Updated 991106
Swedish version

Dan Fallon's World of Fly fishing

Column nr.7 1999  



   My introduction into the self contained exotic world of trout stream fly fishing was arranged by one of my favorite uncles. My Irish American San Francisco roots go back to the mid 1800s. This rather long genetic stream has allowed me to sample almost every possible outdoor hunting & fishing experience one can imagine. Uncle Clyde was an eclectic well versed fly fisherman from the old school. His life was an unending series of staged adventures created to allow him to throw his hand tied flies at any and all trout in and around California. He would begin his average weekend with these words to my aunt " OK, you win honey - lets just throw the kids in the station wagon and head up North for alittle peace and quiet. " Uncle Clyde rarely fooled anyone with that seemingly benevolent proclamation! On one trip I will never forget Uncle Clyde had me tag along as the only possible relative who might one day savvy his lust for fly fishing. After spotting what he called prime trout real-estate somewhere way up North. His station wagon almost as if controlled by aliens pulled into the first place he could park. He pulled on his waders and off we went along a pretty stretch of fast water, his eight year old nephew (me) became instantly mesmerized. I was told to sit and watch and learn what this fly fishing thing was all about? Uncle Clyde moved quickly up the stream as I watched and listened to the aquatic action which would haunt me for the rest of my life. In the bliss of this first stream experience a two foot snake of some kind slithered right across my eight year old legs. Many years later Uncle Clyde would tell this story at least 50 times. One aspect of this tale never changed in the telling. I ran so hard and so far, it took an hour to find me still shaking and quaking. One of the most asked questions this column encounters is " How does anyone learn how to successfully play and land big trout three pounds or better on light fly outfits? " This has to be the one and only aspect of fly fishing which can be understood only by practice, practice, practice...



   If one begins fly fishing without first purchasing a well built reel with a solid disk line brake system. It will be almost impossible to learn how to hook and play big trout or any other game fish taken by fly. The fundamentals of playing and not hooking and loosing fish can be easily understood. Trout in general fight for every gill breath they take under water. The daily existence of these beasts is a constant quest for food and safe shelter to rest and conserve energy. When hooked they will do almost anything to evade capture. Once you are certain a trout has taken your fly and begins his first hard run. It is imperative you let him go and take out as much line as you can loose before hitting the backing line at the end of your fly line. After the first good run, slowly begin taking up slack and gently move him towards you. If he wants to run again and again, let him go until you can gently move him to you. No matter how big the fish or how light the line weight. This method is the only way to land big fish. You will be excited after first hooking that big monster. At first you will falter and forget the basics of letting him run to get tired. After several battles and many lost fish which break away because you left your drag too tight or tried to yank a fish in too soon. The whole affair will begin to make sense to you as second nature reflexes take over.


have mentioned this before in this column and will again and again. Those who successfully catch and release fish after fish have learned this method and practice it without fail. Those who are new to fly fishing must learn and practice the basic knots used to attach leader, tippet, and fly to fly line. If your knots are not well tied and hand tested for strength, it will be ongoing sadness and madness. Most worthy fly tackle stores have books on the subject of knot-tying. This months featured world class fly fisher is one of North America's most well traveled enthusiasts. Lisa Cutter of the California School of Fly Fishing in Truckee California.
Lisa Cutter, USA
Lisa Cutter on stream near her home in Truckee Calif.


isa was taken early by the outdoor gods "I grew up a tomboy catching tarantulas, snakes and scorpions. My transition from tom boy to woman wasn't easy - My parents sent me to finishing school - I never passed !" When Lisa is asked what is it fly fishing brings to her life". My spirit swings with the rhythms of nature rather than the whims of society. It wasn't until the 1970s that I picked up my first fly rod at a Fenwick School taught by none other then Mel Krieger. I was hooked at first cast! The blend of physical challenge, grace and harmonizing with nature fit like a glove - from that day on I had a life long passion, but never dreamed that some day I would be guiding or running my own fly fishing school." Lisa easily relates why it is this sport means so much to her. "The best part of fly fishing - is the diversity of environments you get to experience while catching all those species of fish. My favorite fly fishing is chasing trout in my Sierra home waters - but I jump at every opportunity to travel to distant places to pursue fishes wild and weird! One of my favorite destinations is the Amazon - the heat, humidity, monkeys, parrots, and yes even the snakes leave me in awe. I love to cast at big structure with large flies in hopes of tangling with big toothy fish". Lisa has become the proud owner of a nearly filled passport in the quest for exciting fly fishing. "I enjoy stalking Bone Fish and Permit across white Caribbean flats - but much prefer chasing baby Tarpon in the Mangrove choked creeks and mosquito plagued lagoons. It’s a physical thing - guess I'm still a tomboy at heart". Lisa & Ralph Cutter operate the California School Of Fly fishing.

