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December 19, 2014
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Our ‘Frenchman’s Pond’


You will not find this Winston rod in any catalog. In 1993, their rods were made for the Japanese market. They sold poorly in Japan. Winston allowed them to be returned and then distributed them to selected Winston dealers. Joe McFadden’s shop in Hankins, NY received two of these rods. Barbara and I liked them so much we bought both of them. This is a perfect rod for our Frenchman’s Pond.

When we fish there, we share the rod. One of us will fish, while the other sits and rests. After either a missed strike or a captured fish, the sitter becomes the fisher while the fisher sits. Occasionally our pond surprises us. One evening last week, right at dusk, it became Barb’s turn to fish. The fly in use was a yellow, size-12 deer-hair popper. The design of the bug has long been credited to H.G. Tapply. For 35 years, Tapply wrote a column for Field and Stream titled “Taps Tips.” In the 1995 January-February issue of American Angler magazine, the derivation of “Taps Bug” was thoroughly described. The article states, “For more than half a century, ‘Taps Bus’ has been used to fool bass and other fishes.”

In the fading light, Barb cast the little bug out onto the stillness of the pond. She then made a short strip with the fly line, causing the bug to make a little “pop.” The ripples this caused gradually faded away. Unknown to her, a bass attracted by the “pop” was now watching the bug intently. Aha, here were two predators, their muscles tense with anticipation, about to be entwined. Barb raised the rod tip slightly, causing the bug to jiggle producing a tiny ripple. The bug disappeared. The two were now joined, one in fear, the other in exhilaration. The lithe rod became bent in a tight arc. Moments later, I took Barbara’s picture holding the largest bass our pond has produced. Ah, that little jiggle. At 83 years of age, she still has the fishing touch of a Great Blue Heron.