With a few saltwater dates booked it was time to put scissor to feather and fill some holes in my boxes. I spent the last two bonefish trips throwing flies of my own design and having success in the process. I have a staple collection of Crazy Charlies, Shrimp Scampi, Pink Puffs etc, but I take a twisted pleasure in tying saltwater baitfish, shrimp and crab patterns of my own design a 1000 miles away from the nearest bonefish and without any real method to my madness...except rubber legs. Here is an actual conversation with one of my guides on Andros last spring....
Me: "do you have any fly recommendations?"
Guide: "ya have da fly wit da rubber leg dat go outda bock?"
Me: "Tan, cream, pearl, olive or brown?"
Me: "Like this?" (holding up a midwestern daydream lashed to a hook)
Guide: "Dat's PERFECT Mon!!! If it had dumbell instedda beadchain eyes?"
Me: "Like this then" (holding up the heavier cousin to the original choice).
Guide: "Dat's de fly, dat s'won"
And that was the second guide in a row that asked for a sample pattern when the day was done.
Now, lest the moral of the story get lost in visions of me dislocating my shoulder patting myself on the back, that's not the point. I was lucky...or I should say "informed" lucky. I start with the known quantities: sink rate, size, color...and then I add pin-striping, spoiler and mag wheels until it feels right. It's also the law of averages. Tie enough light, med and heavy flies in the basic sizes 2, 4, 6 and maybe 8, in the basic colors, tan, cream, olive amber, etc and tie everything long and relatively full and you can reduction tie (barbershop) the fly on the spot.
There is something almost sacrilegious about attempting to tie a fly to imitate a prey that I know nothing about for a predator that I know very little about in an environment that I spend so little time in. But there is something equally smug about pulling it off. This year's batch, thus far, is comprised of flies that are 20-30% longer than anything I've yet tied. I liked the barred craft fur tails on the Borski Slider so I added that to a few patterns. I even went a little 1980's with color and tied a half dozen with more than a hint of pink and another half dozen with a lot of orange. I'm hoping that one of these will turn out to be a winner...if not, I've always got the Crazy Charlies. But, if one kicks ass, I'm going to give it a fitting name like - Midwestern Daydream or Guides Sample.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The early season opener, here and gone. I spent a few quality hours streamside and brought a few fish to hand. This marks the 12th season opener that I've waded this particular stream. I couldn't help but notice how the excitement and blood-lust of my younger years has given way to a mellow comfort...either that or I was just numb from another long winter.