December 23rd, 2002

My Favorite Fly
By James Castwell


This morning I spent an hour with my Optometrist, checking out my eye-balls. Figured at my age might be a good thing. Truth was, I kind of suspected I might need new glasses, turned out, I was right. During one of the tests I had a large pizza shaped contraption in front of me with a place for me to peek through.

"Just let me know which one looks better, A or B," he purred.

I tried hard, I really did, but I couldn't see a darned thing.

"Uh, Doc, I'm sorry, but I honestly can't see a thing."

This was not just a little disconcerting. I am getting 'up there' and perhaps the old peepers aren't what they used to be. Pitch blackness was not one of the things I had anticipated however.

"Opp's, sorry about that, this better?"

It was, much, after he flipped up a lever somewhere on the front side of the Anchovy Supreme. The rest of the event went well and I will have my new glasses in about a week.

I have known him for a few years and although he does not fly fish, he knew I did and in a gesture of kindness asked me how the fishing was. That was a short question requiring an equally short answer. Pretty much, zip; no time, no chance, no fishing, no fish.

He mentioned his brother-in-law fly fished and always had a favorite fly, (which he could not begin to remember), and asked if I did too. As the exam was nearly finished I didn't launch into a dissertation that it depended on what I was fishing for and where, heck I had lots of favorite flies. Anyhow, I could said a 'Royal Fuzzy-Bugger' and it wouldn't have meant anything to him. I said I really didn't have one special fly, that I used all different ones.

Later today I got to wondering about the favorite fly thing, I think there was something on the Bulletin Board lately too, not sure. Years ago, just starting out, I liked an all white miller, fished it day and night, caught all manner of fish on it. They were cheap, simple to tie, I could see them easily and fish ate them. What more did I want?

Well, looking back over the years, I think I would have liked to have done things a bit differently. I still have my favorites, the 'Castwell's Marblehead' for coho and kings, the 'Chum Fly' for chum salmon (duh!), the all hackle 'Lady's Fishfinder' (one color bi-visible) (is that possible?) when prospecting for trout, Latin named flies when there is a hatch or spinner-fall and a 'mini-pink-puff' for bonefish.

Have you ever asked anyone about a favorite fly and had them answer, "Heck son, all I eve'r uses is this 'eer 'Fan-Winged Royal Coachman!' I jes ties 'er up in different sizes." Nope, how about the Adams? In fact, how about any commonly known fly? You notice a pattern developing here? Right. Nobody wants to have for a favorite fly that is well known or (Heaven forbid) common! It seems everyone wants to have his own secretive 'sneaky-pete' fly.

When you ask a guy to describe his favorite fly, he will usually say something like, "Well, it's kinda like a bead-head humpy, but, I tie it darker with a longer tail." Great, a lot of help that is.

So, for the Christmas holiday, here's something to try, it still may not be too late. This winter tie up a bunch of any well-known fly, your choice, but make it one you know has at least a chance of catching whatever it is you fish for. Tie them up in a whole range of sizes; heck, fill a fly box with the things.

Next season, just take that box out with you, fish the bejeebers out of them. I don't know of any better way to end up with a 'favorite fly' that will make you stand tall above the crowd. And, you will have a favorite fly all will have heard of, and if you can catch fish on 'that fly,' boy, you must be a darn good caster and a really good fly-fisher. What more could you want? ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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