- By: Greg Thomas
upfront notes ///greg thomas
For a while I didn’t think a fish was worth catching unless it was taken on a fly that came from the jaws of my vice, all threaded, leaded and possibly whip-finished by my own hands.
I believe there’s a deeper connection between angler and fish when we take a trout or a tarpon or even a perch on a fly we’ve tied on our own, furthermore when it’s a unique pattern and not a replica of someone else’s. Say, a Hare’s Ear Nymph.
I’ve softened that stance, but still wouldn’t fish anything other than my super-sparse, beadless and ultra-deadly Pheasant-Tail Nymphs, ditto on the Callibaetis, PMD and Baetis cripples I create, which seem to fish better than anything I’ve found on the commercial market. That’s probably because I developed them to beat the selective trout of Idaho’s Silver Creek, and if you can get them to eat on Silver Creek you can get them anywhere.
I tie my egg imitation, the GIE (a wondrous acronym for Greg’s Incredible Egg), for other reasons: I can’t bear forking out two bucks at the fly shop for a pattern I can tie in about 25 seconds. And I love the reaction I get when I tie that thing on; friends say, “What is that? Are you kidding me?” Shortly after I’ve landed my third or fourth or fifth trout on the mess they’re asking for one.
I’m less devoted to other patterns, such as smallish parachutes, tiny Royal Wulffs, sparse-clipped deerhair Muddlers, and my go-to steelhead pattern, the Pick ’Yer Pocket. All have given me fits at the vice, all harboring the potential to send me over the edge these days due to deterioration of my close-range eyesight and a daily life that doesn’t offer an abundance of free time.
There will be times this spring, I’m sure, when my desk is littered with dyed capes, peacock herl and hooks, and I’ll visualize some combination of those spawning the next great fly, one the fish won’t be able to refuse, soon to be outlawed by fish-and-game departments, deemed as deadly as fishwheels and gillnets. The Answer, I’ll name it.
Just as quickly, I bet, it will crumble in front of my eyes and I’ll end up with something that looks like a sick cross between a swallow and an octopus. At that point I’ll probably say, “Tie what you know, GT, tie what you know.” I’ll heed that advice, starting with the confidence-boosting Brassie.
This year I was nervous by March, knowing that Baetis and skwala stoneflies were just around the corner and that my simplistic midge imitations and that egg pattern wouldn’t cut it much longer. I started in on my go-to patterns, knowing that several great fly companies had my back with those parachute posts and spun deerhair heads. And there’s nothing wrong with that; by buying those flies from a shop I saved a massive amount of time and sanity and I supported the local boys. All of that means I’ll get to spend more time—here’s the key—on the water, fishing, in 2013.