In the true spirit of Fly Fish Ohio, we've
brought you something a bit different this time around. Not
everyone fishes with a fly rod. More importantly, even the most
ardent fly fisher has the occasion to put down the long rod and pick
up a baitcaster or spinning rod. If you love fishing then you're
willing to adapt to the conditions at hand. After all, what
would you do if you were fishing with a friend from a canoe and the
wind made fly casting an exercise in ersatz body piercing?
Sometimes the wind is just too much, and sometimes the conditions call
for casts beyond the fly rod's range. And, God forbid, sometimes
the fly rod is just the wrong choice. What do you do then?
You pick up your spinning rod and go fishing, of course!
When I started tying flies some thirty-eight years
ago a big part of what I learned was tying shad darts. For a New
Englander, especially a 10 year old kid, to fish in April or May
without spinning rod loaded with Stren 6lb test line and a shad
dart was almost unheard of in my neighborhood. The shad run was
the real beginning to the fishing season for the South Shore crowd.
My grandfather didn't fly fish, but he sure loved
to cast a lima-bean shaped white bucktail jig for schoolie stripers,
fluke and bluefish. Once I took up fly tying it wasn't long
before he saw the possibility for his sport. Many was the night
when gramps would come to my room with an idea for a new color or
material combination that was certain to fill the boat. Being an
industrious and inventive fellow, gramps often designed and poured his
own unique jigs using casting sand to make an initial mold. For
a while his favorite jig design was the dog from the Monopoly set!
I still love to tie jigs and I tie quite a few for
myself and my spinfishing friends. There are times when I want
to revisit my roots, so I grab my Falcon spinning rod (thanks Cliff,
it really is a dandy) and Mitchell 308 reel loaded with 6lb test Stren
and head to the creek. When I am in smallmouth country this jig has
become a favorite pattern. I gave a couple of these jigs to Dave
Golowenski of the Columbus Dispatch a few years ago. A couple
months later he related a tale in his newspaper column about a trip to
Lake Erie. Evidently the fishing was off and, in a last ditch
effort, he tied on the Roundhead Rootbeer. In four casts he
landed two large drum and two chunky smallmouth. The boat
captain, recognizing a good thing when he saw it, cut the jig off
Dave's line and pocketed it. "This is too good to lose, I need
to figure out how its made and make some more!" is what he was
reported to have said. Well, here it is - simple, clean and
effective. Try this pattern this summer and you'll find out that
smallmouth love a hair jig!