Today Bill shares some amazingly helpful advice. One of your editor’s most memorable fish ever was caught after modifying the fly with a marker…read on!
Arts and Crafts Time
While fly selection on rarely fished remote waters may not be terribly critical, when it comes to fishing heavily fished waters every detail of your fly can make an observable difference. To allow on-stream customization, for the last several years I have been carrying a handful of Prismacolor permanent markers and a pair of fly tying scissors in my boat bag.
The scissors allow me to both thin-out store bought flies which are almost always too bulky and completely change patters on the go (compara-dun to spinner to emerger in a couple snips). The markers I use to mottle the head of a Muddler, the foam body of a hopper, or the craft fur wing of a bonefish fly to give a more lifelike look and make them stand out from the store bought masses.
Green, tan, brown, and black are colors I carry with me at all times, but I might add a burnt orange during salmon fly season, etc. Obviously this also allows complete color scheme changes in a pinch (i.e. turning a hopper into a cricket with a black marker takes 10 seconds). I have found that slightly modified flies really outperform standard patters on fish that get a lot of pressure.
I have also not had any problems marking fly lines with these markers, but it is probably best to test their effect on a line’s coating by marking the last bit of running line (which is generally superfluous anyway) to make sure. Marking lines help you keep track of their weight and line designation once they leave their packaging. In addition, markings mid line, say a foot long marking at 50 feet like Del Brown used to do, can help the angler and guide judge distance and the angler’s comfortable casting range. This also works great for spey casters trying to dial in how much line they should have out of the tip top to set their anchor.