May 14th, 2007

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Cameron's Diaz
By Eben Dowd, Southern Africa

Cameron's Diaz. I'm sure you are not thinking of fly-fishing now. Okay, maybe thoughts of an extended fishing trip with said actress!

The story of CD started in sunny South Africa. Every fisherman dreams of Alaska even those in Africa. So, I started organizing a trip to the other end of the world. Rjay, a good friend of mine and owner of Talaview Lodge told me about their wonderful fishing. Therefore we decided to visit Tala, Alaska.

After 34 hours of travelling we stepped off the plane in Anchorage. For the first 2 weeks we travelled with a motor home through part of Alaska and fished for whatever was available where we camped. From the camping grounds of the Klutina King Salmon Charters we had a wonderful time catching Reds on fly. We were casting our fast sinking shooting heads upstream and across and retrieved as much line as possible before the end of the drift. I must mention here that 90% of our fish were caught in the mouth. I can't really believe the story that the Reds don't feed at all when travelling upstream.

On day 15 we waited at Hudson Lake to board a Beaver to Talaview Lodge. After an enjoyable flight we met the guides and transferred our stuff to the jet boats. Talaview lodge overlooks the Talachulitna River with a view of distant, snow covered mountains. We had a hurried breakfast and then grabbed our tackle and rushed down the 90 or so steps to the waiting jet boats. The first few days the weather was cloudy and cool with occasional rain and we caught some good fish. Then the weather changed to sunny and warm and the Kings went off the bite. Cameron, our guide said that it's a pity that the salmon flies don't have more movement in the water. I then thought about a fly that I tie for Largemouth Yellowfish in South Africa. With this fly I try to imitate the old Heddon River Runt and I feel that I come close. I added a tail to the original Runt to give more movement. We went back to the lodge and I rummaged through their fly tying materials. I discovered pink deer hair, purple hackles and some golden flash. With these materials I tied up 3 flies.

Camerons Diaz

We anchored the boat in a deep channel close to the bank. I used a 9wt Orvis Trident with a fast sinking shooting head. The new fly was floating and the idea was to let the line sink to the bottom and drag the fly down to float just above the bottom where the Kings lie. My first cast was tight against the bank and I let the fly go down. While chatting to my brother Vernon, I made 3 slow retrieves. On the third retrieved the line was sharply pulled through my hand, a sure sign that the fish took the fly with confidence or a lot of aggression. After a good fight we netted a bright, silver King of 25lb. On my next cast the fly was still sinking when the line moved off again. Another good fish of over 20lb was netted and released. Now Cameron was really impressed with the fly and he asked us to name the new fly. Now, when I first met Cameron, I asked him in a joke if he was family of Cameron Diaz. This immediately came to mind when he brought up the naming of the fly and we decided on Cameron's Diaz. Through the evening session we took another 6 fish, all of them good, hard fighting Kings. That evening I tied a few more CDs, also in other colours because we ran out of pink and purple.

At six the following morning we were anchored in the same spot and we saw several salmon swirling just under the surface. I was now full of confidence and put a long line out towards the head of the channel. I gave the fly ample time to settle close to the bottom before I started my retrieve. Halfway back to the boat the line went taut and a deep curve showed in the Orvis. I knew that this was a big fish and I hit him 3 times, hard, to drive the hook home. When the King felt this unexpected pressure it tore off in the direction of the main river. My reel was protesting loudly and the rod was pulled almost parallel with the water. Just before he entered the dirty, churning water I turned his head. This time he ran straight for a dead tree lying in the river. I knew that if he reached this obstacle it was the end of the story. I applied maximum pressure to my rod, my tippet and the fish - just when he put his head past the first visible branches I dropped my rod sideways and managed to turn him once again luckily away from the tree. After 30 minutes the fish was near the boat, it turned close to the surface and splashed us with water. Suddenly Vernon's advice changed from: "fight him hard" to "be careful, take your time, this is a big fish!" My heart was in my throat, for another 15 minutes the King stayed deep and I could feel every shake of his big head. Then, much to my relief he surfaced close enough for Cameron to push the net under him. We pulled the anchor and moved to shallower water to take some pictures. The King was long, deep in the body and wide over the shoulders, the guides estimated the weight at 40lbs plus. Who cares? To have such a wonderful experience and to have my brother share it with me, was enough. When I saw my dream fish pushing a bow wave towards freedom I felt a lot of different emotions rushing through my mind. One thought was that maybe I will never see a fish like this one again. We took another 6 fish during the morning session on CDs.

The best colours were the pink and purple combination. The silicon lip on this fly causes the head to wobble from side to side and this makes the long tail dance and flash. I also use it on a floating line. The CD dives beautifully but can also be retrieved with short jerks, which creates a lot of surface disturbance. I'm sure this fly will take any game fish because it has a lot of different movement.

Tie a few CDs, cut the lip in different sizes and you will get different actions in or on the water. Enjoy!

Recipe

I use low water salmon hooks. I tie the purple hackles and golden flash in as a tail and spin pink deer hair the length of the shank. I trim the deer hair to leave a lip on top of the hook. This lip is covered with clear silicon which I rub into the lip with my fingers. I pull the fly backwards into a hair stacker to form a concave lip. When the silicon is dry I trim the lip to the desired size. ~ Eben Dowd

About Eben:

I'm a professional hunter and fishing guide in Southern Africa. My company, Bayete Safaris, operates in the northern parts of Mozambique. I've been hunting and fishing for ever!

Thanks.

Yours truly,
Eben


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