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Old 11-14-2008, 08:14 PM
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Default Tradition vs. Plastic, The Hidden Irony

Tradition vs. Plastic the hidden Irony
________________________________________
It is not my intention to table this subject in order to start a heated debate but I acknowledge that some people may protest my opinion vehemently.

Here we go, I have always been perplexed by those people who use the little plastic egg "patterns" to catch fish. Now, I understand the catching fish part regarding the use of a fly pattern. Where I run into a wall is when I ask myself the following: why would a person purchase a fly rod perhaps costing as much as $500.00 and hang a reel costing upwards of $250.00 on that rod and after doing so they spool up backing and fly line costing anywhere between $40 and $100.00. Once that outfit is together the next step is good waders, a good waterproof jacket, wading boots, etc. Now why would anyone spend that kind of money building the best current version of traditional fly fishing gear available only to tie a "plastic facsimile" (as such things are known) onto the end of their $4.99 tapered leader?

You know as well as I do that you do not need fly fishing gear to present lures or baits. Most of us started fishing with baits and lures and we remember how they work. While some of us started fly fishing because we were able to catch more fish under varying conditions some were also aspiring to enter a more elite fraternity of the sport fishing world. I and perhaps you too are among those enlightened souls who were searching for a shelter from the tribulations of life in the pursuit of learning this beautiful art form.

Correct, I and you as Fly Fisher Men and Women are practitioners of an art. The skills and craft of casting a weightless fly to a specific target, the patience and practice required in mastering the craft of tying flies, these are unquestionably part and parcel of the art of fly fishing. I could digress into the many disciplines of our beloved sport / art in great depth but will save you that read at this time. I will however make mention of a few that may well be part of your experience. Dry fly fishing, followed by the art of presenting the nymph, (without the use of bobbers) and the tying and fishing of featherwing and bucktail streamers are a trio that are no doubt familiar to most who will read this offering. (My apologies for the bobber remark but where I came from this was not part of becoming a skillful nymph-er.)

If you are a traditionalist fly fisher like myself you understand my disgust with the use of the plastic eggs on our valuable sport species of Trout & Char all over this continent. Not only the inexcusable break with the tradition of using hand tied flies but the damage to the fish are both at issue here. That's right, "damage to the fish" I catch way too many fish who have been first duped and subsequently damaged physically by the way in which the plastic eggs are used.

I see the eggs used in the following fashion; a hook is tied at the terminal end of the line, the egg is propped in place a couple or three inches away with a tooth pick or the like, and closest to the angler is a weight. When the fish scarfs up the egg the angler sets the hook. The problem arises when (in this scenario) the hook is not in the Trout's mouth! It is a trailing 'stinger' on the opposite side of the fish than is the angler. The result of this technique all too often is that the fish is not actually hooked inside the mouth but on the outside of the mouth or head. The pursuant damage is dependent on the individual incident. Some fare much worse than others. How I have arrived at the aforementioned observation is the result of both seeing damaged fish holding in creeks and rivers and first hand examination of those damaged fish that in fact still possessed the tenacity to strike one of my streamers. Some may argue that the fish couldn't have been too banged up or they would not have taken my fly. I would humbly submit that Trout & Char are not among the smartest animals on the planet (although we all have met some that were definitely the exception to this rule). Fish also must eat unless their individual condition has reached a terminal stage. It is the infection and fungus that eventually takes its toll on the damaged fishes. Those who survive the insult of bacterial and fungal assault remain (in the worst cases) physically deformed by their run in with the deadly lure of the plastic egg. Missing lower mandibles or eyes are the most common extremes that I have observed.

No, other than my observations and opinions I do not have any official supporting data for my claims but if you intend to argue against my position you may be engaging in the wrong argument. You not only will be taking me to task but such luminaries of our sport / art as the late Lee Wolf and countless others who would perhaps come to my rescue in this matter.

I am certainly not desirous of a fight here I am seeking to enlighten those who may have fallen into this fad with no sense of malice intended. I also hope to raise a sense of awareness amongst the readership of this forum site to this practice. Hopefully with enough concern this method of fishing can be brought into the light. Not only does it rail against every aspect of the long and storied art of tying flies and using them to fish for Trout but it is harmful to fish that most often are being released! Now, therein lies the greatest irony.

