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Hybrid Vigor

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Or otherwise known as heterosis.

the increase in growth, size, fecundity, function, yield, or other characters in hybrids over those of the parents.

Normally, this term is applied to organisms, plants and animals that have some desired or superior qualities over their parents. Corn that has higher yields, better drought tolerance or livestock with better disease resistance, things like that.

I want to stretch the term or concept to fishing and fishing styles. I went out on a boat trip this past Saturday with my good friend, Rick. We frequently fish together fresh and salt. Heís a super talented fisherman in a lot of ways. He has great vision and sees fish that no one else sees. He understands presentation better than just about anyone I know.

For example, he went out with his dad and nephew and they, or he, got into some speckled trout along a drop off. They were all using the same soft plastics and placing the cast in the same zone, but only he was catching fish, a fish almost every cast. The difference was on how he was presenting the plastic.

We fished together since before I went to fly fishing and through the transition. He tried fly fishing even before I did, but a mean fly casting instructor turned him off on the sport. He must of been one heck of a jerk because Rick is no baby about stuff.

So we go on fishing together, in boats or kayaks, with our respective styles and generally both do pretty well catching fish.

On this past trip Saturday, I brought along my fly rod but also a couple of baitcasting set ups, not for casting bait, but low profile, high gear ratio baitcasting reels and 6í6Ē medium light rods for casting topwater plugs and soft plastics on jig heads. These rods are good insurance to keeping me fishing when the wind and boat arrangements arenít safe or conducive to fly fish.

So that is how it was. The wind was forcing the fly into the boat and it just wasnít safe. I went to the baitcasting rigs. I tried a topwater and he was fishing subsurface with a jig head soft plastic. We do this to see on what and where the fish might be feeding. Then if one starts to produce, the other non productive offering can be changed to the producing pattern. Nothing really worked at first.

We moved around some and found some shell with a drop off. Thatís usually a good formula this time of year. And we started catching fish only it was me doing most of the catching. I attribute the results I was getting to all the time Iíve spent fishing similar structure with a fly rod. Iíve become very focused on just how I bring the fly or in this case soft plastic over the shell. I was using the lightest jig head I could throw with a baitcasting set up. I was intensely honed in on where to make the cast. Just a few feet mattered and matter. But using lighter more subtle fly patterns has sharpened my presentation skills.

I caught a trout and lost another and then it was mostly redfish. We were using the same plastic. I then switched over to another more natural plastic that matched the hatch. How did I know what the hatch was? I saw redfish with round pot bellies which meant only one thing, they were feasting on shrimp. They will get big stomachs feasting on mullet or Shad, but shrimp produce that peculiar round, knot shape. Paying attention to the forage seems critical to success with the fly.

My catching increased at that point. Rick, after a time of that, took me up on my offer to use one of the shrimp colored plastics I had in my box. We both ended up catching a bunch of redfish and a few trout. But I know in my heart of hearts fly fishing has made me a better baitcasting lure fisherman. And I believe that using lures all those years has given me insight to being better with the fly tackle.

Hybrid vigor.