It is not uncommon for outdoor enthusiasts to want to create some kind of useful tool for their adventures.
In fact, it was this momentum that led a retail market to be inundated with everything from the right camouflage to the perfect fishing rod. Yet every great idea begins at home with a little ingenuity and a little elbow grease.
Tying flies is a perfect example of a common way of getting clever for the sake of the sport. Fly fishing alone is quite a learning endeavor, so including fly fishing in the mix only adds to the achievement of the sport. Any day of fishing is a good day, but doing it on a fly or a personally handcrafted lure will certainly increase memorization of the trip.
I must have been in my teens when I found myself fascinated with making decoys. Much like botany or the automobile, there is an endless wealth of information to work with, and no matter how familiar with the subject, there is always more to learn. It started with a read on hand carved decoys and led to some interesting experimental decoys which, while modest in design, were functional.
By leaps and bounds my favorite lure creation was lost in an epic battle with a magnificent northern pike. I have a knack for making what looks like a feather duster with the tail of every deer I treat (that could be a different story) and it turns out I had a few bushy little tufts of fur to work with, so I did it.
I filled in the hollow in the tail where the skeletal structure once resided with hot glue and properly sculpted cork, then placed a bright green jig head with an 8/0 hook attached through the cork. It was far from pretty and much more basic than the properly sanded and painted decoys that precede it, but it looked like it would do the job.
Excited to try out this monstrosity I had created and expecting the best, I heavily rigged one of the rods I typically use for salmon with a 30 pound test line. It was also my first attempt at trolling from a kayak, which I think is easier said than done. After about three quarters of the trip around the lake, it finally happened. Something big hit my handcrafted ponytail platform and hit it hard.
After what must have been 15 minutes of being dragged around the lake, I got the fish close enough to the boat to see a thick pike with lots of fighting to get my line out and swim with my craft project. The loss of the fish was harsh but the satisfaction of making a successful lure was worth it.