Jay Nicholas Fly Tying Glossary: Bug Net to Chrome-on-Chrome

This is the fifth installment of The Fly Fishers Glossary: Snippets From the Underbelly of Fly Fishing, Fly Tying, Fish Biology, Dusty old Facts, Hallucinations, and the Plain Truth as I know it, by Jay Nicholas.

Bug Net
Now here is a wonder to behold. Take a really dorky looking hat, string mosquito netting around the brim and put a hangman’s noose around the bottom of the net. Then sell this abomination to flyfishers who are rich enough to travel to destinations where there are as many salmon and steelhead as there are mosquitoes, and in this case it is a lot of both.

The advertised function of the Bug Net is to keep mosquitoes from biting the angler. However, what actually occurs is that the net functions as a trap to reduce competition among mosquitoes by giving at least two hundred mosquitoes and black flies uninterrupted access to the angler’s face, cheeks, ears, neck, eyes and nose holes. The little devils inside the net are as happy as pigs in shit. They feed and fed until they nearly pop. Meanwhile the fifty thousand mosquitoes that have been excluded from the bug corral are getting more and more pissed by the minute, and are swarming in thick clouds around the angler.

Bugger Beast
The Cliff Bugger Beast is about the smallest-capacity fly box useful to contemporary fly fishers. A superior product that is adaptable to flies from size 64 to 17/0. See also “Carrying One Fly Box”.


Verb: The act of complaining about not catching salmon or steelhead in spite of having fished for same over a twenty-nine-day period, hiring seven different guides, spending thousands of dollars on new equipment, watching Spey casting videos all last winter, and going to church once during the last twenty years.

Nate with random carp

Noun: A carp is a noble fish that is not a salmon, steelhead, or trout. It has big golden scales. It would probably kiss like that girl you had a crush on in High School but never had the nerve to ask out. Carp masquerade as big lumbering slobs that should be easy to catch. Not so. Fly anglers have shit-fits trying to catch Carp on flies, unless they stuff a gob of Wonder Bread on a dry fly and chuck it out into the pond. The only fish that is more difficult to catch on a fly than a carp is a Northern Pike Minnow.

Cat gut
Fishing leaders were formerly made of either silkworm or cat gut. The cat gut was actually fine ligaments found in the intestines of cats. Yuck. My friend Andy told me that in 1935 he would carry his cat gut leader from the farm to the stream in a wetted fold of a felt hat in order to keep the gut pliable. He would tie a string on a pole, bait his hook, and tie on the leader last, keeping it wet to prevent it from becoming brittle.

Catch and release
This is a much talked about practice among salmon and steelhead anglers, a practice more talked than walked, if you get my drift. The catching part of the practice is where most of the difficulty comes in. Weeks, months or even years typically elapse between actual catching of salmon or steelhead by fly anglers.

Cleats, wading
Noun. Hardened metal spikes embedded in the soles of wading boots, purportedly designed to increase traction as the fly fisher negotiates treacherous boulders and slimy rock ledges in order to approach an area where salmon or steelhead might actually be laying. In practice cleats do not perform their intended function. Most often, the Rockwell Index hardness of the cleats is off-set from the hardness of the river substrate in the perfect ratio such that the cleats function like an ice skate. Thus the cleats liquefy the substrate, forming a WD-40-like layer between angler and the rock, resulting in said angler going head over toes into the river, off cliffs, under log trucks, and into hatchery ponds.

Not to be confused with a celestial thingy streaking across the sky that will someday destroy the earth and all fly fishing as we know it, the Comet is a fly typically used in an attempt to entice a bite from a salmon or steelhead. The effectiveness of this fly is vastly over-rated; the fly barely merits more than a passing glance.

Carrying one fly-box
Obsolete Fly Fishing Practice. This behavior was limited to the dark ages of the Fly Fishing Industry. Prior to 1974, all the trout flies any fly angler might need (e.g., Royal Coachman Bucktail, Grey hackle Peacock, Renegade) could be held in a single aluminum fly box with rusty clips. Most fly anglers carried “Perrine” fly boxes. A few wealthy fly fishers owned a Wheatley box. These days, well-prepared flyfishers have discovered that preparedness requires carrying somewhere around twenty-two hundred flies on the water at any time. See also “Bugger Beast”.

