Seminal Ideas in Fly Tying and Being Observant

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Sparse Grey Hackle, Oct 24, 2002.

  1. Sparse Grey Hackle

    Sparse Grey Hackle Member

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    Messing around with members of this site is always entertaining. Life should always be balanced with humor. However, I think I owe it to the credibility of this site (and my own) to address something of importance.

    List them: wooley bugger, hare's ear, elk-hair caddis, soft hackle/carey special, upwing pattern (standard dry fly), hairwing streamer, foam body, zonker, tube fly, scud, chironomid. These are the flies that make up fly fishing. If you can tie these or combo ideas from each of them into another fly you basically get what makes up upwards of 97% of flies on the market and in current use. Using new flash and sythetic materials in substitute of old materials improves the design of the original patterns, but this "tweaking" of patterns can hardly be considered seminal or unprecidented in any way.

    A true tying purist only uses natural materials. And the fishing purist only fishes these materials on a dry fly, but lets save that for a different discussion... I agree that many underfurs of game animals have kinky enought hair that it can provide superior floating qualities due the air trapped in the kinks. But, nit-picking on minutae in today's fly tying world (with so many products) in order to think your self part of an exclusive fraternity is excessive, in my opintion. For example, you can use grey Antron just as easily as Muskrat dubbing for an Adams. You can use microfibetts or four barbels from a hen hackle to tail a mayfly and it doesn't seem to matter significantly.

    WHAT WE NEED ARE NEW IDEAS and new methods. We've been doing the same thing for 50 years. Hell, Charles Cotton did some of the same things we do 400 years ago. Observation is the first step. I challenge each one of you to pay closer attention. If you find yourself on a productive lake, I suggest one day at the end of the day you take a flashlight and shine it straight into the water. I dare you to identify the damsel, the dragon, the water boatman or differentiate it from the upside down slightly longer backswimmer. Watch how they swim. Look at their legs. What do they look like? Try to come up with a retrieve that mimics what you saw. Look at the colors you see. Did you see anything at the shop (like rubber legs) that might have the action of what you saw? Do you think that weighting the nymph would impair the action or make it better?

    There are two schools of thought in fly tying: the exact imitation and the suggestive imitation. Those that hang nymphs in the film on greased leaders or under a strike indicator think that exact imitations outproduce "buggy" looking flies. When fishing like that in lakes, the fish have a long time to size up the fly. Exact imitation counts. However, those that like to impart action on their flies seek "buggy" looking patterns that don't look much like the original insect, but have undulating or or flashy or pulsing movement. Obviously, these people feel that buggy nymphs are the way to go.

    Case Study:
    I like to impart action. I fish lakes mostly and I like to keep myself busy with intermediate lines. My patterns are buggy. Just this last weekend I was up at Nunnally (sp?) and I fared poorly with my buggy flies. A friend of mine (James) simply threw a 1.5" flashy red bloodworm. He did not have red marabou handy and simply tied a piece of red floss on both ends to give it action. He outproduced everyone that day by tens. Options of chenille bloodworms faired poorly. What was it about James' fly that was perfect for the time and occasion? I assume James picked the fly because a current was coming in from Bobby Lake and the temperature was turning over the lake. The presence of bits of floating algae and algae suspending a mid-levels is proof of what was happening: 1) Algal blooms occur at any change in temperature. Obviously, Nunnally is getting colder.
    The fact the the algae is floating and suspending and moving at mid levels tells you the lake is turning over. James knew that chronomid larvae (bloodworms) would be rooted up with everything else and thrown about. Though the lake was fairly clear, the moving sediment made the situation less than ideal for these privelaged Nunnally fish. Why did the fish like James' fly? Why didn't they like the chenille patterns? Current philosophy in fly fishing (West coast fisheries) is showing that a pattern in the right size and shape with a bit of sparkle/flash/movement separates it from the originals. But this is good, because it intrigues the trout and draws a strike. Triploid and quality fisheries show that a nymph a hook size or two larger than the hatch take fish. Just ask the people who fish the interior lakes of BC!

    To date, I have only one unprecidented pattern that has methods similar to nothing in publication. By chance, I found out that it by chance happens to be a warmwater pattern. It takes any warmwater fish any time. I am proud of this minnow pattern. But I'm not ready to hang my hat up. There are too many of us to not come up with something better and new ideas. Don't just play along, BRING SOMETHING TO THE TABLE. Lets make our mark in the history of the sport. I'll be willing to bet that the best knowledge in the land can comes from the State of Washington, and better yet, from this site.

    Sparse

    Streams are made for the wise man to contemplate and fools to pass by.
    (Sir Izaak Walton)
     
  2. troutman101

    troutman101 Member

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    Nice Point.

    The problem is that even Lee Wulff got skunked regularly.

    In other words, luck has some factor even for the professors of flyfishing.

    Faith is another factor.

    If you don't believe that your fly will work, it won't.

    If at first you have no faith and then you "accidentally" catch a fish on a fly you have never used before, your level of faith goes up and you will start learning methods on how to improve your technique on fishing the fly.

    Sooner or later you will find yourself pulling out the same fly every time you get in the water given location and season.

    i.e.-1pm July 1st 1990, caught 10 fish on a PMD parachute fishing the pocketwater below Ringer.

    12pm July 12th 1997, caught 4 fish on a PMD parachute fishing the seam just below Ringer accross from the island on the right bank.

    11:45am July 8th 2002, caught 6 fish on a PMD parachute fishing the rip rap half mile from the Cle Elum boat ramp


    This didn't really happen but I could give you example after example where it did happen.
     
  3. Randy Knapp

    Randy Knapp Active Member

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    Fact of the matter is that fish are like babies. They put stuff in their mouth to explore. On any given day they will take anything or nothing and all kinds of stuff in between. They are grow up testing twigs, leaves, pebbles, and every kind of bug, worm, etc. They learn that they can usually just spit it out or ___t it out if it isn't food. Fish are relatively primative predators that are very in tune with their enviornment. Buggy movement works because food behaves that way. There is no magic to it. Flies are artificial bait and no different then the real thing except in the rationalization of the fisher. Flyfishing is simply a sport/pastime that enables us to use natural and learned predatory skills in order to satisfy our yearnings. Dry fly, wet fly, streamer, nymph, imitative, suggestive, bait, gear, whatever. It is just fishing. I love flyfishing for lots of reasons and get a whole lot of satisfaction and enjoyment from the process but it isn't rocket science and most of what we do and use is learned from those who market products and services to make a dime. I'm for the fun and not the hype. I do it because it gives me pleasure. I hope you do also. If I sound grumpy it is because I get tired of those (not you, Sparse) who think they can tell me what is right and wrong about something that at its simplest is experienced by any 8 year old with a cane pole, line, bobber, hook and worm. Let's let common sense be a part of the process. Flies evolve because they attract fish and fishers. They must do both.

    Randy

    Randy
     
  4. MacRowdy

    MacRowdy Idaho Resident Craftsman/Artisan

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    WORD Sparse!


    :THUMBSUP :THUMBSUP :THUMBSUP
    MacRowdy
     

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