For some, the art of creating beautiful masterpieces is the primary goal. The fact that these beautiful creations also catch fish only adds to the allure. Some tie realistic insect or baitfish patterns while others tie ornate creations for Atlantic Salmon or Steelhead who's only constraint is the tier's imagination. Others tie for more practical purposes, where function or speed of tying is important.
I fall into the latter category. I am not a creative tier. I look towards the creativity of others and use their lessons to tie flies that function how I want the fly to function. Whether it is the illusion of bulk of intruders or the ease of tying of clouser minnows I am a tying mimic.
One pattern I used for fishing the surface while guiding offshore for coho salmon and bottomfish illustrates this perfectly.
First, I had to choose a color. My favorite color of fly for saltwater is chartreuse and white, mainly from the success of fishing clousers with this color combination. Flash is almost always an attractor for coho so almost all the flies I tie incorporate quite a bit of flash.
Second, I had to find the popper head I wanted. This might seem easy with the amount of foam heads available, but few I knew were fishing poppers offshore. There was the Miyawaki Popper that continues to be popular and successful for all saltwater species, but I wanted a popper that not only acted as a slider but could also make a huge commotion often needed for black rockfish. The answer came from the opposite coast in Bob's Banger created by Bob Popovics for striped bass on the Atlantic coast. The flat face combined with the hole dead center allowed the fly to track and slide perfectly with a steady two handed retrieve but could also make a ton of noise if stripped back in a traditional manner.
The topwater fly I fish most of the time for silvers at Neah Bay did not come to me while sitting at the vise. It happened on the water. A client had left a pattern on the boat after a day of fishing. It was a clouser type fly but over the course of the day the eyes had come off his fly and it got left on the rear console on my boat. He tied it with a trailing hook and used unraveled mylar tubing as the flash. I had been fishing the original Bob's Bangers throughout the season and had a box of the foam heads on the boat. I was out fishing a day or two later and there were some fish working near the surface and I saw the old fly and the Banger heads and I had that little "ah-hah" moment and pushed the foam head onto the old fly and started fishing it. It worked and I started tying them for myself. The only change in the original pattern was cutting the point off the front hook.
It turned out to be a Bob's Banger with a bit more flash and a trailing hook. It is a truly all-purpose fly that works great for silvers and rockfish.
To the innovators, I thank you for creating the flies and techniques that we can then tinker with for our own particular fisheries.
|Here's the fly|
|Here it is in action|