Magic flies? Or just magic moments?

A man walks into a fly shop and asks “Do you have any whatchamacallits?”

The kid behind the counter points to the bin. “They are the hot fly this year,” he replies, but selling is unnecessary.

“We were killing ’em on whatchamacallits last Saturday. Best fly ever! I need a bunch more,” the man declares.

Fast forward …

The man is standing in a quiet pool, a whatchamacallit on the end of his leader. He spots fish, but the action is slow. He can’t quite figure it out; meanwhile his buddy is standing one pool up, and catching a few.

The man asks his friend what he’s using. The friend replies “chartreuse bead.” He looks down at his box; an ample supply of whatchamacallits peers back. “Can I grab one of those from you, buddy?”

That set of circumstances may or may not be based on actual events, regardless of specificity as to actors, but an intuitive punter would wager on the former.

Did the man originally “kill it” because of the fly, or because of external factors beyond his control?


The idea got me thinking, so I went back through the calendar, journals, photo albums, etc., recollecting the ten most memorable fishing experiences I have ever had. Events stand above due either to sheer quantity (i.e. fish ate with reckless abandon) or the quality of the catch (big and/or beautiful). That which exceeded every possible expectation. I also recalled the flies I was using at the time …

In reverse chronological order:

1) Rio Grande River, 2013 – Parachute Adams

2) North Platte River, 2012 – Bead

3) Andros Island, 2010 – Gotcha

4) Yampa River, 2009 – Elk Hair Caddis

5) Mosquito Lagoon, 2004 – Merkin

6) Little Cayman Island, 2000 – Merkin

7) Baja Peninsula, 1999 – Clouser Minnow

8) Florida Bay, 1998 – Deceiver

9) Gunpowder River, 1997 – Parachute Adams

10) Doctor’s Lake, Alabama, 1984 – Live Crickets

The last really shouldn’t count, due to the live bait thing. We were using cane poles, however, and they were about nine-feet long.

Nevertheless, notice anything odd? That is, besides the exceptionally ordinary, “old school” flies used? Me neither.

MG signing off (to seek correlation after culling all non-causal variables, then just hope for luck)


[…] it” on the water “because of the fly, or because of external factors beyond his control?” Read more thoughts on the subject from Michael […]

David Grubb says:

Hi Mike,
Nice piece. I’m reminded here to thank you for all the instructions you gave me a few years ago at Andros South. You were getting a GPS location app to overlay the map of the islands. You were stuck with me for a whole week, and I learned a lot. Don’t bang the cooler top shut, line management, etc. All very useful in other situations also. I seem to remember some lessons about grocery stores, BMWs, and Yoga pants and ways to deal with online scams also. Best wishes, David

Twas a fine week David. Hope you are well.

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