If you call any of the fertile brown trout streams of the Mid-Atlantic your home water, then you’ve heard of the green weenie. You might not like this controversial little fly; heck, you might not even consider it a fly at all, but I bet you know the green weenie, and I bet you’ve stared at one of these bright green fish magnets and contemplated whether or not you should welcome the almighty weenie to your fly fishing arsenal.
Consider the following familiar scenario: It’s one of those seemingly lifeless days on the water. You haven’t been skunked for years, but today’s looking pretty bleak. Standing knee deep in the river and glaring at your fly box, you hope that the perfect pattern with just the right shape, size & color will capture your eyes like a heavenly halo – a sign from the river gods, telling you, “I am the one. I am what they are eating. Tie me on and reap the rewards.” Unfortunately, there’s no sign from above, but one fly in your box does stand out; it calls to you whenever the fishing is tough; it tempts you with legend and lore; it’s the green weenie.
You resist and try to stay true to your identity as a “real” fly fisherman who only ties and uses “real” flies that imitate “real” insects. You say to yourself, ‘I see some bugs, and I know the fish are here. They must be eating little baetis emergers or something. Or, I could just tie on this weird blob of chartreuse chenille that I bought only because the guide behind the counter told me that 90% of his fish are caught on the green weenie. But wait, I’m not a client, some ignorant newbie. I’m a fly fisherman for crying out loud, and this thing is not a real fly; it’s a fish attractor, a gimmick. Still, I didn’t drive 2 hours just to get skunked! I’m tying on the green weenie!’
Plop! That little, fuzzy green fly slips from your cold, stiff fingers and wobbles to the bottom of the stream! “Damn it!” you coarsely yell, “Now how am I gonna catch a fish?!”
But wait! What’s that? Despite the choppy glare and 4 feet of roaring river, you see something, something green laying on a rock struggling to sway with the current amidst the drab stones and caddis cases. You see this as a sign; the river god has spoken. Embrace the Almighty Weenie of Green.
Apparently driven by a higher power, your arm plunges through the river’s current on a focused path for the little weenie. You now have it firmly in your wet, determined fingers and you chuckle with a smirk: ‘Alright Green Weenie, show me the light.’
You trudge to shore and put on a fresh leader and tippet and new split shot, making sure you have enough weight to plunge your weenie deep into the sweet spot (calm down you perverts!) where hungry trout slurp unsuspecting larva. You put your indicator at just the right depth. You’re set, focused, determined, and maybe damned by all the fly fishing purists you admire. You brush it off: ‘What the hell do those purist snobs know? It’s about catching fish, right? Let’s do this!’
You position yourself perfectly. You inspect the currents and the underwater structure to ensure a good cast and a nice drift through the run. A firm, graceful roll cast delivers the rig right where you want it. You make a subtle mend to assist the drift and quickly prepare for a strike, knowing that the magic of the weenie has commenced and the trout are blindly swarming toward this bright green fish magnet. Your indicator is drifting slightly slower than the bubbles on the surface, which let’s you know that the weenie is down deep. No strike yet.
You’re getting giddy, anticipating a big strike and an even bigger trout. Your indicator soon passes you and begins it’s course downstream. Damn it, nothing. Time to cast it again.
Same thing – a perfect drift but no fish. Your anticipation begins to diminish, slightly.
Your irrational and unfounded confidence in this Almighty Weenie of Green is still strong, so you continue to work each nice looking run and riffle with determined patience. You even bring a few little trout to net. But, when you expect to land double digit numbers of trout on this stream, landing just 3 is nothing to brag about.
Oh, the Almighty Weenie of Green! Apparently, it’s just a fly.