On the fly: The magic fly
October 22, 2010
BASALT – I was sorely tempted to put away my fly rod after the first weekend in October, and with good reason.
I’d gone out to spend a couple of idle hours on a Sunday afternoon on the Roaring Fork River in the midvalley and it quickly shaped up as one of my usual late-fall outings – trailing nymph after nymph on a dry fly, hoping to hit on the magic fly. I had actually hoped against hope that the dry – a small yellow humpy – would entice something, because I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to figuring out what trout might be munching beneath the surface.
After an hour of nothing, I patiently tied on yet another tiny dropper, a flashback Barr’s emerger that tested the dexterity of my fingers.
Wham. My first cast with the thing caught the biggest fish I never saw. It stripped line from my reel like a freight train, charging for the middle of the river. Then it was gone, and so was the fly. Great. Now I only had two of this little baby left in my fly box. Time for heavier tippet.
I spent the afternoon watching hefty rainbows nail this emerger like they were mad at it. Some of them pirouetted out of the water and threw the fly, some escaped via their own brand of magic. A few, I netted.
I was tempted to hang up the fly rod for the season right then and end it on a stellar note, but a couple of weeks later, I found myself fishing with a friend. We tried the same fly pattern and caught absolutely nothing with it. In fact, it was a struggle to catch anything, but we both managed one decent fish.
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On Monday, I tried again, tying on fly after fly but ignoring the magic emerger, as it hadn’t worked on the previous outing. I finally tied it on, and immediately missed two strikes.
I had a fat rainbow in the net before long, and then a showy brown, its belly a bright mustard color. After another fish or two, the magic fly seemed to lose its allure and I headed home to hang up the rod, perhaps for the winter.
I’m leaving the rod set up with the magic fly tied on though, just in case.