Its really all about fly confidence. If you don’t believe in the fly on the end of your line, you won’t catch a damn thing. At least in most cases. Everyone has a personal preferences when it comes to flies. Each individual tends to stick with their own style, or styles similar to those of the person who taught them how to fish or tie. I look in people’s fly boxes (when they let me) and often see things I wouldn’t be caught dead with on my line…but it may be their go-to hot fly. Then there are the people who fish only one or two flies exclusively no matter what. Fly confidence…if you believe, it will catch.
Earlier this year, possibly while preparing to move across the country, I decided to unload a bunch of flies I tied while first learning the art. They were stowed away in a box my parents had gotten me along with my first tying kit. I remember that Christmas not that long ago…I set the vice up on my dad’s drawing table, and I collected various furs from the cats around the homestead to add to the small sampling of materials that came in the kit. At the time I remember being pretty proud of the designs I came up with, but man were those things hideous! So I finally decided I would cut the material off them and re-use the hooks, as I deemed them “unfishable.” Just as I was about to start shaving material with the razor blade my partner grabbed them from me and said she would use them, that they were endearing, and not at all unfishable. I rolled my eyes and handed them over.
Several months later we were fishing for pink salmon on the Saint Mary’s Rapids in Ontario. We had tied a gazillion streamers in pink, orange, chartreuse, and every combination there-of. My waist pack was bursting with fluffy flies I’d never dreamed of fishing before. As the day of fishing went on I was running short on flies of the pink persuasion. The pinks were hitting pink, and the many rocks enjoyed eating them too! I was forced to choose something from my partner’s fly box. What did I find in there? One of the ugly flies I was going to throw away. I had spent a lot of time saying how ugly and horribly tied that particular fly was, but I decided to give it a chance. Nothing to lose really, if a rock ate it I’d never have to see it again. It was nothing but a pink piece of shit.
First cast with it I hooked up. Amazing! I could not believe it. I made sure to take a photo of that fish as proof, both that I used it and that it caught a fish. That fly continued to catch fish the rest of the afternoon. Needless to say, it went back in MY fly box at the end of the day. And just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, I fished the now-named P.P.O.S on other water and had much luck with it with pinks, kings, and coho as well.
But I had only one of them, and it was the original! Recreating it was the tricky part. It was so amateur that I almost couldn’t figure out how I tied the darn thing. I have managed to come up with something close to original that seems to work just as well. I now have full confidence in the P.P.O.S and have already started tying them for next salmon season. Just goes to show you that sometimes trying something you don’t think will work, just might.