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Midwest Finesse

Bluegill Fly Fishing and Flies by Terry and Roxanne Wilson

by Ned Kehde   |  April 20th, 2013 0

I haven’t wielded a fly rod for many years. But since I read and wrote a review of Terry and Roxanne Wilson’s “Crappie Fly Fishing: a Seasonal Approach,” I have been enchanted with the art and science of fly fishing. And nowadays as I employ Midwest finesse tactics for largemouth bass, I think about how fly anglers, such as the Wilsons or their friend Dave Whitlock, would approach the largemouth bass lairs that I am probing. In my eyes, the Wilsons and their fly fishing insights have given me and other finesse anglers another perspective with which to analyze our piscatorial endeavors.

After I wrote about their crappie book and posted those words on In-Fisherman’s blog site on Mar. 25, I was motivated to read more of the Wilsons’ words about fly fishing, and straightaway I delved into their book about the pugnacious bluegill. This book is entitled “Bluegill Fly Fishing and Flies,” and I found it as alluring as their thoughtful discourse about fly fishing for crappie. What’s more, it is graced with a delightful and astutely written introduction by Dave Whitlock of Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Whitlock set the tone in the introduction by exclaiming: “I remember more vividly the first 12-inch bluegill I caught on a fly than the first 12-pound brown trout or12-pound largemouth bass. Why? Well, it’s like this, for me a bluegill that size was much more difficult to come by because it took me 34 years, while the big brown took only 23 years and the big bass 28 years.” He also noted that it was the bluegill, which he describes as “the great big, little fish,” that introduced him to manifold joys of fishing. And nowadays, whenever he hears, reads or sees anything about how, when and where to tangle with humongous bluegills, it receives his “undivided attention.”

In addition to utilizing Whitlock’s shrewd perspectives about fly fishing, the Wilsons, who live around Bolivar, Missouri, also included a charming quote from the late Chuck Tryon of Rolla, Missouri, who said: “Why do more people hang trophy trout, bass and muskies instead of trophy bluegills on their den walls? Because trophy trout, bass and muskies are easier to catch than trophy bluegills.”

The Wilsons’ book contains 151 pages of exquisite details about how, when and where to pursue bluegills with a fly rod. Moreover, it has a bibliography, index, 14 pages of colored photographs, 19 black-and-white photographs and many instructive illustrations.

There are 13 pages in their second chapter that deals with tackle and other accoutrements that fly anglers might or might not need. The Wilsons note that it can be a simple endeavor in which an angler will employ only “a rod, reel, line, leader and a handful of flies,” and they wrote lucidly about what kinds of rods, reels, lines, and leaders bluegill anglers should utilize. After they explore those four basic elements, the Wilsons took stock of the types of equipment that anglers might need during more sophisticated and zealous undertakings. Thus, they wrote about leader straighteners, floatants, magnifying lenses, float tubes, waders and other highbrow paraphernalia.

Chapters three and four stretch across 21 pages of grand descriptions about bluegill flies. Chapter three is entitled “Bully’s Bluegill Spider,” and it describes the ordeals that the Wilsons encountered when they attempted to create a fly that replicates a cricket. They failed to accomplish that task, but they ended up with a fly they call Bully’s Bluegill Spider, and they describe how to tie and fish it.

In chapter four, they explain how to tie topwater flies, which includes poppers, dry flies and terrestrials, wet and soft-hackle flies, nymphs, streamers, worms, crayfish and micro jigs.

Eighteen pages are devoted to explaining the kind of waterways that bluegill inhabit, and within the confines of these 18 pages, the Wilsons list the eight characteristics that constitute a preeminent bluegill fishery.

Chapters six, seven, eight and 10 focus on where to locate bluegills during the pre-spawn, spawn, post-spawn, summer, autumn, and winter. Within those chapters on the seasons, the Wilsons discuss various ways to present a fly to bluegill, but most of their discourse on the presentation of flies occurred in chapters 9 and 10. Chapter nine commences with a clever observation from Whitlock, in which he notes: “No matter how cleverly, cunningly these flies are tied, they’re only as effective as how well you place and animate them. You are the key to their ultimate effectiveness.”

In sum, the Wilsons’ two books have educated me about the subtle art of presenting a fly to a crappie or a bluegill. I learned much more than I expected when I began reading them. In sum, they have affected the way I employ our traditional Midwest finesse techniques, and I attempt to be as subtle with my finesse presentations to largemouth, smallmouth and spotted as the Wilsons are with a fly. Now, I am looking forward to reading the new edition of their “Largemouth Bass Fly-Fishing: Beyond the Basics,” which will be available in June.

Their bluegill book was published in 1999 by Frank Amato Publications, Inc. of Portland, Oregon, and it is still in print. Anglers can buy it at www.amatobooks.com for $16.95. Amato Books’ telephone number is 800-541-9498.

Here’s hoping a new printing or edition of their “Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing: a Practical Guide” is in the offing.

