Category Archives: Michael Vorhis, Fly Fisher & Author

Burning Bright

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

There’s a new “big cat” loose in cold-water fisheries of the hemisphere, the healthy spawn of demons and angels. Just as rainbows and browns are known to cross-breed with salmon, even in the wild, the DNA of cagey and savage browns can also intermingle with char–in specific, the angelic “jewel of the headwater” char we call brook trout–to produce a fast-growing, aggressive and eminently hardy intergeneric hybrid cross-breed known as the Tiger.

And technically it’s not new, given that it occurs outside of labs. Browns don’t usually breed with other trout species in the wild–their life strategies, one critical aspect of which is the time of year they spawn, allow them to share habitat and still preserve the many advantages of their unique and diverse DNA. Salmo trutta, the species from which the many sub-species of brown trout and sea trout spring, can thus remain separate from western hemisphere “Oncorhynchus,” the genus of rainbows, cutthroat and the various goldens. (If brown genetics and other trout genetics do accidentally mix, the offspring will be sterile, which again safeguards DNA dilution.) However, on rare occasions, browns tango with brookies, who also spawn in autumn. The hybrid “tiger trout” (Salmo trutta × Salvelinus fontinalis) is the result when they do. more…

Obsession

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

It’s no Pulitzer scoop that fly fishing a trout stream can bewitch the mind. But as with dilemmas such as “What constitutes a cult?” and “What comes first, reason or belief?”, the question as to which aspects of a pursuit move it into the realm of “addiction” begs to be asked. For fly fishing relevance, I sometimes ponder this by inspecting other hobbies that tend to obsess, and tallying up the common characteristics.

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When listing sports obsessions, high on anyone’s speculated list would have to be golf; whether it grabs you or not, there’s no denying that millions are enslaved. Back in the mid-1400s the Scottish king had to ban the game for sake of national security–noblemen were shirking archery practice to instead whack little balls into holes in the turf, which didn’t bode well for the country’s prospects in ongoing wars with the English. But criminalization clearly had little effect. It’s likely that golf’s magnetism has a lot to do with the difficulty of the challenge…Churchill once described it as a game of putting “a very small ball into an even smaller hole, with weapons singularly ill-designed for the purpose.” And like slot machine theory, which maintains that the occasional bit of randomly occurring success keeps the addict coming back for more, a lucky whack of a golf ball that yields a long, straight, rising trajectory ignites the eternal belief that something new was figured out and that things will surely be different from that point on. more…

The Needleback Minnow – Part 2

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

Part 1 of this article promised four “tricks” and then laid the groundwork for a simple snag-resistant streamer based on the Daiichi 1770 “Swimming Nymph” hook. Steps 1 through 5 chose the hook, applied a unique float “bladder”in the right place, selected and affixed twin “underbelly” hair sections, and applied darker hair to represent the minnow’s back. Part 2 now takes that foundation and turns it into a great-looking minnow pattern.

As I said, for the back, I’ve even used grey yarn when I couldn’t find the hair color I wanted. A major problem with yarn is that its twist renders the strands too kinked for good streamer use. But here’s Trick #3: If you’re reduced to using knitting yarn, choose it well, then cut the length you need and unravel as best you can. Holding what you intend to use by both ends, pull until it’s straight and hold it in front of a hot hair dryer. Turn until all the fibers get toasty. (Wetting it first can help too.) The fibers should straighten out nicely, and then you can use them on your steamer. (I have little knowledge of the fine points of knitting yarn properties, but for color accent atop a streamer it seems to work well enough when the colors I want are not at hand. Just pay attention to whether the yarn you choose sinks or floats when water-logged–you need it to sink. Also look at its consistency to determine whether strands are likely to be lost in teeth and over time…no fashion-conscious trout would be caught dead chasing a balding minnow. If “Pseudo Hair” came in a medium grey I’d be all over it, but alas….) more…