Welcome to Steve Burke's Salmon and Steelhead Fly Tying Guide

A Story About the Originator of Marc's Tidal Strategy
A Story About the Originator of Marc's Tidal Strategy

As Told by Selim Hassan

 

Marc's Tidal StrategyI was browsing the Internet cyberfishing for steelhead and salmon and found your website. I was particularly interested in your page depicting Marc Van Hauwaert's fly for salmon, Marc's Tidal Strategy.

I was a member of the book committee that published the Alaska Flyfishers, Fly Patterns of Alaska. Dirk Dirksen was president of the Flyfishers when I was editor of the FlyLines newsletter. Allow me to tell you the story behind the inclusion of this fly in the book.

I lived in Anchorage, Alaska for five years and drove to the Kenai Peninsula in the winter time (road conditions permitting, in January mostly) to look at the Kenai River during the low water conditions, to identify the river bed contours, and possible holding spots for spring and summer fish. Sometimes, I would take a rod or two and do some exploratory fishing for winter silvers.

On one of these trips, I stopped at the Cooper Landing Bridge and saw a very tall man (I am 5"8" and he was 6'6") fly-casting below the bridge. Intrigued at the possibility of meeting another crazy, can't-wait-for-spring flyfisher, I drove down the access road and introduced myself. The gentleman was Marc. He was fishing a Hardy rod and Hardy reel. Definitely not from around here, I thought. We chatted a lot; he invited me to join him at his cabin in Ninilchik for more conversation and dinner at the cafe. We became good friends. Marc and I had the opportunity to fish together many times and I learned more about this interesting fisherman. At that time, he was a pilot for Sabena Airlines (Belgium) and visited Alaska about five times a year.

Our routine was the same. He would call me before his arrival, we would rendezvous at his cabin early in the morning, eat a huge breakfast (steak, eggs, potatoes, etc. - he called it fuel) and then head out for a grueling 12-14 hour fishing day (summer time hours in Alaska).

I learned a lot about his fishing techniques, discussed his unique approach to many things piscatorial, dined with him, his girlfriend, and his father in Soldotna, and shared many wonderful and insightful days with him. I confess that, at the time, I was a diehard steelhead fly fisherman and only occasionally fished for Chinooks. I loved pursuing Pinks and Chums in saltwater when they were so fresh that their scales were loosely attached to the skin. Of course, fresh Red Salmon were delightful with their unique reverse flips on hookup, and Silvers slugged it out and thoroughly tested my fly fishing equipment. Until I met Marc, I had never pursued estuary Kings.

Marc introduced me to silver-bright, ocean-fresh Chinooks and their fighting ability on a 10-weight system. I had caught tired old Chinooks in river systems in Oregon and Alaska, but was not very impressed, and discontinued what I thought was mere abuse of a fish on the last part of its journey. Marc opened up a new realm of fishing for me with his estuary Kings techniques. Many of his stealth techniques served me excellently in Oregon, Alaska and Kamchatka in succeeding years.

Like all great fishermen, he was a hunter of fish. Thorough in his research, meticulous in his strategy, stealthy in his approach, and totally dedicated to pursuing large fish, he fished his way through waters that frustrated others and managed to come up with strikes. On one of these trips, he showed me the sparsely-tied Tidal Strategy fly which he said accounted for many successful strikes. He gave me one of those flies and explained how to fish it. I hooked, landed and released a hard-fighting chrome Chinook that I estimated to be about 20 pounds. Though much smaller than Les Anderson's 97+ pound record Chinook, I was ecstatic at the whole fishing experience from fly tie-up to fish release in a small coastal stream in the Kenai Peninsula. I wrote about Marc's fly and strategy in one of the FlyLines issues. Later, I asked him to tie up another copy which I submitted to the Book Committee for possible inclusion in the second edition. Somewhere, in one of my storage boxes in America, I still have that original fly.

Marc loved pursuing large fish. I don't think he had a fly rod lighter than a 7 weight. I remember him showing me a photograph of himself with a fresh-caught Argentinean sea-run trout. The fish was about 18-20 pounds.

I moved away from Alaska and lost track of Marc. I think somewhere in the world, he is now teaching his son Sean how to pursue large fish with stealthy patience and custom flies.

Seeing your webpage and the photo of his fly brought back many memories.

Thank you so much,

Selim Hassan

milesnassah@gmail.com


Marc's Tidal Strategy (Marc Van Hauwaert)

Marc's Tidal Strategy

Name Marc's Tidal Strategy
Category Pacific Salmon
Hook Mustad 36890, Sizes 2-6
Thread Black
Body Gold Mylar Piping, Wrapped
Wing Chartreuse bucktail; five strands of silver Flashabou on each side of the wing
Head Black

The pattern for this fly came from the fine book by Alaska Flyfishers, Fly Patterns of Alaska. If you are interested in fly fishing Alaska, or in popular Alaska fly patterns, this book is a must. It is chock full of patterns of all types. They write that this fly was tested and proven on Kenai Penninsula Salmon streams and has taken many silvers and kings. It was designed by Marc Van Hauwaert.

Please note that the body mylar is wrapped. It is possible that the ribbing from the wraps makes this fly more effective.

 


About the Author

Selim Hassan in is currently living and working in Thailand after spending time in Bangladesh. He is very well-travelled and lived in and fished in the Pacific Northwest from Northern California on up to Alaska and beyond to Kamchatka. He would still like to fish Mongolia and the Kola Peninsula/Scandinavian waters.

 

468 x 60 Fly Fishing

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