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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.


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