 

Footnotes

 

(1) To read about the Wilsons’ crappie book see http://www.in-fisherman.com/2013/03/25/fly-fishing-for-crappie-by-terry-and-roxanne-wilson/

 

(2) To savor the wisdom of Dave Whitlock see his Website at http://www.davewhitlock.com/

 

I haven’t wielded a fly rod for many years. But since I read and wrote a review of Terry and Roxanne Wilson’s “Crappie Fly Fishing: a Seasonal Approach,” I have been enchanted with the art and science of fly fishing. And nowadays as I employMidwestfinesse tactics for largemouth bass, I think about how fly anglers, such as the Wilsons or their friend Dave Whitlock, would approach the largemouth bass lairs that I am probing. In my eyes, theWilsonsand their fly fishing insights have given me and other finesse anglers another perspective with which to analyze our piscatorial endeavors.

 

After I wrote about their crappie book and posted those words on In-Fisherman’s blog site on Mar. 25, I was motivated to read more of theWilsons’ words about fly fishing, and straightaway I delved into their book about the pugnacious bluegill. This book is   entitled “Bluegill Fly Fishing and Flies,” and I found it as alluring as their thoughtful discourse about fly fishing for crappie. What’s more, it is graced with a delightful and astutely written introduction by Dave Whitlock ofTahlequah,Oklahoma.

 

Whitlock set the tone in the introduction by exclaiming: “I remember more vividly the first 12-inch bluegill I caught on a fly than the first 12-pound brown trout or12-pound largemouth bass. Why? Well, it’s like this, for me a bluegill that size was much more difficult to come by because it took me 34 years, while the big brown took only 23 years and the big bass 28 years.”  He also noted that it was the bluegill, which he describes as “the great big, little fish,” that introduced him to manifold joys of fishing. And nowadays, whenever he hears, reads or sees anything about how, when and where to tangle with humongous bluegills, it receives his “undivided attention.”

 

In addition to utilizing Whitlock’s shrewd perspectives about fly fishing, the Wilsons, who live around Bolivar, Missouri, also included a charming quote from the late Chuck Tryon of Rolla, Missouri, who said: “Why do more people hang trophy trout, bass and muskies instead of trophy bluegills on their den walls? Because trophy trout, bass and muskies are easier to catch than trophy bluegills.”

 

TheWilsons’ book contains 151 pages of exquisite details about how, when and where to pursue bluegills with a fly rod. Moreover, it has a bibliography, index, 14 pages of colored photographs, 19 black-and-white photographs and many instructive illustrations.

 

There are 13 pages in their second chapter that deals with tackle and other accoutrements that fly anglers might or might not need. TheWilsonsnote that it can be a simple endeavor in which an angler will employ only “a rod, reel, line, leader and a handful of flies,” and they wrote lucidly about what kinds of rods, reels, lines, and leaders bluegill anglers should utilize. After they explore those four basic elements, theWilsonstook stock of the types of equipment that anglers might need during more sophisticated and zealous undertakings. Thus, they wrote about leader straighteners, floatants, magnifying lenses, float tubes, waders and other highbrow paraphernalia.

 

Chapters three and four stretch across 21 pages of grand descriptions about bluegill flies. Chapter three is entitled “Bully’s Bluegill Spider,” and it describes the ordeals that theWilsonsencountered when they attempted to create a fly that replicates a cricket. They failed to accomplish that task, but they ended up with a fly they call Bully’s Bluegill Spider, and they describe how to tie and fish it.

 

In chapter four, they explain how to tie topwater flies, which includes poppers, dry flies and terrestrials, wet and soft-hackle flies, nymphs, streamers, worms, crayfish and micro jigs.

 

Eighteen pages are devoted to explaining the kind of waterways that bluegill inhabit, and within the confines of these 18 pages, theWilsonslist the eight characteristics that constitute a preeminent bluegill fishery.

 

Chapters six, seven, eight and 10 focus on where to locate bluegills during the pre-spawn, spawn, post-spawn, summer, autumn, and winter. Within those chapters on the seasons, theWilsonsdiscuss various ways to present a fly to bluegill, but most of their discourse on the presentation of flies occurred in chapters 9 and 10.   Chapter nine commences with a clever observation from Whitlock, in which he notes: “No matter how cleverly, cunningly these flies are tied, they’re only as effective as how well you place and animate them. You are the key to their ultimate effectiveness.”

 

In sum, theWilsons’ two books have educated me about the subtle art of presenting a fly to a crappie or a bluegill. I learned much more than I expected when I began reading them. In sum, they have affected the way I employ our traditional Midwest finesse techniques, and I attempt to be as subtle with my finesse presentations to largemouth, smallmouth and spotted  as the Wilsons are with a fly. Now, I am looking forward to reading the new edition of their “Largemouth Bass Fly-Fishing: Beyond the Basics,” which will be available in June.

 

Their bluegill book was published in 1999 by Frank Amato Publications, Inc. of Portland, Oregon, and it is still in print. Anglers can buy it at www.amatobooks.com for $16.95.

Amato Books’ telephone number is 800-541-9498.  Here’s hoping a new printing or edition of their “Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing: a Practical Guide” is in the offing.

Footnotes

 

(1)   To read about the Wilsons’ crappie book see http://www.in-fisherman.com/2013/03/25/fly-fishing-for-crappie-by-terry-and-roxanne-wilson/

 

(2)   To savor the wisdom of Dave Whitlock see his Website at http://www.davewhitlock.com/

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