Monday, January 21, 2013

A Favorite Fly?

When asked if I have a favorite fly, I usually reply that it depends upon what I’m fishing for. That’s probably not true since I find that I’m usually fishing for trout and I tie one fly or should I say type of fly more than any other.

When I first discovered the joys of fly fishing, back in the 90”s, I predominately used wooley buggers and prince nymphs. Then I moved down here, found River Runners on the internet and started fishing midges under an indicator.  I also started going to Bass Pro Shop on Tuesdays where Steve Fritz teaching fly tying.  It seemed like every week River Runners was telling what the new hot midge was and I had to tie them and fish them.  I usually did okay

 But I never really did enjoy watching an indicator.  There is nothing wrong with that type of fishing, I just never mastered it.
Then one night at Fritz’s class we tied soft hackles and Steve described how he liked to fish this particular fly.  The next time I went to Taneycomo, I tried soft hackles and I’ve been hooked since then. I tie mine light so they swing just under the surface of the water in the film.  Its fun to watch the fish rise to take one, almost as much fun as fishing a dry, but with a soft hackle the fish often hooks itself.  That eliminates the hesitation needed when you see a trout rising to the dry.

Do I match the hatch? No.  Try to duplicate the size? No. I almost always use a #15 or 16 hook, depending upon the hook I’m using. I do like black, barbless (or pinched down barb) dry fly hook.  Color? I’ve tried several different colors and body materials.  I don’t believe I ever tied a soft hackle that didn’t catch fish ( but every time).  I seldom try a new fly that doesn’t work; probably because the fly doesn’t look like anything the trout has seen recently.

The last couple of years, I’ve used two patterns with good results.  One is the classic “purple  and starling”; the other has a caddis green body and a dark hackle.  Before the sun hits the water or on overcast days I seem to have better luck on the purple and on bright days the caddis green.  Often I’ll fish two flies, one of each color.  Recently I’ve replaced the second soft hackle with what I believe is called a g-bug.  When I fish the two fly combinations I catch fish on both flies but so far I’ve never caught a fish on each at the same time.

So I guess that I don't have a favorite fly, but rather a favorite style of fly...a soft hackle, almost any soft hackle.

Tom T. Hall has a song, "I Like Beer" in which announces he doesn't just like beer, but he loves it.  That's kind of the way I feel about fishing soft hackles.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fish Tales

Late start to fishing this year.  But the weather was beautiful and they were not scheduled to run water all day, so off to Taneycomo. I packed all of my equipment, then decided I better check to be sure the water was off. Called and the recording said zero generation, just what I was expecting! Then the lake level followed by the tailwater level.  Tail water was over 705 feet which means they had been running water and just turned it off. This level would have meant just the top of my head above water, but hopefully it would be near normal when I arrived so off I went.

When I got to the parking lot the level looked just right for fishing and not many cars! Waders on, I headed for the water.  There must have been 3 or 4 fishermen in each car; the lake was crowded. The spot I normally fish had 8 or 9 people in it.  Usually I feel crowded if I'm the 4th. Oh well, I head a little further downstream and start casting.  Wham! I've got a fish and I mean a really nice one.  He runs this way and that but I'm making progress.  When I spot him, my heart starts beating faster, this will be the largest rainbow I've caught.  Well, it would have been.  My line suddenly goes limp and I'm thinking I've tied a defective knot.  But when I retrieve my line here is what I have.

You'll notice that all the dressing is still there, but the business end, the point is missing.  the hook was broken off at the bend.  Not a cheap hook, its a TMC.

The rest of the morning was slow, I caught a few more, all between 12 and 14 inches.  Fish were caught on the purple soft hackle and the tan g-bug.  All in all, a good morning, slow, but never too long without a fish.  So, a few days late, but I got my first fish of the year.  The one below was about the 3rd or 4th fish caught.

Finished the morning, early afternoon actually, with a trip to Dana's.  Still one of the best burgers around, but I skipped the onion rings this time.