Above all, try something. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rant of a So-Called Fisherman

What makes a good fisherman? As with any sport or activity, there are so many different aspects to this question. With some people, it may be how good you look on the river with all your fancy new Orvis gear. It could be how much fun you've had on the river that day. It could be how many fish in a day you catch. Some people are big counters in life. It could be the size of the fish you caught. Many people in this sport are big on measuring the length of things, and most often seem to be proven wrong by about 2-5 inches when the truthful tape measure comes out, myself included. So bad that I've started carrying a small tape measure in my bag.

I could go on and on, but I think what it really comes down to is catching fish and doing what ever you have to do to catch them, hopefully nice fish like these:

Madison River rainbow trout caught on a size 20 midge in March 
Some people will spend hours and hours working on their casting techniques. I never quite got that. I feel like there is definitely no such thing as a perfect cast. Only a cast that catches trout. Even if you have a line tied on to a tree branch, Huck Finn style, as long as your bug somehow gets in the middle of the shipping lane, the fish are gonna look at it, and maybe even eat it! This could be argued by the Trout Unlimited-Orvis wearing-net hanging off the back-has every fishing gadget ever invented-dry fly fisherman.

Living in a fishing community, all summer long you can see the buggy whipping fools out there on the front lawn of their hotels and motels working on their casts, less than a half of a mile away from the actual river, where they might have a bit more luck catching fish during casting practice.

The bottom line is good presentation, reading the water, and of course, fly selection. If you start trying to feed the fish some kind of bug in June that isn't active in the river til August, your odds are pretty slim.

Winter time fishing is tough. About the only bugs you'll see on the river are midges. If you include that on your rig, your chances will greatly increase.

Here's a step by step to tying a midge. You can enlarge the photo by clicking on it:

I use a size 20 hook with a natural bend, put a small white bead on it, and wrap the hook with some black 8/0 uni thread

Tie on some silver/gold tinsel, then a few strands of peacock herl

Twist your strands of peacock herl (I only use 2 strands on this pattern) and start wrapping.

Then I wrap my tinsel with some even spacing, all the way to the head
Add a whip finish to tie it off and.....

There's your finished midge

If you want a fancy variation, you can go outside and track down a hungarian partridge, grab one of his feathers and add some hackle to your bug: 

The length of the feathers may be a bit long in this one, but it'll still work

Here's what the midge pattern looks like in action:

This guy ate the midge mere hours after I tied it up.

Well, I know most of you aren't fisherman. I'm pretty sure Katie Rose has some plans to work on another blog entry this weekend, so this one will soon be buried in the archives, giving you something to look forward to other than my ranting and raving.

I'll leave you with a really cool shot I took coming home from the river last night. I think these guys/gals are snow geese? I don't know? Maybe you can help me out. They're pretty beautiful birds.

Hope you all have a great weekend....


  1. Going just off of the picture I would say we are looking at at least a 19 incher here folks!
    Ed did you put a tape on that beauty?
    Love this time of year, midge fishing has been fun down here as well.
    Great take on all the yahoos out there Ed.
    Pretty simple put something that looks like what they would eat in front of them and make it look natural

  2. Beast!!! How you doin man!!!! I did put a tape on him. Solid 22......!

  3. Awesome fish, Ed! I had no idea you could catch
    anything like that at this time of the year. You must have a secret spot. Love, Mom

  4. Doing great Ed thanks for asking. Will be back on the Crick by eary May and looking forward to some steelheading with my new spey set up.
    I was going to say 20+ but like you I am typically surprised when I actually put a tape on them. Also, hard to judge through a picture.