By Anthony Bartkowski
Two weeks into the NFL season and I have yet to claim any monies from the office football pool. Philly’s miserable outing on Monday left me just shy of at least earning my entry fee back. I even picked 11 games correctly each week. I am going to follow the request of Evan, a dedicated Fflogger follower, to give it the GOOD TROUT FLY CHALLENGE.
Having attended the Fly Fishing Retailer Show in Denver and gathering some catalogs and samples from the major fly manufacturers, I will pit some of these hot looking patterns against some traditionals. I have not had the time to fish these new dandies, but this weekend I will be wetting a line with cold Rocky Mountain water.
This week’s picks are purely based upon inspection of the fly. If I happen to gather monetary winnings instead of ridicule, I may have to bribe Fflogger control to make this a weekly feature, and take my beatings for picking Notre Dame last Saturday.
A couple rhetorical questions…
Will any of the 10 current undefeated teams (2-0) eclipse the regular season record of 16-0 by the 1972 Miami Dolphins? This number will fall to eight as the 49ers battle the Steelers, and the Colts will be in a shootout with the Texans.
Will any of the 0-2 squads make the playoffs? A classic AFC East match-up will allow either the Dolphins or Jets to get one step closer to playing past December.
Week #3 Match-ups
Teams: Arizona Cardinals (1-1) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
****Flies: Red Zebra Midge at Purple Prince**
Two standard patterns that produce. The Purple Prince packs a strong strike and fished as an attractor will always come out on top. When in doubt tie on a Purple Prince and just wait.
Outcome: When in doubt always trust the prince no matter what color. It may be close in the trenches for a winner and sometimes a great defense is your best offense.
Teams: St. Louis Rams (0-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
****Flies: Rook’s Berry Nymph (blueberry blue) at Nemes’ Soft Hackle Partridge and Orange**
The Berry Nymph is new and stylish but appears to have just a little too much flash to be truly productive except for run-off. The Nemes’ Soft Hackle is another old school pattern.
Outcome: Flip a coin for your pick. It will be a close call with what one pulls in the most and I am leaning towards the soft hackle as it is traditional. The Bucs seem to be the confident choice.
Teams: San Francisco 49ers (2-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)
****Flies: Para Madame X Royal at Autumn Splendor**
It appears these two former Super Bowl Champions are back into the form of the 70s and 80s. How can you mess with new patterns with these two squads squaring off? Both the teams and flies are high output offenses. Both attract solid hits and will come out from the holding positions to pounce.
Outcome: If you are searching for big lurking trout toss the Autumn Splendor and strip it off the banks. The Para Madame X is a great attractor and usually starts out fast but will fizzle towards the end of the day. The Iron Curtain of yesteryear will come through with some amazing hits and pull out of the trophies.
Teams: Detroit Lions (2-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (0-2)
****Flies: Blue Damsel at Hi-Viz Olive Parachute Hare’s Ear**
The last few years this would be an easy pick, however the tide has turned towards the Lions’ favor. Most fishermen are going to pick the Hare’s Ear as a trusty pattern to pull fish to the surface, however I will lean towards the experimental Blue Damsel and throw the foam pattern from Brush Creek Flies as it just appears to be tasty enough for rivers with lakes nearby.
Outcome: This NFC match-up is one that can go either way. I almost have to look at the stats to see on a traditional pool picking method for this one, but with the Hare’s Ear being used as somewhat of a trusty fly I will lean on Detroit to maintain their offensive prowess to reach a 3-0 start for the first time since Barry Sanders last few years.
Teams: Miami Dolphins (0-2) at New York Jets (0-2)
****Flies: None at Any Caddis pattern.**
You can’t have a fly represent a fish that is already bait for other large monsters in the sea. On top of that, I still use the Squish The Fish mantra that is prevalent in all NFL cities when the Dolphins come to town. Just Google search “Squish the Fish” and to see for yourself. Throw a Caddis in Colorado from Mother’s day until the end of October and you will definitely find fish.
Outcome: Hands down, the Jets and Caddis’ take their first fish of the season.
Teams: Buffalo Bills (0-2) at New England Patriots (2-0)
****Flies: Blue Egg at Parachute Adams**
First off, I am a die-hard Bills’ fan through and through. I spent two seasons as an intern during their glory years of the 90s, and the last six are still rebuilding for another run for the Lombardi Trophy. Now that the spy-tape crisis is old news you just can’t go wrong with one of America’s forefather’s patterns – the John Quincy Adams Parachute. It does not really matter what time of year it is, the Para Adams will pull up winners. The Blue Egg is just a simple match for the start of the Bills season – Goose Egg and two. Don’t count the blue egg out in the winter seasons. This is trusty when the snow flies as well as the Buffalo Bills as they round the wagons later in the season.
Outcome: Spy-Tapes will not need to be implemented against the staggering Bills this week. The season is too new and the weather too warm for a Blue Egg. If it is overcast, throw on the Para Adams and get ready for a fun day of rising fish.
