July 20th, 2002

Ultimate Dry Fly - Conclusion
By James Castwell


All of the ballots were marked with an 'OK.' It had been known for some time that the 'Major' was the most adroit tier in the bunch, having taken many awards in both the Nationals and the Internationals. With no words spoken aloud, but volumes inferred, the 'Judge' pushed the tiny padded box of perfect fly parts across the table to the 'Major.'

"Do you accept the challenge," the 'Judge' asked? "Do you firmly believe you have the ability to put these fly parts together in the creation of the perfect 'Ultimate Dry Fly'?"

Gnawing the stub of the ever-present cigar he must have been born with, he answered in the affirmative. "Yes, yes I do. And I do so with the full realization of that which I am about to produce. I am aware that this fly will be our collective attempt to create the perfect dry fly. If we do this, we will plunge fly-fishing forward at light speed. No longer will it be necessary for a beginner to master any part of the game. If he can whip the fly anywhere near a trout, it will be his. The endless evenings of useless chatter and research of flies, patterns, bugs and methods will be obsolete, things of the past, not of our modern times. However, if I should fail, and/or this fly should fail, that is, it does not turn out to be the perfect fly, the 'Ultimate Dry Fly,' then not only have I failed, we have all failed. And I doubt that ever in the future will such an august dias ever again be assembled to contemplate such a venture. With both of those dreadful eventualities firmly in mind, I hereby accept."

The month passed for all and the time being achieved for the next meeting brought anxious thoughts to all attending. The 'presentationists' now being fearful of the potential monster they may have somewhat unwittingly helped to create, the 'imitationists' also realizing that all of the work they had done for years may soon be so much fodder. No one was late for the meeting. Hurriedly the formalities were dispatched with and time for 'new business' had arrived. It was 'new business' now as the fly had been fabricated.

As many present had actually been involved in creating and in fact, tying the various parts of the original concept fly, much eager anticipation was evident. The box however remained covered, resting immediately in front of the 'Major.' He rose unexpectedly and from a small tying table in the corner of the cabin, brought over a 'Pure-Lite' fly tying lamp, carefully bending the goose-neck arm to position the element directly above the as of yet, unopened white box.

"Enough already, open the damn box! Quit keeping us in suspense, what the hell does it look like?" His nose seemed to have healed rather well during the previous month. He continued, "Ya, and what do ya call the thing?" this type of outburst was not totally unexpected as he was one of the younger members of the RAB and not being able to cast very far had decided he would concentrate on presentation of short casts to be his firm ground. The 'Major,' having no small flair for the dramatic when given even the slightest opportunity only used the occasion to stretch things to the near breaking point.

"Come on, dammit, let's see the fly, what ya waitin' for?"

"Before I present this fly tonight, I would ask if there any here who wish to be excused. Are there any here who do not wish to be now a part of this, any who do not want it known in the future they had any hand, so to speak, in the development of this fly? If so, I have prepared a few copies of letters of abstainment here and will pass one to each for your consideration. After you have read and studied them, either sign them now or return them to me now. There will be no time allocated for discussion or further debate on this subject." With that he dealt one to each around the dias.

"I have a confession to make," he opened. "I have produced not one fly, but several. Each identical to its brother. There has been some testing done as well. Would any of you care to venture an opinion as to what happened?"

Two members mildly restrained 'bloody-nose' as he had come to be called and admonished him on the virtues of silence. This was an unexpected move on the 'Major's' part and took the group by complete surprise. There were various random remarks coming from each, often at the same time and soon a discussion of sorts developed. He allowed it to continue for a short time and when nothing of any real value seemed to come forth, he went on, "I offered it to a well known 'Up-Scale' fly shop in the city. They were not interested in it as it had no name and they had not seen one like it before, they asked if I had any EHC. I did not continue that test."

The 'Major' rose and standing with his usual air of dignity now reminded them of the documents he had passed out. "I will now collect the papers please gentlemen." Still standing as he skimmed through them he went on.