Cane Rod
See “Three-thousand bucks down the toilet, Orvis, and Remorse”.

Fly fisher who provides misleading information regarding where fish were seen or caught, the sink rate of the most effective fly line, or the size and color of the most effective flies; thus, virtually all salmon fishers are “Cheaters”.

A cheater is a short section of fly line attached between the Body of a Spey line and the Tip of said line, for the purpose of improving the casters stroke by achieving molecular harmony between rod and line length. The correct formula for selecting a cheater is as follows: start with fly-rod length, subtract the angler’s boot size in Swahili, multiply by the number of times said angler has hooked their ear on a Snap-T cast, and lastly, elevate to the power of the number of pints of Coors Light consumed at breakfast.

A would-be fly fisher using a spinning rod. See also “Gear”.

Preferred food of monster-sized bull trout (see also “Dollie”) and fourteen-pound rainbow trout in the Metolius River. If you don’t believe this, try tossing some Cheetos the off the Allingham Bridge into the Metolius sometime. For safety sake, don’t let your kids hold Cheetos in their hands over the water.

Obsolete fly tying material. Sad thing, but this stuff doesn’t work anymore. It did, once, like on Skunks and Polar Shrimps, and Female Coachman flies. But not no mo’. Nope. Gotta use new-age chenille these days in order for a steelhead or salmon to bite the dang fly. Or sparkle chenille. Or Fiz-Fuz Chenille, or some damn thing. Go figure.

Crossover Pattern
Cleverly coined phrase designed to increase sales of flies. What-in-the-hell is a crossover fly anyway? Halfway between a dry and a wet? Small and big? Thick and thin? Dark and bright? Bait and lure? Whatever. Application of this alluring sales-term has induced fly fishers to purchase approximately seven billion flies, so I guess it worked. See also switch rod.

Noun. See man room, client, and dude. Foreign term used to identify a male as opposed to female (lass, lassie). The normal attire of a chap was often acquired from an Orvis-like source and included penny loafers, pipes, khaki, and good Scotch Whiskey.

Verb. To irritate one’s fishing companion in any of a variety of ways, including catching more fish, feeling more felts, hooking one’s companions in ears with barbed hooks, sitting on their seven-hundred-buck prescription Polaroids, and the like. Used as in: Like Dude, you’re chapping my ass, knock it off”.

Cheap Fly Tackle
Nonsensical term. Doesn’t exist. See also price-point fly rod.

Term applied to describe a really bright salmon or steelhead, usually, or occasionally a Sea-run cutthroat; bright as in chrome bright, as in shiny like the chrome bumper of a 60s muscle car. It is an unspoken understanding that the majority of anadromous fish caught by fly anglers are chrome bright or chromers, especially if said anglers are fishing alone, and practicing catch-and-release, and if a photograph is not taken of said fish before it is released. Research has shown conclusively that the mere act of pointing a digital camera at a chromer causes the fish to mature sexually and turn rather “dark”. See also dime brite, dark salmon.

Chrome on Chrome
This is a silly term, really. If a salmon or steelhead is really chrome bright, how can it be brighter than that? This descriptive term is often used by anglers who have exaggerated the chromeness of fish they have caught in the past, who have finally caught a real chromer, and want to tell the world that this fish is even more chrome than the last fish that was chrome. Silly boys, they ain’t foolin’ no one. It’s either chrome or not. So there.

This entry was posted in Fly Fishing Glossary. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Jay Nicholas Fly Tying Glossary: Bug Net to Chrome-on-Chrome

  1. kent says:

    I love this glossary – its funnier than John Gierach. BTW, is that Nate with the carp with the Rapala like thing stuck in the dorsal?

  2. Matt Stansberry says:

    Yup. That photo is at least 10 years old. We were trolling for Muskie in Ohio and I think Nate fought that carp for about 30 mins before he realized he wasn’t hooked into a 50-incher.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>