Category Archives: fly fishing humor

Happy Anglers and the Prozac Hatch

Happy anglers and giddy trout Antidepressant use doubling in a single decade? That should make  happy anglers considering Estrogen, Progesterone, and anti-depressants are among the many chemicals making it through the wastewater treatment process and spilling into your favorite creek.

The rise in antidepressant prescriptions also is seen despite a series of public health warnings on use of antidepressant drugs beginning in 2003 after clinical trials showed they increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and teens.

Which neatly accounts for the steady increase in hooked fish while lighting a cigar, or fish that slam my dry fly as it screams across the pool throwing a goodly wake ..

Then again, I’m morose at the office and much happier when fishing – suggesting that evaporation might have me inhaling my fair share…

With 10% of the US population on prescription anti-depressants, it also explains why so many poor drivers exist – whose index finger thrust from the window salutes us remaining 90%

Tags:antidepressant use, rise in prescriptive antidepressants, estrogen, progesterone, prozac, happy trout, wastewater treatment, evaporation

Your Tuna Salad resents your liberal use of mayonnaise

Simm's Naval Camo I hadn’t thought about it much until I started catching Smallmouth bass with regularity. Trout and saltwater fish shared a similar resigned expression when handled; dull and lifeless – as if garnished with lemon was better than cavorting with mayflies or seaweed.

Smallmouth were different, they’d fix you with a malevolent gaze, watching every move for a hint of weakness or a defiant attempt at communication. One glance into those red eyes and you knew the message was pain, suffering, and “getting even were you just a wee bit smaller…”

Us fishermen knew all along, but the rest of the population is only now discovering that their Tuna Salad is sentient…

.. and may hold a grudge ..

The public perception of them is that they are pea-brained numbskulls that can’t remember things for more than a few seconds. We’re now finding that they are very capable of learning and remembering, and possess a range of cognitive skills that would surprise many people.”

Unfortunately we’ll have to retool significantly, as social interactions between fish have been both discovered and proven, and a witnessed fear response communicates “predator” to all other fish in visual range.

Now, fish are regarded as steeped in social intelligence, pursuing Machiavellian strategies of manipulation, punishment and reconciliation, exhibiting stable cultural traditions, and co-operating to inspect predators and catch food.”

We’ve endured the vengeful manipulation for centuries, woefully underestimated our foe, assuming our fly was at fault and  not the real truth, that we were being toyed with

Science will forever change the landscape (audio) and the vendor community will be quick to fill the breach; with floating neoprene live wells – allowing us to release fish back at the parking lot, and Ghillie suits to alter our shape and form.

Forget those pastel colors, ditto for form fitting and rakish highlights – we’ll all be wearing battleship camouflage and double helpings of naval gray…

… but is it the Royal Coachman they fear, or the fellow wielding it?

Green Highlander, There can be only One

When the only thing we’d mastered was the “tailing loop” and overhand knots added via false cast –  long before we knew what Caddis were, or achieved something the books called “drag free” – we encountered the One Fly…

We understood dry flies because strikes were visual and obvious; feeding fish made dimples, and the stalk was crucial to our repertoire – inching closer to compensate for limited casting without scaring fish or slipping and windmilling frantically for balance.

If we had a vest most of its pockets were empty. A hastily wrapped sandwich, an extra leader and fly boxes that were pill bottles or containers the vendor supplied when we bought them. Stores were as baffling as Catholic ritual, evoking more questions than answers, and while we handled and wiggled all the things we didn’t understand, we’d eventually wind up steaming the glass of the fly display.

… neat little rows of gaily colored Catskill dry flies; Coachmen, Female Beaverkill’s, Quill Gordon’s, and the Light Cahill – and while conscious of the different sizes – only one size was apparent to our untrained eye ..


At some point we’d draw the attention of some smiling fellow with a tie, who’d seen our quandary countless times, allowing us to summon the nerve to ask, “what would you use if you were going to the …”

Even then it wasn’t simple, it was pleasant and unfettered by splashy or strident. Fly fishing was something Dad did – and while the first half dozen trips had been alternately hellishly cold, blazing hot, or full of bloodsucking wildlife –  appreciation for the woods was slowly replacing fear of the unknown, yet full appreciation was still at arm’s length, wood smoke and trout were a distant second to a cheeseburger.

Many of those first lessons were painful; don’t grabass with Older Bro near the stacked rods, don’t throw rocks near Pop or near dusk, and don’t throw your metal Ace Hardware bait casting rod into the creek unless you wanted to learn how far Poppa’s swift retribution could send you … and how cold and deep it was when you got there.

But the “One Fly” was special and portent to all the hideous rituals to follow. It was the fly you caught your first fish with – emerging head and shoulders above all others, the first fly whose name you’d suddenly memorized.

That first fish was an inkling one day you might master this craft, and while your casting hadn’t improved and your Latin hadn’t progressed past “amscray” – armed with a couple dozen of “The One” and the creek and all its progeny were toast.

Success  transformed us from Acolyte to Master, the One Fly begat the First Fish – which begat the First Opinion, which ushered in all those effete arcane rituals you swear by today …

The One Fly, Mosquito

Mine was the Mosquito, an instinctive choice for a young lad that doesn’t know better –  only Poison Oak is more indelibly associated with the Woods, yet has no parallel in any shop’s fly selection.

A.J. McClane’s Standard Fishing Encyclopedia offered a fuzzy color plate whose hackle tip wings were swallowed by surrounding hackle, my early renditions were absent wings – just grizzly hackle and black Nymo ribbed with gray thread.

The Sierra’s and all the trout therein trembled before my tailing loop and wingless variant, and Match the Hatch meant the fly landed in water instead of snarled in overhanging Pine..

Sophistication was learning that Willow sap added a light yellow stain to the hackle.  Countless hours cursing my backcast and untangling leaders and fly from same, spawned the little known Deadly Yellow Variant – the counterpunch for finicky small stream trout.

The One Fly, it was Confidence Incarnate – defying the wisdom of Matching the Hatch and every tome since.

Cartography be damned

Should make some feel less conspicuous, although ordering one in a logger bar – you hope your voice doesn’t break mid sentence…

 The Blueliner brew

Its got a rarified pedigree, being made from glacier ice that crumbles off the continental shelf due to climate change, which makes the bottle bobbing in your wake testament to your domination of the watershed – scourge of the pristine…

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It might teach respect, but only if he’s the bait

Michael Vick Tony Dungy laments he never went fishing with Michael Vick?

Jesu Christo, if the lad is going to toe a bleeding hound into the brush, what good could possibly come from taking Michael Vick fishing?

Tony: Mike, you insert the needle into the earthworms and blow enough air to make ’em float just off the bottom – did I mention I respect your l33t football skills, but if you ever played for me you’d have to rein in that creative energy?

Mike: Does the air hurt the earthworms? … Really?

(Pfft, *POP*, Pfft, *POP*)

Tony: Save a couple for fishing Mike – did I mention you’re greased cat crap on the gridiron, but this boat is only fourteen feet long – and if you kill all my bait no way you’re gonna outrun the rod butt to the head I’ve got planned?

Mike: Oh. Sorry. Will them fish in the live well chew on each other?

Tony: No, Michael, most fish aren’t cannibalistic – did I mention you remind me of the son I never had?

Mike: You want to bet on the next fish?

Sorry, fishing is many things but if a fellow is going to stomp dogs – it’s not likely to teach him respect for wildlife of any kind – unless it’s Shark fishing … and then only if he’s the bait.