Insects, blue lines and bedtime stories

Casting about for a suitable topic for the Bleak Mid-Winter Edition of Tangled Lines, I decided it is far too early to write the traditional “tackle fondling” column.

And because it has not been very good fishing weather, I can’t regale the customers with timely tales of angling derring-do.

Instead here are some odds and ends that have been rattling around in the Tangled Lines master file for a while.

DRAGONtail Tenkara is an outfit in Idaho that has a very nice line of fixed-line fly rods and accessories. I have been very happy with the Mizuchi triple zoom rod (and its heftier cousin, the Mutant), and last year when they announced they were bringing out a fiberglass/carbon fiber model designed for the small brook trout streams I favor, I got on board early.

I got my Foxfire rod last fall, and tried it out immediately in a suitably squirrelly Catskill stream.

The rod’s three lengths are 200 cm (six and a half feet), 245 cm (eight feet) and 280 cm (nine feet and change). Because it is mostly fiberglass, it has a pretty slow action.

I experimented with lines and while it handles a furled line just fine, I think the sweet spot is 3.5 level fluorocarbon.

It’s long enough to take on a bigger stream (like the Blackberry in North Canaan) and short enough for working in cover on one of our little blue lines. And at $150 at a pre-order price (delivery in mid-February, so not too long to wait) it’s a steal;

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has published its brook trout plan. (You can see the plan at www.

It’s a lengthy document and while lacking in the rhetorical flair that has made Tangled Lines an international phenomenon*, there is lots of good, hearty stuff in it.

However, I must state that I am not at all sanguine about efforts to publicize locations of streams containing wild brook trout. I have no problem with continuing to list the ones already in the state angler’s guide, but I think it is a genuinely bad idea to add those unnamed little blue lines. It only takes a couple of uninformed anglers to do serious damage.

Finally, everybody should get themselves a copy of Dave Whitlock’s “Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods” (The Lyons Press, 1992, $22.95).

This large-format paperback explains what all the bugs are and what they do, and has excellent drawings of said bugs in their various stages of life.

Nor does it neglect crayfish, leeches and baitfish. And it has fly recipes for those who tie.

There are not a lot of laughs in this book, but for those nights when the housebound angler digs an extra blanket out of the old oak chest, a session with Whitlock’s insects is good insurance for pleasant dreams.


*I got a fan email from a guy in England once, and somebody spotted a Tangled Lines on the bulletin board at a fly shop in Wyoming last year.

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