When is a fly not a fly?
I suppose the answer is different for each angler. The answer is probably most important to the enforcement officer who reads the angling regulation book and is checking our your gear streamside.
I laugh at some of the arcane debates about whether this or that fishing lure is a fly or isn’t. Having taken part in these debates/discussions for years I have, of late, become disinterested in ever, ever, doing so again. Never. Done. Finished. Period. Did I say no more?
One last time, for laughs only, here is my take on the fly versus non-flies issue. My opinion. Pure silliness. Agree or disagree as you wish.
These are not flies. A hard plastic bead pinned on a leader with a toothpick. A molded lead-head jig hook draped with marabou, fur, or hackle. A jig hook with a big honkin’ brass bead lashed on the shank (instead of a molded lead head), adorned with fur or feathers – yes, this is still a jig no matter what the regulation book says. A soft plastic egg or egg-cluster glued on a fly hook. A hunk of yarn overhand-knotted to an octopus hook or tied in an egg-loop. A plastic rubber worm. A spinner. A hotshot. A gob of salmon eggs. A ghost shrimp. A big fat worm.
These are flies. McGinty Bee. Royal Coachman. Bucktail Caddis. Wooly Worm. Mosquito. Grey Hackle Peacock. Green Butt Skunk. Thor. Boss. Comet. Clouser Deep Minnow. Griffith Gnat. Polar Shrimp. Babine Special. Langtry Stone. Female Coachman. Jay’s Green Rockworm. Steelhead Simplicity.
I’m a fly fisher and fly tyer. I’ve also fished all sorts of gooey baits and shiny metallic lures over the years. I don’t feel superior because I choose now only to fly fish. I just head for the river, completely content to fish my silly little flies.
Today, I might pick up a Spey rod, tie on a pink string-leech, and let it swim and wiggle through a run, anticipating a tug on every cast. I remember the same anticipation of dead drifting a pink rubber worm through he same run. I laugh at myself. I’m fly fishing. I’m happy. It’s all in my head.
We need to devote our energy to saving the rivers and the fish we care so much about instead of arguing about whether the way each of us fishes is more or less sporting.
Some other time, though, we should talk about whether certain types of hooks, lures, baits, flies, and C-4 causes higher mortality rates on released fish, and what we want to do about it.
Now, that should be a fun blog post!