A couple of years ago at the Toronto Sportsman’s Show I was doing a demonstration and just happened to be using a hook-less rabbit strip leach in the cast pond. I don’t remember what the demonstration was about but while talking and swimming this little bait in the 4 inches of the casting pond, a small crowd began to gather and grow. This crowd though was not the least bit interested in what I had to say or fly fishing for that matter but instead was drawn by the action of the rabbit leech in the water. Afterwards, several of them approached me and asked me about the bait and I explained to them that it was a fairly common fly in our world and caught just about anything that swims. These guys were obvious veterans in the game of conventional tackle and saw that the action in these flies far surpassed what most of the rigid, lipped baits or soft plastics offered. I didn’t think any more about it until this past spring when I met a gentleman from the Muskoka area in the shop buying large amounts of fly tying material. When we began talking, it became clear to me that he was not a fly fisherman and had little interest in learning it but instead tied his patterns for use with spinning gear and even for ice fishing. He went on to explain that his ability to tailor patterns to meet different demands was limitless and his success after using hand tied flies and jigs sky rocketed to the extent that he no longer purchases hard baits. To galvanize the idea of introducing fly tying to conventional tackle users, a second customer who happens to be a well-respected author and field editor of a major magazine contacted me with a list of materials. Surprised by this, I said “I didn’t know you a fly fished.” To which he replied “I don’t but I’ve developed an assortment of flies that I use in drop shot, Carolina and Texas rig applications and even have some in the 1/8 ounce range that can be delivered and fish with alight spinning rod.”
He went on to explain that he seldom uses stock baits and basically reiterated what had been explained to me earlier in the spring. Making baits (spoons, spinners etc.) at home is nothing new and guys have been adding buck tails and hackles to stock baits forever but actually redesigning patterns that fly anglers have been successful with to suit spinning and casting rods is a relatively recent thing. So for all of you guys that practice all tackle,take a look at what’s available in terms of hooks, bodies, heads and paints and add a new dimension toy our spinning tackle.