Terry Drinkwine Outdoors!

Fly Fishing, Grouse Hunting and Fine Bird Dogs Spoken Here!

Size matters.


It was a hopeful sign walking through two hundred yards of field to get to the access point of the Manistee between Cameron Bridge and Mancelona Road among swarms of grasshoppers. (They reminded me of Brook Benton’s “Boll Weevil” song.)

I had hopper patterns in different sizes and tied on a Joe’s Hopper size 8. Carefully I worked my way upstream, casting almost on to the grassy edges of the bank and jerking it back …almost skittering it. Nothing. Around the bend and upstream, working both sides of the bank, the hopper hit the water, danced and drifted. Again nothing.

Several fish rose to something I couldn’t distinguish and disappeared with the rings they left on the surface. It was going to require a change of tactics.

Midges were tried, changed and replaced with other hopper patterns. This time a Letort pattern, again size 8 as I discovered the eights were the smallest size in my box. Nothing. Dave’s Hopper was last and, as with the others, no interest.

Finally, out of desperation and the need not to be skunked on one of my favorite stretches of the Manistee, I changed to a Hare’s Ear nymph and landed a couple of small brookies. My ego was satisfied.

The hoppers flushed in front of me in huge swarms on the way back to the car and I decided to take a closer look. Actually, all I had to do was cuff my hand and swat it in front of my face to end up with a couple in my hand. They were on the small side, maybe a size 10 and dull in color, a dead grass hue.

The ride back to the cabin, had me thinking about the patterns I was using that had little in common with the actual hoppers I walked through. A decision was made to develop a pattern that matched what I had seen.

Stay tuned.


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