And That’s How a Fish Gets Caught on a Fly

I was washing dishes yesterday when I heard my wife shriek from the other room.

“What is it? What happened?”

“I tried to throw a costume into the boys’ room but I missed and hit the door. When it hit it what looked liked the biggest, nastiest bug ever came out of the costume and stuck to the door and started to crawl down it. But it ended up just being a feather.”

“Ha! That’s how a trout can be fooled by fly you know. You saw just a feather and thought it was a bug and you’re at least twice as smart as a fish. Hehe.”

“Yeah, um, anyway, so a fish sitting in a fast flowing stream will see something flow by that just has some characteristics of an actual bug, like what looks like legs or wings, and strike at it. That’s why some of my flies don’t look much like a bug at all yet still catch fish. Pretty cool ain’t it?”

“Keep your feathers at your desk.”

“Yeah ok, sorry.”

The Perfect Permit Fly

During the first week in April of this upcoming year of our lord 2013, I will be heading to the lower Florida Keys to do a little to do a lot to fish my ass off.

If you’re unaware, late March into early April is one of the best times of the year to chase permit on the flats. This is when they are in their pre-spawn mode and they tend to swarm the flats in search of food during this time.

At least that’s what I’ve read…

See, I’ve never fished for permit. I’ve never even seen a permit outside the pictures in glossy magazines or on computer screens. And I’ve only been to the Keys once and that was a beer, bridges and baitfishing trip where I may have cast my fly rod twice the whole time I was there.

All of that being said, I pretty sure I’ve created the perfect permit fly.

The Perfect Permit Fly

Why do I think this is a perfect permit fly? Well, using my computer and book gleaned knowledge of the wily permit and having none of that pesky practical first hand experience to weigh me down I will give you a run down on why this fly is the perfect permit fly.

  1. It looks crabby as hell! Seriously, look at it. Crab-ee!
  2. It’s easier to cast than a Merkin crab because it’s made with lighter materials (hackle and aftershafts).
  3. When it hits the water it dives for the bottom in about a 45 degree angle. Just like a real crab. And just like the permit like. Or what I’ve read the permit like.
  4. Keeps it shape while at rest but still has lots of that subtle “look at me, I’m a living thing” movement due to all the soft materials.
  5. When stripped, it collapses on itself making a great shrimp imitation, which is something else I read that permit like.
  6. And I’m betting due to my inability to afford a guide that I’ll never even see a permit while I’m down there so this fly will never be rejected.

So there you have it. The Perfect Permit Fly.

Breaking The Dry Spell

So I finally caught some fish. Actually it was quite a few fish. I had to go to what I think of as a cheater stream (heavily stocked, lightly pressured) to do it, but fish were caught.

Some were a pretty decent size.

Nice little rainbow.

Some were just pretty.

I have a soft spot for brook trout.

And all the fish I caught were caught on the same fly.

This one.

They wouldn’t hit anything else. Just the flies above. And only the copper ones. The gold version got a few follows, but no fish would commit, and all other flies were completely ignored. Trout can be strange fish.

Well, I only had three of these magic streamers with me and of course by the end of the day I had none.

One was lost to a poor back cast into a high limb.

Another I gave to a desperate looking guy who was changing flies every three casts.

The last of the flies was lost in one of the greatest ways imaginable; the biggest fish in the pool materialized out of nowhere, exploded on the fly, turned and rushed back to its hiding spot so fast that the light tippet I was using snapped. It was such an awesome spectacle that I wasn’t even disappointed with losing the fish. I just reeled up the slack, smiled and headed back to the car.

It was a good day.


Chattooga Bound

The last few weeks or so of my life, or at least the scant amount of free time I’ve had in those weeks, have been dedicated to preparing for a solo weekend trip to the mighty Chattooga River to chase the big browns that should (should) be beginning to try to fatten up for the spawn, which should (and again that word) start in about a month. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the Chattooga, it’s the river that flows out of the North Carolina mountains to form the border between northwestern South Carolina and Georgia. And if you’re not up on your American geography, this river is also the setting for that movie where Ned Beatty famously squealed like a pig while having not-so-pleasant “interactions” with the locals. The people from that area hate that movie and never really seem to appreciate any references to it no matter how funny you think they are…

Anyway, I have all of my camping stuff organized and packed. My food is prepared (I’m going the no cooking route; jerky, trail mix, ect.). All the flies that I’m going to tie have been tied.



and more flies.

I’ve checked the weather reports, the river reports, and have tried to check the fishing reports but can’t find anything less than a month old. And the gas I need to get there and back has been budgeted.

In other words, I’m ready to go. Right now.

I have three more days before I leave.

It’s killing me.

My Big Bass Fly Part II

This past Sunday I got a chance to go out to a local lake and try out my new bass flies that I’ve been working on.

Yep, this is them.

They looked great in the water and swam exactly the way I wanted them to, but due to an upturn in the weeks temperatures, the phase of the moon, the direction of the wind, the fact that I wasn’t holding my mouth right and because I forgot to sacrifice a shiner for the glory of the Great Largemouth in the sky, the fish just really weren’t cooperating that day. But I fished hard anyway because the only other thing I could do was go back home, and that was totally out of the question.

So, around the time of the day when the sunglasses have to come off, something happened. And it wasn’t just a little something either. A bass, a big bass, I mean BIG fit your whole fist in it’s mouth war cry as you lift it’s massive bulk over head to show the world your mastery over all that is fish, kind of big bass, in the most casual manner I’ve ever seen, swam up from the dark depths just a little more than a leaders length away from my kayak and grabbed the black and purple fly in the pic above.

“Oh yeah. You’re mine now bitch,” is what I thought as I saw this leviathan take my fly. I think what came out of my mouth during this event was more of a series of girly squeaks mixed with some oh’s, um’s and ah’s. The next thing I said, after a long fifteen seconds of fighting this scaly brute, was a loud and reverberating “FUCK!”, followed by a few more fucks and long AHHHHHHH!!!!!!, all because I somehow forgot that actually setting the hook is a very important part in the whole fish catching process.

But the flies work, so that’s good… I guess.