August 19th, 2002

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Dapping - As Old As A Shamrock, But New To Me
By John McBride

"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 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 a bib!)

"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 your edification.

"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 about fishing!"

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 that up!)

"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 course!

"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 problem, just keep 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 ham sandwich.

"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 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 boat."

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 to go."

"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 it!" I nod while being chastised.

"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 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

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