Baitfish From L Upstream
Long Flies will be off the press in about a week. I should have my advance copy by April 5th. Copies should begin shipping the next week. In the meantime, here’s another look “under the hood,” as it were. Below is a story about the Baitfish from L, a tactic that I developed for fishing long flies that combines Joe Brooks’ Broadside Float, the Greased Line Tactic, and the Down-and-Across Swing. In this instance, I used it as an upstream presentation tactic
Long Flies is still available in the inscribed edition (signed specifically to the buyer) for the pre-release price of $25.00 postage paid. To purchase, please go to my eBay store.
Alaska’s Alagnak supports superb runs of chum salmon. I think that these are by far the strongest, pound for pound, of any of the Pacific Salmon. Add to that the fact that they school in great numbers on the chum bars of this impressive river, and you have a fly fisher’s delight.
This day, Dave Graebel, Les Adams, Scott Snead, and I had been successfully fishing the Nushagak for king salmon, and decided to stop at the Alagnak on the way back to the No-See-Um Lodge, and fish for chums. John Holman, the lodge owner, and our pilot for the day, circled the plane above the river’s bends, until we found a chum bar heavily dotted with fish.
As we climbed out of the plane, our guide, Caleb Hitzfeld, told me he had seen a good concentration of fish at the top of the bar and on its outer edge. I headed up and began to wade out. Suddenly, right there in front of me, in water only mid-calf deep, was a pod of six to eight chums. I cast and immediately took one.
When I’d landed it, I began to look closely at the water around me. There were pods of chum dotted all over the bar, stretching off to the limit of my vision. Just upstream, a small group finned softly in the shallow, but steady flow on the bar. I waded a bit to my right so I could cast up on the right side of the pod. The line stretched out over the water and then flipped around in an overpowered curve layout. It was The L fished upstream (Figure 8.10). The fly drifted down, sinking as it came back, and a chum moved foward and took it. The fish’s every move was clearly visible.
On the next cast, I stripped the line, drawing the fly across the face of the pod, and one of the fish surged forward and grabbed the magenta leech. And so it went for the next two hours before the tide pushed in, forcing us off the flat and into the float plane.
It had been the best day of chum fishing in my life. Not because of the numbers of fish—true, I’d caught chums to near excess—but it was the total sight-fishing experience that made the day so spectacular. That and The L fished upstream.
Don’t think in compartmentalized terms of long-fly fishing, nymph fishing, dry fly fishing, saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing, and so on. Rather, blend and churn, mix and match, think both vertically and horizontally. Use past experiences to expand your vision. Long flies offer a great opportunity to explore an array of old and new methods for success.