Saturday, April 27, 2002


I learned to tie flies several years ago and I’ve always enjoyed it, though I haven’t done nearly enough. The natural extension of this sort of behavior of course is that you start playing around with new designs. In fact, most folks will tell you that this is a major draw to fly tying in the first place – the chance to create your own fly and catch fish with it.

So this is what I did a few years back. Based upon the brassie concept, I simply put a brass bead on a hook, wrapped some tin weight behind it, and covered the whole mess with some bright red floss. I tied in a bit of black dubbing right behind the bead and thought the result might be part stimulator pattern and part caddis emerger. I’d never seen anything like it, so when I started catching fish with it, my daughter and I dubbed it “Ed’s Special” kind of like Lefty’s Deceiver or the Troth Caddis. I didn’t noise the naming part around too much though. It was mostly a private thing between father and daughter.

Well, it turns out I spent one of the most enjoyable half hours I’ve ever spent on a trout stream, fishing to a small pod of fish with that fly. They were in a tiny hole on the Rush River, no bigger than my kitchen. Of course I was backed up to high and heavy brush and had to stand so close to the fish that I couldn’t hide. I could see them everywhere and miraculously, they didn’t spook. I could have stood there all day long, watching them take nymphs and fight for position.

I threw that Special to the head of the pool and took fish on every third or fourth cast for quite a while. Some were small – seven or eight inches – but one or two were in the 12” to 15” range. I watched every one I caught turn on its side and take my fly. MY FLY! I’d invented it, I’d tied it, I fished it, and the fish ate it! Surely no greater thing could happen to a fly fisherman.

So with a mixture of pride and modesty, I presented a few to Bill one morning as we headed out. He took one look and said, “Nice flies. Serendipities. Thanks.”

My ego hasn’t fully recovered to this day.