Lifelong angling buddies, Ed Weber of Rochester, N.Y., and Gary Giudice from Norman, Okla., are fly fishing their way up the spine of the Rocky Mountains following mayfly hatches. They started in the White Mountains of Arizona and will end on the Bow River of Alberta, Canada. This blog follows their trip.
We've used a myriad of flies on this trip through the Rocky Mountains. Streamers, nymphs, dries, ermergers, some famous and some we made up on the run.
Most of them caught fish, but there is one fly that caught as many fish as all the others combined. You can't buy it; you have to tie it yourself. Here's the story of the Weber's.
Several years ago I was fishing up on the Slough Creek in Yellowstone Park.
We were way up on the third meadow where the Yellowstone cutthroats are as big as a
loaf of bread and not a heck of a lot smarter. I was fishing with my
traveling buddy, Ed Weber.
Ed and I had packed in for three days of
fishing, but the problem that first morning was Ed was doing
all the catching.
Oh, I was happy for him, but I wasn't all that happy for
myself. He wasn't that far from me, maybe a 100 yards around a slight bend, with no trees to block the view.
The elk had eaten every willow in the area.
I could see he was swinging some sort of emerger. So was I. How come he
was lifting up on one almost every cast and I had yet to get a bump? I
stopped fishing to get a closer look.
"I'm using that fly I tied for this trip," Ed said, a touch too smugly. "I
tried to give you one but you wouldn't have it. Now if you want one you'll have to do the dishes the rest of the trip."
Damn the bad luck!
This fly didn't look like much to me but over the years I catch, on the
average, 50 percent of my fish on the thing!
It started as a simple caddis emerger
but it has grown to be so much more than that. I named it "The Weber's" and
it carries the moniker to this day.
It looks a little like a regular soft hackle, but after a close look you can really see the difference. It looks just like an emerging caddis. The book "Hatches" has some drawings of caddis emergers. Take a look and you'll see what I mean.
The Weber's is a dead ringer but fish don't always think caddis when they see it. The Weber's does it all for the very few other fly fishermen who know about it. It fishes as a nymph weighted with split shot, in the surface film, swing and twitch and even dry. This thing is better than an Adams and a lot easier to fish!
It's better fished when there are caddis flies around, but not always. There's all manner of ways to try this thing but here's just one classic hypothetical where a Weber's can catch fish.
Outside cut banks hold trout most of the time but getting them to bite when you can't see rises can be frustrating particularly around rocks. No bugs are on the water and dragging a nymph has you retying all day.
Often we leave these fish alone. But you can catch them well with a Weber's by fishing it dry. Use floatant and drift as close to the rocks as possible and it is deadly whether there's bugs on the water or not.
I've had times when there's a spinner fall but I had nothing to match the bug. The Weber's saved the day. There's countless ways to fish the Weber's and most of them catch fish.
Here's the recipe that Ed developed through the years. It has changed very little. It doesn't need to. Again, no one sells them so you'll have to tie it yourself. It's well worth the energy.
Hook: Daiichi 1130 light wire scud hook or similar
Thread: Dark Brown or Black
Rib: Extra fine copper or bronze wire
Body: Fine & Dry or similar dry fly dubbing to match the bug
Collar: Hungarian partridge barred neck feather
Head: Dark Hares ear
Tie in ribbing beyond the bend of the hook
Tie in ribbing at point beyond the bend
Dub appropriate color dubbing from beyond the bend to 3/16" behind the
eye of the hook
Wrap wire forward to simulate segmentation, 4 or 5 turns
Tie in Hungarian feather at the tip end and fold so it flows backward
Take 2-3 turns, folding and stroking backward and tie off leaving
3/32" for the head
Dub head; be careful not to crowd the eye of the hook.
Ed finally gave me some Weber's that day up on the Slough Creek, and I caught plenty of those bright golden, speckled cuts.
Since, there's never been a day on the water that I didn't have a selection of Ed's fly, the Weber's, in my fly box.