Sunday, October 16, 2016

Under Instruction

At left, Lauren -- one of the owners of The Painted Trout -- casting my 3wt Echo 10'7" glass switch rod with a 5wt Ambush line and a 10' floating Versileader.

I just liked the way the line showed up in this photo as she gets ready to execute a forward segment on a single-spey. I can't take pictures of myself casting the rod because I'm casting the rod. So, I gave it to Lauren to take a few snaps during an on-the-water segment of a spey class this summer The Painted Trout hosted with Jeff Liskay instructing. Jeff really helped my casting.

A picture of Jeff demonstrating here at left. Great patient instructor. Best I'v had.

I gave a soft hackle class Saturday. I was a little surprised when ten people showed up.

At left, my "Late Summer Ghost"  which is a little mop of a fly but has done pretty well in the last month. Herl, no doubt.

Anyway, I taught the basics of the Partridge-and-Orange, The Black Magic, The Starling-and-Herl, the March Brown Flymph (Dave Hughes' variant), and the Jingler tied on an interpretation of the Borcher's Special.

I learned : 5 flies are a bit much. I need note cards to make sure I don't talk too much which is damn hard because there's just so much history wrapped up in Soft Hackled flies that I can't help but bring up those little nuances from the literature. I should also make sure all the materials for tying a couple of the flies we're discussing are pre-apportioned and ready to go.

I made some decent sketches of the flies and the principal assembly stages for each. That should help the students later when they get home.

The worst part was however that with ten students -- surprise -- instead of maybe six, I had to hand out my originals so only have an annotated bibliography on my computer left as any part of the class prep. I'll have to re-cut the drawings if I ever do this again which in itself probably isn't such a bad thing. I do wish I'd secured my originals at home in my library before going to the class but no matter. Only ink.

They were a good bunch of fly tiers. I couldn't have asked for a better more enthusiastic group anxious to work on North Country flies.

This truly is a golden age of fly fishing. The reference materials get better and better.

I've been thinking a great deal about The Occasional Trout and think it is time to consider the condensed intermediate text for the occasional trout angler.

The problem with elegant works is that they are devilishly difficult to follow. I've got a couple wonderfully elegant volumes on orbital dynamics and they are crushingly difficult to absorb. The volume on Lagrange transfer and the Poincare solutions just about broke me. It took about ten years for me to internalize the computational methods and approximations.

I need to spend some time with the plans for The Occasional Trout. Winter seems a good schedule assist.



  1. 'The Occasional Trout' sounds a bit more digestible than a volume on orbital dynamics, to this reader. And nice/catchy title for sure.

    Currently trying to wade through Edward O. Wilson, 'Consilience', & barely hanging in there. Might put it aside in favor of a re-read of Datus Proper, 'What the Trout Said'. More immediately useful though, ironically, could be considered esoteric stood next to Wilson's stark pragmatism. Datus seems to understand the existence of those connecting synapse still unknown to rational science. 'The Zone'.

    I should take a break from reading, & writing online, & get down to just fishing & the short story edits.

    (D'ja read my story yet?)

    Good on you, spreading the craft. You may start somebody on a journey or fantastic adventure. At the least, you will improve somebody's game. And the teacher learns the most. Here's the 6 patterns I teach in my class, chosen for universal utility & that they demonstrate the spectrum of material applications: Olive (dubbed) Sedge Emerger; S-H Hares Ear; Partridge & Orange (seguing into Partridge & Choose Your Color Silk); Partridge & Peacock; Leisenring Black Gnat; S-H Pheasant Tail. The basics (alas, none of my own design).That selection in #12-#18 pretty much covers the small mayflies & sedges where I fish. In review, though they are all simulative, they do reflect a fairly imitative approach (they are drab). And I like your idea of introducing a couple more attractor-like patterns. Keep up the good work.


  2. I love Datus Proper. That lifetime in the foreign service certainly helped his ability to present ideas in a beguiling fashion. I've not put his whole hook-length treatise on the mechanics of the bite to any serious practice, though. Otherwise, I'm right on board: trout eat stuff they think might be food. Not stuff they "know" is food, but stuff that "might be" food. I've killed enough in my youth to remember that trout get things wrong a lot. It took Datus to put that in perspective for me.

    I'm tearing through Hennessy and Jink's _The Silent Deep_ right now which is a history of the UK's submarine service in the post-war environment. Dry stuff but goes surprisingly well while I'm at the ink in murder.

    Great fly selection. I'm thinking that soft-hackle P-T and Hare's Ear will jump right into the tier's repertoire without much coaching from the likes of me. I really wanted to propagate the tying of "The Coug" as my favorite brookie fly but there are a lot of folks here who look at brookies as a "little fish" and a nuisance. A five inch brookie is still a little gem to me.

    There's talk of an outing to the Driftless as soft-hackle sport in the spring among the Monday-night "vice" crowd. Has merit. Came up without my prompting at all.