Seems that others get their flies caught in the trees too. For years I thought that I was the only one.

Nope, there are definately others and probably lots of them. They are too ashamed to admit it and go to great lengths to cover up that least thats how it was with me.

Old guys like me probably are the worst or were at one time. When a kid I was asked "Kid, what are you doing way up there in that tree"...I displayed great presence of mind and answered "picking apples sir".

"Well, ya better get back down. It'll be another two months before they're ripe. Oh Ho Ho, ya lucky brat...the wind just blew your fly down outa there."

When I started tying I'd just give the line a pull and tie on another fly and sometimes I'd get my fly back too. Now that I'm in retrogression due to age, I find myself going back to childhood methods...not climbing trees mind you, but making an effort to retrieve my fly in tact. (It has become more trouble and time consuming to tie on another fly).

I now use my wading staff made from a ski pole on which I have whipped a heavy steel hook near the bottom. With this I grab the offending branch and bend it down so I can remove the fly. This hook has a number of other uses...

1. It serves as a weight to hold the end of the staff in a vertical position when attached to the ring on the back of my vest.
(more on this later)

2. When getting out of the stream or up a bank it can be hooked around a sapling or tree root to help while climbing.

The staff, fashioned from an aluminum ski pole balances my vest very well, supplying a weight on the back that equals the weight of junk carried in the front. (you will not have a chafing problem on your neck due to your vest). I don't carry a net but if I did, I'd carry it at my waist.


If that sounds like old Herter, good, he wasn't wrong all the time. Ski poles are available in profusion from thrift stores in my area. I paid $5 for a good pair about 10 years ago. I gave one away and I'm still using the other one.


Attach a piece of 1/8 inch cord to the ring on the back of your vest. Tie a loop in the end so that it hangs about 12 inches below the ring.

Here's the good part...Wish I could claim its invention but can't though I doubt that it has been patented.

3. About 17 inches down from the top of the handle,lash half the wooden part of a spring clothes pin (usually hard maple) so that the part you squeeze is at the top and whipped to the shaft. Toss the spring and other half of the clothes pin. This leaves a tight "V" into which you jam the cord.

In use, you reach over your shoulder and bring the cord around to the front and jam it tightly between the "V". Then swing the staff around to the back where it hangs vertically... (because of the hook's weight). You'll never know its there until needed and all you do to put it into action is reach over your shoulder and bring it around front and pull the cord out of the clothes pin (actually a jam cleat to a sailor).

I do not use a lanyard at all and have never lost the staff. A lanyard is more hassle than what they can possibly be worth IMHO.

Manufacturers, do the flyfishers a favor and bring this innovation to market. It could be made to expand too.

Ol' Bill

[This message has been edited by snipe (edited 12 July 2006).]