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June 2022 - Volume 30 Number 5
The Firecracker
Flashy, colorful, and sparse -- exactly what shad like.
By Andrew Guibord
Father of the Fly Rod
In the 19th century, America's Hiram L. Leonard advanced the art of building fly rods to a higher level.
By Bill Barich
Rockfish on Flies
How to go about hooking these saltwater fish along the shore or in deeper water.
By Robert Ketley
The Clark Fork of the Stanislaus River
This Sierra stream is stocked and receives angling pressure, but it is also easy to wade and a good place to work on your skills.
By Walt Simmons
Smallmouth Bass of the Lower Kern River
Suggestions on where and how to fish for this hard-fighting species.
By Jeffrey Walters
Stillwater Gear
Things to bring, especially if you're not fishing from motorboat.
By Lance Gray
Fly Fishing for Bass, Alabama Style
How to imitate a school of fish.
By Dagur Gudmundsson
Chasing Records
If you want a world record, you'll need perseverance, proof, and perhaps even luck.
By Bob Gaines

Click here for Doug Lovell's
February 2010 Good Fight article

Click here for Drew Braugh's
March 2011 Good Fight article about the Fall River - page 1 / page 2

Why Not?

I fished for years using store-bought patterns. These flies are tied to meet the standards of the retail market, which means they’re usually proven fish catchers and well proportioned and well made. And the price of a fly is reasonable — on a fishing trip, few nontyers would think twice about walking into a fly shop and buying a handful of dries or nymphs or streamers. If you’re fine with fishing what’s available, there really is little reason to go through the effort and expense to tie flies yourself.

Except for this: tying your own flies will take you further into the sport. This is hardly news, of course, but it’s not as if you’re diving into a confining rabbit hole. Instead, you are deepening your relationship with fly fishing, broadening your knowledge and your range of opportunities. Through fly tying, you can understand better what triggers your quarry and thus become a better angler. Fly tying serves as a spur for investigation, one that perhaps also lets you see the natural world more truthfully.

You might find, as many have, that the craft of tying is sufficiently pleasurable even if you fish rarely or not at all. There is satisfaction that comes from doing a job well, and there is satisfaction, too, and joy, in the creative process, in using logic or insight or whatever lies beneath art to build something that functions as a tool to draw hits or that simply pleases the beholder’s eye. The core of fly fishing is applied imagination.

To a novice, tying a fly can seem intimidating. But each of us has already faced that intimidation when learning to cast a fly. As with casting, the essential skill involves manipulating string — thread, in this case — to wrap materials on a hook’s shank. You can tie a fly using just your fingers, but three tools make the task much easier: a vise to hold the hook while you build the fly, a bobbin to hold and apply tension to the thread while wrapping, and small, sharp scissors. The other tools made for tying are nice to have, but not critical. Learn to make Half-Hitch knots for finishing the fly. Your local fly shop or fly-fishing club should be able to shorten your climb up the learning curve.

Many novice tyers start with the Woolly Bugger, but you might also consider either the F Fly, which uses only thread and cul de canard (CDC) feathers, or the CDC and Elk, which adds elk or deer hair to those two materials. Both patterns are effective for trout, and tying instructions are easy to find on the web. Someone has to create the fly that you tie to your tippet.

It’s better if it’s you.

     Richard Anderson
     Publisher and Editor

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