|In case you have not heard the news yet… Simms will be making boots with felt soles again. The Trout Underground and Singlebarbed sum it up for you. Makes you wonder though… New Coke and Coke Classic all over again?
|ICAST is this next week in Vegas and FlyMasters will be there. Fly Fishing is turning up more and more in conventional arenas as well as conventional tackle items are crossing over to the fly fishing area. Keep tabs on the web site for updates to new and exciting stuff.
|We are often asked at the shop about cleaning fly lines. Here is a couple of great videos on all the ins and outs about cleaning your fly line; and why!|
It was way back in 1973 that it all began. My parents had just purchased a lake house in northern Indiana. My older brother had been attending military school on the shores of this lake and it looked as though their second son and three daughters would be attending as well. Since they lived only a couple of hours away in Illinois they purchased the home to be around their children more (even if their teenage children did not want them around). It took all of .0854 seconds for me to get bitten by the fishing bug once I walked into that house and saw that lake. Now I had been fishing before, a number of times and always liked it. But this was different, this was serious.
Like most boys at 10 years of age who have been bitten, I fished with “conventional” tackle. My Zebco 202 and I saw a lot of mileage those first few years. I read as much as I could about fishing, which my parents were glad to see simply because I was reading. I joined the still very young B.A.S.S. (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society). When I could not fish I was either cleaning my gear or reading about it. However, something seemed to be missing. I was very interested in fly fishing but was unable to master its secrets on my own (at least not yet). My father did not fish. His father, who passed on when I was six years old, was an avid fly fisherman and tied his own flies. But none of this passed on to my father. He always said this sort of thing skips a generation anyway. As well, there were not too many “Stillwater” fly fisherman back in those days in northern Indiana. Not for lack of trying in those days but I just was not getting it. I had an old bamboo rod that was my great Uncles and a reel. I purchased a line and spun it on the reel. I would go out and do what most people do when they first try (especially without instruction) and whip that rod round like I was driving a stage coach. I managed to snap off a few flies and tangle myself all up and quit after my short supply of youth patience was used up. And that is pretty much how my fly fishing proceeded for a number of years. Then came April of 1980 and the full fishing bite.
In my middle teen years my folks would let me spend some time at the house when the ice went out to do some crappie fishing. Newly open water, my new Diawa spinning outfit and a bucket of minnows and I was set for some early season slabs (or specks if you are from the south). The April of 1980 started out like most others, crappie fishing that is, with me catching a few most days and occasionally about 15 on a good day. One particular day I happened to notice a man fly casting to crappie back in a channel off of the main lake. My first thought was that he would not be catching anything since it was too early for any bugs too be out.
Before the day was over I was to learn just how shallow the well of my fishing knowledge really was. The day wore on and I fished and would occasionally see this man casting, never catching. Later in the day, I had not been catching anything for a while and thought I might check this guy out. I had moved further down the shore from him and did not want to run my boat up through where he was fishing so I climbed out and walked over too him. I asked if I could watch a while. He said it would be fine and continued to fish. The very first thing I noticed was the fish he had caught so far. He had a five gallon bucket on the ground full of crappie. I don’t mean full as in swimming around and happily jumping around like in a Disney movie. I mean each fish was lying on its side and on the side of another full; like a stack of pancakes! The limit of crappie was 25 fish and he had all 25 in that bucket. I looked back at my boat and thought about the stringer I had tied to it with only about 5 fish on it. Let’s just say at that moment I didn’t need a slap upside my head to learn the lesson in front of my face.
Now I started to pay attention to what he was doing. The first thing I noticed was that he was not whipping this rod and line over his head like he was putting out a fire. He didn’t even do any backcast. I was soon to learn that he was “roll” casting. A quick little rolling of the line and he was back to fishing. As I watched him for about 15 minutes, with little to no talking, he caught six more fish and missed just as many. Even I could see the line twitch as the fish were taking his fly. He would bring in each one, unhook it and throw it back into the water. At one point he saw me watching him release these and said “I already have my limit”. Not only did he catch his limit but he is still catching them! I wondered, just how long did it take him to catch his limit and how long is he going to stay catching fish? It was almost as if he could catch them at will.
I stood watching him for about 30 minutes. I only asked three questions. The first was what fly he was using. He showed it to me and it looked like a small gray lump of fuzz on a hook. Years later I learned that it was a nymph pattern, specifically a sowbug. I asked him if he would show me a “falsecast”. He moved to a little more open area and proceeded to show me how to overhead cast a fly line. Immediately I noticed two things (only because I was now about 16 years of age and paid more attention to things). One, he was not casting all the way behind and in front of himself. Two, he would pause for a second or so when he stopped his backcast and then cast forward. This is how I learned that the previous cast he was doing was a roll cast. Finally, I asked him what other kinds of fish he caught on a fly rod. “I can catch any kind of fish in the world on a fly rod”, was his reply. He even added that he used to have a lot of baitcasting and spinning gear that he eventually gave away because he never used it again. This last bit of news hit me hard at the time. I had spent a few years of my youth amassing a number of tackle boxes and rods and reels. I loved them all and the thought that if I started fly fishing I would eventually not use any of it made my heart sink.
I watched for a few more minutes, thanked him for his time and instruction and made my way back to my boat (all cool and casual of course). I then buzzed on back home and ran to get my fly rod and reel out. I knew nothing about line weights and leaders or flies but I managed to get a rod, reel and line that worked, I later learned they were balanced. I tied on a three foot piece of 6 pound mono for a leader and clipped the wings and collar off of a grayish blue mayfly imitation to make a gray fuzzy bug. By now it was dark and I had to wait until the next morning to try out my newly acquired knowledge.
Dawn came quickly and I buzzed out to the same spot he was in the day before with fly rod in hand. I managed to get some line out on the water and quickly got the roll cast down. In no time I was into fish. I was getting hits on almost every cast. About every third or fourth fish that hit would actually make it into my hands. After a while I attempted a false cast and was proud as hell that I could do it. I spent the day and the rest of the week fly fishing and have not stopped since. That spinning gear, it has been collecting dust for 27 years and I don’t miss it a bit.
- Be Well