Every now and then I discover something that really makes me take a step back and see the big picture. Today while talking with a friend, it wasn’t long until we started reminiscing about our early fly fishing trips. They routinely consisted of camping, hanging around the fire too late, and occasionally discovering a little hatch magic. Back then we’d hop in our cold rubber waders at the crack of dawn fish all day, and stay up all night; sleep who needs it. Our flies were comprised of Hares Ear nymphs, Wooly Buggers, and the classic Adams in an assortment of sizes. With flies like that we were fly fishin’ and darn well equipped. Our conversation kindled memories of rolling fish, wet flannel shirts, and clinking metal stringers all under the bough of a stream-side pine tree.
Recently I was out on a piece of water that tests me to the brink. It’s very technical, requiring meticulous casts, fine tippet and quite presentations. On the way home from the trip I found myself ticked-off about my fishless day. Damn stream, I grumbled and conjured up some real good reasons why there were no fish hooked. Seems if I only had a smaller version my secret nymph things would have been different. Forget the fact this simple pattern caught many fish before – it must be the fly. Maybe it needed something extra, like rubber legs. Something was needed, I’ll try two strands of purple, two of brown, a couple of black, and four sparkle chartreuse tipped with fire orange. Maybe even all of the colored legs on one glorious pattern add a twister tail. Wait I’ve got it, a micro-pattern with all of the above and a mini silver propeller on the front. Even better idea had to do with technical gear. I need more stuff, do they make a GPS, thermal imaging, sonar device that can be attached to the tip of my rod with an adjoining wireless ear piece for listening in on these suckers?
I began to research my theory on how to listen for trout. I was on to something. I also found a way to grind down bass plug propellers so they would fit properly on a size 16 hook. It got real involved. I had diagrams laid out on the kitchen table, material lists, and I even came up with a unique name “The Micro-Whiz Skunk Buster #16” – genius pure genius. I was losing sleep over the decision whether or not to inform others about my plan. This occurred near the time I scheduled a conference call with NASA about making a prototype for the Trout-A-Phone. You know nymphs do crunch when eaten by trout – I’m sure of it.
One day while hanging out at the local fly shop, two gentlemen walked in discussing the morning hatch. They made sure everyone could hear their conversation about the Baetis Punctiventris hatch. They were baffled by why the trout had refused their CDC emerger pattern with ultra-translucent tails. “It seems highly unlikely but maybe they were taking floating nymphs.” “We should of brought our travel kit and whipped up a few floating versions.” “I’m disappointed we didn’t consider this before.” “Then again maybe our tails are too opaque.” I couldn’t resist any longer. I have plans to listen in on trout. Both men looked at me silently, perplexed with that sort of expression that says; who are you and what in the world are you talking about. The owners expression was like: you are completely nuts please keep your distance. They couldn’t help but ask “A trout-a-what?” Trout-A-Phone. Yes trout do make noises while feeding and I plan to capitalize on this flawed design of nature. I mean why would a trout want to give up its position by making such a ruckus?
As we were discussing my theory an older man walked into the shop with his grandson. We looked up for a minute as the shop owner asked “Can I help you guys out?” The man smiled “We’ve been catching a few trout down the road and decided to pick-up more supplies before the evening hatch, do you have any floatant? .” “Right over there”, he pointed. Catchin’ a few? I asked. “Yes, man they’re really hitting it hard.” “May I ask what they are taking sir”, asked one of the gents. “One of these little gray deals here” There it was, a small nothing of a fly, a simple generic searching pattern tattered and torn. Then it hit me. That’s when I realized just how far out I had gone. I had become a freak. I was considering an electronic gizmo for a sport that I loved partly because of its natural old-world beauty; its simplicity. I was frantically trying to fill voids with convoluted, over-labored, whacked-out strategies. I had rubber legs growing in places they shouldn’t. Just as I began to reel in my bamboozled mind, the little boy said “Hey Pap can I have some of these bobbers?”
Bobbers, remember those …?