Thank You for taking your time to read this document. Together we can be heard. Together we can help to protect the rich tradition and heritage of this wonderful pastime that enables millions of common men and women to be at their best.

Hardyreels

Last edited by Hardyreels; 01-13-2012 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 11-14-2008, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: Tradition vs. Plastic, The Hidden Irony

No fight from me. I'm on your side.
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Old 11-15-2008, 08:15 AM
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Default Re: Tradition vs. Plastic, The Hidden Irony

I see the eggs used in the following fashion; a hook is tied at the terminal end of the line, the egg is propped in place about a foot away with a tooth pick or the like, and closest to the angler is a weight. When the fish scarfs up the egg the angler sets the hook. The problem arises when (in this scenario) the hook is not in the Trout's mouth! It is about a foot away usually on the opposite side of the fish than is the angler. The result of this technique all too often is that the fish is not actually hooked inside the mouth but on the outside of the mouth or head. The pursuant damage is dependent on the individual incident. Some fare much worse than others.

I have seen this technique used by spin fisherman but not a fly fisher. Here is the method that many fly fishers use if they use a bead. A bare hook is fasten to the end of the leader. Some tie a short piece of yarn to the hook. The egg is attached about 1 1/2 to 2" above the hook. There is no weight and some use a sink tip line or Teeny style line according to the water depth. The fish is almost always hooked in the mouth. If weight is used it is a split shot at the tippet knot.

I fished eggs a lot but I used a glow-bug yarn egg fly tied to a hook with a sink tip line. I have never used the plastic egg and bare hook system.

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Old 11-17-2008, 08:29 AM
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Default Re: Tradition vs. Plastic, The Hidden Irony

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
Correct, I and you as Fly Fisher Men and Women are practitioners of an art. The skills and craft of casting a weightless fly to a specific target, the patience and practice required in mastering the craft of tying flies, these are unquestionably part and parcel of the art of fly fishing.
Every fly i tie pretty much is wrapped with as much lead as i can safely cast.

You have to get those streamers down deep.
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Old 11-17-2008, 11:40 AM
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Default Re: Tradition vs. Plastic, The Hidden Irony

Quote:
I would humbly submit that Trout & Char are not among the smartest animals on the planet (although we all have met some that were definitely the exception to this rule).
Maybe it's me but I swear the Ohio Steelhead sit there and laugh at me trying to trick em'!

Great post,
<((((~{

Hey, even though I'm not in California where the lead THERE is dangerous...is there a subsitute out there for weighting flies? I know there's tungsten shot, tungsten beads and tungsten eye weights but what about the wire?
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: Tradition vs. Plastic, The Hidden Irony

One of the undeniable truths about "art" is that it is in the eye of the beholder, and all of us have different concepts about what fly fishing is/should be. I am very sympathetic to your arguments, however.

This kind of debate is healthy and found in many different branches of sport, and lead me from rifle hunting to bow hunting with a compound bow to using only traditional equipment, and now to using a longbow with arrows that I craft myself from wood and feathers. I very seldom kill an elk anymore, but the purity of the pursuit has become as important as the outcome

I have been fortunate enough to have been able to fish Alaska the last two summers, and the standard way of fishing for big rainbows on the Kenai is to use plastic beads pegged within an inch or so of a hook. This rig is fished pretty much the way I fish nymphs back home, and is deadly. The guides can get dudes on lots of big fish in a hurry, and everyone is happy. Is this fly fishing? I don't think so, and I did almost as well using my glo-bugs. Was I any more virtuous than the others? I didn't feel that I was. It was a personal choice. I didn't see any foul-hooked, or severely damaged fish in my boat, but it certainly is a possibility if the hook isn't within regulaton distance of the bead.

You brought up the issue of "bobbers" and I was reminded of a trip to the Madison that my brother in law and I took 22 years ago just after I graduated from medical school. He was legally blind at the time, and I will never forget the scowl and comment he collected from the fish bum working in Bud Lillys shop when he picked out the biggest indicator he could find (and actually see) so that he could fish that day. Not only was it in poor taste, but if it wasn't "sporting", why the hell were they selling them in the first place? I learned to nymph before I even knew what an indicator was, but truth be told, learned to watch the tip of my fly line using a short leader, which is just an abbreviated version of a bobber.

