There are two faculties of fly anglers: Those who consider in matching the hatch — and those who worship the extraordinary.
The hatch matchers are often severe trout anglers. They carry flies tied to mimic a selected bug at a selected second in its life. These anglers carry packing containers full of flies that imitate hatching bugs, egg-laying bugs, larval bugs, almost-dead bugs, long-dead bugs and bugs caught in the course of life and demise.
The extraordinary anglers are sometimes bass addicts — or the mossy-backed, always-damp steelhead maniacs. A well-made bass popper seems to be like one thing from a Fifties comedian guide about evil invaders from area.
And the trendy faculty of steelhead flies — with snaky, articulated shanks festooned with lengthy hackles and dangly, wiggly legs — appear like the creepy, fanged fish that prowl the darkest depths of the ocean.
I attend each faculties, however I’m extra of a hatch matcher with regards to choosy, wild trout, that are my favourite fish to pester. Nothing beats kneeling in shallow water and dropping a dimension 18 Pale Morning Sparkle Dun to a choosy brown trout feeding on dimension 18 Pale Morning Duns.
However then got here the Moodah Poodah.
What the Hell?
I found the Moodah Poodah — or did it uncover me? — whereas rummaging by way of the fly bins at Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, Montana. This store is the chopping fringe of hatch-matching trout fly design, and I shamelessly copy their creations.
The Moodah Poodah, a wild combination of froth, rubber legs and artificial yarn, nearly jumped out of the bin into my hand.
“What is that this factor?” I requested Katherine Robinson, one of many store gurus.
“It’s a Moodah Poodah, and it really works,” she stated. “It may very well be a hopper, a beetle, a moth — a lot of buggy issues.”
I seemed on the fly, which truly was invented within the trout-addled minds at FlyFishFood.com. It appears sure that sure herbs had been smoked — or very rusty water sipped — when this fly was born.
Then once more, I recalled discovering the Chaos Hopper in a Blue Ribbon Flies bin years and years in the past. The Chaos Hopper imitates a grasshopper all proper — as seen by way of the fevered thoughts of Salvador Dali. On the water, the Chaos Hopper floats and wiggles like the actual factor, and the sparse foam physique bobs by way of uneven water, even after a number of fish chewings.
So, why not the Moodah Poodah?
Welcome to the Machine
I purchased Moodah Poodahs in tan and screaming purple — if you happen to can’t run with the craziness, don’t trouble. Twenty minutes later, I used to be wadered up on the banks of the Madison River in Yellowstone Nationwide Park.
It was a blustery mid-September afternoon, and Yellowstone Nationwide Park was simply coming off the height of 1 most wonderful grasshopper infestations in years. The meadows had been alive with hoppers from late summer season on — in some locations, it seemed like the bottom was shifting — and the trout dialed into them quick and infrequently.
Bother was, the height catching was in all probability a pair weeks earlier. Some actually good fly anglers hang-out the Madison, they usually know what to do throughout hopper season. By now, many of the trout within the river — principally resident fish, with a couple of early fall runner browns and rainbows — had gotten a crash course in fashionable hopper design for days on finish.
Nonetheless, the nice and cozy wind gusted although the grass, so why not attempt to discover a sluggish learner? I sat on the grassy financial institution and watched hoppers flush and clatter into the river. Little trout eagerly whacked the struggling bugs, however the bigger fish rose slowly and intently examined the wiggling naturals. They rejected many of the actual bugs.
Certain, they needed them, however they had been cautious.
After watching all this for a couple of minutes, I eased into the Madison and slowly minced my means by way of a maze of sunken weedbeds. My vacation spot was a deep slot towards the far financial institution, and the easiest way to fish it was to edge out simply previous the center of the river after which use a downstream attain solid to plop the fly alongside the far financial institution.
Breaking Guidelines and Getting Fortunate
Just a few years in the past, this spot taught me so much. The trout had been used to feeling anglers stumbling as much as the undercut financial institution and casting their hoppers and beetles upstream. I spooked extra paranoid browns and rainbows than I fooled.
Truly, I didn’t idiot any fish. However I realized to take a seat, watch and take into consideration issues.
Then I attempted slowly, slowly, slowly crawling my means by way of the tall grass to the undercut financial institution. I solely scared the large fish once I did this.
Lastly, I attempted slowly wading to the center of the river from the roadside financial institution, utilizing the various weedbeds for canopy. It takes about 20 minutes to wade 20 yards. I began hooking a couple of fish.
On today, I simply hoped to see what one of many large browns would do on the sight of the Moodah Poodah.
My first solid plopped the fly about six inches from the trailing grass of the undercut. Nothing.
The following solid caught on the grasses — after which slid off and into the present.
All of a sudden, a giant brown appeared underneath the fly. It was sort of like watching a ghost seem in a horror film.
The trout backed down with the fly for a couple of seconds —after which sank into the inexperienced depths.
I waited a few minutes and popped one other solid in there. The fly slowly bounced downstream, as I fed line to stretch out the drift. I bungled one mend, and the fly dragged for a second or so earlier than it went again to a useless drift. That second or two of drag made the fly dig into the present after which pop again, identical to a little bit bluegill popper.
Then a giant, noticed head appeared. When the pinnacle dropped again into the water, my fly was gone. I set the hook, and the trout dug for the undercut in flashes of buttery brown and yellow. The previous Ross Gunnison buzzed as line vanished in lunging surges.
After some extra tug and pull — which spooked different good trout out of the opening — I slid the brown onto a semi-submerged weedbed for a fast picture. My coronary heart rattled round in my chest. This was my first runner of the autumn, and it got here on a floating fly.
Driving That Little Chug
I want I might inform you how intelligent I used to be, however most of this was sheer luck. Discovering the Moodah Poodah, which was simply bizarre sufficient — and new sufficient — to draw choosy, fished-over trout was fortunate.
Being on Yellowstone’s Madison River within the fall is all the time a fortunate factor.
And that little little bit of unintended stop-and-go drag — sort of a chug — acquired that whacked-out fly quivering at simply the best time.
I hit my favourite hopper/beetle spots on the Madison, Gibbon and Firehole rivers through the subsequent few days, till a chilly snap turned many of the hoppers into shriveled corpses.
I’m no genius, however I knew that little, ripply chug made the Moodah Poodah a residing factor to some good fish.
I didn’t wallop on the trout, however I caught sufficient good fish — particularly brown trout — on windy afternoons to make me actually comfortable.
I additionally realized that the Firehole is rising some large browns lately.
All it took was the Moodah Poodah, grass-rippling winds, sneaky wading, and a little bit little bit of leg-wiggling drag.
After a couple of days of this, I walked again into Blue Ribbon Flies and confirmed Katherine a pair photographs.
“Moodah Poodah,” she stated. “Moodah Poodah.”