The Hunting Creek watershed, near Camp David, MD., is a wonderful trout fishery. When I was a fledgling trout fly fishermen, this was the place to fish. My family frequented the nearby campground at Crow’s Nest Lodge, for great fishing. The Frank Bentz’s Pond was perfect for the opening day.
Hunting Creek was a “Fly Fishing Only “area. You could keep a limit of trout if you used a fly rod. Sadly, I often watched cheaters wrap their flies in cheese or attach a worm to “Git Their Limits!” Despite the cheaters, there always seemed to be an abundance of trout. If you knew what to do, fishing was often consistent and fun.
Flies seemed to work well. Streamers mimicked the native minnows and at least would get some trout to follow. At this time, Mickey Finns. Dace, and Muddler Minnows were in the arsenal of flies. We tended to have less than a dozen assorted fly patterns, that all fit into just one fly box. How Crazy!
The Hunting Creek Special was my go-to, homemade, original streamer pattern. It was a black chenille body, with a red yarn tail. Copper wire wrapped the hair and materials in place. The white bucktail wing hung beyond the streamer hooks bend. I usually tied it onto a size 6-8 streamer hook. My fly-tying skills were still below beginner level, so I did the best I could. Truth be known, my brother actually created this tie and I copied it. The simple, but different streamer seemed to be the perfect choice.
I rarely had more than a half dozen HCS streamers in my “Sucrets”, foam lined, can. If I got snagged, I would go through extraordinary lengths to retrieve them. Of course, I would also tie a crappy knot, and break them off. Poor casting cost me a few flies. Old leader with knots in them never helped.
My fly-tying gear and skills were limited. There were very few fly fishermen or tyers. My vice was a clothes pin, attached to a stick, shoved into a clock of wood. There was a wrapped rubber band and some rubber innertube glued to the clothespin teeth, for ample hook holding power. I used my mom’s old cuticle scissors and clear nail polish as head cement. My bucktail came from a buck that was from hunting season. Chenille was a yarn that was easy to use and reinforced with copper wire from my dad’s workbench. The red yarn came out of my mother’s sewing kit along with sewing thread, that I waxed with an old candle. The thread was spooled on an old empty spool, that was held in place by a modified mouse trap, for my bobbin.
Tying a Hunting Creek Special was a special challenge, foe me. With patience, and perseverance, enough HCS’s made it onto my fly tippet. Brook trout took a shine to my fly. Big, stocked rainbows and the occasional Brown trout also ended up on the hook. The best part about his fly was that it taught me how to fly fish.
We have all tied up our “Fly-Fishing Special” fly. They are often cheesy, ragged, odd, or different but they all hold a special memory in our hearts.
I still carry at least a couple of these old streamers. They are in a custom fleece fly fold, with several other streamer patterns. I also carry several actual fly boxes with literally hundreds of other choices and variety. My vest and fly-tying bench are now equipped with all the modern gimmicks, gizmos, and goodies needed and required by today’s fly guys.
I cannot remember the last time that I tied a Hunting Creek Special on. No matter, I never go fly fishing without one!