Fly Fishing in Colorado Springs

Beating the Water with an Expensive Stick
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The fish we caught were called Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. The Rainbows were imported from California and the Browns were brought in from Germany. I began to wonder what I was doing in Colorado, aside from sponging off my old college roommate, Tim, for a few days.

Tim, an experienced fly fisherman, had witnessed my casting and told me, with that honesty one reserves for good friends, I was "whacking water with a stick." To learn to appreciate another aspect of the sport, I let Tim try to teach me to tie a fly.

This was confusing right from the start. The size of the lines and hooks get smaller as the numbers that describe them get bigger. Each fly-tying tool has a complex name, and the only thing more complex than the name of the tool is the name of the fly you're trying to tie with it. At least, when in doubt, you can call any lure a fly—even lures that stay underwater look like worms and have less chance of achieving flight than Rush Limbaugh.

"Here," Tim would say. "This is the little doohickie. And this is the big doohickie. You just hold this chicken feather and wrap this number 22 line around—Doug, keep watching—and make this loop. Then you just—Doug, see how easy this is?—tuck this thingy under here while letting the little number 14 doohickie hang. You see that, right?" And I would tell Tim, "Yes, I saw it." Then he'd hand me the tools and I'd just sit there, thinking I would have a better chance of constructing a Boeing 747. So that's what I did. I just made a life-size Boeing 747 right there with Tim's fly-fishing tools.

After one hour, Tim had talked me through making a his "ten-minute" fly. It looked very a Picasso sort of way. There appeared to be two heads and two abdomens and several stray appendages. Tim and Signe just stared at it, not quite sure what to say. Perhaps, I suggested, it might perform well in the streams near Chernobyl.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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