Shad flies share similarities with the automobile industry, like cars they have a few features swapped out and a yearly naming convention. Trout fishermen refine flies to catch more fish – and Shad anglers refine their patterns just to tie something different…
… must be something to do with catching 50 or more fish on the same fly in a single day, you’re no longer concerned with selection as much as incorporating new colors or materials to fix weaknesses.
My continual quest for materials has me “cheek to jowl” with something that’s bound to turn 50 into 100 fish, or so I think – and it’s all trundled onto the tying bench to patch together the 2009 variant of whatever was successful last year.
The last couple of decades were ruled by fluorescence, this decade pearlescent is the go-to material.
I’ve banked quite a bit of pearlescent oddities for just this purpose; addressing shortcomings and frailties found on the 2008 version, so the 2009 flavor is sleeker, shinier, and twice as confounding to tie.
Pink has been pure death for the last two years, so I’m sticking with the tried and true – updating the hackle to bulletproof compliments of Bernat Boa and its indestructible nylon fibers, ribbing the body with ultrafine pearlescent braid – which’ll keep the soft crimp Angelina from being torn to shreds, and upgrading the tail to the heavier crimped Angelina so it’s not missing after the fifth fish.
Shooting heads and heavily weighted flies translate into a truly abusive environment, slippery running lines and cold fingers relax at the wrong moment and it’s a watery bullwhip that highlights all shortcomings in construction – and you’re left reaching for a replacement much sooner than you should.
Last season I went through about 10 dozen flies all told; snags, knots that I should’ve checked but didn’t, broken off fish, and shredded patterns retired just before the bare hook showed.
Figuring friends, friends of friends, and older brothers – I’m thinking 15 dozen ought to get me through this weekend, and partly into next. Those rare days where you’re doing all the catching warrants packing a couple dozen at a time so you can share with the fellows on either side.
Funny how manly Pink can be when the fellow downstream is landing his seventh fish ..