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December 31st, 2001
How To Save Fish Hooks
Last year I was fishing the long pool below Cook's Falls
on the Beaverkill, using my own version of the Dickey Fly
tied on a No. 6 3X-long Allcock's Model Perfect hook.
This is a freak hook, and even when Allcock's hooks were
plentiful it was hard to find. If I hadn't cadged a few
from Walt Dette, the Roscoe fly-tyer, I'd have been out
By Ed Zern
I hooked a twelve-inch brown at the head of the pool, and
since I didn't want the fish I brought him in close and
reached down to twitch the fly out of his jaw. Somehow
I got my hand messed up in the slack leader, and the fish
broke off and swam away with the Dickey Fly hanging on
I tied on a new fly and was just about to start fishing again
when I noticed something flash in the water nearby, and saw
it was the same fish, lying on his side in a foot-deep riffle
and rubbing his jaw against a rock to dislodge the hook.
Because I wanted the hook back, I unslung my landing net,
tiptoed slowly and carefully up behind the fish and slammed
the net down on the water. It made a fine, big splash, but
when I looked there was no fish in the net. In a minute I
saw the fish about twenty feet away, still trying to rub
off the fly.
Again I snuck up behind him, as cautiously as I could,
and slapped the net down on him, and again he ducked away.
When the fish and I had repeated this routine three more
times I heard voices, looked up and saw that six carloads
of fishermen had stopped and were watching me.
"It was had enough when they brought in their spinning rods,"
one of them was saying. "This goofy bastard don't even use
I thought of wading across the river and explaining the whole
thing, but it seemed simpler just to throw rocks at the cars
until they went away, so I did. ~ Ed Zern
Credits: From The Best of Ed Zern published by
The Lyons Press.
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