Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 21 - Pondering Flies

I finally got a chance to peruse through my December 2009 issue of "Fly Fisherman" today. I only had a few minutes before I had to get ready to go to church (the real church, not the Church of the Babbling Brook), so I searched for a quick article to read. I ended up reading the "Fly Tier's Bench: Depth Charge Bird's Nest" by Greg Vinci on page 54.

Later on today, I was looking for a new book to read (as I just finished the book "Casting a Spell" by George Black). I looked on my bookshelf and decided to read the classic "The Idyl of the Split Bamboo" by George Parker Holden. In the opening chapter, amidst the notable names and poetic references (some of which I was moved by) was a reference to a fly pattern called Greenwell's Glory. Intrigued by the generous praise given to the pattern by Holden, I went to my library to pull out the "Fish Flies: The Encyclopedia of the Fly Tier's Art" by Terry Hellekson. Page 160 gives the full recipe for the pattern and even provides additional notes by the author (however, I find Holden's reference more invigorating).

As I continually reflect upon the full color plates of the Encyclopedia of Flies, I start to drool. I especially salivate over Plate 4. Its a page full of wet flies names like Pheasant Tail Spider, Orange Fish Hawk, Spitfire, Silver Big Hole Demon and Campbell's Fancy (I especially feel connected to this one since my last name is Campbell). Seeing these names, and hearing about how so-and-so angler preferred this one over that one, makes me hope that someday I will find the special fly that will "produce" fish for me.
As a result of this searching, my fly boxes are sort of a hodge-podge mess of retail buying mistakes, curious patterns, and small discoveries.

A giant yellow Madonna, a realistic black stonefly (I forget the pattern name), and some bead head marabou chocolate rubber legged thing were all bought because someone told me that they were the "hot" fly. They've never left the box as I never really gained confidence in them to do the job correctly. They might be really good patterns, but my hand always seems to hesitate over them. Somehow I lack the faith that they will do the job.

I have some flies that do the job well enough. I like the Pink Squirrel pattern, which I have found to perform especially well in the early season. I also like the pattern called Gabriel's Trumpet, which I discovered in a fly fishing magazine a couple of years back. I've taken the liberty to modify Skip Morris's pattern however. I tie it in yellow and added a yellow glass bead, which is a minor alteration from the Gabriel's Trumpet, Gold recipe. I guess I have an interest in the attractor fly patterns. (Hmmm... that's a new discovery for me. I'll have to explore that avenue more at another time.)

I don't know if I will ever find the perfect pattern. I don't know if I'll even come up with a truly original pattern. It would be nice to be like my friends Mark Kaplan or John van Vliet who have come up with patterns which are now being sold commercially. It doesn't matter though, because I don't mind the pursuit.

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