Fly­box fillers

Russ Sy­mons ties a Mini Mon­tana

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

IFIRST tied this fly sev­eral decades ago on the premise that it would be about the same size as a Buzzer, but with the colours and ba­sic form of the Mon­tana, which was one of the most suc­cess­ful flies of that time, at least on my patch. Mind you, the Buzzers of that time were not nearly so so­phis­ti­cated as they are to­day, but fished in the same man­ner as a Buzzer, the Mini Mon­tana worked then and it still works ever so well to­day.

It is par­tic­u­larly suc­cess­ful on those days when you can’t make your mind up what is hap­pen­ing and you puzzle about what fly should be on your leader. My small wa­ter prospect­ing rig for those oc­ca­sions is of­ten a Bead­head Dam­sel on the point and ei­ther a Buzzer or the Mini Mon­tana on the drop­per.

This year, for some rea­son or other, the Mini Mon­tana has done well for me, fished off a short sink-tip line and fig­ure-of-eighted three or four feet un­der the sur­face. Hon­ours are about even with the Dam­sel. It also seems to pick up fish ‘on the drop’. So, cast­ing out I pull in a yard fairly soon af­ter the line has set­tled on the wa­ter so that the leader is rea­son­ably straight. Then I wait, hardly mov­ing the line at all as it set­tles in the wa­ter. Af­ter a while, of­ten more than a minute, I then fig­ure-of-eight the line for a few mo­ments and then wait again. Of­ten the pull will come just as you have moved the line. I reckon the fish has been watch­ing the fly, won­der­ing what the heck it is and at the first sign of move­ment its cu­rios­ity gets the bet­ter of it and off to the dance we go!

This is a style of fish­ing which many of to­day’s an­glers seem to have a prob­lem with. So of­ten ‘pulling’ is the only tac­tic which is in their ar­moury. This sea­son in par­tic­u­lar I have fished along­side an­glers who only fish a float­ing line – I am sure that’s the only line that some of them have got – while pulling fluffy marabou bead­head flies for all they are worth. At the end of the day they are dis­grun­tled to have only caught one fish! The prob­lem is that the fish have been at mid-wa­ter or deeper and all these pulled flies have been

“If the Mini Mon­tana on the drop­per is tak­ing fish, put another one on the point and see what hap­pens.”

whizzing over the top of them. Very oc­ca­sion­ally a fish will come up in the wa­ter and have a snap at the fly and that is the an­gler’s one fish for the day. I cheer­fully con­fess that over a lot of years I have learned a lot from watch­ing an­glers more suc­cess­ful than my­self. What line are they us­ing, how fast, or slow, are they re­triev­ing. Is the fly a big one or a small one? Some­times I even walked along the bank and po­litely asked what fly they were us­ing. I met a cou­ple of long-time friends this way.

Fly­fish­ing is a funny sport, some an­glers will re­spond with a mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tion, oth­ers will take the hump and griz­zle at you. But at the end of the day, it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing that you can learn a lot from just watch­ing.

When fish­ing the Mini Mon­tana from the bank my first choice of set-up would be a midge-tip float­ing line or a sink-tip with a short sink­ing length, maybe one of those lines with a seven-foot sink­ing tip. Rig a fairly steep ta­pered nine-foot leader with a leader ring at the end. Then at­tach a five or six-foot length of fluoro­car­bon, say 5 to 7lb break­ing strain to the point fly of choice, of­ten a bead­head pat­tern, or a well weighted fly to pull the leader down in the wa­ter. Then rig a short six-inch drop­per off the leader ring for the Mini Mon­tana.

If you find, as has hap­pened to me twice this year, that the Mini Mon­tana is tak­ing the fish, then put another one on the point and see what hap­pens. This is a good lit­tle fly... en­joy!

A nice rain­bow caught on the Mini Mon­tana.

Dr Charles Reaves plays a nice fish to the net.

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