Am I Too Optimisitc?? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Am I Too Optimisitc??

11-12-2001, 08:31 AM
I think more then anyone, I would love to see a banner year for winter-runs. I am itching or should I say dying, to be swinging a fly and have the not so familiar tug of winter-run on the end of my rod (winter-runs have been very stingy to me on the flyrod).

And I just get excited every year around this time as I not only love swinging flies for these beauties, I also enjoy throwing rags and pink worms at 'em on the Hoh and getting away from the people and enjoy the intimacies of driftfishing small streams.

And well, everyday, it seems as though there are more and more reports of winter-runs being caught out of local rivers. I heard of a winter-run out the Nooksack, the Cowlitz, pretty much all over the Coast and numerous reports of winter-runs out of the Sky. Although I am skeptical of that last one as we all know the Sky gets pushes of bright summer-runs through November...swinters we call 'em (the caudal pedunctle is a dead giveway to tell whether a steelie is a true summer-run or winter-run). Plus with the Sky just being stuffed with coho-many of which are bright-some neophytes just cant tell the differance between them and bright steelies.

This came from the Salmon River on the Quinault Reservation yesterday. Total carnage but atleast they're all brats (and not Nates)...

So they're on their way.

11-13-2001, 06:12 AM
Dear user,

This is to inform you that our profanity filter has registered a 5.3 on the post you recently made entitlted "Am I Too Optimistic". The offending words were "pink worm" and "rags". Normally these would register a higher impact but they were parsed in the context of such a wonderful post that the rating was lowered.

5.3 is only a warning (5.0 - 7.0) and as such does not require that you change your post. However the incident will be reported to the purist police and may be retained on your record should you advance to words in the high impact range like "roe" or "smelly jelly".

I'm JOKING! Ryan, couldn't resist any more than you could. }>

11-13-2001, 01:32 PM

I know of a couple of people that tie a fly just like a San Juan worm only bigger and pink. They claim to have had some success with them. Don't how this works with the purist thing.


11-13-2001, 03:31 PM
I tie several patterns that you would never see in the dictionary under fly myself, some of which contain zero natural materials and with the hook snapped off at the bend could be placed in a .25 vending machine at the front door of a grocery store with the other hairy, multi-legged, rubber bouncy token toys.

Believe me I am just poking fun.

Although I am pretty much dedicated to flyfishing, when my good buddy Northfk mirthfully includes the mention of pink rubber worms designed for largemouth bass texas rigged on the lilly pads into his post, he's 'trolling' for me to chime in as I see it. And who am I not to comply? I have about as much composure to hold back as a Sekiu silver on Leland's popper pattern.

A few things I would say about this purism stuff...

(1) First of all it should not be taken very seriously, it's hard to see the intended sense of humor in alphanumerics even with the little smilie faces - but be assured that it's there in my posts.

(2) Secondly no ones says you have to be a fly fishing ONLY practitioner to be part of the community - that's totally untrue. On the other hand if you are a FF-only type, you should feel that the Flyfishing Forum is a very comfortable place to hang out (you might not feel as comfortable somewhere else). That's what I mean when I say purism is OK here, it's a refuge of sorts for the minority who are dedicated to FF. But don't take that to mean the opposite is true...

If you are not a FF-only guy you should feel just as comfortable here, but you can expect that the subject matter will be... well, "flyfishing oriented" (hence the name).

In fact some guys who hang out here are not flyfishermen at all but after hanging out with us for a while are on the verge of becoming one voluntarily.

Most importantly...

(3) IMHO the word "purism" is fine as long as it's used in the context of a joke -or- is a personal thing. When purism is a notion in one's own mind to lead them to master something in a more focused manner, it's a good thing. On the other hand, if the word is used in any type of comparison between more than one person, it is judgemental and fosters ill will. Purism is a friggin joke, let's face it - unless it's something one feels in his or her heart - like using only hand carved decoys, or natural materials only, or twisted gut eyes, etc. If it is kept to one's self as a way of practicing something of passion, it's downright admirable and if you think about it we often hold the highest respect for people because of a personal kind of "purism".

But when someone judges another's ways based on their own values, that's how the BAD connotation of purism arises. I would go as far as to say that is not purism, but prejudice.

Purism is about the self, and has no place beyond a person's own mind. The key is to keep it in perspective.

11-13-2001, 05:31 PM
Whoops, sorry. I could have left the reference to purist out. Just wanted to know what you thought of the pink worm fly.

11-13-2001, 05:38 PM
dOh! Something about that word!

