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The Adams Fly: A Great Salesman

Posted on April 26 2007

During my first few weeks of fishing in Montana in the late 1980s, I developed a bad habit. The problem was that every time I rigged my leader with a fly, I had a hard time not reaching for a size 16 or 18 parachute Adams. This was all well and good except for the fact that some of the places we were fishing — Nelson’s spring creek, Buffalo Ford, the upper Missouri, and Slough Creek — deserved more attention than that. There were specific hatches coming off, and I usually caught fish when I tied on a close imitation.
Still, my guides invariably responded, when I dared to suggest trying an Adams, “Yeah, that’ll prolly work.” “Prolly work” from an experienced guide carries about the same weight as any do-or-die command, so I happily tied on a highly visible, high-floating and all-around pleasant-to-fish Adams at every opportunity. I didn’t learn as much as I could have about the hatches specific to those streams and rivers. But I sure had fun.
In “A Great Salesman,” Paul Schullery ponders those things that make the Adams such an important fly: its versatility, its simplicity, its irresistibility. But its pedigree, Schullery finds out, is what makes it really interesting. New on MidCurrent.

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