- About me
have 101 lakes in the northeastern Indiana county where I live. Although
raised on bluegill fishing, which is my specialty, I also enjoy fishing deep for perch.
I've written several articles about myself and how I fish. One, which can
be controversial to some, is titled "Pan
Fish with Bait on Flies" and it you click the title you can read
it. I have other articles, "Tie A Few, Fish A Lot,"
Fries," and the most recent is "Tom." They can be seen at flyanglersonline.com.
I have a few flies and some fishing help articles
published at flymasters.net and had some stuff on Robert
Morger's "Onthefly" site before it was shut down. I also hosted a swap called "Catch &
Cook" at the virtualflybox.com. When I was young we ate
what we caught. Fishing and hunting supplied many a supper.
I especially enjoy teaching kids to catch fish
with their own tied flies. In the "Pan
Fish with Bait on Flies"
articles I mention starting kids out with a
little bait on their flies to keep their interest. Boy, did I catch
flack for using bait
on flies, even for bluegills to get kids started. I also caught flack
for deep water trolling of flies. Most complaints were from
trout anglers that don't even fish for bluegill.
have about 100 fly patterns handed down to
me from ancestors. According to them 65 of these patterns come from
Charles Cotton's list in the 5th edition of the Complete Angler dated
somewhere in the 1600s. I've asked around the web about the different
styles of wing position, (some are superman cape style) and nobody
if they are authentic or not. The materials are upgrades from about in
1960's, but they work.
Nobody in my family fishes for
anything but "Panfish" so I don't know why we tie these Trout flies,
but they have always worked great for Bluegill depending on which fly you pick
for water clarity, and the different weather conditions. I hope you find
my flies interesting. They are the first 6 flies below.
I learned to fish
while setting on the floor of a eight foot Jon boat between my mom's feet.
I was small enough that I needed help with a six foot casting rod.
My dad's family
has always been able to catch Bluegill's by the buckets full.
Sometimes we would fish from daylight till dark, then mom and I would scale,
while dad would fillet the catch of the day. There are memories of
waking up still setting at the table, with a spoon in my hand, and dad still
We ate everything
we caught, and with the local hunting seasons we ate pretty well year
round. I learned early that three people fishing with a grub, or chunk
of red worm on a dry fly while the Bluegills are bedding, will literally fill
the bottom of a boat. I also learned young that turtles can really bite
hard, and when Ice fishing, stomping your feet doesn't really get them any
As I got older, I
kept the ways of bait-on-flies as my mainstay for Pan fish. Whether on a
fly rod, spin cast, trolling, cane pole, slip-bobber, or on a bottom bouncer
rig. I've been all over the U.S. and
caught local pan fish, wherever I happened to be that weekend, while other
fishermen were drowning flies, and throwing rubber things to no avail.
This is the way I
learned, and how I get people started fishing still to this day.
The only difference in the way I fish now, is that I use selective release and
don't eat every fish that I catch.
I learned to tie
flies early, and found out that the most gaudy thing that a fish sees, (that
has the right profile) will get his attention first, and usually result
in a bite.
I've spent a lot
of time snorkeling alongside a boat, checking surface profiles of flies
alongside of real bugs. I also tied up a lot of flies, and used the old
aquarium to check them out in the winter. The correct profile in the
water, whether on top or under the surface, will activate the senses of the
prey you are after, and a real bait smell/taste, only adds to the realism.
If you really
want to start out with a thrill for someone learning to fish, show them how to
tie up a good and bright Pan fish fly, and then take them out fishing
immediately, tip the fly with a little bait, and as the fish really start to
bite, watch the smile grow. As they start really catching fish, inform
them about selective catch, and release, because every single one I have
taught over the years, still uses it today.
I am not saying
that this is the way for everyone to fish. I just start them this way so
that they will catch fish instantly, and then they can decide for themselves
how they will continue from there.
A day fishing with only a few bites is very discouraging to anyone trying to
learn any kind of fishing. Maybe that's why I don't do saltwater, I
never had a nibble anytime, on anything I tried!
I have started
children at age four, and a lady that was eighty (alas she's gone now), to
fish using a cane pole that has a pushbutton reel and guides, with their own
tied flies and bait, and all have gone on to fish and have fun, and promote
the sport, while spreading the word about selective catch and release.
Six out of the
last ten I have taught my way, have taken up the fly rod and no longer use
bait, they love all the different casting and fly presentations, and the
match-the-hatch fly tying. One lady now fishes strictly for Largemouth
bass in Florida, and last fall she caught one that was a half pound under the
state record for on a fly rod. One gentleman I taught a few years ago,
has since moved to Canada and uses a fly rod for Musky, and he has a blast!
everything differently, I just try to help give some a fair chance at being
excited about fishing, and where they go from there is, and should always be,
Tie a few, fish a
In the "Treatyse of Fysshynge with an Angle" (that
was published in 1496 in England) they used bait on
flies for everything from Trout, to Salmon. Since I use patterns from
Charles Cotton's 65 Trout flies, found in "The complete
Angler" (published in 1676 in England)
this may be what has been passed down to me. Fly fishing purists should
not take offense at the way I use my flies, because I only fish for Pan fish,
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