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Eye of the Guide
The Fly Fishing Enthusiast's Online Magazine
'The Fraternity of Fly Fishers'
"The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope." John Buchan, Great Hours in Sport 1921
I had the cold that is going around town for a few days so I had to spend a few days to make sure it did not rebound. There were too many things scheduled for Saturday, so I heading for the pond on Friday. There was frost on the windshield of the truck this morning and the wind was blowing about 20 mph. But it was time to head out and see if the fish would cooperate.
I selected two 5 weight rods to take out. I put a yellow Rubber Legged Dragon on one and a black furl tailed mohair leech on the other. I did this in the house before heading out, and since it had also rained a lot driving into a pond was not an option.
In 1450 a manuscript entitled The Treatise of Fishing with an Angle, attributed to one Dame Juliana Berners, a nun and noblewoman. The first printed copy was included in the second Book of St. Albans, printed in 1496. In addition to explaining how to make your own rods, hooks and lines the book contained a list or jury of twelve artificial flies. Dame Juliana was far from a purist fly fisher, and much of her Treatise is devoted to fishing with a variety of live baits. With due respect to Dame Juliana I offer the following modernized version of her Treatise.
In this installment we are going to sink our teeth into the Sharks that the angler might encounter while fishing in the saltwater and offer some suggestions on how to catch these toothy and dangerous sport fish.
Now before I go any further I am going offer some advice on fishing and wading around sharks. Over the years I have read several articles about fishing around sharks where the author fails to give a warning about the potential danger. Sharks are eating machines and they are dangerous creatures who should be treated with caution. Unless you want to suffer an encounter of the wrong kind which could really ruin your day I will offer this advice; Wading at dusk and dawn is unwise even in clear water as your visibility is reduced and this is a time period when certain species of sharks are out cruising and feeding. Wading in murky or discolored water at anytime is foolish and wading in any water with a stringer of fish attached to you is just plain stupid! Anglers have told me that they have waded all their lives and never have had any problems and my reply to this is that it only takes one bad encounter to ruin your day.
Like any book that seeks to cover a topic as broad and as varied at fishing it contains a great deal of general information and a reader that is seeking a more detailed account will need to look elsewhere. That being said, there is much in this book that is of value and should earn it a spot on the shelf of even an advanced angler.
This past winter I found myself in a rod re-building stage, with a couple of rods going, and several being added. I use the word "several" mainly because while it's commonly used to denote "three", it remains vague enough to cover up the possibility of more than three. And vague is needed in a house where my wife walks into my den and squints at the far corner, obviously attempting to count the rod tubes leaning there. This rebuilding stage has been driven mainly by two things.
The trout was rising confidently just behind a log slightly upstream from where I was crouching on a small gravel pad bordering the edge of the deep pool that was the residence of the trout that was rising behind the log. I had matched wits with this fellow before and now I had a chance to make another attempt.
It's been barely two years since I've been captivated by the world of Atlantic salmon flies. I've never known nor had any subjects like this in my life. First and foremost, it's the art that capture our eyes. Next, regardless of fly-tying skills and involvement, everyone should wonder "how was this created?" or "what are these seldom-seen and gaudy materials?" I finally knocked on the door, not knowing what to see or expect. At the beginning, it was a totally different world from trout flies. I was practically at a loss. Then I met people and books that lighted the passage for me and guided me through. I have learned techniques, materials, and many other nuances. But also my views and personality have been significantly affected. Not just the way I see and think of flies, but I mean as one human being!
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