Fly Anglers Should Be Taking Notes From the Gear Guys
Many fly anglers put themselves above the conventional gear angler. Through some skewed view of reality fly fishing has been touted as the most advanced way to fool a fish. I am not sure if this is due to the learning curve of casting, the misconception of needing a degree in entomologist, or that they used to wear tweed sport coats.
The fact of the matter is, that if catching fish was the sole goal, we as fly anglers might be idiots. In most situations we handicap ourselves the instant we hit the water.
As fly fishing has evolved from tradition targets; trout, salmon, and char, so have the tactics we use. Making the elitist dry fly angler not so great when it comes to putting fish in the net.
Gear Guys Did it First
In modern fishing situations we often look at fish as predators. Even the ones that eat bugs like trout truly are predators, especially the big ones. Gear guys know how to present a lure to a predator.
They have been creating, fine tuning, and learning how to use lures to appeal to these predators for a long time. When looking at our “new advancements” in fly design and tactics there is a direct path to the conventional lure.
Much of fly fishings latest and greatest is essentially showing time tested tactics to a crowd who has been wearing blinders.
Blane Chocklett’s Game Changer is arguably one of the more popular fly tying platforms of today. The reason, It works! Blane is definitely a creative tyer and no doubt he was finding a way to recreate one of the greatest lures in fly form. The swimbait.
Most people think the swimbait is a relatively modern lure concept, but unless 1906 is modern… they are wrong. That’s right gear guys had the first rendition of a “game changer” over 100 years ago in the form of the K&K Animated Minnow.
The Animated Minnow and older single jointed lures are closer in relation to the first single articulated flies than the Game Changer but even then we were almost 90 years behind.
Going even broader in the fly design space we have the concept of neutrally buoyant flies. Hovering over cover, suspended in the water column, keeping you in the strike zone. Taking a page out of the book from many lure designs in the past.
Beyond lure design there are also the rigging and tactics. Not considered new, but the concept of sinking lines and variable sinking lines matched with flies to perform specific functions is another example of fly anglers trying to duplicate gear fishing methods. Whether you are throwing a bait fish pattern that is mimicking a suspended crank bait or slowly dragging a floating craw pattern, like a carolina rig, chances are some dumb gear fisherman did it first.
The Long and Short
It is a simple fact that fly fishing is a small sector of the angling market and the tournament aspect of conventional fishing drives techniques and tackle development at a much greater rate.
Neither fly fishing or gear fishing is better than the other, just different. But, one thing is for certain, modern fly anglers need to pay attention to what gear guys are doing. Chances are we will learn something.
So next time you step into the river or pull up to the boat launch don’t turn your nose up at the guy chucking gear. He might have what you need to take your fly fishing to the next level.