Sep/Dec 2008

Sep/Dec 2008
Sep/Dec 2008
Sep/Dec 2008


This winds up our series on leech patterns for Island lakes and streams. The first eight were from Island Fly Fisherman (Harbour Publishing) and the remainder from A Compendium of Canadian Fly Patterns (Gale's End Press). The latter offers 51 leech patterns, plus 15 Woolly Buggers, several of which could pass as leeches.
One of the first contributors to the Compendium was Stewart Gordon of Victoria, who ties some beautiful, well-thought-out patterns. He said that the addition of a cone head to his Maximum Sentence had produced outstanding results on stillwater trout, as it sunk quickly and had an erratic swimming action on a hand-twist retrieve. He suggested that a shorter tail resulted in more hook-ups and fewer tangles around the hook bend. Proof that a productive fly need not be elaborate in order to be a winner.

Originated by Stewart Gordon
Hook: Mustad Signature series R72, no. 6.
Bead: Small copper tungsten cone.
Thread: 6/0 wine UNI-Thread.
Tail: Wine marabou.
Body: BC Blood Dazzle Dubbing.

Possibly British Columbia's best-known fly fisherman, Kamloops-based Brian Chan learned much of his early fly tying and fly fishing techniques from his close friend and mentor, the legendary Jack Shaw. This dates back to the early 1970s, long before the profusion of synthetic materials that are now available to tiers. Although Brian learned all of Shaw's secrets concerning the preparation of natural materials for tying realistic patterns, that he has embraced the use of synthetics is evident in the pattern offered here.

Originated by Brian Chan
Hook: Streamer, no. 10 2X-8 3X.
Bead: Small copper cone with a maroon silver-lined glass bead behind.
Thread: Black.
Tail/Body: Angler's Choice olive brown Mohair Plus.

Note: To order A Compendium of Canadian Fly Patterns visit our product section. 

Huxley’s Run: 

The beach that morning awoke with the full splendour of autumn. A light southwest wind wrinkled the waves onto the kelp-strewn shore. Out among those waves the coho moved, sometimes clearing the water in shiny leaps, sometimes porpoising secretly as they studied the shallow waters around them.
It was not quite full morning yet, but the darkness had started its retreat. It was not the beach I wanted, nor the fishing. That other beach would wait an hour or two, like it had for the previous two mornings, and then it would be alive. The tide and the dawn would combine to create that mysterious elixir that would bring the coho in, would make them dance with the joy of their coming death in the leaf-strewn shallows of neighbouring rivers and creeks.
But I fished the first beach anyway. In an hour’s fishing one or two fish showed mild interest in my fly, the others treated me with disdain. Hands cold and wet, my spirit humbled, and with thoughts of the other beach coming on, I reeled in and headed to the car.
I was just packing my rod away when a truck pulled up and a fellow got out. His every move was anxious, his look in my direction uncomfortably long. With quick steps he was at the Jeep. “Hi,” he said.
“Morning,” I replied, unlocking my car door.
“Any coho around?”
“A few,” I said. “Not many and not taking.”
“You quitting?”
“No, just going to another spot.”
“Listen,” he said, taking a step closer. “I’m from Vancouver and I’ve been here for three days, staying in a motel. Every spot I go to there are either a bunch of guys already on the fish or the fish are around but too far out. I’m leaving tonight and I really want to get into a coho or two. I’ve been waiting all year for this trip.”
His question wasn’t asked directly, but even at the risk of giving up a secret spot I felt sorry for him. “You leaving tonight?” I asked.
“Okay, follow my car.”
I went through the side streets, got onto the highway and started heading back to Campbell River. I could see my newfound friend behind, both hands on the wheel and his bumper not more than 20 feet from mine. About 10 minutes later I took a side road and started creeping through a local neighbourhood towards the beach. I could see his head in my rear-view mirror, swinging from side-to-side in a confused sort of way. I would learn why only minutes later.
A right, left, then another right and we were at the beach. He parked behind me and was out of his car and practically running towards my vehicle.
“This is it,” I said. We walked to the edge of the riprap and peeked over. There, like the two previous mornings, were the coho. They were even more numerous than the day before, and even better, not one of them was jumping out of even the most basic casting range. To fish a beach like that is an angler’s equivalent of heaven.
I glanced back over my shoulder at my companion and was startled to see his exuberant smile vanish. He looked at that piscatorial cornucopia before us and then looked at me again.
“How long have they been here?” he asked, his voice cracking.
“This is the third morning,” I said. “They’ve been taking well, and as you can see they’re all over the place.”
His chin dropped to his chest and he muttered something unintelligible.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
He closed his eyes and sighed. Jabbing his thumb back over his shoulder he said, “See that motel?”
“Yeah....” Of course I saw it -- it was only about 30 metres away
“That’s where I’ve been staying.”

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