Are they lures or steelhead flies?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by headstrong1, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. headstrong1

    headstrong1 youngish old guy

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Messages:
    369
    Media:
    3
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Cashmere
    Home Page:
    I just finished reading Mike Maxwell's " Advanced Speyfishing", which is a good read, though it is a pricey book and the photos are terrible quality. In it he states that one must know exactly what natural food item their fly represents or they are barely better than a gear fisherman. 'Attractor' flies are lures he says. These statements really shocked me! Classic atlantic salmon flies are not unlike lures, yet they differ from lures in their extreme complexity and the skill required to fashion them. They are art no doubt about it. Modern steelhead flies borrow much from their atlantic salmon predesecors, but have become more simplistic- easier to tie, and more practical. However, many are so-called 'attractors', not really imitating a baitfish, leech or insect, and gosh darn it they catch fish. I must say that I do consider any hair and feathers or whatever materials skillfully tied onto a single barbless hook a fly, regardless of whether or not it is a direct imitation. If you know the water and the fly-how it behaves etc., what is the problem? By Maxwell's definition a San Juan worm is a more legitimate pattern than a green butt skunk- since one imitates a chironomid larva and the other a ??? (nuclear contaminated batfish with hemoroids?!) Not to pick on him- no doubt he is one of the finest, most knowledgable spey fisherman in the world. Anyone agree with him or is this purism to an extreme?
     
  2. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    5,057
    Media:
    516
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Snohomish, WA.
    purist crap in my book based on this line "...barely better than gear fisherman...". As if if you use more natural flies - you are WAY better than gear fisherman?? What makes one 'better' IMHO is one's abilty to fish in a sporting, responsible, and respectful manner. (knowing and following the given regs, respecting others on the water, treating the natural resources responsibly, ect). Whatever is dangling at the end of your line makes little difference if you don't put the above things first... Fly 'complexity' isn't a good measuring stick either...
     
  3. wet line

    wet line New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2003
    Messages:
    2,309
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Burien, WA, King.
    Mr Maxwell is entitled to his rather elitist opinion. There was a time not too long ago that the only flies that were suitable were dries and streamers! Egg patterns were taboo and to add weight to a nymph rig was blasphemous! not to mention indicators.
    It is a good thing we don't haave fly censors checking my fly boxes because I wouldn't have many left if Mr Maxwell had his way LOL
     
  4. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2003
    Messages:
    4,242
    Media:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1,016
    Location:
    Olympic Peninsula
    Home Page:
    I guess this is why we call it a "game". I think that some people get way too carried away with what distinguishes a "fly" from a "lure".

    To my way of thinking; all flies are lures but not all lures are flies. An example would be the "spoon Fly",( an epoxied section of braid formed into a spoon shape on a fly hook), and some "wiggler" patterns, (which imitate a "hotshot" or other diving plug).

    We use flies to "lure" the fish to strike.

    And the I.R.S. defines a fly as a "lure" ; for the manufacturing excise taxes on fly tiers.

    I like the older patterns, the traditional stuff, but I use many modern materials to tie them. Since most anadromous fish we pursue are not feeding on their riverine spawning returns, I think it's really pointless to be too terribly concerned with imitating the naturals vs using the attractor paterns. I use what mood and moment suggest.

    I seriously doubt anyone really knows what fish "think" except maybe something like:
    "Hmmm...looks good...EAT!...Oh crap!".
    And then they fight for their lives no matter what the jerk at the other end of the line is thinking.
     
  5. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2002
    Messages:
    23,470
    Media:
    29
    Likes Received:
    2,580
    Location:
    Dillon, Mt
    In a way they are lures. You attach it to the end of your leader and intice the fish to bite on it. If you are not matching the hatch. As in fishing in the winter time I don't think that Rabbit leeches will hatch. So hench a lure. As most flies will try to imatate a fly that the fish key in on to eat.

    All of this is not coming out of my brain the way I'm thinking it so just read between the lines.

