I hope you enjoy this tutorial on "The Gill Tickler". There are many similar flies out there and I don't pretend to be the first one to tie one like it. This is my version. There are a couple of tips i'll share here just in case you didn't catch them in the video. The first is to cover your thread with dubbing when wrapping in the tail. This will help grip it and keep your thread from cutting it. The second is to make sure you bring along a good set of forceps when you fish this fly, it isn't called "The Gill Tickler" for nothin'.
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Drifting isn't just about fly fishing, or rivers for that matter. The word drift implies constant change, ceaseless movement. It's the same in life. We move from one phase to the next, each with its own set of challenges and rewards. Recently I have found myself drifting. Drifting back towards the place where my fly fishing life all started. Light weight rods, a patch of water anywhere I can find it, and a handful of simple bugs to do the job. It seems these days I am very content to ease into a small stream and just let myself drift. Let my soul, my heart, and my mind.... drift.
I recently had the opportunity to finally meet Cameron Mortenson of The Fiberglass Manifesto . As I'm sure you know, Cameron deals in all things fiberglass. I had messaged him many times over the past couple of years seeking his advice when I began looking for a light glass rod that would be matched to my local waters. He was eager to usher me in the right direction. Sorta like a dealer to a suffering addict.
Recently Cameron highlighted a one day sale on the Cabelas CGR rods on his blog, and I jumped. A beautiful little olive glass rod showed up a few days later. I had an old Martin 63 fly reel in my tying desk and rigged her up with a fresh 4 wt line. I messaged Cameron and, we quickly agreed a formal testing of the new glass rod was imminent. I had the perfect little place in mind. As I worked through the week my mind constantly drifted to summer afternoons spent crawling its banks, and wading through its deep pools. Low and slow...thats what I needed. Like good southern BBQ, this couldn't be rushed.
We stepped out into the stream on the afternoon of the afore mentioned meeting. It was obvious that both of us were still wearing the long week and very eager to baptize ourselves in the cool waters of this nameless flow and wash it all away. We talked and caught up like old friends as we rigged and readied the rods. I pointed to a deeper run in the creek and remarked that it usually held a few fish. Cameron wasted no time. After a few swings he was rewarded with one of the gems of my local haunt. The Bartram's Redeye Bass. This was the fish I had hoped to show Him. The one I had hoped we could add to his long list of fish caught on glass. The mutual admiration at the accomplishment of this task cut us loose, and set us adrift. As the afternoon turned into evening, the talking quieted. We moved to different areas and were both deeply concentrating on the task at hand. While redbreasts are often eager and willing players, this afternoon was a little different. They wanted our little bugs drifted. Dead drifted. The silence was intermittently broken with laughs and the sound of line ripping off of the water. It was a fine evening, for a good #SouthernDrift.