Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Fly Fish with Mel: Lord of the Flies

The Fly

The fly is the business end of any fly fishing outfit; the bait with which we fly anglers employ in the hope of enticing a fish to partake of an artificial meal.

A fly is also a work of art. A masterpiece lovingly crafted with the same patience and care as that of any painter or sculptor. A thing of beauty to some; a hideous sight to others; but always a tasty morsel to a fish.

A fly is a hook dressed with all manners of feathers and fur; of materials natural or synthetic. A hook dressed so that it may imitate or suggest the form of an insect or creature; terrestrial or aquatic.

To catch a fish is a delight but to catch a fish with a fly you just tied last night, that's truly ecstasy.

For, to tie a fly is not difficult but to tie a fly that catches fish consistently, requires more than luck.

The key to success lies in the skill of observation.

Question, Question, Question!

That is what a fly angler and a fly tier has to consistently do.

What are the fish feeding on?

What types of vegetation are around the lake?

What species of fish am I targeting?

Are there flying insects above the water?

What season is it?

What colours are the insects that are flying in the air?

Are there nymphs on the bottom?

And the ultimate question: "What the heck is the other guy using to catch that biggy?"

With each answer, you come closer to tying the fly that will 'match the hatch'.

Now after you decided on what fly to tie, you painstakingly prepare the hooks, the materials and yourself.

Yourself, you ask?

A chef prepares a meal with all his heart, with all his love, for those who chooses to savour his culinary delights. So will you not do the same, preparing a meal for the fish that you love so dear?

So with the hook de-barbed and placed on the vise, you tie on the thread and feathers and dress the fly.

You admire the beauty of the fly. Its perfect shape, its beautiful proportions, a masterpiece. But will it satisfy the discerning eyes of the fish?

You go to bed with anxiety in your heart.

You open your eyes and it's still dark. You look at your watch. It's 5.30am. But it's time to get ready.

You get up and turn to see the flies sitting handsomely in your open fly box. "Will they work today", you ask? Only time and the fish will tell. You wash up and get ready.

You arrive at the water's edge. The sun's still lazing beneath the horizon. You can see the water's surface still gleaming in the moonlight but you hear no sounds except that of the crickets'.

As the sun creeps up, revealing the swirling mist on the water's surface, it also reveals the first sign on movement beneath the water. You hear an audible slurp and turn to see concentric rings of ripples emanate from where a few moments ago, a fish had sucked in a fly.

You open your fly box and look at the fly you've just tied. "Will it work?" You tie it onto your tippet, the question still ringing in your mind. You drop the fly as you wave your magic wand. As the rod scythes through the air forwards and back, the fly gracefully trails as if it were alive, flying in a gentle figure of eight. Stopping your rod forward, the fly o'ertakes the rod tip to fall gently near where you last saw the disturbance in the water.

The water is still so you slowly impart a little movement to your fly and drag it slowly back towards you a quarter inch at a time. You twitch, you pause. You twitch, you pause. The surrounding sudden goes silent.

Even the crickets seemed to have quietened. The silence is deafening. A sudden bulge and your fly is rocked by waves, bobbing violently. A fish has just swirled next to your fly. Your grip tightens around the rod and the fly line. A long moment of silence and you strip your fly in.

Raising your rod again and casting the fly out, you aim it a little to the right of your last cast. You let the fly drop and wait for the resulting ripples to die down. You then start twitch and pause routine. You focus on the fly and watch the waters surrounding it.

You strip the line and the fly makes a small 'V' wake. a few feet away, you notice a small bulge start to grow and move towards your fly. The bow wake reaches your fly and in an instant, the fly is gone. In its place an enormous splash of water. The line comes taut in your hand. You lift the rod tip and set the hook. The fish feels the resistance and powers off to deeper waters. You make your stand with Rod raised and line tightened. You feel a headshake from the fish and then limp. The hook got dislodge.

As you calmly reel you line back, the disappointment is lost in a sheepish smile as you hear the words in your head

"It works."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The website looks great and the glass engraving is fantastic.
I wish that I could have gone fishing in Singapore but it was not to be as we were busy going on credit dard meltdown.
I got the St.Croix reel to work right handed and it appears to be fine withyout any cahanges required apart from reversing the spring position.
Enjoyed our time over there and may even return for another trip later.I will send photos at a later stage as soon as I work out the technology from the camera.
Tony and Noreen Melbourne