by Randal Sumner
I'll admit I'm in a bit of a rut; I tend to fish with the same
worn out trout bums. It's comfortable. These guys are serious anglers
and they tend to be very low maintenance companions.
A few months ago I got a call from my cousin Chris; could I teach
him to fly fish? Sure I could show him the ropes,but why? What I
mean is , Chris is a terrific golfer , he drives a new Saab and
is well groomed. I looked at it as challenge, was it possible to
build a trout bum from this kind of material?
We didn't get to the river until the last part of October. The
Yakima River canyon is gorgeous that time of year; the water is
low and clear. The water temperature is in low 50's and the trout
are moving to the flies with serious intent. When I talked to Chris
on the phone and as we rode out to the river he seemed to be preoccupied
with learning the casting stroke. The stroke I found out is what
golf seems to base on. It's your form while whacking the ball that
is really important. I don't golf.
I explained to him that the rod and line manufactures whole existence
is making gear that will cast well. Its true, all modern fly rods
cast great, even the cheap ones. That's there purpose. The difference
in rods is that some fish much better than others, we are here to
fish not cast.
After climbing into our waders I put the gear together explaining
the leader system I use for NYMPHING. Yes I started him NYMPHING.
It may seem cruel but Chris didn't know the difference. For you
non-trout bums I'll explain; nymph fishing is fishing subsurface,
essentially bouncing your flies off or near the bottom of the riverbed.
That is where the trout live most of the time. We started with a
#6 stonefly nymph, a pheasant tail dropper and a splitshot with
a huge strike indicator on nine feet of leader and a floating line.
Now try casting that mess. Not exactly " A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT"
kind of image. It's taken me a long time to enjoy this facet of
fly-fishing. Its not for everyone, I know some pretty fine anglers
that consider NYMPHING a trip to the dark side of our sport. You
should also know that nymphing the deep runs does produce the big
trout. The down side is that you'll lose a lot of flies and leaders
to the big rocks. It's important to realize that you will be neither
casting nor fishing much of the time; you will be rebuilding your
gear. Relax, think of it as character building.
Chris is turning out to be a natural. He's stopped thinking about
his casting. My sense is he's not thinking at all. His motivation
is pure trout bum, he's just glad to be there. On the other hand
in a few short trips he has hooked at least three huge trout, wait
till spring and he finds out about dry fly fishing.
February fishing on the Yakima River should start to pick up a
bit, although we've had great winter midge fishing, its pretty much
a single dish entrée. You might want to devote some time to tying
your new spring menu. Here are few suggestions; skawala stoneflies,
march brown's, pale morning duns, dries,nymphs,and emergers.