    Jim One befuddled old man
     
  6. pwoens

    pwoens Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,557
    Media:
    55
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Spokane, Washington, USA.
    Home Page:
    That was well put LS!! "Hmmm...looks good...EAT!...Oh crap"

    :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl

    ~Patrick ><>
     
  7. sinktip

    sinktip Guest

    So ol' Mike is at it again huh? Well he is entitled to his opinion but I fear on this topic as in speyrods, the world has past him by. He is famous for creating and fishing his Telkwa Stone so of course he feels the way he does. If he had invented the Green But Skunk, he might feel otherwise.
     
  8. alpinetrout

    alpinetrout Banned or Parked

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Messages:
    3,937
    Media:
    294
    Likes Received:
    134
    Location:
    Hiding in your closet
    Sounds like Mr. Maxwell has got some personal insecurities to me. Why doesn't he focus on his own fishing and not worry about how us progressive, blasphemous flyfishermen "chuck gear" with our fly rods? Is he trying to say that Lee Wulff wasn't a real flyfisherman because he created the Royal Wulff? I don't have time for jackasses like Maxwell trying to dictate how cool they are and how everyone else sucks. Thanks for bringing that to light so I can be sure not to purchase any of his books. I don't want a dime of my money going to people like him.
     
  9. Philster

    Philster Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    2,745
    Media:
    10
    Likes Received:
    199
    Location:
    .
    >In ithe states that one must know exactly what natural food
    >item their fly represents or they are barely better
    >than a gear fisherman. 'Attractor' flies are lures he
    >says. These statements really shocked me!

    You have to take what Maxwell says with a grain of salt, and understand that if you got the chance to quiz him about his statements, alot of his answers boil down to "because".

    For instance his favorite fly is the thunder and lightning. He claims it represents a minnow. It's a classic salmon fly featuring black, with gold and orange, has a squirrel tail wing and blue hackle. So Mike, why is this a minnow? "because"... :)

    The only response to "because" is "Ooooookay :-P
     
  10. Nooksack Mac

    Nooksack Mac Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,051
    Likes Received:
    170
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA, USA.
    This is a gross oversimplification, but I believe that the "purist's" ideal of fly selection is that one should, if possible, seek to entice a fish with what it's feeding on at present. But how does that apply to the sporting pursuit of fish that aren't feeding at the present phase of their life, such as salmon and steelhead returned to their natal streams? Obviously, we have to find another of their buttons to push. And from what is known about anadromous fish, the other button is labeled "Aggression/Irritation." So, any fly that provokes an angry strike from a steelhead or salmon is as legitimate as can be, and should satisfy even the practical purist.
    ...This gives me an idea for a whole new series of fly patterns: The Mime, the Erratic Driver, the I.R.S. Auditor, etc.
     
  11. BOBLAWLESS

    BOBLAWLESS New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2002
    Messages:
    2,861
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Ludlow, WA, USA.
    I may not be the biggest purist on this site but certainly I am the fattest and oldest (sorry, I forgot about Jim; he has me by two years). So allow me to weigh in a bit on the other side of the flow here.
    We fisherman have for centuries tried to clean up our act a bit and create something that might resemble a sport. We call ourselves sportsmen and that implies some sort of fair play, some contest by which we attempt to give the fish a bit of a chance. Light leaders, rods, small hooks etc. I am going to get a howl but here is a list of what I mean. Howl away.

    Commercial fisherman.
    Uses dynamite or snags the fish.
    Uses live bait.
    Uses roe or dead baits.
    Uses metal spinners or other hardware.
    Uses wet flies.
    Uses dry flies.
    Fishes his dry flies only up stream.
    Fishes his dry flies upstream with nothing stronger than 7X.
    Does not fish but walks around with cob in butt.

    I have the advantage of having fished on both coasts. In the East you will find this hierarchy of fishermen, particularly around the chalk streams of Pennsylvania.
    It is no joke. And if you shoot your mouth off like you did above, you will just be considered as some sort of a dolt, a crude person, someone from the rural areas no doubt. There will be far worst names than these but I spare them here and just leave them to your imagination.

