The Difference Between A Good Fisherman And A Great One ...

... Is Often No More Than A "BB"

I have never met an angler who doesn’t like or respect Pat Dorsey. For those of you who do not know Pat, he is, hands down, the “hot stick” guide on the trout rivers closest to Denver, namely the highly technical Cheesman Canyon section of the South Platte River, the “Dream Stream” section of the Platte (up in South Park), the Williams Fork of the Colorado (near Kremmling), and pretty much anywhere else he chooses to guide. He literally wrote the book on fly fishing the South Platte.

The fact that Pat is almost uniformly recognized as the best guide in one of the busiest trout fishing regions in America is tall praise. But despite all of that, he remains humble, hard working, and amazingly open with his “bag of tricks.” The most important lesson he ever shared came on a notoriously crowded day near Deckers – one of those days when conditions were challenging, the fish were stubborn, and the place was packed with so many anglers, we simply didn’t have the option of bouncing from one run to the next. We had to make due with the water right in front of us.

Pat tied on a double-nymph rig, with an RS2, and a “Black Beauty.” Three casts, and nothing. Pat suggested we add a “fuzz” more weight to the rig. A few more casts. Nothing. I suggested we switch flies … after all the run we were working was obviously holding fish. Maybe those trout didn’t like our flies. No, insisted Pat, we’ll add a little more weight. Several more casts. Nothing. He added yet another BB. And two casts later, we tied into a hefty brown trout. That fish had been there all along.

We never switched fly patterns. What we did was find the right weight balance that made those flies finally drop perfectly into the trout’s feeding zone. It was an offer the fish, ultimately, could not refuse.

“Weight,” said Pat, “is the most important factor when you are fishing with nymphs. I might cast 100 times with different flies, but if the weight isn’t right, it won’t work. When the weight is right, the fly will almost always work.”

Think about that the next time you’re frustrated at the edge of a run you know holds trout. Think about your weight, before switching fly patterns. It’s probably worth 10 weight adjustments before any single fly change … especially when you are casting at “educated” and challenging trout.

After all, explained Dorsey, “The difference between a good fisherman and a great one is often no more than a BB.”

--Kirk