Because so many people have aced my last couple Fly Talk quiz questions, I thought I should reach deep into my bag of tricks and try to stump you. Well, I did. That’s not to say that some of your answers weren’t perfectly reasonable strategies that probably would have worked. But nobody got exactly what I was thinking.

So let’s quickly review [the “Spooky Sipper” challenge](http:// spooky-sipper)). You’re fishing clear, slow water. You have three target fish in a line, spaced apart. You see them. They aren’t sucking down dries, they’re sipping emergers. This isn’t a mayfly hatch. You punt the first fish because you spook it with an indicator splashing. You punt the second fish, because you threw a Chernobyl Ant in March, and even a trout’s brain is large enough to comprehend that there are no grasshoppers in March.

To catch the third fish, you should do this…

… “gink and sink” a midge emerger. I’d go with a Black Beauty (maybe a Zebra Midge).

You use that dry fly floatant from your vest (or chest pack) to grease your tippet (so it floats) to about 12 inches above your fly. On that last 12 inches of tippet, you coat the tippet with sinking goo to drag the fly down. The transition point where the gink meets
the sink will cause a pronounced dimple where your tippet bends through the water surface. You watch that dimple. (That’s now your indicator.) When the dimple breaks form, you set the hook, because you got bit.

John Flick of Duranglers ( showed me this many years ago, not far from the Texas Hole on the San Juan River in New Mexico. It’s a technique some call “smutting” and its origin dates back to the chalk streams of England. Do it right, and your angle of approach doesn’t have to change (you still fish downstream-up, at the
fish), nor does your leader length matter (you still want about the standard 9 feet).

Tippet size should be 5X or smaller, but that’s not the make-or-break factor either. It’s all about the drift, and making a little emerger fly ride through the strike zone, just below
the surface… alone and natural.

Because I am now feeling smug for having stumped you… and because I have a big heart… I will award not one, but three copies of the Little Red Book of Fly Fishing (in about two months, when it’s out) to the following commenters:

Outsider, because I am from Pennsylvania, and I miss my Yuengling (I’m a Black & Tan man)…

fflutterfly, because you said “love ya” despite seeing through my shameless self-promotion efforts…

and sduprey, because you didn’t
criticize my casting, got the midge hint, landed on the “smaller is better” strategy, and you shunned the indicator.

Hit me at with your respective addresses, and I will get you each a copy of the book as soon as I can. If you want it signed (devalued), let me know.