Thank you, APTU, for a wonderful wet fly Zoom!

Last night I presented Wet Flies 2.0 to the Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited. I’m sure we would have all liked to have done it in person, but Zoom being the next best thing, we had at it, and a pleasant time was had by all. (Really good questions, group!) Thanks so much for being so welcoming, and let’s do it again, hopefully in person. Tonight, it’s The Little Things with Philadelphia’s Main Line Fly-Tyers, also via Zoom.

Tip of the week: When you’re matching the hatch with wet flies, pay attention to size and color. These are a bunch of Hendrickson soft hackles (with several variants in the mix). The trout liked all of them, and why not? They generally match the naturals in size and color.

Rejecting the concept of the go-to fly

Are trout anglers smarter than striper anglers? I ask myself this question a lot. I don’t have a definitive answer, but I do know this: no other fly fishing endeavor gets by on a smaller corpus of knowledge than fly fishing for striped bass. As evidence, I offer the phenomenon of the go-to fly.

“What’s your go-to fly?”

You see it all the time on striper forums. It presupposes that there is a single fly solution for all saxatilus situations. Invariably, the usual suspects are rounded up. Now, the Clouser is a great fly (or jig, depending on your level of crustiness). In fact, there was a time when it was my favorite striper fly (really). But a Clouser is not going to serve you well when the bass are holding on station slurping grass shrimp. I go back to the night in Rhode Island when, after several hours of pounding up 10-15 pound bass on Big Eelies, another angler chased me down the beach to ask what fly I was using. He’d learned a hard lesson that sinking lines and weighted flies are a highly unproductive way to fish for bass crashing bait on the surface.

Now, ask a trout angler, “What’s your go-to fly?” If they’re any good, their answer will be, “For which hatch?” Or, “What time of year?” Or, “How am I fishing?” You get the idea. No trout angler worth his Catskills dries would ever approach the Trico spinner fall with a Woolly Bugger by rote.

If you want to catch less fish, fish the go-to fly.  If you want to catch more, go to the fly that best resembles what the fish are feeding on — and fish it how the naturals are behaving.

I love my Big Eelies. But they stay in the box when I’m fishing for bass that are feeding on herring.

Block Island All-Nighter Flies Big Eelies