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Three teas for Trout
part Deux

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Friday 27th January, 2012

This is part deux of John Scottís article on Tea for and with trout. I have added a lament to the passing of Common Sense as some of you or them may not even know that C.S. has passed from this great earth, as you were watching ARRTIÖ

Part Deux of Three Teaís for Trout

Sometimes I think trout will eat anything that looks alive, is smaller than they are, and is slow enough for them to catch. What trout actually eat, when you think of it in terms of the flies that can be used to hook them, really is amazing. Especially given the comparatively small number of life forms available to them as food in the waters they occupy.

Personally, my experience is pretty limited. I have only run into ďselectiveĒ trout on occasion, and I donít believe I have ever run across those Ph.D. trout some people refer to. Iíve been on water that supposedly holds Ph.D. trout but I guess I was too dumb to realize thatís what they were. I mean, I just fed them like the other trout Iíve caught and they ate that stuff. Didnít take an improved this or a special that to get them just a fly that looked and acted like what they regularly eat.

For the longest time, or so it seems, I relied on flies that I saw in books, read about on websites, or heard about from other anglers. Well, I still use some of those flies some of the time. Several years ago I was fishing on the Big Lost River, the tailwater below Mackay Reservoir in Idahoís Central Mountains. Trout were rising regularly. I put one, two, three book learned and expert recommended flies in front of a whole passel of those trout and they didnít want to eat any of them. So I waded out into the middle of where they were feeding and started scooping their food items out of the creek with an aquarium net. Went home, tied up some of those little critters, went back and caught a bunch of the local trout with those flies. Turned out the fly has worked just about everywhere I have fished it. Thread on a hook. It can be just that easy, or harder, if you need to make it so.

Using an aquarium net or seine or turning over rocks in the creek or catching and closely observing bugs around the creek you are on are the real keys to feeding fish off their menu. And it can be a lot of fun, when you are dressed appropriately for the task. A decent waterproof camera to take good quality close-up pictures of what you find can be a real asset. Coming up with your own s.e.d.g.e. ( simple, effective, durable, good enough ) flies based on your own observation of whatís on the fishies menu is very satisfying.

Among fly anglers, a lot is made of casting, properly so, or not. Casting is not the silver bullet, and not the silver platter, for catching trout in moving water. Technique, which I would call presentation, but presentation doesnít start with a tea, is more about what the fly does after it lands on the water than while it is being cast to the water.

Youíre on water known to hold bunches of fish, youíve got a boxful of flies known to regularly entice those fishies to bite a hook and hold on, youíve cast beautifully to good holding water , and you havenít caught a thing. Presentation is about good technique in the area of line control.

Probably of all the things you can learn from others and by reading about fly angling and successfully chasing trout, line control isnít one of them. It is one thing you can only learn by doing, and doing, and doing. Just to many changing conditions even in a short stretch of water to deal with. Until line control techniques become second nature, fly angling will mostly be a conscious effort to catch fish rather than the in-the-moment experience that accomplished fly anglers have every time out, or a lot of the time, anyway.

And sometimes no matter how well you have prepared your tea, you have to drink the kool-aid. When things just arenít working, when you have been properly presenting good flies to good lies and you are getting skunked, sometimes the best thing to do is just turn around. Go from an up and across dead drift presentation of a dry fly to a down and across wet fly swing with the same fly. That could be the technique that saves your outing. The very last fish I caught on the South Fork of the Snake before I moved to Montana was a beautiful cutthroat trout that took a Harropís Henryís Fork Caddis fished on a down and across swing after that fly had been fished dry unsuccessfully to several trout in the same riffle moments earlier. Go figure.

There is one other fundamental to successful fly angling. The fish are always right. If they are there and you arenít catching them, it ainít their fault and it ainít their problem. They are telling you whatís wrong with the tea you chose. Listen to them.

John Scott Esq.

In case it slipped your notice, I added the "Esq" to Johnís name; he is way too cool and modest to do that.

Death of Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;

- Why the early bird gets the worm;

- Life isn't always fair;

- And maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers:

I Know My Rights

I Want It Now

Someone Else Is To Blame

I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.


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