Cross Pollination-2

Cross Pollination-2

Andy Dear | Monday, 10 June 2024

"There's a lot to learn from conventional anglers, and I'm sure there are other areas where we could increase our catch rates by really understanding what it is they're doing and adjusting our whole system to match it."

---Martyn White

  I don't normally have time to read any of the other Front Page articles due to my busy work schedule. However, the title of Martin's most recent essay piqued my interest. I thought it was a fantastic essay, and the subject matter was one I have thought a lot about over the last 30 years. I was a conventional tackle user long before I picked up the long rod, and truth be known I still do a tremendous amount of angling with spinning/casting gear.

  As an aside, for better or for worse, I have never been a fly fishing purist. I love fishing, and for the most part look at gear as a tool to match whatever the conditions happent to present that day.  Personally, I've never understood why anyone would want to limit themselves to just one type of gear. All of the REALLY good fly anglers that I have modeled my style after have ALL fished with conventional gear concurrent with their fly fishing equipment. Flip Pallot, Rob Fordyce, Jose Wejebe, Tom Rowland and many many others...all of them retain skills as sharp with a spinning rod as they do with a flyrod. I could make the case that sight fishing for ANY species is harder with a spinning rod than it is with a fly rod. The simple reason is that if the initial cast is not on target, you don't have the luxury of quickly and quietly picking up the lure and laying it back downffor a second presentation....you have to rrreeeeeeelllllll it all the way back in, significantly decreasing the chances for success. Having said all that, the subject of this essay is not to try and convince all of you to pick up a spinning rod rigged with a soft plastic baitfish imitation. But, from a tacklecraft perspective, as Martin is discovering, there is a TON to be shared between both sides of the aisle.

  Martin's essay came at a fortuitous time, as I am currently moving in the opposite, but similiar direction. I thought it might be fun to start throwing bucktail jigs on a spinning rod for Redfish. Although still popular in Florida, the bucktail jig was all but been rendered obsolete here in Texas in the 1980s by the soft plastic imitations. Once I started thinking through the process, it dawned on me that I have literally TONS of materials from Dr. Tebbetts' collection that could make for some VERY unique jigs. Marabou, Zonker Strips, PE fiber...any type of unique fur can be tied in the style of a bucktail jig. And, add in some barred hackles and some krystal flash or flashabou, and you have a lead-headed jig the likes of which a large majority of the fish that swim have NEVER seen.

  And, when you think about cross-pollination, a Clouser Minnow is not a whole lot more than a basic bucktail jig with a very significant reduction in the weight on the head, with a few added strands of KF. This then plants the idea of "Well what would happen if I took any Bass or saltwater fly pattern and tied it on a hook with a 1/8oz ball head?" The answer? A FREAKING UNIQUE AND AWESOME LURE TO THROW ON A SPINNING ROD....THATS WHAT! And, I think the most thrilling part for me is that I have a literal truckload of materials to experiment with.

 Martin and I must have been reading each other's minds from halfway around the world but in an opposite direction. And, to be honest I am thrilled to see someone who is so open to the idea of learning and sharing from "the other half" of the angling contingent.

Hope you all are having a great week,

Andy