Return of the Idaho Trout Boys

Photos courtesy of Micheal Perkins

Michael and Garrett have been back in the shop for just over a week now, and they've wasted no time in finding some beautiful trout. If you're in town, be sure to swing by and welcome them back for another season.

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Fly of the Week: Micro Beeley

Photo by John Juracek

For years, Nick's Shakey Beeley has proven itself to be a must-have soft hackle in Yellowstone waters, especially in the fall when pre-spawn brown trout are most prone to chase a swinging fly. A few years ago, we began experimenting with smaller versions of this fly for more general use, and the Micro Beeley was born. This version is simplified a bit to make it easier to tie in smaller sizes, but still features the same fish-catching sparkle and color scheme as the original. It's proven to be a particularly effective pattern for early season on the Firehole, so if you're gearing up for the park opener next week, you'll want to add a few of these to your box.

Materials

Hook: Dai Riki 280 Size 16

Thread: Antique Gold Pearsall's Silk Thread

Shuck: Mayfly Brown Crinkled Zelon

Rib: Copper-Brown Small Ultra Wire

Thorax: Rusty Orange Hare'e Ice Dub

Hackle: Natural Premium Partridge

Tying Instructions

Step 1: Attach thread to hook two hook eye widths behind the eye. Tie in a strand of mayfly brown zelon and a piece of copper brown ultra wire, and wrap the thread over the zelon and wire back the hook shank until even with the barb of the hook. Trim the zelon to about the same length as the abdomen.

Step 2: Wrap the thread forward to create a smooth, even body, stopping at the tie-in point. Make five evenly spaced wraps of the wire for the rib, then tie off and trim the wire.

Step 3: Dub a small amount of the rusty orange Hare’e Ice Dub onto the thread and wrap behind the hook eye to create a small ball for the thorax.

Step 4: Tie in a Hungarian partridge feather by the stem right behind the hook eye. Take one and a half to two turns with the partridge feather, tie off and trim, and then whip-finish.

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A Lesson in Semantics, and Casting

By John Juracek

While visiting the fly shop yesterday, I learned that one of my young co-workers, recently back from college, would today be teaching an even younger group of students how to cast a fly.  I've always found my friend's enthusiasm for our sport contagious, his willingness to help others admirable.  Since I'd worked with him in prior years on the principles of casting, I thought perhaps the moment was right for a brief refresher quiz.  I grabbed the shop's practice rod and made several casts—casts where the line extended out in a wide loop, with line tip and leader waffling down to collapse in a pile.  I asked my friend to analyze and solve this problem, such that my ensuing casts would straighten out.  (The inability to cast a straight line, on demand, is one of the most common problems in flycasting, afflicting not only beginners but often those of us with many years of experience.  Truth is, how to cast a straight line is one of the first things we should all be taught.)

After thinking it through, my friend concluded that my casting stroke was too long.  That I was taking the rod too far behind me on the backcast.  "What should I do?", I asked.  Boldly, he replied, "Stop your backcast at 12:00 o'clock".  So I did.  And my next cast finished by slamming hard into the floor, line tip and leader still piling up on themselves, albeit with authority now.  I repeated the cast.  Same result—my line drove hard into the floor without straightening out.  I looked at my friend.  Not expecting this, he seemed caught off-guard, unsure exactly how to proceed.

I stopped the exercise.  I told him that his analysis of the problem was correct—my stroke was too long, I was taking the rod too far back on the backcast.  But even as he had correctly diagnosed the problem, his proffered solution—"stop the rod at 12:00 o'clock"—condemned my casts to failure.  Here's why.  The length of the casting stroke is a direct function of the length of the line.  The relationship works like this:  Short line, short stroke.  Longer line, longer stroke.  So every time we change the length of our line we also have to change the length of our stroke.  Consequently, there can be no fixed backcast position.  The correct backcast position varies depending on the distance being cast.  Could be 11:00 o'clock, 3:00 o'clock, any time in between.  In my case with the practice rod, it turned out the right position was about 2:00 o'clock. So his proposed 12:00 o'clock solution wasn't going to work, ever.

My friend ultimately came to realize that he was offering up a stock, fixed answer to a problem with infinitely variable answers.  When faced with this same situation myself in teaching I said that I find it more productive to simply ask my students to not take the rod back so far.  By not verbally specifying a particular "time", but instead watching the line unroll in front and adjusting to its behavior—lengthening or shortening the stroke, as required—students find the correct backcast position by feel, ingraining that position in their muscles as well as their mind.  My friend knew that my backcast was too long, he knew how to physically fix it, but his suggested correction fell short merely by the words he chose to communicate with.

Good flycasting instruction requires concise, thoughtful communication.  Knowledge alone, while necessary, is never enough.  In time, my friend is going to make an excellent teacher.  I respectfully suggested to him that he continue to refine his delivery, learning how to say exactly what he means, and learning to recognize when he isn't.  That's not easy, but it's one of the things the best instructors always think about, one of the ways in which they stand apart.

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A Fish of a Different Color

With most of our local trout waters currently turning brown, it's the perfect time to focus on other fishing. I was able to duck out of town this weekend for a brief pike outing, and found a few willing fish like this little guy.

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BRF Hydro Flasks Are Now In Stock!

We are proud to now carry Hydro Flask bottles here in the shop. These 32oz bottles will keep your cold beverages cold all day, so you can have an ice-cold sip of water any time, either on the river or when you get to your car after a long, hot day of fishing. These bottles also feature a laser-engraved Blue Ribbon Flies logo, so you can rep your favorite fly shop wherever you go.

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