Posted on February 15, 2012 by Administrator you will have to scroll downg
Our little group had now grown to three with a local youth by the name of Chad See joining us most evenings . It was evident from the beginning that this one had potential and we both adopted him almost immediately . So there we were , sitting on the tailgate of Ken’s truck , night after night , drinking Gin (Coke for Chad , he was 15 at the time ) from plastic cups and discussing the need for even smaller flies . Not just slightly smaller than our #28′s but substantially so ….. The search began . Chad took to the internet and I started to canvas fly shops around the country in seach of the (in our eyes) legendary , eyeless , gold Mustad 277′s #32 which hadn’t been produced in years . Most people you talked to claimed to have seen them , some claimed they used to have them , alot of them claimed to know somebody that used to have them (and still might) and ALL of them thought we were crazy for even wanting such a thing !
Chad found a fellow that shipped him 1/2 dozen handmade #32′s (from Europe I believe it was ) ! Unfortunately they were like 10x long 32′s . Still it was progress . So many promising leads , so many dead ends . It started to feel like we were searching for the Loch Ness monster or the Holy Grail only tougher …… Finally lightening struck ! A buddy from the Jackson River called one morning to say he had found 2 packs of 100 at a little tackle shop in Covington , Virginia and asked if I still wanted them . YES !!!! They arrived a few days later and I ripped the package open ill prepared for the reality of a true #32 ……
The hook on the inside of the now familar Tiemco 518 #32 is the Mustad 277 #32 ! The scale is in millimeters !
None the less patterns were tied and it was off to the river with the new secret weapons …. Success !! Well …sort of ……The trout were indeed feeding on the little white things as we suspected , they took the 32′s as innocently as they had the hackle midges a number of years before but all the better fish simply pulled loose ! The little hook got enough of a bite to hold some of the 8″- 10″ fish (with the best to hand around 13″ ) but every single hookup with a fish larger than that resulted in a long release . Hmmm… you would have thought that successfully completing the search for the Holy Grail would have brought better results …..
So that was that . It sure looked like the end of the road . Enter Ed Koch ….
Ed Koch was one of the true legendary anglers that came out of the limestone streams in south central Pa . His book “Fishing the Midge” is what got me started tying and fishing tiny flies in the 1st place . He was not however somebody I thought I would ever have the chance to fish with any more than I would have the chance to trade guitar licks with Clapton ! Funny how things work out …. He visited the little mountain town of Helvetia with his wife , had dinner at ”The Hutte” where the subject of fly fishing in the area came up . The owner gave him the business card of my friend Sam Knotts (an excellent guide) who he subsequently called . Sam knowing of my plight mentioned it to Ed who then gave him his number and said”have him call me” . So I did !
From the 1st minutes I felt completely at ease talking with Ed though I had to talk myself into making the call . We talked about the Elk and our problem and he said “I have something new to bring you , well actually a couple things” . A week later he pulled into the Trout Ranch , introduced himself and handed me a little bag ….. Inside were a dozen of the 1st run of Tiemco 518 #32′s and a spool of 10 X Varivas . Neither was available commercially yet . It was like Christmas ! Flies were tied and off to the river we all went . The 15″ brown tips up , he takes , got the set and …..he is still hooked ! The new 32′s worked great . He stayed a few more days that 1st time and left with a promise to round up more hooks for us . One week later a box arrived with the inscription “care package for Dave , Ken and company” and inside were 2 packs each of #30 & #32 hooks (100 hooks per pack) , several spools each of 9X and 10X and a note saying simply “enjoy” ! More flies were tied that day and that evening it was down to the Angle Hole with Ken …
About 10 minutes into the evening the old man hooked what was obviously a big fish and brought it to net pretty quickly . I yelled across the river “looks like a good one ” to which he replied “right at 24″s ” . Nothing out of the ordinary as he caught plenty of fish that size or larger . Later at the truck having our nightly gin and discussion session I asked what pattern he was using and he told me it was the #30 gray larvae I had tied him then continued to say that the 10X really worked well . A couple plastic cups of gin later it occurred to me that I had witnessed history ! To the best of my knowledge the old man was the 1st person EVER to use 10x tippett to land a 20″ or larger trout on a #30 or smaller fly ! 10 – 20 -30 Club , membership 1 .
So there you have it . Dues were paid (several years of struggle and learning) , there were bylaws (rules governing hook , fish and tippet size ) , meetings (literally hundreds of get togethers on the river) and definitely a few odd rituals practiced repetitively (ever watch someone net an eddy in the dark ? ) . Over the years there have been perhaps a dozen members that I am aware of join the club but there will only ever be one who was 1st …..
See you on the river !