Here is the April Fools story I wrote. It generated a couple of 'pithy' comments, and some folks even claimed to have started to tie it. I suppose putting 30+ components on a #22 didn't raise an eyebrow at first!! By the way, "Fower" is the old-English spelling of 'four', an obvious reference then, to four one, or April 1.
The Fower One by George BruzenakTo my fellow fly fishing and tying friends --- I apologize in advance for the length of the following, but I need some help. In early March of this year I took a day off and drove to a small Colorado river (I will not tell you the name for fear of seeing hordes there the next time I go). This river is home to cuts, bows, browns, and brookies, and there are some stretches that hide greenbacks. It is close enough to home to reach in a hour or so but hidden so only the locals access it. As I set up to fish, I noticed an older, gray-haired fellow move to a fallen log. We greeted each other amiably while he took off his old Duluth pack and set it down. He opened the pack and took out a small tying kit. I could see that the kit contained a few pieces of material and a small box of hooks. He took a good, long, hard look at the stream, sat down, and began to tie a fly. I did my normal thing, putting my rod together, pulling on waders , and tying on a searching nymph (Prince, I think). I waded out and began casting to a few holding lies. I occasionally glanced over at the old fellow, who continued tying. I guessed he was tying several, since almost an hour had gone by. I had a touch or two on the nymph, but nothing solid, which was not unusual for this stream. I was tying on my third or fourth offering when the old gent finally entered the water, moved to within 20 feet of the very same hole I had pounded, and made his first cast. The fly just barely touched the water when a 20" cut whacked it hard enough to quiet the crows cackling in the pines. He landed the fish expertly and released it. The next cast was within 6" of the bank. The fly landed, and I swear I saw a torpedo launch from 25 feet downstream straight for the fly. The hump in the water hit that fly with a splash that wet rocks 10 feet up on the bank. Again, the old fellow landed the fish (an 18" brown) and released it. During the next hour, I watched as my fellow angler caught fish after fish, rarely casting more than twice to a spot before another hit. I caught nothing, receiving not even a touch. When the old fellow finally returned to the log and sat down, I did the same. Curiosity and maybe the hope of learning something new appealed to me. We began to talk, and I questioned him about his luck. I swear upon all that is near and dear to us FF'ers that what you are about to read is the absolute truth. He explained to me that the fly he was using was a pattern handed down to him from his father, who got it from his father, etc., etc., all the way back to his distant predecessors in England. It was a hidden family jewel that was not to be given to anyone else. The old gent confided in me that he did have two sons, but neither of them had ever shown any interest in picking up a rod, much less hand-tying a fly. He therefore had no one to pass the fly to. Thinking quickly, I asked if I could watch him tie one. He looked at me for a longish time (you could see that he was considering the idea), and with a particular stern set to his lips, nodded yes. He opened his kit and began to tie. I pulled out my fishing logbook, and took down the following notes as fast as I could, recording his comments. He said the fly should be called by it's Old English name, "Fower One". Now, tying this fly does break the old, unwritten rule that no fly should take longer than five minutes to tie, but this one is worth it. Noticing that I did not have a kit of my own with me, the old man offered me one he had just tied on a #22 and said "go to it." For the next hour, I caught every fish within one hundred yards ---cuts, browns, greenbacks, and even a chub or two. Feeling really good and thinking that I had found "the secret of FF'ing", I attempted a long cast. A gust of wind caught the line and the fly ended up in a tree branch about 30 feet above my head. Of course, the tippet broke when I tried to pull the fly loose. At this mishap I looked back to the shore, and the old fellow had disappeared. Now, I have been back to that stream several times since and have not seen the old coot again. Also, I have used every tool I can think of, and short of cutting the d____d tree down, have not been able to retrieve that fly. It is still there. But not being constrained by any restrictions on passing the pattern on, and, in the interests of serving my fellow FF'ers, I offer the following dressing for the "Fower One". The Fower One Hook: #20-22, 2XS, 1XF, Up-eye (should be Jappaned) Thread: Primrose silk, 10/0 Tag: Primrose silk, 10/0 Tip: Flat silver tinsel Tail: 8 (#20) or 6 (#22) Badger Hackle Tips, matched Tail Topping: Jungle Cock fibers, trimmed to 1/2 length of Tail Butt: Emu herl, pure black only Aft Rib: Flat gold tinsel, to form 8 abdominal sections Abdomen: 4-section red floss, with the third section removed Trailer: Chukar partridge hackle, length to just touch the Butt Center Joint: Ostrich herl, light brown Forward Rib: Flat brass tinsel, to form 3 prothoraxial segments Thorax: Dubbed beaver, natural with long guard hairs pulled out Under Wing: Black dyed maribou Upper Wing: Lemon wood duck (NOT dyed mallard!) Strip: Rabbit strip dyed red, length just slightly shorter than Under Wing and should reach the end of the Tail Topping. Topping: Golden pheasant tail tips Shoulder: Hungarian partridge (oval gray with eye-markings) Cheek: Blue pheasant ($$, but absolutely necessary) Rear Hackle: Cree, collar style Front Hackle: Ginger, beard, tied to just touch barb Head: Spun deer hair clipped small. Best deer hair comes from along the Letort River. The deer hair should be taken in October. The only legal way to do this is to harvest road kill since the hunting season occurs in November. The old gent made several comments about "tying sparsely" when tying the Fower One. I have been trying to tie this fly myself, but not being an expert have had little luck. I would certainly appreciate it if one of you experts would tie one and send it to me. Just one ------before I go back and cut that d____d tree down.