It's both easy and unproductive in fly fishing to fall into the trap of repetitious oblivion, but President Jimmy Carter proves that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks. In his story "Tackling Taimen" in the Feb-Mar 2014 issue (on sale now) President Carter shares his observations on the people and culture of Mongolia, and of the giant salmonids there that feed on ducklings and muskrats.
But just as interesting may be the behind-the- scenes account of President Carter's trip as described by his guide Matthew Ramsey in his TwoDudes Blog (isabella.lqhome.com/wordpress/?p=513).
Like the rest of us, President Carter learned to fly fish with a single-handed rod, and when he arrived at Sweetwater Travel's fishing camp on the Eg River, that's what he had with him. Within a few hours, the wind and the size of the flies proved too much for a 9-foot 8-weight rod, so Ramsey offered President Carter a two-handed Spey rod.
"Even though he had never used one before, he took to it like, well, a fish to water," writes Ramsey of President Carter. "He instantly understood how to make a roll cast and water haul into a powerful overhead cast that soon
had him burping the reel and pulling out ever longer strips of line. He was like a kid in a candy store, and was clearly wondering where this rod had been all his life.
"One thing I learned is that you don't get to be President of the United States by being a wuss. This guy just turned 89, and I am not exaggerating when I say that he out-fished and out-efforted every other client at the lower camp this year. He would cast the entire 9-hour day, fish or no fish, with a grit and determination that was frankly intimidating.
And while some others in camp would grouse about the slow fishing, he truly relished the process and punishment of hardcore taimen fishing."
Obviously it's never too late to learn a new skill, or at least to consider new ideas, and while that's been the point of Fly Fisherman from the beginning, President Carter's flourish with the two-handed rod gives us all new inspiration and motivation.
The fly President Carter used the whole trip (and recommends) is Matthew Ramsey's Cyclops, a new addition to the Umpqua Feather Merchants catalog.
HOOK: Tiemco 600sp.
THREAD: White 140-denier.
TAIL: UV pearl Krystal Flash, Lateral Scale pearl (left side) SF Blend bucktail white, (right side) rainbow.
HEAD: (TOP) 2MM fly foam white.
(BELLY) XS Craft Fur Kingfisher Blue, Chartreuse, Burnt Orange, Olive, Wing n flash Ice Blue, XS Craft Fur Red, White
EYE: Sticker Eye prismatic silver ¼".
GLUE: SHOO GOO or Goop to cover thread and craft fur belly and eye.