Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Its That Time of Year Again.....

Last year it was the Giants and Patriots.... this year the Cardinals and Steelers. Not my Panthers.........hopefully you feel my pain.

But the show goes on. And every time this time of the year comes around I have the crazy idea of creating some flies with team colors like the teams in the playoffs or Super Bowl. I always have the idea, but have never followed up on it. This year I did just that.

About two or three days after it was clear who the playoff teams would be, I took a break from tying some fly orders and played around with some new materials, creating several new fly patterns to try out. Another plus is that occasionally when playing around creating some new flies something actually works.

I had purchased some tinsel materials a while back, in fact it was last Christmas if memory serves me correctly. The materials were closeout stuff, like 80-90% off stuff, and was like packages of icicles - the silver, tinsel like material you buy in a package and that is messy and once you put some on the tree it is a mess and finds itself all over the house. Simply put it takes you months to clean it all up. But the stuff I found was multi-colored, and much like tinsel, and was a neat mixture of red, magenta, green, blue, gold, silver, yellow, blue, and more. It was this stuff that was the main ingredient of my new creations.

Using the famous and effective Copper John fly as a pattern, I went on to tie my rendition of a Copper John in the colors that would match the playoff teams. I tied a Tennessee Titan, a San Diego Charger, a Philadelphia Eagle, A New York Giant, An Arizona Cardinal, A Baltimore Raven, A Pittsburgh Steeler, A Carolina Panther....I think you get the idea. The tying was fun. The trying them out was very interesting........and the results - - -or how the fly performed- - -and to parallel that how the corresponding team performed in their games to come - - - it was both interesting and ironic....

The Tennessee Titan, the Carolina Panther, the Baltimore Raven, The New York Giant, the Philadelphia Eagle....all flopped. We fished them over some favorite holes full of fish on the streams I guide- - some streams like Escatawba/Dunlap Creek and Helton Creek and others- - - so whether or not we were really fishing over the fish or fishing where the fish were- - - this was a non issue. The flies were fished over tons of fish.....and there were clear winners. And I must say the Charger fly showed flashes of brilliance, then floundered. The Steeler fly emerged as the clear winner.

In fact, on a guided trip I met Phil Rea of Raleigh, NC up in Ashe County for a trip on January 9. It was a cold day, post cold front and snowy weather w/high water, a challenging day. But we caught fish, in fact we did quite well. And one hole we got to I said to Phil, "I have been doing this experiment with flies tied in the same colors as NFL teams.....and this one works pretty well....its called the Pittsburgh Steeler fly. " He said, much to my surprise, "....thats great, because I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan." Hard to believe.

And the fly caught fish. After fish. After fish. I must admit in my head all I saw was dollars and cents as this might be a new pattern I could sell to customers. It was working well and worked consistently well. And a new fly pattern was born. The truly amazing thing is that the Steeler fly emerged as the clear winner of them all.

And that is interesting as they are one of the teams that are left in the hunt for the Super Bowl trophy. I must say first that I love the Panthers. Jake we would strangle you but forgive you. Admittedly, deep down for several reasons I am a Kurt Warner fan. Its more about him than the Cardinals, but it wouldn't bother me at all if they won the big game. But that Steeler defense.....Mike Tomlin.....James Harrison.....Troy Polamalu....... And then there's the effectiveness of that Pittsburgh Steeler fly.....is that a harbinger of what is to come? Will they take home the trophy....? We'll see