Quite frankly, I’ve had fits and turns with the idea that the “fly doesn’t matter” in, not so much western fly-fishing, but Tenkara fishing specifically.
I’m not exactly an adherent to this, but again, my experience is anecdotal (although, I’ll hazard an assumption that most of fishing knowledge is anecdotal–and just galvanizes consistent information into axiomatic assumptions). I say this because I spent the better part of two hours pumping up my right arm in a fruitless fashion on the McCloud River. I had confidently been fishing a mundane, brown-ish, traditional Kebari fly.
About ready to leave, I took a faithless chance and tied on another, this time using a fly structurally the same, but running a body out of bright red wire, ala the Copper John.
Five casts. Four fish.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not capable of stepping outside my own little world–or trying ridiculous experiments that really aren’t that ridiculous after all. I learned this by reading a book by magician John Carney, called Carneycopia. In it he references a technique in which creativity can be fostered by, instead of trying to come up with good ideas, deliberately come up with horrible ideas. Make that the goal. In the end, a good idea may just leak through, or at least the work of swinging two creative bats on the mental baseball field has made it easier to head in that direction.
That of course assumes that this little idea of mine has anything to do with legitimate talent. Take it from me, it does not. It comes from callow immaturity and a bedrock of inherent silliness.
Every now and then, my girls like to have a Pirates of the Carribean marathon. We were doing this last week (we never do get sick of the whole crypto-pirate-nautical-scalleywag thing), when it occurred to me. Captain Jack is a rather ornamental character, isn’t he? I mean with all those dreadlocks and bling, he’s just a fishing lure waiting to happen.
If one has paid attention to Johnny Depp’s influential starting point for Jack Sparrow, they will realize it has little to do with William Teach, Captain Kidd, or any of the swinging ex-people dangling from the chains on the cliffs of Tortuga. I had heard it was Keith Richards, the addled and crevassed guitarist from the Rolling Stones. Only later did I find the “Easter Egg” hidden on the DVD that confirmed that–and later had it confirmed by his cameos in later films.
So I fooled around at the vice for a minute, mounted a Tiemco 2499 hook (expensive, barbless, and amazing), and hacked out a “Captain Jack” fly. I mostly did this because I figured my kids would think it was cool, of which I was vindicated when they said, “cool” and then ignored me outright. I did NOT tell them that the actual design matrix for this fly was fostered by a guy who admitted snorting his father’s ashes. I figured I’d leave it at “Johnny Depp’s masterful take on the eccentric” and leave it there.
I made a little, poofy bit of coloration at the top, made the blue/black, spiky head thing, and added a beaded dread for that “dead giveaway.” I lazily wrapped a two-colored horsehair body to make it look all haggard, and in desperate search for rum in which to slur one’s lines. Then, I put it away, like I do most of my stupid ideas.
I forgot about it, until last night, when I decided the Upper Sacramento river was calling me to it. Particularly an area 40 minutes from my house called Pollard Flat. I started out with my western rod, because one part of this area is this idyllic, open water, flat but still churning lightly. It allows for a fifty-foot back cast–and so I obliged with a number of premo hookups on dries. I even landed a nineteen inch trout on a Prince. A killer fight from a horse that would’ve simply left me in Tenkara Regret.
A nice, Upper-Sac trout. Also known as “THE KRAKEN.”
I put that rod aside, rigged up my Tenkara rod. I took strike after strike on that dopey Captain Jack fly, ultimately landing one. The higher water temps of recent have made nymphing tough anyway, so i was fortunate to nail him. And he nearly swallowed the thing. Just like the Kraken that swallows Johnny Depp in Pirate’s 2.
Pulling the weasly pirate from the mouth of said Kraken, I ultimately lost the Captain to Davy Jones’ Locker.
But, as Captain Jack says, “it’s amazing what a man will do to forestall his final judgement.”
So I tied another one.