    I personally find nothing wrong in the above list and because it gets more difficult as it goes, I admire the fisherman more who can pull off the highest degree. Those who hang about on the lower rungs of the ladder will always despise those above due to jealousy, lack of skills, etc. They will use words like snob and elitist.

    We here in the West (notice I include myself here) are really transformed meat boys, worm and roe types, spinner and spoon guys. We all know this. Very few of us were born to the fly rod.
    But we are a bit insecure with our new role on the water. Most of us just want to be a regular dude, not some damn elitist. But we do dance to a different drummer; I insist.
    We are more careful about pollution, damage to the resource and the environment. Ask any game warden for proof of this. By in large it is why we have fly only water. The area is delicate, they say, and so let's confine the use to flyfisherman. Let's wake up to this.
    We are placed in a higher order of things and for good reason. We are more gentle, gentlemen.
    Bob, the Hey! I ain't no snob, man!
     
  12. Mike Etgen

    Mike Etgen Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2003
    Messages:
    1,433
    Media:
    85
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Orchard, Washington, USA.
    Mike

    Well spoken, Robert. Mac, I love your ideas for the new flies! Maybe we should have a contest for that category, in which case you're off to a great start!

    A couple of random thoughts so we don't get too serious here...(sorry I didn't get here sooner for alpinetrout...)

    Robert - where on your hierarchy would you place the guys I mentioned earlier who pursue large catfish with their bare hands? And what about the guys who stalk carp and alligator gar with bow and arrows?

    Recently, I was reading somewhere, don't recall where, maybe in "Fly Fishing the Olympic Peninsula" (which I loved) that western fisherman take more readily to tactics like swinging flies for steelhead precisely because they have in fact been on the meatier side of life, so to speak.

    I'm not one to embrace stereotypes, since I'm an easterner myself, and I never touched a flyrod until aabout two years ago. The few flyfishermen I knew back east had either "graduated" to it from other forms of fishing (as I feel I did) or indeed took it up because it seemed to have some sort of elitist appeal, or at least separated them from the bubbas, though none would have admitted it.

    Just my two coins worth. Now excuse me while I get rid of this cob.

    OOOooooohhhhHHH!

    (Just wanted to be sure you got your howl, Robert!)


    :thumb
     
  13. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    5,057
    Media:
    516
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Snohomish, WA.
    Some people just enjoy fabricating some imaginary 'ladder', then place themselves at the top and imagine that others somehow envy them... Politics, religion, sports, jobs, whatever. Then there are folks that have learned how to be happy and content in their circumstances - and not let those around them dictate their so called value or worth... Again, a lot of purist crap. The 'purist' types seem to be the ones who can't stand seeing someone truly content in their 'position'. Always comparing - always judging - its sad really...

    The last thing I'm thinking about as I cast to rising trout or a holding steelhead is what someone else may think of my presentation or fly selection. I just enjoy the moment - knowing that I'm being responsible, respectful, and content...
     
  14. papafsh

    papafsh Piscatorial predilection

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2002
    Messages:
    2,334
    Media:
    197
    Likes Received:
    123
    Location:
    Camano Island, WA, USA.
    Home Page:
    Chadk,

    Nice reply, and to the point. My sentiments exactly.

    LB
     
  15. Nailknot

    Nailknot Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Messages:
    1,910
    Media:
    38
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Cascadia
  16. need2fish

    need2fish New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    .
    Whenever I read some of this elitist, puritanical, BS I think of the first chapter in Roderick Haig-Browns "A Primer of Fly-Fishing" entitled 'The Virtue of the WORM'!

    I have had my copy for over 20 years. I pulled it out a few weeks ago after reading a few posts on this site that really got under my skin. This book should be in everyones library.

    There are a few great quotes I will post later when I have more time.

    I think rivers would be a better place if we took to heart what was written in this book over 4 decades ago!

    Andrew
     
  17. Randy Knapp

    Randy Knapp Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,132
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Warm Springs, Virginia, USA.
    Webster's:an inducement to pleasure or gain; ENTICEMENT; APPEAL, ATTRACTION; A decoy for attracting animals to capture; artificial bait used for catching fish

    All flies are lures!

