2003 One Fly Event History
High Water Challenges One Fly Anglers
For a change it wasn’t the weather but the water conditions which added some extra challenges for the 40 teams of anglers competing in the 18th annual Jackson Hole One Fly.
With releases from the Jackson Lake Dam more than double the typical flows, competitors battled the highest water ever encountered in the event’s history. The challenging conditions made casting accuracy as critical as fly selection, as some of the most skilled anglers earned top honors.
Serving as an alternate for the American Museum of Flyfishing team, Worldcast Anglers guide Jim Hickey landed a 24-inch brown trout on the stretch of the Snake River between Deadman’s Bar and Moose to take home the award for largest fish caught in the tournament.
“I was prospecting near some trees and thought it was a big cutthroat at first,” Hickey said. “He did give me quite a fight.”
The top amateur individual point scorer was Joe Codd of the Frontier Fly Fishers team. After a modest first day score of 111, Codd hit it big on Sunday fishing the whitewater stretch of the Snake from the West Table boat launch to Sheep Gulch. Using a customized Chernobyl Ant dry fly, Codd landed a 23 inch cutthroat, one of seven measurable fish he caught on the day. He finished Sunday with a whopping 597 points for a total of 708 to take the individual title.
“I didn’t know I had had a strike until my fly disappeared,” Codd admitted. “I renamed my fly the ‘Blind Squirrel,’ because even a blind squirrel can find a nut sometimes.”
Codd credited Worldcast Anglers guide Mike Janssen for his success on Sunday, and Janssen proved that his knowledge of the tricky waters of the Snake River Canyon was no accident. With his boats combining for a two-day score of 1,510 points Janssen was awarded top guide honors for the tournament.
“I’ve fished that stretch countless times over the years,” Janssen said. “That’s my water; that’s my bread and butter.”
Codd’s point total Sunday was the highest single day score of the weekend. Roger Plooster of the Nebraska Fly Casters finished second in the individual competition with 678 points. Saturday’s top individual score was recorded by Jackson lawyer Peter Moyer, who tallyed 469 points after deciding to go with a size 18 rusty spinner. Event founder Jack Dennis declared Moyer’s fly selection to be, “the most gutsy call of the competiton.”
Running away with the team event was the talent-heavy Team USA captained by Walter Ungermann (who also also captained the U.S World Fly Fishing team in Spain this spring). Keith Bean of Sevierville, Tenn., had the highest score of any professional angler in the One Fly while teammate John Kelleher’s 664 points was third-highest among amateurs. Team USA finished with a two-day total of 2,263 points while Frontier Fly Fishers was a distant second with 1,725 points.
All the Lost Flies
As usual, stories of lost and recovered flies were shared with gusto at Sunday night’s banquet. Dubois angler Thomas Radoumis of the Charlie Russell Riders team was nearly sidelined from Saturday’s competition while fishing with guide Will Dornan on the stretch of the Snake from the Astoria boat launch to West Table boat launch.
“We got sucked into a big eddy and I didn’t realize there was a rock wall right behind us,” Radoumis recalled. “I went to cast and when I looked down I realized my fly was gone. Incredibly I looked down and there’s my fly floating in the muck. I couldn’t believe my luck and neither could Will.”
Teton Troutfitters guide Caldwell Johnston may have gone to the greatest lengths to salvage a competitors fly. While floating the Wilson to South Park stretch of the Snake on Saturday, experienced angler Russ Lamb of the First Interstate Bank team snagged his fly in a log located in a five-foot deep, fast moving section of water. After examining the area, Johnston realized that the current was moving too fast for him to wade into the area from his current location.
After anchoring his boat, Johnston walked upstream about a tenth of a mile, stripped down to his shorts and was able to get a running start. With the current carrying him swiftly downriver, Johnston was forced to eddy out three times before swimming to the spot where Lamb’s fly had disappeared. Miraculously, he found the fly floating nearby but found himself without a storage location for the valuable Goulds half-down hopper.
“I didn’t have any pockets, so my mouth was the only place I had to put it,” Johnston said. Fly in mouth, Johnston returned to his boat, and Lamb was back in the competition.
Flows Concern Founder
Event founder Jack Dennis was one of many people who questioned the Bureau of Reclamation’s decision to wait so long into the fall before reducing the releases from Jackson Lake.
“Why couldn’t the water have been brought down to Palisades Reservoir months ago?” asked Dennis. “We all have some rights here. Isn’t there a better way to move this water?”
Radoumis agreed, adding that he was disappointed with the quality of the Snake fishing compared to the waters he regularly fishes outside Dubois.
“If they could straighten out the problem with the water the week before the competition, it would really even things out for everyone,” he said.
This years winning fly continues the One Fly tradition of a foam fly variation of the Chernobyl ant design. One Fly guide Brandon Powers married his Powers 747 ant design with a body design of the Willy’s Red Ant for the BMOC (short for big man on campus) Ant. A brilliant fly tier, Brandon has realized as a guide flies needed to be changed at a moment’s notice to match the changing fall conditions of the river during One Fly time. Last year his peachy BMOC design fit the bill and was the top point getter, used by several high scoring anglers that teams finished in the “money.” For the last few years Brandon’s patterns have been popular among many One Flyers and have established him maybe as the next “Scott Sanchez” of the fly tying world.