Lighter Side
What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your humorous stories here!
September 6th, 1999

Selecting the Proper Fly

by JackOhman

From Fear of Fly Fishing
We thank Jack Ohman for use permission.

If you like Jack's fly fishing humor, be sure to look for his new book,
GET THE NET! published by Willow Creek.

Trout are finny Spinozas, possessing incredible intellectual powers far beyond the ken of the average dullard waving a fly rod to and fro. Special tools and minute variations of color and size are needed to entice these Wunderfish into sacrificing themselves. While we dodder about on hard ground, muttering nonsense about line weights ard drag ratios, trout are swimming contentedly, just waiting to make us look even dumber than we already are. Trout fishermen are always paranoid about secret trout plots.

So we dump 600 bucks on a collection of fur and tinsel and bent piano wire, and hope that some freaking fish will have some aesthetic appreciation of how nicely tied the Hendrickson is. Think again.

The names of trout flies are so ludicrous, most fly fishermen are embarrassed to even mention the names of the flies to the non-fly fishermen. Some names are calculated for shock effect.

"How was your fishing today?"

Oh, I tried everything, but the little buggers wouldn't hit anything but a Bitch Creek Nymph."

Bitch Creek Nymph sounds like the title of a soft-core drive-in skin flick, and the fisherman knows it. He's just saying it to sound cool. Other fly names can be tossed off to similar effect:

"Pass me that Rat-Faced McDougal."

Now that sounds appetizing, doesn't it?

But mostly trout fly names are just kind of incomprehensive. The names are usually not at all descriptive, and tend to be fairly cryptic. Who can tell, by the name of the fly itself, just exactly what a Royal Wulff looks like? Or a Badger Bivisible? Or a Quill Gordon?

Some other fly patterns are merely unpronounceable. I have never heard anyone pronounce "Skykomish Sunrise" correctly on the first attempt. The one thing to bear in mind here is this: Flies are basically art, and a trout isn't the Art Critic for The New York Times. Trout are able to distinguish dry flies from wet flies, and light flies from dark flies, are large flies from small flies, and that's about the size of it. But you won't be graded on the way the golden pheasant tippets are arranged on your fly. ~ Jack Ohman

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