Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 28 - Have you heard?

I'm sure you've seen the ads. In fact American Angler (July/August 2009) had three ads in a matter of 3 pages (p 12 lower left corner, p 13 lower right corner, and pg 14 upper right corner). Fly Fisherman (December 2009) has reader feedback regarding Vincent De Stefano's comments in the July 2009 issue. As I'm playing Fish Wrangler on Facebook, I see an ad on the right hand promoting it. I have to say this company is creating a lot of controversy and is getting their name out quite well.

In case you haven't guessed what company I'm talking about, it is Moffitt Angling ( The product that they are pedaling is the Moffitt Angling System, which is a hookless fly system. Well not totally hookless, it actually uses a circle hook at the end of your leader. The flies are almost tube like in their construction are touted as being neutral buoyant. They attach to your leader through a simple elastic loop at the front of the fly. Accordingly, you can fish multiple fly patterns and get away with only one hook.

Here's the catch (no pun intended), some folks believe that this system is a glorified way of snagging fish. This can be quite the issue as snagging can be considered illegal in many states. Moffitt Angling (and those that support the system) say that it isn't snagging, but antiquated wording in the laws are actually muddying the distinctions.

Moffitt Angling stands behind the spirit of those laws saying that their system promotes healthier fish retrieval and release. Use of a circle hook that hooks on the outside of the fish jaw allows quicker fish landing, and allows the fish to be released without too much handling.

The issue has even caused the Colorado Division of Wildlife to issue a letter stating that the Moffitt Angling System "when used as intended, is currently legal in Colorado." The letter goes on to state that the definition of snagging is defined when “…the taking of fish by snatching with hooks, gang hooks, artificial flies or lures or similar devices where the fish is hooked in a part of the body other than the mouth.” Therefore, according the Colorado Division of Wildlife "if a fish is hooked in the mouth, it is by definition [the Colorado Division of Wildlife's definition] not snagging."

OK, enough of the controversy, I'm more concerned on whether or not it actually catches fish. Also, can I tie my own patterns? According to the website's videos, there should be an increase if fish caught. This sounds like Marketing 101 to me. As with any system that allows you to use more than one pattern of flies, it allows you to increase your odds of catching a fish. I'm not sold on the idea of needing a "flexible fly" either. I am concerned about how to set the hook.

The videos on the website show a mock trout jaw snatching onto the fly and the leader slowly being drawn through the fish's mouth, ultimately setting the hook on the lower jaw. But this is done at a demonstration speed. If you listen closely to the videos you can catch the narrator say that you need to set the hook quickly. I don't know about you, but this sounds off to me. Here's why...

I've seen a fish inhale/exhale a fly amazingly fast. That means that you have to set the hook at the very inkling of a strike. The system requires the leader to pass through the mouth until the hook is engaged. If the leader isn't slid through the mouth, then there is no tension to cause the hook to set.

I'm curious what other people have to say about this system. I'm also curious if it is legal in North Carolina. I'm almost curious enough to spend the $15 to order the system and give my own determination on it. I'm just curious... Please comment if you've used the system, or if you have strong opinions on the system, or if you have something additional to say that I missed. As Red from the Red Green show used to say, "Hey we're all in this together, and I'm pulling for ya."

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