Thursday, July 10, 2008

The story of Bill S.

You may remember this fly (no. 138). It was suggested by Ed E. from Minnesota. Here is the story behind this fly:

A few years ago someone played a small joke on a friend of mine. His name is Bill S. and his favorite fly is the March Brown. The joke was a March Brown tied backwards on the hook. The fly was handed to Bill one evening at a meeting of the (sadly, now defunct) Minnesota Fly Fishers. He was asked to identify the fly and any unique characteristics about it.

Bill took the task seriously and looked it over pretty carefully in the poor light of the restaurant back room where we held our club meetings and concluded it was a well-tied March Brown. It did, however, take him several minutes before he noticed that it was indeed tied on the hook backwards, hackle at the bend (no easy feat for a tyer), and the tail coming off the eye.

And here is one more story from Ed:


I learned to tie flies several years ago and I’ve always enjoyed it, though I haven’t done nearly enough. The natural extension of this sort of behavior of course is that you start playing around with new designs.

In fact, most folks will tell you that this is a major draw to fly tying in the first place – the chance to create your own fly and catch fish with it.

So this is what I did a few years back. Based upon the brassie concept, I simply put a brass bead on a hook, wrapped some tin weight behind it, and covered the whole mess with some bright red floss. I tied in a bit of black dubbing right behind the bead and thought the result might be part stimulator pattern and part caddis emerger. I’d never seen anything like it, so when I started catching fish with it, my daughter and I dubbed it “Ed’s Special” kind of like Lefty’s Deceiver or the Troth Caddis. I didn’t noise the naming part around too much though. It was mostly a private thing between father and daughter.

Well, it turns out I spent one of the most enjoyable half hours I’ve ever spent on a trout stream, fishing to a small pod of fish with that fly. They were in a tiny hole on the Rush River, no bigger than my kitchen. Of course I was backed up to high and heavy brush and had to stand so close to the fish that I couldn’t hide. I could see them everywhere and miraculously, they didn’t spook. I could have stood there all day long, watching them take nymphs and fight for position.

I threw that Special to the head of the pool and took fish on every third or fourth cast for quite a while. Some were small – seven or eight inches – but one or two were in the 12” to 15” range. I watched every one I caught turn on its side and take my fly. MY FLY! I’d invented it, I’d tied it, I fished it, and the fish ate it! Surely no greater thing could happen to a fly fisherman.

So with a mixture of pride and modesty, I presented a few to Bill Skinner one morning as we headed out. He took one look and said, “Nice flies. Serendipities. Thanks.”

My ego hasn’t fully recovered to this day.

You can check out more from Ed at his blog "The Lone Fisherman Diaries".

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