This is a fish story. I have seen the picture, so of course I believe it, but I don’t have the picture, so it’s up to you whether you want to believe it, or not.
About 15 years ago I began fishing with a guy from work named Jason. (Not the Jason Roosevelt of RxFlyFishing fame, but Jason McNamara, who ultimately got a job out of state, and I have since lost touch with him.) One day at work, Jason and I agreed to go fishing at some point in the near future, and he asked if I could tie some flies for him. He described one of the flies to me, and I didn’t recognize the pattern, so I asked him what it was called. He said it didn’t have a name; it was just something that he fished with as a kid in Northern Wisconsin. So he described it again. I’m paraphrasing here, as this was a long time ago, but he said something like, “Use a bare hook, and tie on a small amount of light colored bucktail, and then tie on some darker colored bucktail on top of that.” I remember looking at him and saying something like, “Nothing on the hook, no wire or bead for weight, nothing to give the hook a little body, no tail, and no eyes?” His reply: “Just a bare hook.”
I tied up some flies for Jason, including some of these bare hook streamers, which I’ve since come to call the Bare Naked Lady. I really don’t remember whether either of us caught any fish with a Bare Naked Lady on that outing, but I do remember that Jason got another job about a month later, and needed to sell his house before he could move to Colorado.
A little later that summer, I got an email one morning at work with a picture of Jason holding a 23” brown trout, which is an unusually large trout for the Driftless. I asked Jason about the story behind the fish. He said a guy came to look at his house a couple days earlier. One of the reasons this guy was interested in the house was because it was so close to a trout stream. The Bishop Branch of the West Fork of the Kickapoo River near Jason’s house is very small, as it’s just a mile or so downstream from its headwaters. To get to the house you have to drive over a tiny one-lane bridge, which of course creates a largish pool, as most bridges do.
The guy liked the house, but wanted to know for sure if the stream had any trout it in. So Jason grabbed a fly rod and the two of them walked down to the bridge. Jason tied on one of the Bare Naked Ladies I had tied for him, and fished it under the bridge in the big pool. Before long he pulled out a 23” brown, and his prospective buyer snapped a picture, which is the one Jason had sent to me at work.
The guy made an offer on the house the next day.
And I told Jason that he owed me 7% commission on the sale of his house.
Jason, if you by chance come across this article, I’d love for you to send a note to us here at Rx Fly Fishing about the accuracy of my memory. And if you still have that picture, we’d love to have it.
[insert Jason M’s pic of brown trout here]
And by the way, I’m still waiting for my commission check.
Hook: streamer hook, any size
Thread: 6/0 black
Dressing: dark bucktail over light bucktail
Fish this streamer by casting it downstream and stripping it in to your rod tip. If you’re fishing deeper water, put a small amount of non-toxic weight on the leader about 18” up from the fly. That’s how Mr. McNamara did it.