When asked about their future careers, many kids give one of a few common responses: doctor, athlete, astronaut, scientist. But when I was a kid there was something different in my mind – something that’s still there. My thoughts were gripped by stories of harsh and unforgiving landscapes in Alaska and northern Canada. Secretly I dreamed of exploring wild, undiscovered lakes and rivers full of giant fish that took my flies freely. My heart ached to search out places untouched, unspoiled and un-fished.
Fly tying, like many arts, has entered a phase of modernization. New space-age materials have led to unbelievably realistic designs that have captivated the fly-tying community. Thus, certain flies are beginning to disappear, as their popularity declines alongside their aging tiers.
As the winter snows of the Rocky Mountains begin to thaw, a change is set in motion. The landscape breaks loose and emerges from a crisp exoskeleton of winter. For many fly fishers the pinnacle of this yearly change is the transformation of Pteronarcys californica – the stonefly known as the salmonfly – into its adult form. Most fly fishers have some familiarity with spring salmonfly hatches that proclaim the beginning of the new season on many of western North America’s freestone rivers and streams. While the salmonfly hatch is one of fly fishing’s most compelling events, success during this time is not guaranteed and often depends on the design of your flies.
When creating the Beefcake Stone, I spent extensive time observing the naturals from both above and below the water. This provided me with an accurate picture of the insect’s visual and behavioural traits. The exoskeletons of adult salmon flies display a subtle sheen so I selected a tying material that was capable of producing the same effect in my imitations. With a combination of buoyancy and reflectivity, Wapsi’s Loco Foam is the perfect material. In addition to its gloss, its laminated coating reduces flexibility. This allows for more realistic body segmentation.
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Tip #2 for the Guide: Servant Heart
Hands down, the best guides I know on the river are those who truly care and serve their clients. Having a servant heart means leaving your ego at the door. Being cognitive to your clients needs in every aspect of their experience is so important and knowing that your actions are serving your client will help shape your attitude throughout the day. The best compliment that I receive from my clients, is when they tell me that they felt we took care of them all day! Approach your day with a WE not a ME attitude.
Photo & Tips: Dana Lattery @flyfishingbowriver
Tip #1 for the Client: Manage Expectations
So, now we know that when you are booking a guided trip, the outfitter should ask you what you want out of your trip. And wether it your first trip or your 100th, this is a very important step to making your trip successful! Yes, it’s a fishing trip, but the outfitter needs to know what’s important to you so they can properly prepare and design your trip to meet your needs.
Discuss your skill level, special skills you are fine-tuning, fishing styles or species you are targeting. And, just because you went over these when booking your trip, don’t assume your guide is aware. This is your most important conversation of the day. Don’t get in that boat without having gone over your expectations!
Guide, Outfitter, and all round great guy, Dana Lattery @flyfishingbowriver shares some sage advice in the winter issue of Fly Fusion. But…with more great material than the pages of the mag would allow, we thought it would be fun to share a series of his top tips here.
Guide Tip #1:
Manage Expectations: Observe, Shape, Perform
This is our clients day on the water, not ours. Our first conversation should be in order to figure out what they want to get out of their day…which isn’t always the same as what we want. I can’t stress this enough. To ensure a successful day, we need to be on the same page as our clients.
We can assume that they want to catch fish, but it is always appreciated when you are clear about how the fishing has been. Never tell your clients “ you should have been here yesterday”, this is just an excuse and is not fair to them.
Following is a simple summary of expectations from one of my clients: “My goals for the day are as such, Good times, big smiles, fish, and great memories”. Easily laid out, now it’s my role to shape these and expand on the details; conditions, techniques, seasonal considerations etc.
Suggest, but never trump their desires. I have an annual client who who only wants to use a dry fly. We know that this isn’t always a possibility, but together, through proper scheduling and concerted effort we make for a higher probability of success.
In this episode of RIO’s “How To” series, RIO brand manager Simon Gawesworth runs through a number of reasons of why you would fish a dropper on your leader. In addition, Simon shows 4 different ways of making a dropper – using a surgeon knot, a tippet ring, the “New Zealand” dropper and the swiveling dropper from Poland.
If you want to fish more than one fly on your leader, this videos will give you some great ideas for rigging, as well as showing many typical multiple fly set ups that Simon uses, and that can give you a more successful day on the water.
12-Steps to Tying with Mallard Wings
Tying with feathers is mechanical form of art. You take parts (feathers), that already have a certain shape and texture, combine them in a sequence to create something else entirely – something beautiful, something functional. To me tying is akin to building an engine. In order for that engine to work properly the parts must be used correctly and every step completed with the next step in mind. Feathers can only be manipulated one or two ways to create the intended result. You cannot force a feather to do something against its “will.” In order to have your flies look and swim properly you must first learn how and why these parts work.
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