Lighter Side
December 14th, 1998

Angling for Chickens

The new off season sport

By Barkley Bull
We sincerely thank Barkley for appearing here!

A nice three pound barred rock hen landed on three weight tackle. Spawning (egg-laying) females aggressively strike terrestrial imitations in sizes 14-18.

The Take

Skittered caddis about to be taken ten feet from rhododendron cover. Cricket imitations likewise work well to highly selective feeders. Strong reach casts are needed to get the fly in under the overhang, but a soft layout is essential not to spook your target bird.

The Stalk

Barred Rocks, true to their name, often conceal themselves by laying near ledge outcroppings in dappled light. Normally for close-in work the angler should cast from behind the bird, but the low angled light conditions of December permit the angler to approach his target with the sun to his back.


A bantam cock feeding amid the rip rap and the heavy shade of a rock maple needs to be approached very cautiously and from the rear. Lining this bird even once with an errant cast will put him down for thirty minutes or more.

Line Mending

To take this bird from the dense tangles of lilacs the angler needs to draw it out to open ground with an active "live bug" presentation. Mending the line away from the bird's feet and lilac suckers while maintaining the fly's contact with the bird is a major test of line control.

Catch and Release Practice

Catch and Release must be practiced to insure not only the survival of your brood but to increase your stock's weariness to the "meat angler" and his legendary unsporting methods. Hookless barbs on all your flies is essential to the no-kill ethic.
~ Barkley Bull
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