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  • Sunday, August 10, 2008

    Secrets In Plain View

    You'll Lose Your Fly
    tough nuts !!
    .. Long delicate leaders, hatch-matching wispy flies, gentle presentations, perfect drifts, stealth, and cunning are the foundations of fly fishing lore.
    .. The mystic of it all. The time-honed techniques and gentility of the master fly fisher are legend. It's the stuff of stories and it steers the behavior of many fly fishers on the water.
    .. You can, however, break all the rules and still catch fish -- BIG FISH. Take your favorite bunny, (tethered on a 3' leader of spaghetti-sized mono,) for a swim. Splash it down in the thick part of a gnarled snag from 10' away. Strip it rapidly down stream and hold on.
    .. No fish? Do it again with a bigger splash and faster strip. The leviathans that make for weak knees and dirty drawers are just waiting for a sack of groceries big enough to make them move.
    .. Many of the best places to fish in Yellowstone National Park are hidden in plain sight and go unmolested for weeks, (or more,) at a time.
    .. Fisher folks wade around them. They dodge them with the aplomb of a skittish cheerleader on prom night. They look for the picture perfect glassy pool with twinkling bits of protoplasm: -- that hallowed bit of nature that can be imitated by the floating dry fly.
    .. There are glassy pools aplenty in Yellowstone's waters. They are well trod and the slime that makes for bug production is trampled to death by the wading visitor hoping to catch a fish of gigantic proportions; at mid day on a gossamer tippet. After all there's only so much time before we have to get to Mt. Rushmore.
    .. Many of the best secrets are, not surprisingly, on the side of the river furthermost from the road. There are too many glassy pools closer by.
    .. Wading has become a dance with the river. Wading has become a full time occupation. Wading is a technique that is cherished and practiced by the fishers with delicate presentations. Two steps and cast. Three steps and cast. Stand still and cast. No longer is wading a means of locomotion. It's a technique.
    .. Weak knees, old legs, and a need to catch fish has kept our wading to a minimum. We only wade when we have to; and we just wade to get to a place to catch the fish. Miss it? Try a different place. We're contrary that way. Standing in a puddle; in a famous river and casting for 20 minutes is not our kind of fishing. For many fishers it is.
    .. The "go to" flies for big fish in Yellowstone National Park are the standards elsewhere as well. One of our favorites is the Double Bunny. We enjoy the comments by Will Mullis in Hatches Magazine.
    The Double Bunny is a deadly fly for any species that eats smaller fish . . . over the years it has been accepted as being one of the best flies for taking trophy fish and has won the 1992, 1993, and 1994 Jackson Hole One-Fly Competition.
    .. You won't see many bunny flies in Yellowstone National Park. You won't see many folks fishing snags or pocket water full of jagged rocks. You won't see very many 22" fish caught on the Firehole River. But the simple fact is that there are big fish in Yellowstone's waters -- they are just hidden in the highly visible secret places where the fisher folks are liable to lose their fly.
    .. Spruce flies are excellent flies for moving large fish. Dark Spruce, Light Spruce and Yellowstone Spruce flies are our favorites. You can even float them if you've a mind to, (ever see a dying minnow?)
    .. Another of our go-to flies is the Casual Dress. It's old, easy, and effective. We like them on the large side, (2's, 4's, 6's,) and we like them very light tan. We don't think too much about what they may be imitating; we fish them because they catch fish.
    .. In the smaller sizes these are excellent non-specific nymphing flies. Dark, and light, and in between, these are the staples of generalized searching flies, (whatever-the-hell that means.) In the larger sizes their silhouette and behavior is not unlike a Muddler Minnow - and they are less time consuming to tie.
    .. It's Sunday morning and there's just enough time for biscuits and gravy before worship services. Perhaps in the church shown below.