Teams: Minnesota Vikings (1-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-2)
****Flies: Pyscho Purple Prince at Red Asher**
My thought for this one is real simple. Tie both flies on about 10 inches apart and see what happens. There is no crystal ball willing to provide a logo of anything identifiable.
Outcome: Flip a coin, cross your fingers and hope you are right.
Teams: Indianapolis Colts (2-0) at Houston Texans (2-0)
****Flies: Zebra Copper John at Umpqua New Sloan’s Outrigger Yellow Sally**
The new kids on the block are turning heads and it is not just in Texas. The new Umpqua fly is impressive, and with the number of Texans that visit Colorado we should be able to push this fly onto them regularly. The Colts are coming off a Super Bowl victory and picked right up where they did last year even after free agency. You have to give the Colts a strong pattern as it is always reliable to toss in the water.
Outcome: Can you say hopper/dropper? What a better way to determine the favorite fly of choice. With Sloan’s pattern adding a foam underbody/tail you will be able to fish this strong summer pattern with a larger dropper. Being a strong supporter of hopper/dropper fishing, you know that the dropper is going to pull more fish. The Colts may be challenged but will improve to 3-0 and may be our only team this year to challenge the 1972 Dolphins perfect mark.
Teams: San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Green Bay Packers (2-0)
****Flies: A.K.’s PMD Quill at Colorado Green Drake**
Both strong producers. One has subtle hits, one has voracious tugs. Finesse vs. Power. This is the description of both the teams and the flies.
Outcome: Lambeau Field, Vince Lombardi Legacy… I would always pick a Green Drake over a PMD any given day. This is not an easy pick as I do enjoy fishing both patterns, but always enjoy watching a trout crash the surface for the drake. Packers eek out a victory.
Teams: Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
****Flies: Red Copper John at LaFontaine’s Caddis Larva**
Based on flies only there is only one choice – Barr’s Red Copper John.
Outcome: The Copper John is still flashy much like Chad Johnson, but has the stamina of Chris Palmer to come out on top. The Caddis Larva is only good for a short period of time, and the Seahawks do not have the durability. Bengals will look to rebound after giving up 51 points last week.
Teams: Cleveland Browns (1-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-2)
****Flies: Chernobyl Ant at Disc O’Beetle**
Throw foam or go home… Both squads were offensive moguls last week, however a timeout at the last second left the Raiders pondering what they did wrong. The Browns showed they can let the other team score. I am a foam believer and will toss a variety. You can’t go wrong with either pattern.
Outcome: Grab a co-worker and play rocks, papers, scissors for your pick. Do the same on the river in July and August.
Teams: Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) at Denver Broncos (2-0)
****Flies: Barr’s Natural Slump Buster at Platte River Special**
A true battle of streamers. Both have been tested during the early part of the year and will one show any true domination as in previous seasons. Both streamers are effective. I love both and find myself arguing about final selection.
Outcome: Denver is at home and has an altitude advantage and should squeak out another lucky victory.
Teams: Carolina Panthers (1-1) at Atlanta Falcons (0-2)
****Flies: Egan’s Rainbow Warrior at Craven’s Poison Tung**
No offense to either fly author. The Atlanta Falcons had their trouble over the off season – Dogface Vick. Carolina has stumbled coming into 2007. Both flies are capable of pulling in fish but tend to be either on or off, much like the Trico hatch in Elevenmile Canyon.
Outcome: The Rainbow Warrior pulls out the victory this week, and Atlanta should start to warm as the season progresses with a new gunslinger.
Teams: New York Giants (0-2) at Washington Redskins (2-0)
****Flies: Smoot’s Bloddy Mari at Red Ass Soft Hackle**
NFC East showdown in the capital. I have never fished Smoot’s Bloody Mari, however it resembles the New York City team almost perfectly. It has that New York City swagger and flash, but the durability looks questionable much like Eli Manning’s pass protection. Joe Gibbs has put together a strong showing of super stars but will they be able to keep up the teamwork.
Outcome: Solely based upon fishing production, I will go with the Red Ass Soft Hackle for a slim margin of victory.
Teams: Dallas Cowboys (2-0) at Chicago Bears (1-1)
****Flies: Grey WD40 at Miracle Nymph**
This could be a high scoring output in the river and on the field. Both flies can produce fish but the Miracle seems to sputter off as the season moves on. The WD40 is solid but questionable at times.
Outcome: Cowboys and the WD40 provides another winning week in the Baetis infested waters of Colorado.
Monday Night Football
Teams: Tennessee Titans (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-2)
****Flies: Befus Wired Stonefly at Newbury’s Stinger Stone**
The city of New Orleans will be backing the Saints strongly and look for them to pull out the Red Fish to put the trout waters of Tennessee into a quiet back eddy. These could become the classic stoneflies of the future. If you have not seen them, take a look and don’t be shy in asking your fly shop to get them. I am a stonefly nut. They have always been a pleasure in latching into great fish.
Outcome: The pool is always settled on Monday night. I am basing my predictions that I will be in the money come Monday morning.
There it stands. Until Tuesday…