I had just spent four terrific days in mid August as guests of Jim and Jane Hilchey of Campbell River. We fished for sockeye salmon in the ocean just north of their home on Friday and Monday and in between, took in the Campbell River PITA trap shoot! Even though 2002 has been a lean year for shooting wins, I did manage to win two events at this shoot so the salmon fishing really capped off a great weekend. In his younger days, Jim was a professional salmon guide and he proved that he had not lost his touch as we boated more than a dozen sockeye and pink salmon in the two days we fished! As well, the Hilchey's have a secret prawn fishing place where a single set produced about 300 delicious prawns. I just hope that they invite me back next year as I couldn't ask for a better long weekend trip to Vancouver Island.
Not wanting to overdue my stay, I headed south early Tuesday morning to my daughter's home at Cobble Hill, near the Cowichan River town of Duncan. However, before leaving Jim's area, I did a little searching and found the fisherman's parking spot at the Oyster River bridge a few minutes drive from Campbell River. I had heard that pink salmon were schooling at the river mouth and as I had brought a fly rod and chest waders, I was anxious to try a few casts before heading further south. After a pleasant walk through a shaded trail, I noticed a line of fishermen, mostly casting flies, working a stretch of the river just before it empties into the ocean. I tied on one of my radiant pink salmon flies and as luck would have it, I hit a fish on the first cast! My leader was still only four pound test from a previous trout fishing trip and I soon lost the active salmon. No problem, I thought to myself, I'll just tie on a similar fly and catch all kinds of fish! However, this didn't happen as I went fishless cast after cast for the next hour. I then moved closer to a group of fly fishermen who were catching and releasing fish at a great rate. I was near enough to over hear that they were using a green fly so I switched to a fly with a green body that I had in my flybox. Sure enough, I hooked a pink salmon and released it after a good tussle, but I still wasn't catching fish like my neighbours! I asked the fisherman next to me if I could have a look at his fly so that I could tie up some for a future fishing trip. To my absolute delight, he not only let me have a look, but he gave me an identical fly to the one he was using! I didn't get either the fisherman's name or the name of the fly so we will call it the Oyster River fly and at least on that bright summer morning, it produced pink salmon like no other fly! I will now share it with you as the topic of this month's fly tying article.
Attach a piece of silver tinsel and also a fine silver wire to the hook shank. Wind the tinsel forward hook bend to hook eye, followed by a rib of five or six turns of the silver wire. Cut a small clump of light green polar bear hair about twice the length of the hook shank. Mix in a small amount of blue polar bear hair and also three strands of green krystal flash. Tie down this mixed wing at the hook eye so that it flows back close to the fly body. The final step is to mix up some five minute epoxy to form a tear drop head just behind the hook eye. I normally prepare several flies before mixing the epoxy for efficiency reasons. After the epoxy dries, a touch of jet black craft paint on either side of the head will create very realistic eyes for your Oyster River pink salmon fly!
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