Pink is often regarded as this feminine color that only belongs on cotton candy and Hello Kitty merchandise. Ostracized by much of the male population, pink is overlooked in the fly tying community in favor of the more neutral colors found within the natural world. However, pink has a special characteristic that many fishermen are unaware of, fish love it. I’m not sure what it is about pink that fish love so much, but there is a special quality that draws even the most stubborn fish in. So much so that I’ve dubbed pink flies as the last cast, for when nothing else is working pink goes on the end of my line to dredge up those finicky fish.
I must admit, I was once a pink skeptic until a friend of mine pointed out the power of pink. It was late October and we decided to fish one of our provinces most popular mountain rivers. Fortunately for us, fall time means many of the local fisherman have put away their rods in favor of a gun. Off we set to one of the most popular and well known pools on this stretch of river. We meandered our way down the cliff slope and arrived at the most beautiful and deep run your mind could imagine. Just below the glass surface we came face to face with 40+ large cutthroat trout, slowly swaying in the current. I tied on the old reliable flies that had caught me so many fish that summer; red San Juans, an assortment of copper John colors, hares ears, pheasant tails, you name it, I tried it. However, these fish just sat in quiet reserve, unfazed by my flies drifting effortlessly through the water.
I was just about to give up when my friend suggested a pink fly. He said back home they were somewhat of a secret but always seemed to catch fish. I doubted this pink abomination had the ability to do nothing more than disturb the water, rather than peak the interest of a lingering cutty, but I was desperate. I watched nervously as this ridiculous pink atrocity floated closer and closer towards the herd of trout. The fly made its way past the first fish, and internally I felt smug that I was correct in my assessment of pinks ability to attract fish. Yet, suddenly, the trouts head turned and viciously attacked. I set the hook before the indicator even had a chance to bobble. Before I knew it, I couldn’t keep the fish off. Trout after trout chomped down on this fly I wouldn’t have given a second chance to.
All in all, I caught over 40 fish that day out in only a handful of pools. From that moment forward I was a pink enthusiast. Pink has become more than just a last cast prayer but a permanent addition to my fly boxes. I’ve added pink collars to Frenchies, pink tails to hares ears, and my favorite fly, the ever so deadly dirty worm, has transformed into a pink staple.
Many anglers use orange as their hotspot go to, but I think pink is in and orange is out. Well, actually, orange should stay too. However, it’s time you start thinking about making both pink and orange hot spots when tying up your flies. Furthermore, start making pink variations of your favorite flies. Start with worms and make your way through the other flies you adore more.
I’ll be honest, I still like to put on the natural colors first before putting on a pink fly. I’m not sure if I’m stubborn or just have some sort of odd reservations about using unnatural colors. Yet, when it’s desperation time a pink fly comes out to steal the show. I’ve caught all trout species on pink flies, cutthroat, bull trout, rainbows, brookies, and browns all have fallen prey to the power of pink. They just can’t seem to shake the allure of that bright and piercing color. I’ve found pink has the best results in fall, winter and spring. Whereas summer time the natural colors out produce the pink variations of flies, but pink still works unbelievably well in summer too.
So the next time you’re having issues convincing a fish to bite, think about tossing out a pink fly to entice those fussy trout. All you have to lose is a little masculinity for the chance to turn a skunk into something spectacular.