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September 18th, 2000
Tying Your Own Flies
By Ed Zern
From To Hell with Fishing, (1945), published
by D. Appleton-Century Company, New York.
There's alleged to be an extra satisfaction involved in catching trout
on flies of one's own manufacture, but I've never noticed it. I tie
my own flies because it keeps me out of mischief on long winter
evenings and results in better flies than I can get from commercial
sources. Also it enables me to invent all sorts of new patterns
with which to confound the traditionalsits and standpatters. (I
doubt if the fly has ever been tied that was too freakish or
fraudulent to take fish under certain conditions - and there are
times when only the freak is effective. At least, I can't recall ever
seeing a hatch of natural Fanwing Royal Coachmans.)
And since the kid brought a dog into the discussion, I might mention
the guy who takes his Chespeake Bay Retriever on all his salmon-fishing
trips. He takes the dog out in the canoe with him, and when he ties
into a big bruiser that goes to the bottom and sulks, he boots the dog
overboard and lets it swim around in the vicinity of the sulking salmon.
This invariably starts the fish moving, and fast. (Apparently the salmon
takes the dog for a fish-fancying seal on the prowl.)
This same character scorns trout as trout fishermen scorn suckers and
carp. He claims that when he's fishing a salmon river, and wants a nice
trout or two for the pan, he ties a six-foot leader, with a couple
of wet flies attached, to his dogs tail. Then he throws a stick into the
stream and tells the dog to fetch it. Whe the dog comes back to shore
with the stick, he says, it is invariably towing a brace of trout.
And mind you, this guy is a pillar of the Methodist Church.
~ Ed Zern
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