Anyway, I'm the one who's sorry to have missed the point of your post. I haven't used them myself but I am conviced of the effectiveness of chenille "worms" whether tied to a hook in a San Juan style or a madam X style.

I'm sure that would work. I don't know if I would consider it my go-to fly though }>

11-13-2001, 06:34 PM
So soaking my Black Scampi pattern in shrimp oil is a bad thing???????

Fred Evans
11-13-2001, 08:35 PM
Well 'fish oil' may be pushing it a bit far. But I'll bet with a touch of garlic, a bit of butter and Basil the "black Scampi" would be quite good on the Barbie.

11-13-2001, 11:53 PM
The post shall become a classic. I was dying laughing...

And a notice to everyone...dont think that Sinktip is kidding. He was in the other day buying not only sandshrimp but pencil lead and egg cure. :D ;)

11-14-2001, 12:01 AM
Reminds me of an almost fishless day on the sauk at last light at the native hole when my fishing buddy watched me tie on one of those foam flatfish flies with the marabou tail. The look on his face was of total shock being the purist type that he is. As he shook his head I spey casted that sucker to the other side and just as it reached the end of the swing the line went tight and the reel screamed with me running down into the tail out in almost pitch darkness stumbling over the large rocks on the way down. The fish was landed in fast water a good hundred yards down stream and till this day I can't remember a stronger fish. Thats when I turned to him and said it's O.K to try something different once in awhile!


11-14-2001, 12:59 AM
LOL, I love offending purists. I'm a fisherman that uses a flyrod and conventional rods (not a fly fisherman or a baitfisherman). I find nothing wrong with swinging an extra long pink leech (basically a worm pattern). I've caught quite a few steelhead just dead drifting an unweighted "pink worm" style fly. Normally I use pink rabbit strips and leave about a 3 inche trailer off hook and palmer the rest. So YES, they do work. They're easy to tie and work really good on the coast (hey Ryan they're really good on the Hoh). Don't worry Sparkey, it's when you give up and don't try is when that line starts tugging on you. It's like throwing a spey, the harder you try the less ground you cover.

11-14-2001, 05:55 AM
Given that purism is something a person decides for himself and that you don't need to be a fly-only guy to hang out here, I have to confess that I don't understand the logic of loving to flyfish for steelhead and then using other means when the going gets tough. Personally, I do not cast anything but flies for steelhead - period. Sure I use gear for halibut, or when I meat fish, but I don't meat fish for steelhead. At the risk of sounding like I am full of BS I guess I feel that I really don't need anything but flies to fish successfully for steelhead.

WHOA! What kind of braggadry is this they might say? Let me make my case... when I lived in steelhead country (putting all modesty aside) I had great success hooking steelies on flies and when I come back once or twice a year I've never been denied even with a year of inactivity in between visits, rusty as could be yet find it very satisfying to hook up consistently during return visits. On my last visit (September 01) I solidly hooked 4 steelhead, not including a touch on the Elwha - landing 2 of them in 2.5 full days of steelheading in bony flows and missing some prime times from being too damn tired from Sekiu coho slamming.

It's a personal thing, but to me if you love to flyfish for steelhead and have to resort to other means just to catch fish, I have to ask the question:

Doesn't every day you don't try take a day away from your total skills as a fly angler?

11-14-2001, 01:34 PM
Im still relatively young and it really have been only in the past couple years or so that I believe my skills have grown to a point where everytime I go out, I expect to catch a fish.

But Im not satisfied. I still want to learn about the quirks of steelhead behavior, about the goofy water they will hold in and the prime water that they do not etc. etc. etc. Fishing gear allows that as I have enough confidence in my technique that when I cover water with gear, I can honestly say I COVERED that water. If I did not hit a fish it was more or less the fish were not going to bite at all or plain and simple there were not any fish.

I want to get a better understanding of steelhead behavior and their preferences and fishing the fly 100% of the time just does not allow that. Or maybe it does and I just do not have enough confidence in my ability to cover the water with the fly!?

I would love more then anything to develop the ability to consistently catch steelhead with the fly so that everytime I go out I have confidence in my ability. I see someday that happening but I'm still too new, too young and still have a whole lot to learn.

11-14-2001, 02:24 PM

I have seen you cast and you can certainly cover the water fine. Of course the water one can cover with a fly differs from that gear is capable of. When you decide to lay down the gear rod you will do just fine with the long rod. Now I just need to get you to put away the tampons, uh excuse me indicators, and sink or swim with a swung fly.

