Gary Meyer | Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Last weekend was a US holiday, and I generally do not fish on national holidays. Even when driving to the ends of the earth to launch, or at least the end of the Florida mainland, on these weekends there are just too many people on the water. I believe in fishing according to the conditions: weather, tides, season, etc. But, no matter the natural conditions, holiday weekends bring out the masses, and I believe the fish respond accordingly. I know I do. It was a shame though, as the tide phase was really nice for a certain location I like to fish. I am sure it was just loaded… with boats. No thanks. I do not like fishing in crowds. Apparently, the holiday weekend warriors feel otherwise. It is almost like they prefer having others around.

So, I do not have much to report. I managed to get in daily casting sessions with no real focus on improving any particular aspect of my cast. I just went out to enjoy the simple pleasure of flycasting. As I have mentioned elsewhere on the Board, I have recently tweaked my casting technique a tiny bit, so I guess I could say I was committing that to muscle memory? Its funny, but after every tweak, if it is a good one, a keeper, it is sometimes hard to remember how I was casting before.


I also managed to spend some time at the vise. It was long overdue. I was actually down to one fly of a certain type that I have come to think of as a “go to” fly for tarpon. I usually don’t catch more than one tarpon on a single fly, especially not the larger size fish – they are just too tough on the flies. And, many times, if it is a particularly productive pattern, it comes down to one fish per fly, or vice versa, as a released fish is commonly allowed to keep the fly. Fishing solo and from a canoe much of the time, I do not attempt to “lip” larger tarpon to retrieve the fly. Too many things can go wrong. And, the physical beating the fish must take to become so exhausted as to allow being handled is far too deleterious to their health… especially this time of the year when the water temperature is high.


And, man is the water temperature high now! We have transcended into the mean season of South Florida. For the next few months we are gonna feel the heat with the only respite being the almost daily afternoon thunderstorms to escort us off the water and into the sunset.


Much like casting, my tying technique continues to evolve, and after each new tying tweak, the previous version of the pattern can begin to fade from memory also. The history of my pattern I restocked over the weekend, however, has not been forgotten as it is now tied completely with synthetic materials. When, at one time, it was tied completely of natural “traditional” hair and hackles.


The evolution, I guess, is due partially to technology. New materials are constantly emerging and I am continuously tweaking. While the new stuff does not completely match the characteristics of the original natural materials, it can be close enough and often offers some sort of overriding advantage.


The pattern I tied over the weekend has one significant advantage over its traditional grandparents: sink rate. Despite being around 5 inches long and having a bulky silhouette, the fly will generally fish a few feet below the surface, even when presented with a floating fly line. And that is achieved without the addition of lead eyes to the pattern, so the fly is actually rather light for its size. The secret is the synthetic materials are denser than water and are naturally water proof, so they do not absorb water, and if tied correctly, nor will they trap air.


I guess a fly tier reading this who is of the traditionalist Salmon fly vein is probably clenching their teeth at this point, but I am still just utilizing the materials available to me during my time.


I am not one to generally tie flies for the enjoyment of the act, being a fly tier of necessity rather than needing an outlet for my overflowing artistic nature. One last “tweak” I made to my tying over the weekend that made it much more enjoyable was listening to “Buckethead” as I tied.


A big shout-out to Andy Dear for bringing that improvement to my fly tying table!