Thursday, January 13, 2011


I was rummaging through  piles of tying materials yesterday and came across an unopened packet of size 26 dry fly hooks.  I have no idea where they came from and I can assure you that I didn't buy them myself.  For those of you that aren't familiar with hook sizes, a typical dry fly is between  sizes 12 and 16 (smaller #s being larger hook sizes).  A small dry fly (think mosquito) is maybe an 18 and a tiny fly is a 20.  The smallest dry I ever tie is a size 22.
When fishing small flies, in say the size 20 range, you often can't even see them on the water.  What you have to do is try to focus on the general area you land your cast and follow the current bubbles as they meander downstream, raising your rod if you see a trout disturb the surface, hoping that it may have taken your fly.
Frankly, it's borderline retarded to even try fishing a size 26 dry fly, however, I have stood knee deep in a particular spring creek in Montana where I  watched 20+ inch brown trout sip tiny midges off of the glassy surface all day long as they ignored my size 22 baetis imitation floating directly above them.  So, I decided I'd test my finger dexterity to see if putting a size 26 hook into the vise, without dropping and losing it amidst the remnants of feather, thread and elk hair scattered all over the desk, was even a possibility.  15 minutes later, I was pleased to have successfully completed my first size 26 dry fly:  A blue wing olive imitation, tied with light yellow thread, an olive thread abdomen wrap, medium dun tail and hackle, and a few strands of white polypropylene yarn as a wing for just a bit of sparkle.
Now, to finish up five more and then tie up half a dozen in grey with a black wrap and I'll have a dozen flies at the ready for that Paradise Valley, Montana spring creek.

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