Oh by the way, if you are going to let the cat out of the bag about my gear purchases, please don't forget to tell everyone about the treble hooks. ;)


11-14-2001, 02:59 PM
I think you'll find that, when you start fishing the spey rod, not only will your effectiveness triple (at least) for winter fish but you'll have a lot more fun while on the river.

I was comparing notes with another spey convert and we both agreed that, if we fished winter/spring steelhead at all, we'd either (a) do it with a gear rod or (b) do much less of it if we weren't fishing with the twohanded rod.

Your ability to control the fly from greater distances with the longer/heavier tips, fish larger flies, and generally cover more water quicker are all big advantages.

11-14-2001, 03:53 PM
I've been thinking about this all day. Since I started fly fishing I have almost stopped all other forms of fishing. This comes from a former commercial fisherman that couldn't understand why anyone would waste their time trying to catch fish one at a time. Anyway, I put down the other methods because of simplicity. I love the simplicity of fly fishing. A spey rod with an assortment of tips, flies, and I am ready for about any type of water. If I am not catching fish I am working on my casting. I love to cast. I not very good at it but, I love to cast and frankly I think I can cover the water better with a good spey rod than with a bait caster. I also love the way steelhead hit a fly. There is no mistake when they hit. Wham! Screaming reel, bent rod! Man, I love that. With bait your setting your hook with every little bump, never knowing if that was a fish or the bottom. I don't miss loosing all that tackle either. I rarely loose anything fly fishing. An occasional fly is all. Fly fishing for steelhead is easier and simpler for me.

11-14-2001, 09:32 PM
Now I don't really have a problem with "worm-flies" but I do have a question for the ethics police. I was on the Sky last February and saw a fly guy with a pink rubber ducky taped to his boat, now did he cross the fashion line or did he ram a bubba's drift boat? Or maybe this was some kind or horrific strike indicator? It is evident that the indvidual in question is a member of this board and should then be subject to some sort of sanction!

Tight lines - tyler.

11-14-2001, 09:56 PM

Now for a serious post. On our way back from the Thompson the other day Dana and I had a long conversation on the topic of how to introduce his very young son to steelheading -particularly flyfishing. Contrary to some opinions I agree with you, to be a very good steelhead fly fisher one needs to above all else understand steelhead. I am of the opinion that the only way to truly do that is to gain that understanding by catching LOTS of them. The best way to do that IS gear fishing...period. Now many good steelhead fly guys have only fly fished, Dana for example never gear fished at all. I fish with him all the time and know that he is simply an exceptional fisherman who learned to do it the hard way. When top hard-core gear guys decide to make the switch to flies - they are frighteningly deadly! Why? Because they KNOW where the rascals live and once they learn to edit their water for fly fishing they catch mucho steelhead. Two of the most successful steelhead fly fishers on the Thompson this season have been flyfishing for only 2 seasons - but they were the 2 very best gear fishers for 27 years - their knowledge of the fish and the river is staggering! When they perfect their casting and line control - yikes! So Ryan, by all means, continue your steelhead education, catch lots of them, catch them any way you can because in the end you will come to the conclusion that all of us old gearfishers do. That is, once you know how to catch them, steelhead are very easy on gear, the challenge of getting them on the fly is the thing. Personally, I had become so bored with gear fishing that I was slowly giving up on steelhead. It was the spey rod blank that I bought at a Steelhead Society auction that rekindled the fire of steelheading in my heart. So blaze away with the gear, as eventually you will put it down for the double hander!

Tight lines - tyler.

Fred Evans
11-14-2001, 09:57 PM
Another view of 'why spey rods.' With a single hander you spend 50-70% of your time winding up to cast. With a spey rod the transition from end of drift to next is 1-3 seconds. Period, end. As an old mentor of mine once said: "You can't catch fish unless your hook is in the water." Harry was right, and that's one of the major aspects of spey rods; you're out there with them.

11-14-2001, 10:21 PM
Thanks for the encouragement everyone!

I cant tell you how much I love rivers and the surrounding landscape. I love their characteristics, their tendencies and each one's personality. And at this point in my education (fishing is a constant learning experience, is it not?) I just feel that I can not cover the water to my standards to fully experience rivers...

I've fished freinds' and guides' and demo two-handers and either did not know what I was doing or did not have the right lines to fish them properly but that has all changed. Finally...whatever took me so long??

I hope that will all change and I am dying to get out on the river and throw the two-hander and most of all learn and be able to cover the water more thoroughly. Less time casting and more time fishing... :)

I also can not wait to try it on the Thompson, the Hoh, etc. etc. Rivers that can only be covered with gear or a two-hander. The possibilites are endless...

