John Merwin’s blog post the other day referenced a book by Pat Dorsey (Tying and Fishing Tailwater Flies). So I thought I’d follow up with an “On The Spot” interview I did with Pat at the recent International Sportsmen’s Expo in Denver.
Pat and I are old friends. In fact, back when we were in our early thirties, I was co-authoring a book on fishing guides, and Pat was one of our first “volunteer” subjects. He showed me Cheesman Canyon, the Williams Fork, and Dream Stream section of the South Platte in South Park. And he did it for gas money, despite the fact that we didn’t have a publisher committed or anything (it was an excuse to go fishing). The book turned out to be Castwork, which boosted my outdoor writing career. It’s out of print now, but you can read excepts at MidCurrent.
Pat is one of the best guides in the world. He makes his living whacking out trips on the highly technical rivers in and around Colorado’s Front Range. I don’t know anybody who has tailwater fishing more dialed than Pat does. You can fish any of Pat’s rivers, and recognize legions of “Dorsey Disciples,” just by watching how they fish (the brown Holly Twist yarn strike indicator is a dead giveaway). He’s an author of high esteem (if Merwin reads you, you’re doing something right). He’s one of the best fly pattern developers in the country (if you don’t carry things like Pat’s Rubber Legs and the Mercury RS2 in your box, you should). Most of all, he’s a heck of a good friend and a great guy.
Some of his “on the spot” answers might surprise you:
FlyTalk: What’s the one species of fish that you have never caught, that tops your bucket list?
Dorsey: Tarpon. I’m long overdue to catch a tarpon. And I can only imagine what that feels like.
FlyTalk: What’s the most common mistake you see anglers make?
Dorsey: Lack of observation and looking around you would be one of them. But I’d say that the number one mistake is lack of preparation. There are a lot of things you can do to make your fishing go well, before you ever get to the river.
FlyTalk: What’s the one piece of gear you carry that some of us would be surprised to discover.
Dorsey: A hook hone. I try to keep my flies as sharp as a (SOB). I don’t think a lot of anglers pay attention to that detail, but it matters when it comes to hooking and landing fish.
FlyTalk: What’s your goal for 2012?
Dorsey: To become a better angler, and a better steward for the environment. Ultimately, to be a better guide.
FlyTalk:** Of all the flies you’ve created, what’s your favorite, and what fly do you wish you created?
Dorsey:** The favorite fly I’ve made would have to be the Paper Tiger. And the fly I didn’t invent but wish I had is the Copper John. Who doesn’t wish they made the Copper John?