I remember the first trout I caught on flies tied on my large-eyed hooks. It was in the fall of 2014. Who would have thought it would take this much time to get an idea off the ground? Jeez!
I had a single run of size 14 hooks with the large eyes made earlier that year. I had been tying some patterns onto those hooks throughout the summer but hadn’t had a chance to use them on any trout (trout are in short supply in eastern Kansas--well, anyplace in Kansas, actually).
Rhonda, my wife, and I decided to drive out to Yellowstone Park from our home in Lawrence, Kansas. It was the last trip that George, at the time our 13-year-old yellow lab, ever took with us. We still miss George. We stayed in a sheep herding wagon in Wyoming’s Shirley Basin. Rhonda found that wagon through AirBnB. Hopefully they are still operating as it’s a cool experience. Literally, cool!
The temps that September morning were in the high 20s. I had been reluctant to start a fire that evening in the stove of a wooden, canvas-covered wagon but I got one going pretty quickly that morning. The wagon was located between a small stream that had brook trout and a fairly large lake that had rainbows. I hit the lake.
I used a tent wing caddis tied on a size 14 EZEYEFLY, big-eyed hook. I caught maybe a half dozen 12-15 inch rainbows the morning I fished there. I was happy but not elated. The lake was remote enough that I don’t think those fish saw many flies.
Our next stop was Cody. I had done a little research and decided to try the Newton Lakes just outside of town. There were two ramps for small-craft access and a worn path around the lake. I thought, "Perfect! Fish in this place get hammered. If I catch anything, I'll know they don't give a darn about the size of the eye."
I again used the tent wing caddis (it’s my go-to fly) on the easy-to-tie hook. I caught a nice 18-inch rainbow on my fifth cast. I still remember thinking for the first time, "This is gonna work."
I used those size 14 hooks in a number of lakes and streams both inside and on the perimeter of the park back in 2014 and caught a lot of fish. Since that time, I’ve evolved to where I only use flies tied on my EZEYEFLY hooks and I’m convinced that the trout don’t care. I’ve got a number of friends that I’ve shared EZEYEFLYs with and they all agree--spend more time fishing and less time threading line through the tiny eyes of traditional fly hooks.