Could the driftrod's days be numbered for myself??...Not yet, Im still young, still haven't fished enough rivers, caught enough steelhead. I still have way too much to learn...

I can not wait 'till the day in which I have complete confidence in my ability to cover the water with the burod that it becomes my primary (and maybe even my ONLY) tool in my chase for steelhead.

And then maybe I can become one of those expert, deadly steelhead flyfishers that Kush is reffering can only hope. ;)

Okey dokey, I'll stop rambling now. :)

Are you reffering to the treble hooks dipped in lead???? ;)

11-14-2001, 10:28 PM
Kush is right, that individual should be ostracized from the fly fishing community. A pink rubber duck indeed. Tsk, tsk. Now I have been known to wedge a yellow plastic duck under the rope on the front of my raft but pink is a line I would never ever cross. Get a rope boys...

11-15-2001, 12:35 AM
Hmmmm. I'm not an avid flyfisherman. I've been toying with it for the last 20 years but never commited 100% to it. I wouldn't say in my case I use the fly rod until I get frustrated then go back to gear. I use the method that I'm in the "mood" to use at the time. I've spent many a day's fishing the Hoh river in my life. I've had days when I've only swung a fly. But have also had many a days I've used many different methods of gear. I was raised a fisherman, and I don't think I could ever put down the method I was raised doing. I love driftfishing. I doubt I'd ever retire them completely. That's just me though. I'm still learning the long rod though. Maybe it'll be the thing that puts me into a fly full time. I guess it's the hours of false casting that put me more into a "baitcasting" frame of mind. When I fish, I FISH. I put in alot of hours. I know I've spent 10 hours throwing a 9wt for salmon. By the end of the day I would be dying from the false casting (plus the fight of a big king wouldn't help the pain any). I guess it's nice doing a quick flip with my old trusty baitcaster that kept me using it. Plus, I can tell quite easily the difference of the tap tap of a rock versus the rap rap of a fish. I guess it's all the years of conditioning on the rivers here in the PNW.

Maybe I should sell that long rod. Don't know if I can retire all my rods (ask DoubleHaul he'll testify to my rod collection). But, I could by quite a few nice speys with some of my antique baitcasters that I have. Hmmmm, NAHHHH. Too many memories to get rid of. Sheesh, I need to get that speyrod to work. It's the only rod I have that I haven't caught a fish on (oops, I lied I just picked up a sage yesterday so there's two).

Hey Brian, we'll get together once your schedule cleans up and get some on water time with the speyrods.

October Caddis
11-15-2001, 10:51 AM
Flytalk is such a great place to hang out, thanks Juro for such a site.
The biggest problem I see on rivers especially with fly fishermen is that a lot of them take it just way too seriously. Maybe that's got something to do with the so called purist thing? So many of them don't seem to have fun, never laughing, joking and just enjoying thier time on the river. There are so many of them that won't take the time to stop and talk to other fishermen be it gear or fly fisherman. Don't know how many times I've been pissed off because someone got to the run I wanted to fish first. There have been many of times where I wouldn't even say hell'o as I walked by because I was disapointed someone beat me to the run and I'd let it ruin my whole day. I am guilty and maybe some of you are too. Maybe we lost an oppourtunity to meet someone who would become a good fishing friend in the future.
Fishing should be a hobby, a past time, a time to get away from all the stresses of every day life. So many of us have put our fishing as an obsession or a religion. How many times have we tried to squirm our way out of spending time with our families and non fishing friends so we could fish a weekend. How many hours durring the week have we spent worrying about if we are going to get the chance to go fishing. When we do this it seems to me fishing is not as fun anymore. You still can be a good or great fisherman without all the up tightness observed in a lot of fishermen today.
Fishing should be fun and if you want to take something serious take conservation serious, become obsessed with saving the very fish you fish for and the rivers they swim in.

And Ryan anytime you want to fish with us and use your gear rod you are welcome too, (gulp). You just have to let us go through each run twice before you start your first go through!
Sinktip, do you still have that yellow rubber duck?

11-15-2001, 11:25 AM
Flytalk is whatever everyone makes it. The way I see it, it's like building a pub or a lodge - just bricks and mortar or in this case bits and bytes - nothing without the people who stop in. What comes out of it depends on what people are willing to put into it. If it's a great place to hang out, the credit is yours! Believe me I love to come sit by the (virtual) fire and sip a little peat water and hear all the great things people have to say. Well worth the effort to keep the lights on!

11-15-2001, 11:29 AM
Hey but I know the board member that put that Pink Ducky on my boat. Right Kush? I kind of like it there and it is still on the front of the boat proud and loud. :) It will most likely be there when you come down this year too.

