Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Bream Killer

I make no claims as to the veracity of this account.

It was shared, last night, over the communal fly tying table - roll cast across the backroom bar setting of vices, bucktail, and pitchers of Yuengling – presented to the bi-weekly gathering of the fly tying artists of our local fishing club. That alone makes it highly suspect. But, as all good stories should, it has the ring of truth to it, so I share it here and will let you decide whether to believe it or not.

Every fly tier has a go-to fly. One that they have mastered the creation thereof and that they swear is a never-fail fish magnet. This is the story of such a fly. It seems that my buddy Terry… Wait. I’ll let the story be told in his voice.

It had been a productive day on the Neuse. I’d tried a number of new patterns and had caught my share of bluegill, redbreasts, and assortment of panfish that occupy these waters. As I prepared to leave, Puddin’ arrived with a beginner fisherman in tow, intent on helping the poor fellow get his feet wet with a fly rod. They thrashed around, Puddin’ casting smoothly and accurately while his charge, despite expert advice and example, struggled horribly.

Worse, neither veteran nor novice raised a fish. So, feeling sorry for them, I wandered over, said hello, and gave the poor rookie one of my secret weapon Bream Killers – a bead-chain eyed, size 12 bit of fluff with wiggly rubber legs. I wished them luck - it looked like they'd need it - and took my leave, quickly, so as not to be snagged by an errant backcast.

I bumped into Puddin’ a few days later at the shop and asked him how the fly had worked. With a snort of pure disgust he replied, “I had to take the damn thing away from him.”


“Because every time he casted it, he caught a fish. It didn’t matter how badly he threw it, how far he missed the mark, or how much line he piled on top of it, something ate it. I would try to get him to place it near this log or in that eddy and he’d screw it up royally, miss the target by miles, and still catch a goddamned fish. I swear that if he'd hung it in a tree some fat bluegill would be jumping out of the water after it.”

That’s good, isn’t it?

“Hell no! He wasn’t learning a damn thing. Every awful cast produced. And the part that really frosted me was that he was catching so many fish that he starting to tell ME what to do.”


So that’s the story. True? Maybe. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that it was told among good friends over a cold brew and that it had the hint of possibility.

And among fly fishermen, that’s about as close to the truth as you're likely to get.

Note: The fly shown in the picture is, sadly, not the Bream Killer. I have been sworn to secrecy on that particular bit of fluff. Hell, if you had a fly that had bluegill jumping out of the water, wouldn't you be tight lipped about it too?

That is, if you believe...


Trout MaGee said...

Great story. Bream Killer or not I dig that top fly. Excellent tie. I can just picture a guy leaning over and asking for the fly back...We all have a Bream Killer for those special days when you feel the creep of the skunk coming:) Tight Lines.

Brk Trt said...

Sworn to secrecy, got to respect that.
The fly pictured looks like it would do some damage to the local crappie population.

Steve Zakur said...

I love stories like this -- I especially like how they change over time as the memory mellow and takes on the flavors of the various audiences over time. Thanks for sharing.

Sanders said...

Nothing better than sitting around with some friends and telling stories like this. Thanks for the laugh!