OK, so I probably need a better name for it than "Oh Hairy Boy." Frankly, I'm not sure what to call it, so I could use some suggestions. Today's fly is an attempt to keep a special memory alive, and replicate a bug that caused a bunch of little brookies to go absolutely bananas.
About three months ago, I had an epic day catching Brook Trout on the South Fork of the Poudre up near Sky Ranch, a Lutheran camp where my folks took me to camp when I was a kid. All things considered - environment, contentment, company, and numbers of fish in a short timeframe - it was probably the second-best day of fishing I had over the summer.
Let me digress for a moment. I say "second-best" while fully keeping in mind all of the "bests" that I've had with Doc over the past two years. Doc and I have shared so many wonderful days on the water that I've kind of lumped them all into one huge day. Still, I had one day of fishing with Doc that nothing could ever compare to, simply because we both caught huge trout and because I was able to laugh my ass off when Doc impaled his trigger finger with a pheasant tail nymph. That was truly funny. Doc's hands are giant. He can pick up a basketball like you and I can pick up a grapefruit. I had to crack a smile watching him try to shake a size 18 pheasant tail nymph out of his meaty paw.
When he finally conceded that the hook was buried in his hand, I remember wanting to gnaw the buried hook out with my teeth rather than leave the huge trout that we were catching. To no avail. Doc's sense of adventure was overwhelmed by his desire to avoid an infection from a hook that had just been in a trout's mouth. That gory spectacle aside, there's just nothing better for me than fishing with Doc. My Dad and I simply breathe the same air when we're on the river. I guess it's just me having followed his lead for all these years. We rarely need words to communicate perfectly. When we're in a spot to actually talk to each other, it's usually either Doc telling me to straighten out my back cast (he still doesn't like my sidearm) or me telling him to sink his nymph with a little split-shot. Otherwise, we communicate non-verbally, and it just works. Doc has some minor hearing difficulties, exacerbated by his reluctance to wear a hearing aid on the river where it could be an expensive casualty during a wading misstep, yet the two of us can carry on complex conversations hundreds of yards apart with sign language and facial expressions when we're on the river. When he looks at me and subtly raises his eyebrows, that means "big fish on!" (or, alternatively, "get your ass down here with the net"). When I smile at him as my fly rod bends down, it means "see, my sidearm cast ain't so bad."
Setting aside all the "battle days" on the Poudre where Doc and I try to outdo each other, with his elegant, flowing dry-fly casts eclipsing my workmanlike nymphing, my day this past July on the South Fork near Sky Ranch was pretty special. I was fishing with my brother-in-law Matt, who is so busy with career, family, and personal issues that he rarely gets to put a line in the water. He's an absolutely wonderful guy - I wish I was more like him - who takes such great care of my sister and my nephews. And like most things he tries to do, he's a natural with a fly rod. With some more time on the water, he'd be an expert. He needs a better teacher than me!
Matt and I had just finished waiting out a ridiculous lightning storm, complete with hail that actually hurt when it hit our uncovered heads. The clouds lifted and the fish started rising to dries as if they were candy floating down the stream. The South Fork is a Colorado treasure, winding through a gorgeous meadow for an eternity. You never know when you'll run into a Moose, a Bear, or see a Bald Eagle. It's wild country. You can wade the stream for miles without seeing another soul, and it's chock full of wild brookies like this one:
On that day, I was fishing a dry/dropper rig, and the small brookies kept ignoring the small dropper in favor of a big, hairy para-caddis that I thought would basically serve as an indicator. After a few fish hit the big caddis, I initially switched to a double dry rig with a small caddis serving as the trailer. The little brookies kept going after the big monster indicator, so I just clipped the trailer off and fished the big para-caddis. In the hour and a half that Matt and I spent on the stream before heading back to our families at camp, I landed over a dozen wild, feisty brookies.
For today's fly, I was trying to remember what the big para-caddis looked like, and this is the best that I could come up with, from memory. It's big, fat, and hairy...and I like it. I guess you could call it my first original pattern, although that would be generous, as it's more like a memory wrapped in a passing thought wrapped in a "what I have on my tying table" creation. The good things is, it'll float and it's easy to see.
Hook: 3XL Streamer/Nymph, Size 14
Legs: Some kind of green rubber - it came in a strip that looked like a fan belt
Thread: Iron Gray
Collar/Wing: Elk Hair, White Antron