"With a name like McBride, you should already know how to do this!"
That is the gruff answer I got when I asked; "Just what the
heck were you doing?"
Now when taking someone fishing, I usually just go about
my business my own way, and move the passenger around the
lake wherever he wishes, and we joke about the tiny ones,
and gloat over the big ones, all in good fun.
But when you are 44 years of age and the other fisherman keeps
calling you "sonny" or "kid" and he has out fished you ten to
one out of the same boat...you can bet your keester the
"kid" is going to ask some questions, or * "White haired Old
Pappy" is going to have to swim a little if he wants to get home!
*(Calls himself WOP for short, and he won't give me any family
background, so I don't know if it is an inside ethnic joke or not!)
I got the answer, hence the lesson I will quote here.
(The names haven't been changed...just the language!)
"It's Dapping, or Dappling as some call it."
(I gathered from all the snide remarks that it's Irish.)
"They used to use real insects before there came about the
great representation flies." "Pappy" slurs around his
"chaw-o-tabacca." (Note to self...if all my teeth are
ever gone...don't start chewing anything in public without
"Was this before, or after the big winter called the Ice
Age?" I asked? (Trying to get even for all the "Kid" prodding.)
After all the spitting, and swearing/arm waving was over, and
then only after he pulled a HUGE Small mouth Bass into the boat,
he calmly continued, and hence I will REALLY clean it up for
"It is just presenting a bait, or nowadays' an artificial fly
so that it actually resembles something that the fish have
eaten before." (I get a glare as if he is waiting for another
"kid" answer...I don't give him the satisfaction,...not just yet!)
"It works well for kids, and people of both genders who haven't
fished before, because they don't have to UN-learn anything
I light up a smoke, while he takes a nip from a hip flask he
had hidden in his fly vest. "You can get the hang of it in
about a half an hour, and catch the wary fish that won't rise
to anything else." (Nip must have been something pretty strong,
because his eyes are watering now!)
"For live Daps, mayflies, dragonflies, beetles/hoppers/crickets,
and even grandaddylonglegs or small frogs worked well when I
was a youngun like yer'self!" (Boy did I ever have to clean
"You need at least a fifteen foot pole I reck'on, so that you
can fish out of yer' own shadow, and it lets the Dap drift in
the wind longer."
Now he is watching his fly very close, while talking to me.
"It also needs to have a pretty good backbone to it, so that
you can haul in big fish without breakin' the pole!"
Ever see anyone catch a 38" Pike on a 18' cane pole? It's
quite impressive let me tell you! NOW he really has my attention,
because my LIVE Golden Shiner minnow on my pike pole never
moved the bobber, and it's only 15 feet out the back of the boat!
OK Pike measured, spit on, and returned to the water, he gets
back to the lesson. Meanwhile I have wrapped up my pike pole,
while he takes another nip without asking if I want any, of
"I used to have a reel and pole combo for Dappin', but I just
went to straight line at a 10 lb. weight." He mumbles.
"OK, I'll move you over to those reeds...no problem, just keep
talking...by the way want a sandwich, or a pop or something?"
I blubber out, while trying to keep the lesson going.
"Now you can set up a spinning reel with a fixed spool of 150
yards of 10lb. mono, and a six foot nylon leader with a taper
of 1X to 3X, but you have to rub the leader with something to
cut down the glare!"
He swings his line to show me while he's eating my last shaved
"Yep thas' plain ol' 10 lb. Spiderwire...storebought a spool
for hand lining over the side for perch, but somethin' made
a run and cut my palm to the bone, and I lost the whole
dagnabbed' spool sept' fer' this here leader I had cut off
to use fer' a stringer." (Author's note...is swearing a whole
other language in another country, and if so is his
different than mine because of experience, or does it all
run together really fast because of the region of his childhood?)
"I use a size 4 hook with a big gap so it gets a good bite
into the fishes jaw, cause' you aren't gonna really set the
hook...yer' just gonna' kinda lift his head and steer him to the
He demonstrates on a large Bluegill. "He will struggle and set
the hook deep himself, IF you keep sharpening the hook to keep it
needle sharp!" He demonstrates by poking my arm with his hook!
"Just remember to have the boat set so that the wind is at your
back, and to the side so that yer' shadow aint' where yer'
fishin',... if there aint' no wind...ya' don't go a dappin'!
He yells at the top of his lungs...nips too frequent maybe?
"Ok, I'll move the boat sideways for you, now that I know what
you want." I mumble.
"Now ya' just raise the rod straight up and let the wind get
the line, and you aim the tip toward where you want the fly
"Just the fly is supposed to be in the water, NO, and I repeat
so even a Kid can remember...NO line in the water!"
There is that old man to kid glare again!
"Fly in the ripple, NO leader wet...got it!" I nod while being
"Now the most important thing I can pass on to ya', that you
will forget till you loose about a dozen fish, is to not strike
for three seconds!"
Yup, there's that glare again.
"Let me get this straight, fly in the wind...no line touching
as the fly rides the wave ripples...and when the fish takes the
fly I have to wait three seconds before I put the steel to him?
I ask astonished.
"You watch your fly and the line to keep it out of the water,
even if there is a swirl around the fly you wait till there
is a steady pull that you will feel in the rod, then, and
AND ONLY THEN, do you lift the rod tip about four inches to
set the hook into his jaw." He mumbles, and looks into his
vest for something.
"You can use any fly ya' want but I try to use ones with some
kind of legs dangling, and when you pull on the fly too soon
all they get is the legs."
Another glare. "They just kinda' suck it in from underneath,
so too quick on the trigger and you just yank it outa' the
fishes mouth!" He shows me a large/regular tied, caddis dryfly.
"Ya got to remember to watch yer' fly at all times, not like
a bobber that you can piddle around and look at once in a while!"
He hands me his pole after I wrap up my fly rod.
"And remember to count to five, (comes out to about three seconds)
after you see the linepulling, and LIFT, not jerk the pole!"
Now he is sipping on the flask again with a far away look in his eye.
"Here ya' go youngun' you try it and I'll just see if you remember
what I said." He grins at me like some kind of challenge.
I caught/released three Largemouth bass, before he finally agreed
that even a 44 year old "kid" could learn something new...WITH
the right teacher of course.
The only cost was three sandwiches, two Fago' Red pops, and a ride
to/from the retirement home.
Of course there was a little swallowing of pride in being shone up,
but what started in a fishing conversation, and a challenge of "I
bet I can out fish ya' 'kid'", there was a lesson taught, and
learned (eagerly) to both our satisfaction.
"Ya' know I got a buddy at Shadyville thet' knows how to do
something called Doodlsockin'" WOP snaps..."if yer' up to going
out agin' next weekend."
Again with that challenge glare,...where do these guys learn
all these eye expressions from?
I had learned Doodlesocking when I WAS an actual kid, but I
happily agree so there would be another lesson learned, and
maybe a new variation in technique I do not know yet.
"Y'all bring some of those ham sandwiches y'here....they
was a pretty fair dinner."
Now it's my turn to mumble, and try out my newly-learned "kid"
to "old guy" glare! ~ By the 44 year old "Kid" - John McBride