It’s been a while since I made an update to colemanspecial.com. I’m happy to report this is not just from the usual toils of a demanding career, but also because I’ve managed to fish quite a bit. I recently returned home from a Memorial day weekend tradition of visiting my brother in Vermont for some family time, fishing and Coleman-style eating.
In particular, one experience from this trip inspired me to return to blog writing. TroutTeam6 member and friend, Derek Davies, has recently taken up fly tying. He also has to pursue mastery of fly fishing in earnest. Every fly fisherman who ties flies understands the joy of catching a fish on a home brewed fly. However, some fly-tyers are afraid to deviate from the already known quantities of productive patterns.
Most fly-tyers start with simple patterns and try to master them first. Fly tying can be an artistic experience with room for creativity, innovation and personal flair. There are opportunities to express yourself just as with any other art form. Take this fly for instance: the Nickelodeon (aptly named for its color scheme).
This fly is basically a woolly bugger, but this is most certainly a Derek Davies creation. Bold in its colors, and unashamedly named; I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered this color combination in such a fly. Using materials he had lying around, with a color scheme so unique, he told me he felt this fly screams “EAT ME” to trout or at least causes them to ponder for a moment: “check this out . . . “.
As with any new pattern, the fly-tyer wants to test it out and attempt to entice a fish. Derek took the Nickelodeon to his local ponds and immediately proved he could fool sun fish, small bass and crappies with this fly (fish which generally have no limit to what they will attempt to consume). But what would a persnickety trout think of the Nickelodeon? Could he get a trout, the pickiest of fish, to look upon this fly as a meal?
Fast forward to our trip to Vermont. After a fair amount of hearty ribbing about the ridiculousness of the fly from his friends, you could tell Derek was a man on a mission to prove his worth as a fly-tyer and as a fly fisherman. In spite of watching others catch fish with more traditional flies, he continued to fish his fly, dropping it on the noses of fish after fish. Sometimes it spooked the fish, and sometimes the fish did not seem to care about the fly at all, as if it was another piece of detritus floating down the river. He tried to induce strikes from the fish with all manner of presentations. The day was nearing a close, but Derek still persisted. He said: “One more cast; I know I can get a fish to move for the Nickelodeon!”. A few sighs were released from myself and his brother, and we sat on a nearby rock to watch this exercise in futility. Derek, with his Techlite polarized glass TLT lenses (definitely not jealous) could see where the fish was hiding beneath a grassy outcropping with overhanging trees. The bet was $5 for his first cast to end in the trees. Derek lifted his rod with the utmost care. The fly rod bent back as we both stared. His cast flew true, dropping the fly softly onto the water just up stream. It took only a few seconds for the fish to strike, an aggressive take that left no doubt. Soon the pool was alive with the fight of a fisherman and an angry trout. Cries rang out from everyone, with hoots and hollers, and more than a few swears. Minutes later, with expert netting from his brother, Derek was smiling in the way only a fly-tier can explain.
It was so much sweeter for Derek with all the efforts he put into tying this fly. Not to mention working the river all day, but culminating with his prize. This was more than just catching a rainbow trout. This was a journey that started months ago when he came up with the Nickelodeon fly. I am glad I shared a small part in that journey. Have you ever been a part of someone’s fly fishing journey?
Nick, Nick, Nick, Na Nick Nick Nick. Nickelodeonnnn. BOWWWW!