"A young lady casting rather well on the spring creek east of the old mill seemed a likely subject and I offered to let her use the fly. She declined as she had to pick up her kids at soccer shortly, with that she reeled up and departed. It occurred to me as I am a highly proficient caster, in fact a reformed 'presentationist' as most of you know, it would not be proper for me to attempt to fish this fly. My delivery of it may have some, ever so slight as it may be, effect on it's success, or possibly, failure. I could see the 'horns of an enigma' staring me in the face. It was a bit like the chap who invented the 'Universal Solvent' only to find he had nothing in which to contain it."

"Would it be a fair test for any even moderately competent fly-fisher to cast the fly to a fish for a test? If that would not be proper, then what must I do with the fly?

"I see we have a dissenter at the table tonight. May I ask why it is you have signed this," he asked waving the sheaf over the table?

"I fear I may be found out," he said. It was the recent member from the Pacific NW, a pleasant chap, always agreeing to everything, never a problem and most interested in anything to do with any fly patterns or tying methods.

"I can see this is going to be a very important event. I am here, or at least was at the first, under false pretenses. I am the nephew of one of the biggest fly tying companies in my area. My uncle wanted me to join the RAB and learn what I could for the business. At first I took back to him every thing I learned by email. But, as time went on, I kind of got the idea, like it started to sink in, there is a lot to all of this, it's not just about the 'bottom-line' and stuff like that. I am guilty of being a fraud, and will resign if any of you wish me do to so. I am guilty and I apologize, but, I will take what may be coming to me.

"Point of Order," demanded the 'Judge!' "That man is out of line, that is not on the 'floor' at this time. That is not in question now and must be dealt with at a later time. We can not, will not disrupt these proceedings for such a declaration."

"Judge," the 'Major' opined, "this may be a fortuitous event. If the man would be willing to test this fly, to actually offer it to a fish and not relay the results of such test, would that prove his merit and make him clean in our view? He is the newest member, even newer than BN over there. Would you be willing to fish this fly, Sir? Would you consider that an honor, or rather punishment? Would you, having the most perfect fly ever created have the fortitude to actually cast it to a trout, or have you not enough mettle to accomplish that?"

Once again, the managerial experience of the 'Major' had risen to the occasion and he had seemingly come up with a possible solution.

"I can not do it, sir," came the reply. "For none of has that much mettle, not even you!"

"Then I must accept your letter of abstention, and hereby do so. The matter of your membership will be dealt with shortly." With that, the 'Major' sat down and returned to the results of the testing he had done. Battered but not beaten by the sudden challenging outburst, the 'Major' regained his composure and countered, "I could think of no way to cast the fly myself to a trout without in even some small way imparting at least the slightest amount of 'presentation.' It occurred to me that a fair test may be to drop one from a bridge, without any influence from a caster. That or course was silly as it would have been the ultimate presentation, neither hindered nor aided by the presenter. I could find no way to fish the fly without the risk of outside influence of some sort and did the only thing left to me.

Since it had not, as of yet, been named, the decision was not at all difficult. I disassembled the fly and incorporated it's elements into other flies. You know them and fish them often. You will find the perfect tail on one of your old favorites, the hackle is on another, as is the body, thorax etc. In the future you can be assured that when you fish your old favorites there is a reason they have stood the test of time and labor and research. They already had the best parts, each one a single element, which if presented even moderately well, will produce a strike from a rising trout."

With that he opened the little box exposing the flies, sparkling and glowing like jewels under the halo of light from the goose-neck lamp. Each of the members leaned eagerly forward, peering into the container, each recognizing the flies he had used for years, all of his old favorites.

The meeting was adjourned, the cards and corks were produced and as they were chatting about the flies it became evident that something strange had occurred that evening. It seemed that each of the them had seen different flies, each of them had seen their own personal favorites. No two tiers had seen the same patterns in the box. Was there some special element at work that night, some power which only allowed those present to see just what they wanted to see? Had the box actually contained any flies at all?

"My friends," the 'Major' continued, "before we retire for the evening I would like to leave you with this. The world does not need yet another new fly, no matter how perfect. We have all the parts, all of the perfect parts. We only need to know which ones to use and where, and that my friends is the legacy of us all." ~ ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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