Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Generals

Too Few Flies
make 'em do double duty
.. So it's come to catching time at the O. K. Corral.
.. All of the wealthy visitors and other sorts of technical fishers currently in Yellowstone National Park have each bought a hundred dozen flies in eight different sizes and 27 patterns.
.. They have listened to the professionals. They have read all the books. Now, flies in vest, they have it all covered. Good on them.
.. We're not strong enough to carry that many flies, nor can we change them quick enough to keep up with the different bugs that pack our ears and nose, and radiator.
.. The neighborhood kids, on the other hand, are poor; they cover acres and acres of water - and - are true artists at devising flies for matching our local hatches: real and imagined! They tie exceptional flies. You can't buy their flies: at any price.
.. They are also masters at destroying perfectly good flies given the exigences of changing conditions, luck, or whim, or whatever.
.. One of their favorite flies, (ours too,) is, (for want of a better handle,) the "Triple Threat Caddis."
.. It's just a standard elk hair caddis pattern. It's a bit lighter than most of the commercial patterns.
.. The wing is a little sparse for catalog pictures. And, Horror of horrors, the hackle is the premium dry fly sort and way too big for the fly.
.. It is usually tied on a gold-toned hook that they have scrounged up from some undisclosed Bass Pro Shop or Wal Mart.
.. With deft manipulations of their fingernails, (or whatever,) they transform the fly into a floating something-or-other, and with a smidgen more plucking they end up with a sinking thing-a-majig.
.. We've tried it. You should too - or not, depending on your creativity, desperation, or pocketbook.
.. The lowly and ubiquitous Muddler Minnow is subjected to a similar, but slightly different treatment. It is usually tied with colors that could imitate either a small fish or a local grasshopper.
.. It is usually fished with gusto,  (appropriate to the conditions and imagined imitation,) and can be swung, stripped, floated, jerked, or plopped. The wing is often split side-to-side and pulled down below the body and supposedly imitates a hopper. If nothing else it is a good bobber for a hopper-dropper combo.
.. Great stuff if you can't afford a 97 pocket vest and the heavy boxes to fill all those pockets.
.. A Montana legend is the Sandy Mite.
.. The neighborhood kids have a variation that dispenses with the woven body and can be rapidly tied with simple, cheap, and common materials. They sometimes call it the Local Mite - when they call it anything at all. Sometimes just the Mite - or - Mighty Mite.
..This little darlin' is subjected to the same depredations and humiliations as the caddis. Plucked naked or with just a few shortened fibers it becomes anything your heart and imagination desires.
.. We own a few fly boxes. We use them. The kids have a few, or many, as their whims demand. We usually take our boxes with us. They fit in a lunch sack with pepperoni and a baguette of French bread.
.. The kids pack an old 35mm film canister with a bunch of flies and jump in the river. Travelin' lite and catching many. Not the stuff of slick videos, product endorsements, or webbyzeeens - aw shucks! Catch fish by the bucket though.
RECRUITS: 100+ strong. Fish Near Here In The Evening. YUM!