Finding that perfect fly, or at least perfect to you is something the flyfisher will eventually experience. That come to “input set deity” moment where you find that fly that you discover as your go to weapon when times are tough, and there it is in your back pocket to tie on and save your outing. That moment to me came one spring morning itching to hook up on some fish as it was a long winter! Everyone else was using the typical panfish spinning fair being tube jigs, paddle tails and live minnows or worms as we were all desperate for that first great outing to signify the start to another season.
Being a crisp spring morning most of us were still decked out in a hybrid blend of winter/spring gear, some of us braver souls toughing it out in just a hoodie, while others were still in full on parka mode. The fish shared that same sentiment, as the bite was slow and only a few dink perch were eager enough to come out and play. As I casted out my woolly bugger, which seemed like a fruitless act as I could not even buy a nibble, I remembered that famous flyfishing axiom “Match the hatch”!
Being my first outing of the year and at the time only my sophomore year as a flyfisherman I had no idea what to try next but I at least had the sense to remember the other popular fishing philosophy “When the bite is slow, scale down your bait”. Sifting through my fly box which paled in comparison then to what my fly collection looks like now, there was a little olive green nymph with bright fluorescent green eyes that drew my attention, and I figured well if it caught my eye let’s see what the fish think. After tying on the fly with my confidence level a little higher now I made that first cast to some dead reeds along the shore of the canal, gave a couple of light twitches and something that felt like a tug, which is a surreal and great feeling after a long LONG winter! Setting the hook there was my first fish of the year, a colorless female pumpkinseed still in her depressed winter outfit. “Well was that all it took” I thought and the next cast within a couple twitches another strike, this time a bluegill. What about three in a row? And following that third cast another eager panfish. That was three fish on three cast where the previous 3 flies I tried, amounting to well over one hundred casts couldn’t even produce a nibble.
That fly saved my first outing as I stayed another couple of hours and lost count at fifty fish. Not bad for your first outing of the year, and the other fishermen casting there spinning gear with live bait and tubes were clearly baffled by my success. A few of them approached me on my technique asking how they could change their luck, needless to say I may have converted some conventional fishermen to life on the fly that day. In fact the only thing that ended my day was my mangled diamond in the rough fly unable to keep up to the ravages of the fish anymore.
Not an easy fly to find lately, I got one of our ambassadors “Pigeon_Flytying” to set me up with some and they were just as effective as they were during my sophomore year! I always love finding out what other fellow flyfishers have found to be their favorite fly over their years in engaging in the sport. Of course I have found that not everyone is willing to share their secrets, but of course this is why we always practice catch and release. Right…
Want to try your hand at tying some of these great little nymphs yourself or your favorite flies? Check out are R7 fly hooks, and visit Pigeons youtube channel for great tips.