Cutter Fly line Company can be reached at - E-Mail: Cutter@flyline.com or phone her at 1-800-588-7688.

Lisa Cutter, USA
Lisa somewhere in upper Northern California. A secret of cource.


hose who want to test their skill against hard fighting bill fish would be well advised to contact world famous Cabela's Outdoor adventures. I have heard sensational reports from readers about the excellent bill fishing at this exotic hot spot!

The thrill of taking Black Marlin, Dorado, Tuna and Rooster Fish on fly rigs must be among the ultimate challenges for seasoned fly fishers. I just received an E-mail from Richard Patterson who lives in New Mexico "I loved every second of my trip to Guatemala - its too much fun chasing big sailfish with fly gear - we hooked up with several species including Tuna and Rooster fish - I would urge anyone who is a bit bored with the usual home town fly fishing to call and get ready for arm bending excitement". Contact Cabela's Outdoor Adventures at 1-800-237-4444 for more information.

Cabela's Outdoor Adventures



   If one is to take the sport of fly fishing seriously and endeavor to unravel the myriad of secrets within this exciting past time. This fact will surface time and time again without fail. Trout as a collective specie are much smarter and far more aware then the average weekend fishermen will ever imagine. This rather general statement of truth came to me because of the following series of enlightening experiences over a period of many years. When I first began chasing these noble aquatic beasts. I regularly made all the usual mistakes a novice can make. I would get up before dawn armed with all the gear I could carry. Upon reaching my stream of choice at breakneck speed without regard for the almost cathedral like peace and quiet which most streams exist in, I would right off the bat get those waders into what I felt was the perfect spot to begin throwing flies. I could not wait to assume the classic position of the existential lone fly fishermen in the middle of the stream water rushing all around.



   Without fail I would then spend atleast an hour or two casting at everything that resembled a trout. It never dawned in my fumbling rookie mind, I had disturbed and alerted every good sized mature trout within 100 yards of my arrival. This ignorance continued for some time until quite by accident. I discovered the innate intellect of this wonderful game fish. One morning upon walking down a steep hill toward the stream where I would begin the usual ritual. I noticed many fat trout in the two to three pound class moving in and out of shadows. I watched for half an hour or so counting and remembering where the best fish were hiding. I then crept slowly and quietly to within ten yards of the stream edge. That morning I caught more trout then in the last year or so of stream attacking which was my old style. This experience forever changed the way I fly fish and oddly enough the way I look at most everything else in life. Those who move with some caution and respect will most often reap the harvest. In order to prove to myself the validity of the stealth sneak and throw methods used by almost all seasoned fly fishers. I revisited all the streams which had been the scene of my water splashing spectacles. These waters were resplendent in trout and their many holding areas were opened up to me. Yes, you will most always catch a few trout at those roadside fish markets where you get out of the car and step into a stream. The reason your going to catch one or two is simple my naive friend. That stream has been stocked with so many fish, how could you possibly not catch one? Try this tried and true technique and get your trout diploma. In the coming months while old man winter takes his sweet time refreshing our favorite water playgrounds. I will attempt to pass on both the success and failure of my trout higher education. Until then, keep those fly tying tables looking like the scene of an eagles nest and dream of the six pounder waiting for you just down stream.


 Written by Dan Fallon, November 1999 ©
     Read his biography

For Dan Fallon's earlier and later colums; visit the table of contents




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