A Handful of Flies from the Kola Peninsula: Part Four
The fourth post in a series of phone photos featuring the flies the author used during a week chasing Atlantic Salmon in Russia at the The Belousiha River Lodge. The beginning of the series can be found here:
This is the Monkey. We fished this fly more than any other. I had friends who were fishing in camp the week before. Aside from the guy who caught most of his fish on Bombers waking on the surface, everyone else caught their fish on the Monkey.
The fly gets its name from the rumor it had been traditionally tied with monkey hair. Historically, I’m sure it was true. No one I asked could confirm if these flies had been tied with real monkey hair or a substitute.
In the photo, the junction tube isn’t connected to the short brass tube the fly was tied on. The guides insisted that was the proper way to rig the Monkey, which allowed the wing to swing freely and not foul on the hook during casting. It was the only tube fly they rigged this way. They also always insisted on using a chartreuse green piece of junction tubing.
After my friend lost the chartreuse fly I’d hooked my big salmon with, I showed the photo of the fly to one of the guides in camp. He was an Argentinean sea trout guide who was working in Russia during what would have been his winter off-season at home. I’d been told he was the camp fly tier. I had hoped he might let me tie a couple replacements of my lucky pattern with his materials, but a couple hours later he arrived at dinner and dropped three of these tubes into my hand. They had a krystal flash wing instead of the Temple Dog hair on the original fly I had showed him, but the fish didn’t mind. In fact, pattern caught me a couple more salmon over the course of the trip.
I’ll say this: I certainly don’t know much about Atlantic salmon at all, but I do know they love chartreuse.