Lighter Side
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May 10th, 1999

A Fine Art, Part 3

by Charlie Kroll

From Pools of Memory published by Frank Amato Publications.

Variations of the art can be practiced in still water as well as in rivers and often with the aid of props such as boats or docks. One magnificent form may be termed the Overwater Splits. This fall has one special advantage,in that it can be performed long before the fishing starts. To accomplish it you should keep one foot firmly on the dock and place the other on the edge of the boat. With any luck the boat will shoot off irretrievably into the lake. With a little skill you can supplement the ensuing crash into the water by splitting the midseam of your waders enroute.

Alan Pratt cartoon
Another particularly spectacular variation is Off The Stern Gambit. This induced fall has been elevated to professional status by residents of Grayling, Michigan who regularly float the AuSable River. The idea is to wait until your boat partner is standing in the stern and facing away from you as he attempts to lay his fly up under a sweeper. The anchor is quietly lowered into the water and when the rope tightens in the current with a slight jolt, the standee demonstrates a neat parabola off into the river, normally accompanied by a large displacement of surface water. This gambit is particularly noteworthy in April or early May before the river has achieved any noticeable warming.

The Upwards-Down Fall, which is sometimes termed an Escalating Down Fall, is notable in that it is a completely dry fall. This occurs about midnight as you leave the waning rise to a flight of Hexagenia limbata. Crouching to observe, against the skyline, the tree marking the gate at the far end of the meadow you get your bearings and stride boldly forward, only to discover that the spine of a sleeping cow is knee-high to an angler. As you somersault over her she gets to her feet with a lurch and in so doing steps on your rod and / or anatomy. Game, set and match to the heifer.

I by no means have space here to cover the multitude of variations but these few examples just might help any aspiring angler wishing to master this difficult but rewarding phase of the noble art of fly fishing. Remember that, as with anything else, practice makes perfect. ~ Charlie Kroll

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