J.C. Mottram & the Leisenring Lift

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J.C. Mottram & the Leisenring Lift

Postby gingerdun » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:38 am

Several others have acquired Tony Hayter's biography, G.E.M. Skues—Man of the Nymph. I am enjoying it. One of Hayter's strengths is his thorough grasp of the journals The Fishing Gazette, The Field, and the Journal of the Flyfishers' Club, where Skues, Halford, and other passionate flyfishers exchanged views.

Here is an example from page 157:

"...in a 1935 number of the Journal of the Flyfishers' Club, Mottram extended the scope of this tactic into something resembling the Leisenring Lift, a technique, as with many others in angling, which may have been re-invented several times. He wrote:"

The leaded nymph is often far more attractive than the unleaded, because with it you can imitate the rising of a nymph from the bottom. To do this, oil the gut and line to within two feet of the fly, cast well above and a little beyond the trout, allowing the whole to drift down to the fish without drag. As it passes the fish, gently draw on the line, causing the nymph to ascend through the water in imitation of a natural, and if all goes well the trout will follow it up and take it.


I think Hayter must be correct in saying that some fly fishing techniques are re-invented several times.

Leisenring, in the manuscript that is at Yale, didn't call it a "Lift", but rather a "Deadly Curve," that swam upward with drag across the current in a tantalizing arc in front of the trout. In England, there was heated opinion, pro and con, regarding the drag involved in "curving" the rising nymph. The dead drift, sacred to the dry fly, was also gospel for some wet fly folks. Hayter does a beautiful job of taking us back to those days, and sketching the personalities involved.

Mottram issued two books: Fly Fishing: Some New Arts & Mysteries, 1915 and Thoughts on Angling, 1948. I get the impression from Hayter that Mottram has been under-recognized for his early experiments in tying flies to match pupae, larvae, and nymphs, including midge pupae. Skues, a loner, considered Mottram a rival, so they never put their heads together to share knowledge they way Halford and Marryat had done.
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Re: J.C. Mottram & the Leisenring Lift

Postby Roadkill » Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:39 pm

gingerdun wrote: I think Hayter must be correct in saying that some fly fishing techniques are re-invented several times.


I think Skues termed this "The Rediscovery of the Obvious" by observant fishers separated over time. ;)
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Re: J.C. Mottram & the Leisenring Lift

Postby DOUGSDEN » Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:55 pm

Lance,
A wonderful post! I think Skues and Mottram were at each other on more than one occasion and for differing reasons. These "debates" often came to a head in the printed word through the three periodicals you mentioned previously. I think there was some real animosity between the two over time. It seems that Skues liked to give folks monikers and nick-names and Mottram was not overlooked. His was "Jim-Jam" which I never fully understood but still found humorous. Halford was known as "The Prophet" which seemed fitting and equally humorous considering the rift between these two titans.
When you explained the famous lift as a curve (with drag...interesting!), this seemed more clear to me and makes me want to try this method.....as soon as the ice jams are overwith. It's been a rough winter so far. Come on Springtime!!
Your pal in Ohio,
Doug
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Re: J.C. Mottram & the Leisenring Lift

Postby Old Hat » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:20 pm

gingerdun wrote:The leaded nymph is often far more attractive than the unleaded, because with it you can imitate the rising of a nymph from the bottom. To do this, oil the gut and line to within two feet of the fly, cast well above and a little beyond the trout, allowing the whole to drift down to the fish without drag. As it passes the fish, gently draw on the line, causing the nymph to ascend through the water in imitation of a natural, and if all goes well the trout will follow it up and take it.


I prefer to think of my nymphs as "diesel" (a little greasy and less refined). :D

Nice post Lance. I love little tidbits of vision into the lives of different names associated with our sport. The "riffs" just make it naturally human and real.
I hate it when I think I'm buying organic vegetables, and when I get home I discover they are just regular donuts.
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