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Fly-Fishing: It helps to have confidence in your offering

Fly-Fishing: It helps to have confidence in your offering

A few months back, I wrote about a fly I’ve been tying and fishing that has, as Garrett Morris used

A few months back, I wrote about a fly I’ve been tying and fishing that has, as Garrett Morris used to say on “Saturday Night Live,” been very, very good to me.

It’s nothing special — just a Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear made with dyed brown hare’s mask fur, a tail and wing case of pheasant tail feather fibers and two strands of pearl Krystal Flash, twisted tightly together and wound on as the rib. This little bug has consistently produced, as recently as Sunday, when it fooled a chubby rainbow that was sitting next to a big rock in a two-foot-deep run on a lower Hudson Valley stream that’s open to fishing all year.

I revisit the topic for two reasons — because my success with this fly has given me a couple of ideas about nymph fishing in general, and because I forgot to mention a couple of details about making this fly the first time around.

I’ll take the second part first. I do tie this fly with lead-substitute wire, but I don’t wind it around the shank, as is often the case. Instead, I lash the lead parallel to the shank on both sides. This gives the fly a little weight, but more importantly, it triples its width. I think it gives the finished fly a flatness and fatness (when seen from below or above) that looks more like the real thing.

I’ve also found that fine gold wire works better for the rib than Krystal Flash, which has a tendency to slip down toward the tail. And the gold-wire version is just as effective.

But is this nymph really more effective than any other? Or do I catch fish with it simply because I have confidence in it, use it more often and fish it more carefully and patiently?

I’ve never been a good nymph fisherman, but I’ve made it a goal to get better. Having a fly I trust helps a lot, because nymphing takes a lot of faith.

When you’re fishing a dry fly, or even swinging a wet fly, there’s no question what’s happening: Either fish are biting your fly or they’re not. But when you’re drifting a nymph near the bottom, sight

unseen, you don’t know what’s happening down there. Trout are said to have the ability to take and then spit out a fly so quickly and gently that you never know it happened.

But every so often, a trout won’t be able to detect the fraud and spit the hook in time, and before it realizes what’s happened, the line has come taut, you’ve set the hook and the fight is on. This only happens if you’re patient, persistent — and confident.


The Clearwater chapter of Trout Unlimited will again offer its winter fly-tying class starting in January. This is a great way to get started in an absorbing hobby, and the fee for the course supports a good cause, TU’s cold water conservation


Classes for beginners will be held Tuesday evenings from

Jan. 13-March 3. Classes for advanced tiers will be Thursdays from Jan. 15-March 5. All classes will run from 7 to 9 p.m., and will be held at the Capital Region Mar­itime Center, 901 Maritime Drive, Alplaus.

Contact Rich Bogardus at

377-1022 or Dick Hermida at

399-6272, or visit the chapter’s Web site, www.clearwatertu.org, for more information.

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