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Eye of the Guide
The Fly Fishing Enthusiast's Online Magazine
'The Fraternity of Fly Fishers'
Aug 25, 2014
"You can't fly fish in a buffalo herd; especially when they are in the rut." A wise angler
The trip was to fish a much anticipated handful of private waters in Virginia. With plans to arrive on a Friday afternoon and hopes of two good mornings of fishing with a local guide, we had also identified a small section of public brook trout water to target Saturday evening. We figured the evening would be better spent on the water rather than in a hotel room.
I've been a disciple of catch and release since I've become a fly fisher, partly because the sport of fly fishing is so elegant the kill is a minor component and easy to forgo and I don't need to kill for sustenance. If I feel like eating fish it is just as easy to purchase one in the market as it is to bop one on the head streamside. And maybe it helps to salve the guilt I still feel when I think of all the fish I left suffocating on the bank as a young boy with no intention of keeping them.
In this selection we will be covering Sea Bass and one of the most common and fun fish found in the saltwater the Ladyfish. Often we get so caught up in the glory fish species that we forget to enjoy some of the other species that are available to us.
I have spent hours casting to rolling Tarpon and end up with nothing but casting practice however by switching focus, tackle and flies soon I can be hooked up with leaping, skittering Ladyfish and laughing over their antics. As a friend of mine once said, "If you can't catch the one you love, then love the one you are catching."
It was a nice cool day and seems that there was a pond calling my name. It was the second week of August and we were not burning up. I had to help a friend move some stuff to the apartment he was going into. He had everything ready to go so it was just a matter of putting it in the pickup and then taking it to his apartment and putting it in there.
Chasing and fishing for hatches, I always notice something funny with trout behavior. In my personal view and interpretation, this is the hatch when trout exaggerate themselves more than anglers do. Of course, when hatch is strong and insects are apparent trout act aggressively. But even when hatch is sparse, trout seem to compete among themselves about who is going to rise and feed. Furthermore, several days (or even longer) prior to the actual hatch, Green Drake patterns are taken by trout.
So you want to fly fish? Or learn how? It could be a mistake. Unless it is something you are doing for yourself. Not because it might make someone else in your life happy. It's about making you happy. Being successful at fly fishing takes more than going out and buying a fly rod, reel, line and associated stuff.
If you are a minimalist fly tyer then you will love this fly. It was originated by an old friend of mine and a legendary angler, guide and fly tyer, Frank Johnson. Frank won the Buz Buszek Memorial Fly Tying award in 1984 when he was a resident of Missoula, Montana. He was the co-owner of Streamside Anglers in Missoula at that time, and I remember visiting his shop in 1983 when I was working for the Burlington Northern Railroad and was briefly stationed in Missoula. Little did I know at the time that our paths would cross many more times over the years and we became friends on a first-name basis.
Ah, mid-August and the dog days of summer. Early mornings in Montana's upper Yellowstone valley are touched with a slight chill of autumn cold as August begins to ripen under the summer's sun. The sun sleeps in a bit longer than it did in July and seems to tire out sooner, retiring behind the western horizon well before 9 o'clock. Each day it rises a bit later and goes to rest a few minutes earlier. It seems like it's burnt out for the year and needs to head south for some R&R.
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