Just recently my wife Vickie and I were in Charleston, SC for about a week. If you’ve never been to Charleston then please put it on your list of to-do’s; you won’t be sorry! While there I stopped by and visited with the guys at Flymen Fishing Company and bought a few flies from them…yes, I tie, a lot….but I am always open to new methods and for sure the flies that they are selling are…well, very different.
Today I am going to show you an awesome fly; Chocklett’s Polar Changer. You can go to Flymen Fishing Company to find the wide array of colors, etc… along with pricing.
Let me start by saying…as of yet, I haven’t fished this fly. I can also say that I can’t wait. I am eagerly anticipating this fly doing very well in the smallmouth and musky waters of northern Wisconsin! First, as you will see when you visit their site, the fly isn’t cheap…$17.50 was the most I had ever paid for a fly (short of a large musky selection). I made the joke that if fishing and I hang up…I am gonna get naked and do some ‘fly-recovery’…for sure! My father was a smart man and always said that you pay for what you get. I have found this to be true on many levels and areas of expertise…but nothing more true than in the fly fishing world.
I have hunted pheasants out west for over 35 years. By hunt…I mean just that, lots of states and lots of miles walked. I can still remember the exact spot in a Kansas CRP field when my shorthairs went on point and a big rooster lifted off. I swung my shotgun on the bird and pulled the trigger, then heard the sickening sound of only the primer. If you know shotguns then you know you now have a problem. Sure enough I emptied the other shell from the over/under and looked into the top tube…there was the wad about a quarter of the way down the tube. It was about then that several more roosters lifted off, one after the other…all while I was trying to remedy the wad in the barrel issue! The next few seconds sounded like I was a drunk sailor and the end result was I never bagged a single bird.
It is here that I must confess that on this trip I was using my own re-loads and still not sure what went wrong…but the powder was no good and the above scenario occurred two more times in the span of a couple of days. You don’t want to drive 14 hours and spend a load of money to find out that you can’t actually kill a bird! Never again…from that day forward it didn’t matter how sure I was of my powder, I bought and still use Fiocchi’s Golden Pheasant; since that hunt, I have never had another misfire while pheasant hunting.
So…the moral of the story is simple…if you only have so much time to fish…and often have to travel a great distance to get there…don’t skimp on your fly selection. Make sure that you have the right color, size and quality of the fly you need. You may have seen or watched me with a lanyard around my neck loaded with several fly patches…and on these fly patches are many, many flies. I have had lots of folks ask why…and even other fly-guys ask…the point is this, you never know what you are going to need and as a fly fisherman, I have to take everything I ‘think’ I might need with me. We fly-guys don’t have the luxury of pulling out one of several tackle boxes full of offerings. When we leave on a half day or longer float or walk…we must have the ‘tools’ to fix any issues and the correct fly offering for what might be working on that day!
So, the Polar Changer is expensive…but it is a thing of beauty, period! When you go the Flymen website you will see that they offer a big selection of sizes and types of flies…and all are simply amazing works of art. So, here is a quick how to fish the Polar Changer; and remember that I love using sink-tip line in offering or presenting a fly.
First, this is a rather big fly, 5 inches in length. However, and a big however…the polar fiber that these flies are tied with are lightweight and don’t absorb water. You can cast a bigger fly if it isn’t soaking up water the entire time. Let’s be clear…this is probably a 6 weight or larger fly and for me I will use my 7 weight BankRobber rod with a Rio sink-tip 1 fly line.
You are interested in getting your query or fish of choice in chasing and attacking the fly. Let’s be clear…big predatory smallmouth, pike and musky aren’t going to chase the fly indefinitely. They are ambush feeders; the key is getting the fly to the correct depth and presented to them in a fashion that not only makes them want to eat…but allows them to do so easily! I call this area the ‘death-zone’ and you need to be proficient in both casting and mending your line so that the fly stalls out and slows down within striking distance of a trophy.
Secondly you have to slow the fly down and make it look like it is crippled or dying, thus presenting an easy meal whereby the fish doesn’t have to expend loads of energy in getting a meal. I can’t tell you the number of times while smallmouth fishing that I have caught the fish of the day while adjusting my hat, glasses, etc…what was the fly doing…nothing, dead-drifting through an area and looking much like a dead baitfish…yes, it is that simple-sometimes and we have to be able to learn from our mistakes; both the ones we make (commit) and the ones that just happen (omission).
Lastly, and this may rub some guys the wrong way…bigger flies often catch bigger fish. Now, before you scoff…nope, not every time…but often. If given a choice of having a 6 oz. steak or a 10 oz. steak? Which one you going to take? Come on…you know the answer and predatory fish are no different. The big meal is one less time that they have to fight current and one less time that they have to present themselves to an eagle or osprey.
So, please take a look at the above website and while we are all mostly dormant (waiting around for spring to get here)…give some thought to how you will fish or present your flies this spring…and even more thought to what the fish, the big fish…wants to see! You may just be one cast of a Polar Changer away from a true behemoth of a fish! Oh, and best of luck to you this upcoming season of 2020…