginner fly school is held at the tranquil WestonHouse B&B, contact Angela at (530) 474-3738 or on the web www.westonhouse.com. These beginner class's are two mornings, I provide everything except a license. Contact Dan Fallon at (415)332-3803 for more details. Both of these schools are also geared specially for woman who wish to enter this hallowed ground...
Written by Dan Fallon, May 2001 ©
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