December 8th, 2003

Mole Fur
By James Castwell

Sometimes it is difficult to find something to write about for this column, other times it is not; this is one of those times. I may not have anything to say this week. I had thought about writing about how if a guy fishes downstream he takes a chance any fish may be hooked only in the front of the mouth and may get off during much of a struggle, but I have covered that before.

If the line is tight and a dry fly doesn't drop into the fishes mouth he can miss the fish completely. Some have even thought the fish has missed the fly. This is of course nonsense. The fish expects the fly to drop and because the line/leader is tight it doesn't and he gets a big mouthful of water instead. But, that has been covered earlier as well. Sometimes a fly-fisher will even try to get quicker on his strike. Wrong, he needs to give the fish time to turn and roll with the fly, then just put some tension on it. But, live and learn I say, and have said in other columns, so I won't bring that up.

Heck, it's winter and many of us are stuck inside anyhow. A few can get out to fish some salmon, steelhead, pan fish or some trout, but most are experiencing some form of winter. That means tying flies, tinkering with tackle, studying catalogs, thinking about getting new stuff and trying to rationalize said acquisitions. But, no point writing about that, we are doing it anyway.

I wondered if any have pondered some of the things about backing for their reels. I think I have covered a lot in past columns though. Things like, the gel-spun stuff will cut your fingers off if you happen to get a big fish on and he gets nasty. If you get any slack in that type of backing it is so light it can blow in the wind or twist and pig-tail and get caught on the rest of your equipment. I won't have the stuff in the house, but many like the feature of having a few miles of it on a reel designed for a lot less of normal backing, twenty or thirty pound Dacron type.

Speaking of that, I am sure I mentioned in the past that twenty pound backing will give you more line on your reel and will cut through the water a whole lot easier and therefore put much less drag on a fish than thirty pound will. This can be a big factor when playing fast but smaller things like bonefish for instance. Go with the twenty by all means. And yes, use the thirty when you really need it, but that is not often for us fly guys. But, again, I think I have covered that at other times. If not, now may be the time to re-think your backing for your reels.

I'll tell you one thing I have trouble with. Cleaning my fly lines. For decades I have sought all types of stuff for the job. There are probably not many which I have not tried too. It seems that it is not a situation of which work best, rather which are not as bad as some others. I have found some which, in my humble opinion, might clean the lines, but seem to act like dirt magnets for future events. Some also made the lines feel gummy, at least to me they did. No, don't ask, this is your recreation, have the fun of finding what works for you. And I could be just that way too. Different waters can make lines get dirty in different ways. What works for me may be the opposite of what you really need.

I just cleaned the two Scientific Anglers Bonefish lines we used in the Bahamas. Dry. I just ran them through the little scratchy pad they sell for the job. I guess it is the best thing, at least they say so. But, I still feel I should put some liquid something or other on them. I won't of course, but decades of doing things that way are hard to change.

I guess you will just have to wait until next week for something from me. Writers-block seems to have me in it's grip. Oh, hey... You ever use mole hair for dubbing? Start now making plans to trap one next year. The stuff works great! Didn't I write about that a couple of years back? Perhaps not. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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