When I think of all the challenges we face as a community including environmental degradation, poaching, the population explosion and habitat loss--- I feel like we need to look for issues to unite behind rather than to become split up into factions based on how we fish. Maybe some of those folks fishing beads will evolve into dry fly purists who use cane rods in a few years!
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:51 AM
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Default Re: Tradition vs. Plastic, The Hidden Irony

the egg pinned method was started in alaska for bows feeding on salmon eggs. its moved to the great lakes region in recent years, can we say lifting fish..to me thats snagging have a hook behind the fly(bait) and not tied to the hook..
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: Tradition vs. Plastic, The Hidden Irony

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the egg pinned method was started in alaska for bows feeding on salmon eggs. its moved to the great lakes region in recent years, can we say lifting fish..to me thats snagging have a hook behind the fly(bait) and not tied to the hook..

I couldn't have said that better myself Sandfly! I first sew it used with Slinky's on the Salmon River in 89'. The practitioners were using yarn on a knot with the hook some distance (?) away. Lifting was what I heard it called then.
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Old 11-22-2008, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: Tradition vs. Plastic, The Hidden Irony

So this type of "fishing" isn't seen much outside Alaska? I've seen it used a few times as well, always by visitors from out of town though. Perhaps that's why it's illegal to use the beads in fly-fishing only water here. I normally have no problem putting my patterns on the bottom without any extra weight, I certainly don't need a piece of lead to anchor it there until a fish swims by.

Another one I've seen here in the last couple of years is people putting spinners on their fly rods. I still can find no logic to that one, it just seems utterly pointless.

I respect peoples desire to catch a fish, but to do so in such a manner I find not only disrespectful to the fish, but also destructive to the whole experience. Also entirely unnecessary - Most of the fly fishermen I see here easily out catch pretty much everyone except those who are intentionally snagging fish.

It took me a *long* time to start catching fish with my fly rod, but I value all that time spent on the water. Fly fishing is about the entire experience, if all I wanted was a fish I'd get a subsistence permit. In the last couple of years I have learned many things that work on the fish here, and I try to pass on some of that to other fishermen. Perhaps the sharing of effective, traditional approaches will someday be able to eliminate those forms of "fishing".

--W
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Old 11-23-2008, 06:56 AM
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Default Re: Tradition vs. Plastic, The Hidden Irony

This, for me, is an interesting string that gets to one of the core questions in our sport whose answer is highly likely to be different for almost every angler; although it's equally likely that those answers will fall into a very small group of common categories.

As far as hooking a fish is concerned, I'm in favor of whatever method causes the least damage to the hooked salmonid or char species. I'm assuming, based on the previous posts on this string, as well as on the natural feeding habit of those species, that that would be hooking by the mouth. I wince every time I fish a dry/dropper set-up and hook the fish on the dry; knowing that in it's efforts to escape the hook set, the fish is apt to impale itself on the barb of the dropper. I once had a fishing buddy tell me that he'd seen surgeons spend less attention to their patients than I was spending removing the dropper hook from the side of a rainbow. I file down the barbs on my nymphs for just that reason; I crimp down the barbs on my dries and streamers.

The bigger questions is, essentially, why do you fish?

And although the virtually universal answer at some level is: "to catch fish", there are other sub-answers, which, in some cases and for some anglers, will become, from time to time, significantly more important to them than the universal answer. For me, the "art" sub-answer falls into this category.

However, I'm in the sub-answer group. For me when a buddy says: "let's go fishing", the sequence that hits my mind while I'm saying: "sure", is this: 1. the look and the feel of the stream, 2. casting to the lies, and 3. catching a fish. So, I'm going to align more closely with the art part of first post in this string. But, I'm reminded of two things. First, when I was a boy, I used to fish for only one reason; to catch fish. Second, some of my fishing buddies don't say to me me: "let's go fishing", they say: "let's go catch some fish". As said in another post on this string, art is in the eyes of the beholder. Every now and then it takes a simple comment like the one above re: catching some fish, to bring me back to what is, for me, an important reality.
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