    Randy
     
  18. Wayne Jordan

    Wayne Jordan Active Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Messages:
    1,063
    Media:
    317
    Likes Received:
    20
    I could just as easily attach a wet fly to my spinning rod, add a couple of split shot, and waalaa, catch a trout... This takes little skill compared to casting a fly line & 9 foot leader with a fly on it.
    You want to impress me, take bamboo rod with a reel&line made in the 1920's and go flog the water. No one ever seems to question if using their high modulus, disc drag, rocket tapered lines, with machined tapered fluorocarbon leaders is pure!!! At this point in the game does it really matter what's on the end of the line? I think the only pure part left to fly fishing is just getting out on the river, lake, or sound and trying to entice a fish to strike.
    You want a pure a experience take a kid fishing for the first time(wether it's with a zebco 202, or $1,000.00 fly outfit, it really doesn't matter to them), then you will have a pure experience to the utmost!
     
  19. BOBLAWLESS

    BOBLAWLESS New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2002
    Messages:
    2,861
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Ludlow, WA, USA.
    Just to answer a few points:
    Chadk: catfish with hands has nothing to do with fishing simply because a fish is involved, anymore than digging worms. Fish mongers also work with fish but they are not fisherman either. Maybe these guys are hunters but I don't want to piss off hunters at this point; enough people are mad at me already. Bow hunting for fish is pure hunting--a bit of mono connecting fish to hunter is really beside the point.
    Remember that I didn't fabricate any ladder--it's been there from the days of Isaac Walton and I'm not at the top.
    Snob or not, I am a flyfisherman. I do have more skills, more time on the water, read more, have better equipment, and I take it all far more seriously, I suppose, than does the average snatch and catch. I'm not better as a person. I am better as a fisherman. Think of sand lot baseball and the minor leagues (don't I wish) but there is a hierarchy in sport.
    I agree totally on being content, not letting others dictate your worth. Piss on elitist and snobs. It's about the only resasonable thing to do to them.
    But being good does not make one a snob. Try fishing worms and beating a good tube flyfisherman at most of our lakes or rivers.
    In Telkwa, B.C. this year, a gear man gave me a ride one day when I needed it badly. He also gave me some delicious moose pepperoni. He had a spin rod, a big hot shot on the end and no other apparent gear. Here I come dressed in my full regalia, waders, fishing shirt, vest, hat, spey rod and reel, fancy line etc. I could see he was impressed, particularly since I had spent several thousand dollars and would drive for six straight day to have the pleasure of fishing along side of my new friend. I suppose he thought I was rolling in dough.
    I'm not better than him as a person, but I am a better fisherman given a level playing field. One would expect that to be true or something's radically wrong here.
    I do fish mostly dry flies for trout and for steelhead. But my trout dries have a little nymph underneth them and my steelhead flies are never fished straight up. They are waked, and I suppose that wouldn't fly in PA. I don't care what they think nor should you.
    We are, however, all fly fishermen on this site and that shouldn't get anyone here upset or so I should think.
    Bob, the flyfisherman and if I'm a snob as a result --so be it.
     
  20. dude_1967

    dude_1967 Chris

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Southern Germany and Western Washington
    Dear headstong1, dear everyone,

    In my opinion, conservation is more important than getting hung up on characteristics of the sub-branch of fishing known as flyfishing.

    The greatest danger to the integrity of our fishing passion is probably the headlong, reckless destruction of our environments. It might be more important to focus on finding reasonable compromises between environmental management and economical growth. Especially in the Seattle area, the damage has been heavy.

    When flyfishing one should probably try to respectfully lure in the fish however, CDC drag-free dry doodle whatever or leadhead scruffy thingy. I'm too much of a knumbskull to outwit an unsuspecting onchorynchus-k-whatever most of the time anyway 'cause I just slip and maybe fall onto the unsuspecting thing while it's in heat.

    Just try to use single hooks, maybe even barbless. Avoid the use of live bait and nets. Generally make a strong effort to conserve the environmental treasures of the world including the Northwest.

    Sincerely, Chris.