Fly Tied By:
John "Gummie Bear" Dolan
By: Mark Zahn
Story By: John
been fishing for close to 50 years. As a youngster he began a
"love affair" with the Bois Brule River in northern Wisconsin.
He returns to fish the Brule with family and friends at least
once each year. At the time this story was written (November,
2001) John and his wife were celebrating their 31st
wedding anniversary! John is currently in public relations
with a local utility company.
"... the 'snag' moved
toward mid-river with an unhurried, steady pull...."
was fishing the infamous Outhouse Hole (often called the
$hi77er in disgust) on the North Platte River, Wyoming,
below Gray Reef dam with my fishing partner and close
friend, Mark Zahn (Paula of CNN fame's older brother). The
day was about ten years ago and I remember it as a clear and cold
December morning near Christmas. The fishing was slow, as you might
expect. Mark and I had rotated through the drift several times and
managed to pop a couple of mid-size fish (about 18 inches on the
Mark began dead drifting a Purple
Propeller Fly (a concoction he dreamed up probably after one too
many beers). Without much fanfare or even a shout; he just set the
hook on a snag.... Mark repeated shaking his fly rod, trying to
loosen the fly, when the "snag" moved toward mid-river with an
unhurried, steady pull. Typically, we fish 8-weights with 2 or 3X
tippets in the winter.... For about 40 seconds there was no give and
no changing of the fish's controlled movement... then the change of
direction and the downstream burst... the sudden stop... then
nothing... We guessed it was a BIG brown since it never came to the
surface.... Mark is an "expert" at catching suckers, and this was
definitely NOT ol' Bugle Lips....
Later, around New Year's Day, a
grandfather and his grandson were fishing about four miles
downstream with some spinning tackle and landed a 22-pounder (yes
twenty-two pounds) at the Lusby takeout.... Could it have been the
same fish??? Maybe.... I continue to carry a Purple Propeller Fly
that Mark gave me that day but I am afraid to use it in fear I might
lose it to a big brown....
-- John "Gummie Bear"
Purple Propeller Fly as tied by
Photo by Peter Frailey
Size 6 to 12, 4XL. Dai Riki 710 shown here.
Propeller: Flanked by small brass bead on each side
Thread: Black 3/0
Purple medium chenille
or black saddle hackle, counter wrapped, or substitute Canadian
blood mohair leech yarn
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