Sunday, December 9, 2012

Phatagorva, Temple Dogs and the Evolution of the Classic Atlantic Salmon Fly

The evolution of the classic salmon fly

The Phatagorva is a derivative of Håkan Norling's famous Temple Dog-style of tube fly. Mikael Frödin, a close associate of Norling, created this variation, which might be the most popular variation of the original Temple Dog. To me, the Phatagorva is perfect for cold, high and stained water. If ever I'm fortunate enough to fish for big, bright, early season Restigouche River salmon, I will have some Temple Dogs with me (tradition be damned).

Why I like fishing Temple Dog-style flies:

I.  The wings are incredibly soft and mobile. I tend to tie mine on the sparse side with relatively little flash. I think I get a lot more action out of the fly that way. Also, there is not a lot of material to get waterlogged and heavy (like bunny strips).

II.  These flies are hypnotic in the water. I am often transfixed by how they seem to flutter, dart and shimmer when swimming. I frequently find myself holding the fly in the current and watching how it moves.  How could a fish not be attracted to this?

III.  Big fly, small hook...sure beats using a fly tied on a size 2/0+ double.

Why I like tying Temple Dog-style flies:

There is no better example of the classic Atlantic salmon fly's evolution than the Temple Dog style of tube flies. All the components of the classic salmon fly are present, only modernized in terms of both materials and construction.

Instead of flat tinsels we have braids. Instead of golden pheasant crest tails, we have Fluoro Fiber. Instead of seals fur or pigs wool, we have Ice Dub. The body construction is very similar to that of a classic salmon fly, however.

The same goes for the wing. In my opinion, these flies are modern versions of the classic "built/mixed wing" salmon fly. Flash is tied within layers of a soft fur wing, then brushed to mix together. Material such as temple dog, finn raccoon and/or arctic fox have replaced stiff, lifeless (and expensive) feathers such as bustard and swan.

There's a great trio album by jazz pianist Marcus Roberts called "Time and Circumstance." The track "Exploration" features drummer Jason Marsalis, one of my all time favorite soloists. In this particular solo, Marsalis plays a couple of classic New Orleans rhythms, then proceeds to rhythmically tweak them in a way that would make a traditional jazz musician's head spin. He has one foot in the past and one foot in the future. That's a combo which can't be beat. That's the Temple Dog...one foot in the past and one foot in the future.



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