Tuesday, June 30, 2015

SELECTIVITY ANTHOLOGY SNIPPETS-Vol.1_HISTORY

In the two year editing/4 year writing process of "Selectivity- the book, over 80,000 words were edited out/entire chapters, to allow for more photography, more fly patterns and recipes .


 On a weekly bases in a series of volumes, I will share some of the post-clips/excerpts as hopefully interesting and enjoyable reading as opposed to a 'Selectivity II' sequel , which would be more profitable-oh well!-, but money isn't everything eh! 
When Al Caucci , who did the forward  based on the original uncut/unedited version he was a tad disappointed and sad when he received the final book, as other forward contributors did since so much was edited by the publishers,  as the master of  'Hatches' and the Delaware said, "they cut out all the good juicy stuff !"- here is my attempt top make it right! ( besides, I'm working on another huge project!)

For those always seeking more knowledge and insight into the fascinating cerebral world of  chasing trout, salmon and steelhead and the thinking, analytical fly fisher that results from pursuing such amazingingly fussy quarry  ....enjoy!...BTW-BY GOD?...please stop the rain!!!!!-I'm on vacation for Christ's sake and want to fish!!!!!- not BLOG!

THE SELECTIVE FLY FISHER- A HISTORY OF THEORY AND OBSERVATION
Ever since the first known and documented episode of an elite Roman author in 200 A.D.  witnessing fishing for trout with a fly, theoretical and empirical postulating over the behavior and  abilities for the salmonid to take the fly, have created an anthology of excellent writings and unique thoughts about the subject.
Macedonia and the former Yugoslavia are loaded with amazing chalk stream spring creeks full of wild and large brown trout. These rivers are home to some unique strains of Brown trout -- particularly the beautiful and cunning “salmo macedonicus”-the Macedonian brown trout.  Claudius Aelianus was a Roman author that spoke the local dialects of the region. On his travels and observations of wildlife along the trout rich Astralus River, he documents the first selective trout encounters by the local Macedonian fishermen:
                                          “they fastened red wool round a hook, and fit on to the wool two feathers which grow under a cock’s wattles, in which and color are like wax. Their rod is 6 feet long, and their line is the same length. Then they throw their snare, and the fish, attracted and maddened by the color, comes straight at it, thinking from the pretty sight to gain a dainty mouthful; when, however, it opens its jaws, is caught by the hook, and enjoys a bitter repast, a captive.”
Could this be the first known documentation of the selective process by a wise Brown trout and the”per say” fly fisher, actually eliciting a strike response appropriate for the condition?-it appears so. Aelianus’s other writings around this time seemed to be centered in the autumn of the year. As we know, the fall is “pre- spawn or spawning time”for the Brown trout.  Sexual maturity and optic nerve color preference go hand - in-hand.  So what a more perfect fly to entice the aggressive/active spawning mode of a territorial Brown trout than a red fly. Here chance and selectivity come into a perfect bond simply by coincidence.

As credited with the first book of fly fishing, Dame Juliana Berners in 1495 of the 15th century, wrote “TREATISE OF FYSSHYNGE WITH AN ANGLE’, in the Book of St. Albans., A series of eight books dealing with hawking, hunting, and herding.  In her book, she can be credited with being the first angler to identify leaders made from horsehair and how to dye them in various hues- from green to brown to yellow-based on the season and water color. Juliana was the first”selective”leader/tippit identifier to come along and realize the effectiveness of stealth presentations to wary trout and salmon. Her very detailed coloring of horsehair by season shows for experience with the selective nature of the salmonid. She also learned to discern Salmonid species specific behavior which her theories still apply today.
“The salmon does not bite on the bottom, but at the float. You may sometimes take him, but it happens very seldom, and with an artificial fly when he is leaping, in the same way as you take trout or grayling”
“We shall speak next of the trout, because he is a very dainty fish and also a very greedy biter. He is in season from March to Michaelmas. He is found on clean gravel bottom and a running stream. You may angle for him at all times with a running or lying ground line: except in leaping time, when you use an artificial fly”

In the last passage, Berners already understands the difference between nymphing (ground line) and dry fly opportunities during a hatch. Selectivity was already a driving force back in the 1490s.

When Izzaak Walton came out with the “Complete Angler”, in 1653, fishing with fly and bait was becoming a very technical artform. Walton, himself proclaimed expert on bait fishing, knew little about the fly, having a good acquaintance Thomas Burke. He did comprehend the complexity of it and stated, “Angling may be said so like the mathematics that it can never be fully learned”. Through the 17 and 1800’s, fly fishing gained in popularity throughout England and Scotland. Stewart, who published the”Practical Angler”, developed the art of the wet fly swing. In Scotland, lake or “loch” fishing with a trio of wets became the norm and the first fly fishing competitions started on these lakes. In the U.S., the Revolutionary War had British officers finding the colonies to be loaded with Brook trout and salmon, and fish for them ardently. Early officers- sportsmen like Sir William Johnson and Joseph Banks were the first known writers and proponents of the art of the fly, primarily fishing for salmon in Qu├ębec/upstate New York regions, where the Salmon River of New York had wild indigenous populations since extirpated. Landlocked salmon found their way up the Saranac River and were also pursued. George Gibson was the first known documented fly angler in the 1700s who fished the Cumberland Valley limestone spring creeks and made incredible selective observations of trout feeding behavior to hatches and seasonal angling complexities.