Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fur Feather Foolery

"Whenever, therefore, people are deceived and form opinions wide of the truth, it is clear that the error has slid into their minds through the medium of certain resemblances to that truth."

Both fish and people alike are prone to chase after imitations.  I wish I could say fish do so more than people, but that is probably not true.  I wonder what fish would tell each other concerning such things if they could speak.  Just imagine it.  One fish says to his friend, "you mean you actually thought that hairy thing was a minnow!?  What a doofus."  Putting aside the theological discussion that could be had concerning people, I have to admit that I am grateful fish can be duped.  What is even more gratifying is knowing that the device for deception can be a homegrown, do-it-yourself affair.  "Matching the hatch" is the common phrase, but "matching the meat" could find its place as well.

There is something to tricking a fish into eating fur, feathers, thread, and steel.  It appeals to the sleeping caveman hunter in all of us.  Sitting at the vise, grabbing various materials, building a new fly as it is tied can be quite fun.  Then fishing it, feeling how it casts, and observing its movements in the water.  The biggest test of all... does it catch fish.  After fishing the pattern and getting a feel for it, you take the ideas back to the vise and tweak a bit here and there.  Does it need more weight, a bead here or there, perhaps less weight, a different color added or taken away, a shorter tail, or a multitude of other options.  Then you repeat the process.  It is much like the caveman hunter going through a transition from stick spears to stone arrowheads, and finding that sharp stones make for bigger game.  The entire process is enjoyable and adds a whole other creative dimension to fishing.

Foolery Goodies.

It has been a fortunate fall thus far.  The attempts at fish foolery have paid off greatly.  This beautiful specimen took the Magic Dragon sculpin pattern.  I was in shock at how girthy this guy was.  It would take almost four hands to reach around him.

I am becoming more and more convinced that there are large fish in most waters.  The trick is figuring out location and feeding patterns.  Our night fishing escapades really brought this idea home.  A run in an easily accessible area, that is fished with heavy pressure day after day can still put out massive fish.  Shane proved that point once again with THIS FISH from this past weekend.  Big fish have to eat too, we fishermen just have to figure out the wheres and hows.

Big streamer.  Big fish.

Chubby lips.

Blue spot.

This has to be the biggest whitie I have ever seen. 

This one is for Gus.  Recognize the fly?

The SF is already at lower flows than last years winter flows.  Could get even lower.  Should make for some accessible wader fishing.

This week we'll be up north chasing macks and some more browns with gaudy streamers.  Let's see how the lakers take to our deceitful ways.


  1. Great write up Chris...Gotta love those crazy browns! Can't wait to try and stick a few more pigs on Tuesday.

  2. There is only one word to describe your fish: SLAB.

    Nice work!

  3. Replies
    1. Not too sure what you want me to say Tim. Frankly, I haven't thought about it much because I haven't had any problems with it.

  4. It's a good idea, its a safe way to fish and protect yourself and the fish. Also its easier to release fish without handling them too much especially the smaller fish you don't intend to photograph. Some people might say "well without the barb you loose more fish." My response to that is: If you fight a fish properly, by keeping the line tight between you and the fish the entire time and using the rod's correctly to land it in a timely manner, you will not loose any more fish. Once you have try to remove a #4 Rubberleg that has pierced your nose you will defiantly start fishing barb less. They're many reasons to pinch the barb and many reasons to leave it there but for me I want to lower the rate of fish that die from catch and release and handling fish is a major reason why they die, especially smaller fish. I was just curious and hope i don't sound confrontational. Let me know if your agree with my thoughts on fishing without a barb.

    1. Makes sense Tim, and thanks for the cordial reply. Sounds like you have had some personal experience with nose piercing. I have actually had to remove both hooks on an articulated streamer from the back of my head. They were past the barb, but fortunately it didn't hurt too bad pulling it back out. I should definitely start considering pinching the barbs, both for fish and myself. I'm pretty conscientious when it comes to my fish handling already, but going barbless would only help more. Thanks again for the comment.

  5. Well, I debarb at the vise to no disadvantage I have seen. But, I would travel there just for the whitefish, love those guys, other than carp, have given me more pleasure probably than any other fish. Still trying to top 20".


    1. There are some remarkably healthy whitefish around these parts in both the HF and the SF of the Snake! In fact, right after Shane caught that one we took a picture of, he caught an even bigger one! I would keep some for the smoker if I had one. I hear they come out great, and some can put up a good fight too!