Volume 15, Issue 4 ~ January 25 - January 31, 2007

The Sporting Life
by Dennis Doyle

Wintertime Diversions and Obsessions

Fly tying brings another dimension of challenge and satisfaction to fishing

One of the advantages of tying flies, or making your own lures, is that it gives you something to do when you’re not fishing. I have long been addicted to the activity, though I have to admit I originally started — as many have done — in the mistaken belief that I would save money.

In principle I’m sure you could save money. But then you realize that the possibilities in creating your own fish foolers are virtually limitless. In purchasing ready-made lures, you face a simple consideration: Will the fish eat the lure?

That the fish will eat your own creation is a foregone conclusion. Why, I’m not exactly sure, but somewhere during the process you become dead certain that the lure you’re working on is a sure killer. The real problems you are now attempting to solve are far more subtle and exacting.

Creating a fly or lure that will provide a certain suggestive profile as you present it to a particular species of fish at a rip on a specific rocky point is an example. Developing a particular jig to reach an exact depth on a slacking tide as opposed to a full current tide is another.

Tying a fly or making a lure to catch a striper becomes a completely different endeavor from creating one to catch a bluefish. This in spite of the fact that both fish are attracted to the same prey in the same locations.

You begin to focus on a specific fish’s behavior. That a striped bass invariably strikes the head, or front half, of an intended baitfish while a bluefish will always strike the back half becomes integral to your creative approach.

As the variations multiply, the economic considerations of your endeavor are quickly forgotten in favor of more important issues. Your lure making suddenly registers the credo that darker colors must be on the top part of the bait, the lighter hues on the belly and red colors toward the front.

The bottom line, of course, in all this activity in the name of sport, is that it takes on a life of its own. It brings to your world of fishing another complete dimension of challenge and satisfaction … and you become a more complete angler.

If you are interested in taking up this pastime, or in becoming more involved than you are, there are a number of books and Internet sites on the subject. A search on lure making or fly tying will net you hundreds of helpful hits. Sport stores stock currently popular lure-making titles, as well as equipment and supplies to get started.

Tie-Fest Coming Soon

There is also a local lure-making and fishing exposition that has been growing in popularity over the past five or six years. Held in Queenstown just over the Bay Bridge, it is definitely worth attending.

Tony Friedrich and Ed Luccione, officers of the Kent Narrows Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association, are again hosting the occasion, known as the Tie-Fest, at the Bay Country Moose Lodge, 6154 Main St., Queenstown.

Open to the public and free of charge, it’s scheduled this year for Saturday, February 24. The exposition opens at 10:30am; food and beverages are on hand. Queries on the net to tieflies@gmail.com.

The general focus of the Tie-Fest is Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic saltwater light tackle and fly fishing, but freshwater is addressed as well. Destinations, applications and techniques discussed will be in a casual format, with information eminently transferable to all fishing styles.

This year, co-conspirators include superstar light-tackle fishing guides Brian Horsely and Sarah Gardner and tying gurus Bob Popovics, Steve Farrar and Brad Buzzi. Local experts and fanatics will also be there for information and consultation.

One of the best reasons to attend is just meeting other local anglers. This popular event is hosted and attended by people who love to fish; not only don’t they mind sharing what they know, they are eager to help you improve your game.

National tackle manufacturers will be represented this year, including Sage, St. Croix and Temple Fork. There will be raffles of tackle donated by these and other companies, plus raffles of lure-making equipment, supplies and donated guided fishing trips.

All proceeds go to the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative, being championed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Coastal Conservation Association — another good reason to be there (www.ccamd.org/MARI/MARI_home.htm).

Fish Are Biting

Chain pickerel continue to please anglers in the upper reaches of most Bay tributaries. Stories are multiplying of 20-fish days with brutes up to 24 inches. This is already stacking up to be the best season in memory, and mild weather is forecast for a return in February. Don’t miss the bite.

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