Mar 5, 2011

Hmmm... Choices, Choices, Choices...

What's more difficult, picking a flick at your local video store, or deciding which fly pattern to offer that fabled winter steelhead?  For some, dedicating a fly to a given piece of water can be agonizing, and time consuming.  Could your choice determine your chances of hooking one of these critters?  Tough to say, however some would argue that it makes all the difference in the world.  I once witnessed George Cook go through box after box, scanning for that pattern that would inevitably raise the Ghost. 

"What about Mr. Frumpy?  Pretty crittery lookin huh.." He would say while tilting the bug to and fro.
"Oooh, how 'bout Huskerdoo?  Umm flashy..."  Only to sit it back down on the foam bench.
And so it went - Georgie scanning the line-up, examining the roster in search of that one pattern that was destined for glory...
At one point I informed George that I would give him 45 seconds to make his choice.  Uh oh, the pressure was on.  The beads of sweat on his forehead began to multiply.
"I like em all buddy; we just got to get one in the water..."  I muttered.
As the seconds hit zero, he reluctantly picked a Purple Green Butt.  A fine choice.  A proven performer on the D.  Great, lets fish!
It was not to be.  Hindered by second thoughts, Georgie clipped off the bug and reached back in to the deep array of fly boxes.
"What about The Shad?  Shaddie!"  He held up a ruffled, dusty spey fly. 
"I tied it with the hair from my cat's ass!"
I loved it.  The forgettable step child.  She posed upon his fingertips- glowing in all of her drab glory and wrapped in the haunches of his favorite feline.  Why not?
Moments later, a wild hen straightened out his line putting an end to an otherwise fishless morning.

Just a little anecdote there.  Without diving into the whole "Does Fly Choice Matter?" debate, I thought I would show a couple patterns that have had a fair amount of success this winter.  These are Idylwilde patterns tied by  Northern California Guide, Jason Hartwick

Hartwick's Hoser - Pink & Purple

Tied on a tube, this pattern throws a giant, flowing profile in the water.  He has added weight in the form of a large tungsten cone that he slid onto the tube in reverse.  This is a creative, yet real practical move.  For one, the weight will fight the buoyancy of the material, but additionally, it creates a nice solid bump in the body against which to tie in the artic fox, marabou, flash and so on.  For many of us who would just use a dubbing ball of wrapped ice dub to achieve the same bump, using the cone seems a refreshing idea on the subject.  Its edges are more abrupt thereby creating robust flaring effect to the material. 

Hartwicks's Hoser - Black & Blue

Lately, we are starting to see some color in our area rivers.  This is certainly a welcoming sign to steelhead anglers who choose to swing flies.  More than other types of angling, swing fisherman depend more on finding aggressive fish.  We need to find fish that have lost their weariness and that are more apt to act upon their emotions.  When I'm standing about thigh deep in a run and I can just barely make out the silhouette of my boots, I am a confident angler.  These are the times that I most often go big, choosing a large profiled pattern to scare up some response.  Hartwick's Hoser is developing a fine reputation as a steel attractant all up and down the west coast.  Maybe its enticing profile will bring you some formidable memories this spring season.

For info about how to rig these patterns on your line check out this video from Eric
(EZ) Neufeld  who stands as the Idylewilde rep for Oregon and Washington.

Swing on by the shop and grab a few for your box.

Have a good time out there,

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