Saturday, February 26, 2011

Winter Fly Tying: Ray Charles in Pink

I don't use egg flies, generally. Mostly because I don't fish in Alaska. I imagine that if I was up there fishing for massive rainbows following a school of salmon I would have my share of egg flies, bead flies, and perhaps a bottle of Pautzske's. But since I live down here in the lower 48 I generally fish midges and what not in the winter and pretend to turn my nose up at the glo bugs and the like.

But I do find that pink and orange scuds work well in winter. And I am aware that whitefish spawn in winter, and many tail water trout spawn in the winter months as well. I choose to believe these are simply a series of coincidences.

I can't really fish a scud without thinking of my older brother. He has always been able to pick up a fish or two on scuds, even when all else fails and especially on those days when I am such a poor nymph fisherman that I decide to become a dry fly snob to preserve some self respect.

The Ray Charles is a cool little pattern. It is relatively easy to tie in small sizes (my singe favorite attribute for any fly) and it catches fish (okay maybe that is actually my favorite attribute). Its listed quite often on the Bighorn reports and I believe it was originated by some enterprising Bighorn guide. The name refers to some idea that its so bright either blind fisherman or a blind fish (or both) will enjoy it. So don't expect it to sing Georgia on My Mind. But do expect to catch a fish or two on it--or maybe not. Really, I try not to make any promises like about that kind of thing, it just seems like it could lead to trouble.

I like to add a rib of very thin silver wire to the fly. I think it increases the durability a bit. Or maybe I just like to tinker. For anything size 18 and smaller I like to use a very thin thread. I found some thread last year that was a 14/0. It works great for little Ray Charles's, tiny Zebra Midges, and any fly so small that the idea you will actually catch a big trout on it seems preposterous. Of course, such thoughts disappear the second you actually do catch a fish on one of those flies.

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