The Frostfish and the Dry Fly

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The Frostfish and the Dry Fly

THE FROSTFISH AND THE DRY FLY

THE FROSTFISH AND THE DRY FLY; Edward T. Whiffen is one of the great forgotten outdoor writers of the early part of the twentieth century. A playwright and poet of note, he penned a number of eclectic outdoor articles on odd subjects such as this one on the Adirondack Frost Fish (another name for the Round Whitefish), of which Whiffen was surely the first to write about as a gamefish. His articles on rodmaking have been collected and published by The Whitefish Press in the
book Bamboo Lore: Notes on Making, Wrapping, and Repairing Bamboo Fly Rods
(2018). — Ed.

THE FROSTFISH AND THE DRY FLY

……I should have been skeptical about what the frostfish might do with a fly. Only the summer before, a friend and myself had
successfully demonstrated that frostfish will take bait, and may be caught, if light enough tackle and hooks sufficiently small are used, but I still implicitly believed that frostfish were in deep water during the summer. This guide, by the way, had been skeptical about the taking of frostfish with hook and line, and had had to be “shown.”

“Well,” said the guide, a few minutes later, as rises continued, “if I had a fly-rod, I’d throw out, and see if I could find out what’s comin’ up so.” This was a hint for me, and I took it.

The fly, a blue dun, was paraffined with the pad, and the line similarly treated. (The makers of Pomery’s artificial leaders may be interested to know that their sample, kindly furnished, was the leader used.) Then back and forth waved the rod, until about twenty feet of line were out, and, with a last forward motion, the fly lightly settled on the water, “cocked” to a nicety.

Mindful of failure to hook the rise before because of the rod not being in my hand, I held it this time, ready for a strike or a
break near the fly, which I watched intently. If a chance came, I would be ready to take it. In a few minutes the fly was gently pulled under, and I gave a quick but light strike, and was fast. Then came the fight. The rod was a light, three-ounce, one-piece rod which I had made a year or two before. It bent and surged with the fierce rushes of the yet unknown capture. The fish was certainly “game.” It did not break water or lunge down, but rushed about in spirals near the top of the water. Never for even a second did it stop whirling and pulling. For five minutes or so, the game went on, and the fish was still untired. Then, as I was interested to see what the capture really was, and fearing it might get away, I slowly stripped the line in through the guides and lightly swung the fish into the canoe. It proved to be a frostfish, the first, I believe, ever taken on a dry fly.

To Read the article and many great others in this Premier Issue of Angling Echoes in its entirety, please visit https://finandflame.com/angling-echoes/

2018-02-05T08:32:40+00:00 February 5th, 2018|0 Comments

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