Backswimmer question

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by zen leecher aka bill w, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    Maybe my problem is I'm overthinking this but I'm a tad puzzled on backswimmers.

    The backswimmers yesterday had a yellowish belly and a blackish/brownish back. Backswimmers swim upside down so when the pattern specifies a yellow underbody and a brown back..... is the yellow on top, or on the bottom of the hook.

    Last time I had this problem was league bowling and an opponent asked me if I started out on my left foot or right foot.
     
  2. bhudda

    bhudda heffe'

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  3. Brian Thomas

    Brian Thomas Active Member

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    Yellow on the bottom .
     
  4. Mark Mercer

    Mark Mercer Member

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    Bill, I wouldn't worry about it too much, the few times I've ran into backswimmer/waterboatman hatches the fish would hit anything small
    that was stripped in fast short strips just under the water, even a PT worked fine. I don't think they're that picky when it happens..
    I just wish it I could catch it more often, cause it's awesome when it does !!!
     
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  5. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    I suspect this is why the trout were after the "barrel bug" I had hanging below an indicator. First three casts were: fly lost, fish landed, fish sdr'd. There was a very light wind and I suspect it was moving the fly like the "dinking" around the bugs do.
     
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  6. johnk

    johnk Active Member

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    I spend a lot of time visiting lakes in late September looking for the mating flights. Why? Because about 5 years ago I hit it spot on, on two neighboring lakes and in two days I snapped off 13 flies. The fish were hitting them light freight trains and 5 lb. fluorocarbon left me undergunned. In this case I was using two different patterns, Steve Jennings' Ultimate Boatman and my own Redeye. The fish were hitting them on the drop in 17' and quite often would swallow the foam pattern which I preferred to donate rather than injure the fish by attempting to remove it. Seriously, one of the most explosive "hatches" of the year!

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Dipnet

    Dipnet The wanted posters say Tim Hartman

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    Ya know, I'm thinking about doing more stillwater fishing this year instead of playing mostly in the salt and just today read Tyler Laurenti's "Still Water Flyfishing" article here on WFF. Maybe some other folks were like me and haven't read the article but he discusses backswimmer and waterboatman patterns:

    Water Boatman and Back-Swimmers
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    What’s the difference? Not much. When looking at the two you will find that the Back-Swimmers are football shaped and when they swim, they swim upside-down. The Water Boatman are a little more compact and generally have about the same silhouette as an apple. Both have “oar-like” legs that extend from the middle of their body. The “oars” are about twice as wide as the body, but a fly-tier can get away with tying them longer. Keep this thought in mind, because if you tie them to their appropriate proportions, the “oars” will be rigid, and the fly will not swim and will look fake. Oh, and Back-Swimmers will bite you and Water Boatman will not!

    Stillwater specialists (those that spend more time on the lake than the river) claim that this really is a “seasonal hatch,” with only special attention brought to the “Water Boatman fall.” What does all that mean? It means that the bugs actually get out of the lake and mate and fly around. They can do this in the spring, but most anglers see this event in the fall. They then plunge themselves into the water in an effort to break though the surface of the water. This event is the Water Boatman “fall.” Apparently, the whole scene has the effect that it is raining on a sunny day. Eastern Washington lakes have large quantities of these insects in their waters and I have found mashed boatman in the stomach contents of Columbia Basin trout throughout the year, which coincides with the fact that have had some success with this pattern outside of the typical spring and fall “Water Boatman fall” event. There is a reason for this (this is going to be kind of long-winded, so bear with me on my explanation). I feel that each trout is an opportunist, so that doesn’t mean that every trout in the entire lake is keying into the same hatch. Water Boatmen and Backswimmers breathe atmospheric air, and have to continually come up to the surface to get a bubble of atmospheric air, which the hold against their chest with their “non-oar” legs. Because their air supply is limited, you don’t usually find these bugs in water deeper than 10.’ If a trout is up on the shoal, they will run into these bugs and they may become part of their regular diet. The trout that is spending its time in a deeper part of the lake will have different food sources and different priorities. Inspections of the stomach contents of fish I have “bonked” prove this. Moral of the story: Don’t be afraid to try this pattern in the shallows any time of the year.

    These bugs are also the most fun to fish. They are the speed demons of the lake and their swimming motion can best be described as scampering. Who knows which direction they’re heading or where they’re going? I seriously doubt that they really know where they’re going. Put these patterns on a clear intermediate line, ghost tip, or a floating line and a long leader and strip them continuously in 1-3” strips with short pauses between a series of strips. In Eastern Washington, they’re usually in hook sizes of 10-14. This is a relatively unexplored fishing option among fly fisherman. Be the first kid on your block to say, “I fish with Water Boatman and Backswimmer patterns!”
     
  8. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    Tyler needs to move back here. And... thanks for adding his article.
     
  9. Dipnet

    Dipnet The wanted posters say Tim Hartman

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    Yeah, I continue to explore this site and be astounded at the wealth of information to be found!
     
  10. Tony

    Tony Left handed Gemini.

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    No one has mentioned how extremely fun fishing floating or dry patterns can be also, when there is a back swimmer fall there will be some that don't manage to break the surface tension when they hit and will sit for a few moments possibly stunned then they will skitter about trying to break through the fish will key in on these ones as well, I have had some excellent days fishing dry patterns during a fall so be sure to carry a few of those as well.
    Tony
     
  11. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    Fish was caught today on a waterboatman pattern. Please note that the usage of the word was is singular.
     

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