Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
September 18th, 2000

Tying Your Own Flies

By Ed Zern
From To Hell with Fishing, (1945), published by D. Appleton-Century Company, New York.

There's alleged to be an extra satisfaction involved in catching trout on flies of one's own manufacture, but I've never noticed it. I tie my own flies because it keeps me out of mischief on long winter evenings and results in better flies than I can get from commercial sources. Also it enables me to invent all sorts of new patterns with which to confound the traditionalsits and standpatters. (I doubt if the fly has ever been tied that was too freakish or fraudulent to take fish under certain conditions - and there are times when only the freak is effective. At least, I can't recall ever seeing a hatch of natural Fanwing Royal Coachmans.)

And since the kid brought a dog into the discussion, I might mention the guy who takes his Chespeake Bay Retriever on all his salmon-fishing trips. He takes the dog out in the canoe with him, and when he ties into a big bruiser that goes to the bottom and sulks, he boots the dog overboard and lets it swim around in the vicinity of the sulking salmon. This invariably starts the fish moving, and fast. (Apparently the salmon takes the dog for a fish-fancying seal on the prowl.)

This same character scorns trout as trout fishermen scorn suckers and carp. He claims that when he's fishing a salmon river, and wants a nice trout or two for the pan, he ties a six-foot leader, with a couple of wet flies attached, to his dogs tail. Then he throws a stick into the stream and tells the dog to fetch it. Whe the dog comes back to shore with the stick, he says, it is invariably towing a brace of trout.

And mind you, this guy is a pillar of the Methodist Church. ~ Ed Zern

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