By Dennis Adams
Recently, I attempted to qualify to represent the Southeast Region in the first Fly Fishing Championships. Coming from the coast where we don’t have any trout and are reduced to fly fishing for less worthy species such as Carp, Gar, Bream, Cat Fish, Gators and such, it was hard to find a partner that possessed the skill and finesse to use a fly rod properly. Once a suitable partner was found who will just call Jim to protect him from further prosecution, we made our way to Tennessee for the competition.
Upon arrival, we toured the facilities and the stream we were going to fish in during the competition. To say I was impressed would be an understatement! There were monster trout seen in all the pools and I even told Jim that we would need to keep an eye out or we might be eaten by one of those big critters. However, right from the start I had a bad feeling about the crowd of folks that had gathered there to fly fish in this contest of skill. Most of them looked like they had stepped right off the page of a L.L. Bean catalog. It was YUPPIE Heaven.
The fist day of the competition was the “casting event” where it was to determine who could cast the furthest and most accurate. Jim did not do well in this event and it did not help our score any when he hooked one of the judges on his back cast. It was not so bad that he hooked the man, but when he turned around and started fighting him on the line and yelling that he had a good one and damn the net for me to get a club to subdue it with. I quickly looked around for a club, but was much relieved when the number 4 tippet he was using broke and the man fled to safety. The Yuppie crowd seemed to be impressed because they were talking among themselves and pointing toward us. The excitement had overcome one of the onlookers completely. We could tell because he had fainted. That evening, after the casting event, is where things really went sour for us.
You see, unknown to any of the contestants in this competition you had to tie your own flies for the first day of fishing and the sponsors of the event provided all the tools, hooks, and material required. This was a scored event also. You could tie any fly you wanted so both Jim and I agreed that along with all the regular patterns needed we would also need to tie at least two trout busters for use the next day. However, when we looked at the material provided, we did not see the required material. We approached the judge and asked if we could obtain the needed material. I explained in detail that we would need two pairs of wood duck wings, small wire, two delayed timed fuses, and two medium size sticks of dynamite. That if he did not have what was needed available that we had it in the truck.
Clearly, he had never fished this fly and asked how it was used. The other Yuppies in the room gathered around for this period of instruction also. Jim started by first stating that you needed to locate a pool with large trout that was free of water hazards such as low hanging tree limbs and slick rocks. The judge asked why low hanging tree limbs and slick rocks were a hazard? Jim explained that low tree limbs would interfere with his cast and the slick rocks may slow his retreat to a sheltered area. Jim stated that the preferred cast was a side-hand barrel cast where the fly would land gently upon the water like an actual wood duck landing. He stressed that for larger species of trout you should use drake Mallard wings to keep the small ones away from the bait. The trout would hear or see the wood duck fly land on the water and they would all turn toward the fly and look up at it. Jim then described how their little fish brains would be contemplating eating the duck as a substantial snack and that is when the time fuse should go off. When Jim got to the part about how you may have to finish a couple of them off with a large stick the crowd started moving closer toward us. One of the judges seemed real impressed and informed us that some gentleman from the ATF was coming in the door that wanted to talk with us. Jim got all excited when he thought that some folks from the American Trout Fishing (ATF) Association wanted to talk with us.
Our conversation with the gentleman did not go as well as we expected and I will use the term “gentleman” loosely because there was nothing gentle about what they and that crowd of Yuppie’s did to us. Not to mention we were unable to get those evil women we live with that claim to be our better halves to post our bond money. I had to put my truck up as collateral for the bond money. We got out just in the nick of time because I think Jim was starting to consider becoming a Jail House Whore to make the money. I noticed that he was starting to smile a lot at a big hairy bastard that was in there waiting to see the judge on a murder charge.
TO BE CONTINUED…