by Randal Sumner
The 2006 fly fishing catalogs have
started showing up at my house. So far Iíve gotten Cabalaís, LL Bean, Orvis,
and my favorite Kaufman Streamborn, and about another fifty pounds of others.
Its late January and the fishing on the Yakima is slow. The river is low and
clear and the water temp is around 38 degrees.
Most of the trout bums I know are tying flies this time of year.
Its pleasant work. The tying stuff is cool in a weird road kill kind of way.
Iíve got pieces of elk, deer, squirrel, and other varmints, plus partridge and
some expensive chicken feathers. There is tying thread, wire and hooks. Weíre tinkererís working on our latest super
fly ideas. That is what tying is really all about; our ideas about bugs and
trout. In a complicated world this is pretty simple stuff, we tie up our latest
idea and test it out on the trout. Testing always testing.
There are several schools of fly tying in a way similar to various
movements in modern Art. Minimalism, Super realism, Post modernism and of
course Impressionism. I find the older I get the more minimalist my ties are
becoming for example, I rarely use dubbing on my Mayflies, just thread to form
the bodies. Last fall I tied all my Blue Winged Olives without tails and an
over sized Dun parachute. The trout bought them like an art collector at a Van
Gogh yard sale.
One of the
more quirky twists of modern fly-fishing is tradmarking and naming flies after
yourself. As you page through Kaufmanís
catalog youíll notice he has invented and trademarked a bunch of patterns;
Kaufman stoneflies (10 verities), pheasantails (4 verities), wooly buggers (2
verities) etc. You need to be careful not to tie these trademarked patterns. I
think it could be against the law; you donít want a run in with the fishing
Iíve wondered about this naming
business from time to time. When your a little kid do you dream of a fly with
your name; like a bridge or an opera? What if Pablo Picasso had been born in
Livingston Montana to a fly-fishing clan, he could have left us with the
Picasso midge cripple, instead of a world visually enriched beyond imagination.
Still, I would have liked to have fished with Pabloís flies, and
you can bet they would have caught fish.
my advice dear trout bums; If you do invent a fly that is really deadly keep it
to yourself, donít name it, donít sell it, use it often and die with the
secret. Now that is truly inspiring.
Kaufmanís is my favorite catalog, they have excellent tying materials and I
always know winter is about over when the catalogs turn up in the mailbox.