I agree with OC that fishing should be relaxing. I have gotten in to the habit if someone cuts me off I just leave as I have enough stress in my life at work I don't need it fishing. If the river is so crowded I can't find any water I try to go home or do some exploring. I fish to relax and get away from the crap of this world. I fish hard when necessary don't get me wrong I like to catch my fish but on a Saturday afternoon in the the Spring on the Sky is it worth getting fired up if someone is in IRS already. Did I really expect something different. :)


11-15-2001, 11:53 AM
I really don't get too annoyed when people low hole me unless it's blatant, which is rare. If I had been there a while and hadn't had the sweet part of the pool yet, shame on me! I'll know better next time. If it's true that 10% of the fishermen catch 90% of the fish, the chances are pretty good that most guys who cut you off didn't change your luck too much.

On the other hand if they vacuum every gamefish from the hole as you follow behind them, equally rare, it does tend to frustrate.

Overall I enjoy the camaraderie on the river as much as any part of the experience.

11-15-2001, 11:55 AM
Ya gotta wonder about that pink rubber ducky! I know I've seen it before, and if I remember correctly it was last seen roped to the front of the notorious JJ's driftboat (which i believe will be coming back up to the Seattle area soon?).

I gotta agree with OC's comments on how we approach
steelheading. I get seriously pissed off when someone's in a
run I expected to be vacant, especially when I've walked a long way to get there. I'm working on it, but with steelhead streams getting more and more crowded and the frequency of getting low-holed by gear and fly anglers increasing it's a tough nut to crack.

Juro - remember that time we walked out in the pre-dawn darkness to Buck Island on the last day of the C&R season? We needed flashlights to get out there, but by the time we reached the water what do we hear but the sound of a *X*X*er's reel screamin. A fisherman had hooked a fine chrome hen in the very head of that run with a single-hander and floating line and was midway in the fight. I was pretty annoyed and my first inclination was to lowhole him as soon as he had his fish under control }> , but Juro stayed to congratulate him and offer to take pictures of his fish (and later sent him copies) while we watched the show.

And yeah, Steelheader69, we'll get out with the spey rods once the floods recede 8-)

Tight Lines Y'all!


October Caddis
11-15-2001, 12:33 PM
You got it exactly, Sometimes we get upset if a guy is in the run first even if he didn't low ball us. I bet what Juro did by making contact with the guy, enjoying the guys battle with a fine fish and offering to take a picture took the edge off your effort to be first on the run. By you and Juro making contact and enjoying a strangers success I bet your day went better than if you had just walked by or low balled him.
I'm guilty of every thing imaginable to get pissed off at and end up ruining my entire day by it. If it was just myself I see that way that would be onething but so many fisher folks look like there is no enjoyment in their hobby.
Thank God for a fine flyfishing girl friend who is inexperienced in the fine art of serious fishing and has reintroduced me to the fun of being on the river even if it's fishing for small brookies. A lot of us could learn from Sue's fishing lodgic and Juros natural good nature.
Have fun fly fishing.

11-15-2001, 12:49 PM
Thanks for the kind words but I must admit there is one thing that sets me off... kayakers who 'play' in the pool I'm working. I don't mind when they slip past as we exchange nods as if to say to each other "hello my brother who shares a love for the river" - but when they start taking turns doing that "rollover and thrash to right themselves stuff" right in front of me it really ticks me off.

It's really amazing that rivers with such beauty are right there in the metro area, everyone has the right to celebrate that in the PNW... I think it all boils down to consideration for each other no matter what method we choose to love the river.

Fred Evans
11-15-2001, 11:45 PM
Dear God, maybe I'm luckier than I know. I'm Pre-Bolt, and some post-Bolt in Washington fishing. Then to Northern California for 10years (mostly before the yo-yo's had a clue about how to fish the Russian River (5 minutes from my front door in Healdsburg) .. mostly clueless.)..

Moved to southern Oregon, with few exceptions very heads up about 'fishing ediquite' (sp is not good here). Talk to guy, no back talk, usually a thank you and what do you suggest for a terminal rig. Good answer, taught a lot of folks how to work a spey rod, they like, I like, we all learn.

There is a "Lake Wobegonne."

11-16-2001, 12:10 AM
I can echo other's appreciations for what you have provided us. Your board has quickly became my favorite. I cant thank Duggan enough for showing me this board.

Ive posted on Bob's board for years and know many of the other posters but his board has just grown too large and I get tired of the morons...

Anyways, this may not get the activity of other boards but the content is first class as are the posters...