Now that fishing season is here, I have been out a few times and caught some brook trout, but mostly, I have started the season doing what I always do: toying with a new technique.
Every trout season I try to add something new to my fly-fishing repertoire. And, this year, it is strike indicator fishing. For those who are not fly anglers, a strike indicator is what spin fisherman would call a bobber. But only because they don’t know the difference.
The major difference is we associate bobbers with unsophisticated kids who don’t have the slightest clue why they are catching all those fish. A strike indicator, on the other hand, is used by fly anglers who know enough to leave the minute a kid with a bobber shows up.
A description detailing the design differences might also be in order.
A bobber is brightly coloured so you can see it, very buoyant, and round or tapered. Meanwhile, a strike indicator is, brightly coloured so you can see it, very buoyant, and tapered or round. Most importantly, however, it has a much more technical name, which clearly makes them a far more sophisticated angling tool.
Despite this, when asked, “What is the differencebetween a strike indicator and a bobber?” most fly fishermen will steer clear of the explanation I just gave and instead offer the standard answer. That being, “The difference between a bobber and a strike indicator is $4.99.”
And this is why I have avoided strike indicators for more than 40 years of fly fishing. You see,if you go to a fly-fishing shop and spend an extra $4.99 on what the untrained eye could easily mistake fora bobber, you are letting the sales staff know they’ve got a live wire. And then they are on to you like sharks on blood.
Heck, I heard a story of one fellow who walked into a fly-fishing shop with the intent of buying a single strike indicator. He left with a new rod, reel, waders, three fly lines, two full fly boxes, and a drift boat and trailer … and a strike indicator.
Having said that, I ordered a few strike indicators online this winter and thankfully that did not happen to me. Mostly because Jenn looked over my shoulder just in time to remove the new rod, reel, waders, three fly lines, two full fly boxes and a drift boat and trailer from my cart.
She also said, “Those are expensive. Why can’t you just use a bobber like all the other anglers?”
We did not talk for the remainder of the day.
In any case, I took someone new to fly fishing out for brookies on Saturday. It was getting late in our outing, and we had caught some fish when I paddled the canoe into a place that looked perfect for fishing a strike indicator rig. So, I set one up, handed the rod to her and she cast it by an old, downed tree that was laying in a shady spot beside a freshet that flowed into the lake.
And, wouldn’t you know it, a fish rocketed up from the depths, ignored the fly hanging below, and smacked the strike indicator hard. And then, confused I imagine, it left, never to be seen or heard from again.
The new angler looked at me and said, “I thought you said these strike indicator rigs were effective.”
I was at a loss for words – I mean, who would have thought a reputable fly shop would sell you bobbers?