It was 3 a.m. and I was tying up a batch of #6 Red Winged Polyfluffers. I was in a hurry because in just 5.762 hours I'd be in the middle of the largest Red-Winged Polyfluffer hatch anyone had ever seen. The problem was that every time I wanted to whip finish my fly, I had to pick up the whip finish tool. Now, I've never learned the hand-whip, so I need the tool - but the extra time spent picking it up and putting it down was a drag. Who has an extra 2.34 seconds out of each hour these days? Not me.
So there I sat, with my scissors in hand and one eyeball peeled toward that whip finisher. I picked it up and fondled it gently, so it had no idea what was coming. With my other hand I slid a roll of duct tape out of the drawer of my tying desk and carefully secured it under my leg. Grabbing the end, I pulled out a short piece. Vvrrrrrip.
The whip finisher just sat there. A blank look on it's face and swaying gently in the breeze. I whistled a little tune - “Another one bites the dust” I think it was. I slowly and deliberately eased the whip finisher to within an inch of the scissors, duct tape strip in hand. Ok, Mr. Whip Finisher...just one or two more flies to finish and then we'll be...WHAM! The whip finisher struggled, but I managed to get him lined up with the thumb hole of the scissors. I slapped the duct tape around them both before they knew what had happened! There was a brief struggle after that when I couldn't get my thumb out of the thumb hole because I'd taped it to the scissors – but after that, there was a quiet, creepy peace.
The handle of the whip finisher secured firmly to the scissors, the glow of the natural light lamp showed the scratches and smudges along it's handle. It didn't move. I didn't move. The scissors were indifferent, as scissors almost always are in these situations. No one said a word or moved a pivot point.
I slowly gripped the scissors, the finisher pointing out into space like a twisted, robotic index finger. Easing the thread into the whip finisher, I smiled a devilish smile – a mad man's creation realized! And all in the span of five minutes! Clearly this was my most brilliant moment. Surely they'll remember me forever in fly fishing circles as the guy who invented the....the....well, we'll think of a name later.
The first attempt at using this new hybrid tool went as planned. I made it to the point where I wanted to start the whip finish. I rotated the twisted index finger of the Scissorwhip™ into position and attached it's frame to the thread. Whip. Whip. Whip. A beautiful little knot and the tool was a confirmed success. The next Polyfluffer, my last of the night, would prove to be just as easy, and next week I'd sell the idea to Orvis or Simms and make a fortune – or so I thought.
While making the fifth rotation in a six-rotation whip finish, the scissors slipped from my hand and caused my hand to bump against the vise stem, which in turn caused my pinky finger to become attached to the Polyfluffer just under the edge of my fingernail. Jerking back in a flinch that can only be described as “epic,” I managed to knock over my diet soda and spill it into the fish tank where there would soon be several very high-energy fish bouncing around the plastic grass and ornamental rocks.
This commotion woke my sleeping wife, startled our cat and set off a chain reaction of screaming, yelling and howling – none of which came from the cat. Something was said, like “What the heck are you doing in here this time of night?” I don't remember if I replied or not, since I was more concerned with stopping the bleeding from my pinky finger than answering any stupid questions. (It should have been obvious from the peacock feathers and assorted rubber legs that I was tying Polyfluffers)
On the bright side, my flinching did somehow dislodge the #6 Polyfluffer hook from under my nail. However, quite regrettably my fish are now hooked on caffeine and I've decided not to market the Scissorwhip™ to any fly fishing companies for mass production before we do more prototype testing here at home. You're welcome.
Owl Jones is a guy who knows that fly fishing is supposed to be fun. You can find more of his writing on his blog at www.owljones.com. You can check out his unique one-of-a-kind bass and bream poppers at www.zazzypop.com.