Fly Fishing Initialisms

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Initialisms is a term coined in the late 19th century as a precursor to a more familiar term—Acronym. According to Merriam-Webster acronym did not appear until the 1940s. Regardless, most folks know what they mean, despite having a subtle difference in definitions. Take the first letters of any short name or phrase, put them together to abbreviate the name or phrase. This is a handy way to shorten writing or conversation without losing the meaning of a longer string of words. The subtle difference, however ignored by the masses, is this. If you can pronounce the string of letters as a single word, i.e. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) it is an acronym. If you have to recite the letters one by one, i.e. CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) it is an Initialism.

As I was working through a bunch of Wikipedia articles related to fly tying, it struck me that Initialisms and acronyms have to some extent permeated our avocation like they have across the spectrum of endeavors. Only uninitiated fly anglers wouldn’t be familiar with these initialisms—PMD (Pale Morning Dun), BWO (Blue Wing Olive), EHC (Elk Hair Caddis). Of course there are more obscure initialisms that might take some explaining—CDL (Coq de Leon), CDC (Cul de Canard), PTN (Pheasant Tail nymph)

As I reviewed fly tying and fly fishing literature, other initialisms that seemed a bit obscure appeared.

  • TDC (Thompson’s Delectable Chironomid).
  • GRHE (Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear)
  • APBTPT (Andy Pusan’s Bead Thorax Pheasant Tail)
  • WR16 (Wood Road Access 16)
  • IP Red (Island Park Red)
  • LC Moose (A stonefly tied by W. Lewis and S. Christensen with moose wings)
  • LBS (Little brown stone)
  • RAM Caddis (Ross A. Marigold)
  • H&L (House and Lot)
  • AP Muskrat Nymph (Andre Pusan’s)
  • BLM nymph (Beaded Little Mayfly)
  • PMX (Pale Madam X)
  • JRB (Jack Rose Bastard – a midge adult)

And probably one of the most bizarre initialisms out there:

  • SCHWARPF (Swept Custom Hackle Winged All Revised Purpose Fly)

Initialisms are useful in written communications to shorten the writing as the initials can be explained the first time they are used. “The CDC (Cul de Canard) Emerger is a useful fly during mayfly hatches.” But in verbal communications, initialisms can be problematic. First, if it doesn’t roll off the tongue like PMD does, it can sound awkward. “Look at those BWOs”. Also, unless the listener knows what the Initialism means and is familiar with it, things can get confusing. Imagine this older guy walks into the fly shop and starts a conversation with one of the staff. “I am heading down to Bust Your Butt Creek for a few days camping and fishing with my new girlfriend. I’d like some PMDs and PEDs as that’s what’s happening down there now. “The staff guy replies, “We’ve got the PMDs in the sizes you need, but for the Performance Enhancing Drugs, you’ll have to go the drugstore around the corner.” The old guy replies, “Oh I don’t need those with this girlfriend, I meant Pale Evening Duns.”

One of my favorite PSWBs

So, when I hit the Firehole in Yellowstone next Spring I will be ready with my PSWBs if the water is high. Otherwise the WBs with P&O trailers will work, but I always carry some EHCs and GGs for when the hatches are prolific.

Fly of the Month – Hughes All-fur Wet Fly

by Matt O’Neal of Savage Flies: Find him on his YouTube channel at Savage Flies

hughes allfur wet flyDave Hughes didn’t originate the All-Fur Wet Fly, but he did make it a very popular fly among fly fishers. This fly is kind of a mix between a nymph and a wet fly. Hughes is an angler that studied insects, wet flies and read many books. He put all of this to use and taught many wet fly classes and wrote his own books. The wet fly is certainly one of Dave’s go-to style of flies that we all know by now, catch a lot of trout. So watch Matt’s video below to see how to tie this awesome fish catcher, the Hughes All-Fur Wet Fly.

Matt O’Neal of Savage Flies, who has a terrific YouTube channel where he shows how to tie many different flies, including Hughes All-Fur Wet FLy. Be sure to check it out and give him a follow! Watch his video below to see how to tie this interesting dry fly pattern.

Recipe:
Hook: #12-16 standard wet or 1x heavy
Thread: Orange
Tail: Hare’s ear (guard hairs from Hare’s Mask)
Body: Hare’s ear dubbing (underfur with a few guard hairs from Hare’s Mask)
Hackle: Squirrel body fur (in split thread or a dubbing loop)

Tools:
Stonfo Dubbing Loop Clips
Stonfo Thread Splitter

Fly of the Month – Michigan Caddis

by Matt O’Neal of Savage Flies: Find him on his YouTube channel at Savage Flies

This dry fly is the Michigan Caddis. This is not an actual caddis fly pattern. This fly was created to mimic the large Hexagenia mayflies that hatch up in Michigan. Some Michigan fisherman still to this day call these a Michigan Caddis, hence where our Fly of the Month got its name. Below you will find a fly tying video by our friend Matt O’Neal of Savage Flies showing you how to tie this fly. Enjoy!

Matt O’Neal of Savage Flies, who has a terrific YouTube channel where he shows how to tie many different flies, including the Michigan Caddis. Be sure to check it out and give him a follow! Watch his video below to see how to tie this interesting dry fly pattern.

Recipe:
Hook: Size 10 standard dry fly hook
Thread: 140 Denier Black Thread
Tail: Natural Deer Hair
Body: Nature’s Spirit Spinning Deer Hair
Hackle: Grizzly dry fly
Wings: Grizzly Hen

Tools:
Stonfo Hair Packer
Stonfo Razor Holder for Trimming