Bruce Ajari: Reminded why I tie at least three flies
I went fishing with a friend recently and had a great trip. Before leaving I had decided to try something different in the way of fly design because some of the water that we fished was pretty shallow.
While you can always use a slower-sinking line, I thought that by changing the style of flies to a less fast-sinking or even floating one I could compensate for the quick sink of the line. So I began to tie a baitfish fly that would float or suspend by incorporating some foam.
I next decided that a little more flash in the fly might be a good change. I used some very bright flash material that I use for saltwater along the back and sides of the fly.
To make a long story short, I tied two of these prototype flies and placed them in my box. I usually tie three new flies, but I decided tying two of a new unproven pattern would be enough. If they did not work then they would not take up much space in my box.
When we got to the lake I tied one of them on as my dropper fly, and it seemed to perform just as I had wanted. The neutral buoyancy of the fly allowed me to vary my retrieve, but more importantly, it allowed me to fish it slower. I had a pretty decent amount of action in the morning on the new fly. Since my partner was not doing as well, I gave him my other fly after lunch.
When we got back out there I made a cast, and while my fly was sinking I had a fish snatch up the fly. Upon setting the hook, it felt like a pretty large fish, but it was running toward me, so I had to strip line in quickly. The fish made a turn and surged back out to deeper water. Unfortunately, I did not give him line quickly enough and the tight line allowed the fish to break off, taking my new fly with him.
Well, my friend began getting quite a bit of activity all on the fly I had given him, and my fishing slowed down considerably. Now I understand why I had always tied three flies before when I tied new ones. It was just for occasions such as this!
While I got a lot of ribbing from my friend, he was also quite appreciative of the fly doing such a good job for him. We both had a great day and discovered a good new fly to use. While no fly works all the time, I think this one will work well when baitfish are the preferred food.
You can bet that I will have enough of these tied on my next trip to the lake. I also know that any new flies that I tie will be tied in at least groups of three! After all, watching someone catch fish with your flies is great, but catching them yourself is still the goal.
and#8212; Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.