Sexyloops - Garston and the Red Tag

Garston and the Red Tag

Garston and the Red Tag

t.z. | Friday, 26 January 2018

“The advantages of a stiff rod are its great superiority in casting; it will throw a longer and a lighter line, and with greater certainty, to any spot the angler wishes. Its advantages, m these respects, are particularly apparent in a windy day, when it is necessary to cast against the wind, or even sideways to it. With a supple rod, in such circumstances, it is almost impossible to get the line out at all. Another great advantage of a stiff rod is its superiority in striking. In striking, by a quick motion of the wrist, the angler moves the rod; if this is done with a supple rod, the part of it in the hand is moved immediately, but not so the point; the rod yields throughout; and the point, by means of which the line is pulled, may almost be said to remain stationary for a moment after striking, and then moves in a slow, uncertain manner; very different from the instantaneous sharp strike of a good stiff rod.”

Excerpt From: Stewart, W. C. (William C.). “The practical angler : or, The art of trout-fishing, more particularly applied to clear water.


I just quoted this to get your attention. Talking about rods is a sure “trigger” to attract anglers ….

1857 … that is when this was written

In the same book one can also read:

“We never yet met a bad angler that had not a good excuse; sometimes it is clear water, sometimes a bright day, sometimes thunder in the air; but the great excuse, which is equally applicable to all states of weather and water, is that, somehow or other, the trout would not take.”

Excerpt From: Stewart, W. C. (William C.). “The practical angler : or, The art of trout-fishing, more particularly applied to clear water.” iBooks.

Which reminds me of a an incident on the banks of the Mataura River close to Garston, New Zealand. Keeping ample distance to the river, I was trotting downstream from my camp when I saw an assembly of men doing something giving a faint reminiscence of what one could call fly fishing. The party consisted of two men in the mid 30's. flicking a fly line towards a few very decent trout cruising under willow trees. The trout occasionally rose to the small worms falling from the trees, and otherwise seemed completely unaffected by the desperate attempts of the two Americans.

The two were supervised by a guy wearing a wide brimmed hat and a mother of a fly vest with patches of sheeps wool holding an assortment of flies not very short a whole fly shops offering. Accepting his authority in the operation I approached him asking which way there were fishing. I had learned from the Stu at the fly shop with the same name in Athol, that one asks which way people are trotting along the river, so I wanted to be polite and asked the man who introduced him as the guide of the two anglers. He stated that, somehow or other, the trout would not take. So it would not matter and I would soon be free to fish as I please, as his plan was to leave.

Since the fish were rising I asked the expert what are they eating. He explained that the fish are feeding on the feared willow grubs and that the fish won’t look on anything else than exact imitations of this tiny worm. For proof he pointed at the two poor souls putting one bad cast after the next over the fish. He also showed me one of his, supposedly own, weird concoctions of thread and tying material on a hook. Against my nature, I refrained from further commenting this sad insult to the art of fly tying.

I was about to ask the , in my eyes very lazy bastard, why he is just lying in the sun and let his clients struggle like that. They were obviously frustrated to the max. They could not cast for 5 pence and the leader line setup they were given for the surely 600 dollars or more they paid to the fat man with the wide brimmed hat isn’t working for them either. I still get quite angry when thinking of this. Sad. Again, against my nature I did not say anything. Maybe one of the more clever things I have done in life. I tend to be more stupid than this and keep wanting to save the world from all evil.

However, the lazy guide than said again I could fish either way, as they would be leaving due to that, somehow or other, the trout would not take. He must have read the book and just remembered that sentence and forgotten about the context. Because W.C. Stewart writes already in the sentence after:

“Anglers there are who never yet met the trout in taking humour, and never will, unless they alter their mode of fishing. ”

While I stood puzzled and amazed by the scenery, he raised his stiff body onto his walking stick, ordered the jeans and sneaker Americans to the car and buggered off.

I turned around to the stream and watched the U-Boats with amazement. I sat down and kept wondering. I than tied on a Red Tag in size 14 and caught 5 or 6 of the 8 fish in the aquarium until the rest was finally alarmed and decided to bugger off. It surely must have been my fly with the very specific wool of which there is only 5 meters available in the whole world, or could it be that the lure was not to be picked out of the middle of a plate of leader & tippet spaghetti. Who knows? I chose to present the fly downstream on a stretched and degreased leader. I minimised drag by stopping the rod high and so generating enough slack line so I could delay  drag setting in. However, it almost felt to easy fishing for these trout as they did not seem to be alarmed in the slightest.

Again, I got confirmed that all needed is to tie myself a simple fly and use what had learned  about leaders & presentation. I am a bit sad still though that I did not speak up and helped the struggling anglers, but often it is best to remain silent when not asked. A skill harder to obtain than learning a downstream presentation.

Get my Fly Tying book on iTunes, should you want to learn the Red Tag or other very fishy flies. Just follow the link – There is a free sample of the book available as well. The Red Tag is described in the free sample.

Written by Instagram speed tying ;-)