Traditional fly patters hard to top
Fly fishermen are constantly seeking that magical fly pattern ” the one that will catch fish on a regular basis when no one else can.
There are many proven fly patterns on the market, but those of us who tie flies are constantly striving to come up with the better pattern. Flies are tied to imitate aquatic and terrestrial insects as well as baitfish that represent the primary food source for the trout in our local waters.
Typically if we can match the size, shape and color of the insect or baitfish, we will have a good pattern. That said, an exact imitation may seem lifeless in the water, so tying a fly with movement in it is key to having a successful pattern. Besides, tying flies that are exact imitations are also incredibly time consuming.
At the rate I can lose flies, that would make it much too difficult to keep yourself supplied with enough to fish with on a regular basis. I would spend way too much time tying and not fishing.
As a result, I subscribe to the impressionistic school of fly tying. If the pattern gives the fish a pretty reasonable indication that it is alive by its overall size, shape, color and movement, it is a good pattern. Since these types of flies do not need to be exact, tying with materials that tend to move is essential.
Materials such as marabou and soft hackles help to impart this movement to give it the illusion of life. What is even better is that these materials are easy to tie flies with, which makes them much easier flies to tie.
The chances that you as a fly tier can come up with a new pattern are pretty remote. Typically the flies you develop are similar to ones others have attempted and are probably a variation of an old standby.
With all the new materials that have come out on the market, an old pattern can be completely changed with the use of them. With the increase in synthetic materials with a great amount a flash, tying has changed quite a bit since I began countless years ago.
I used to be a proponent of muted, or earth-tone colors, to my patterns. Today, I am beginning to become a believer in adding flash to my flies.
On a recent trip to Pyramid Lake, one of the anglers I was fishing with was getting many bites on a fly that had an incredible amount of flash on it. Guess what I am tying today?
Flash can add an element of life to a pattern. Many insects create bubbles, which when coupled with the sun gives off points of light. The speculation is that the flash in the flies resembles these moving points of light.
If you tie your own flies or are learning to do so, I would suggest sticking with the proven patterns, and as you become a more accomplished fly tier, go ahead and experiment with different materials. You never know, you may create a pretty special fly.
Learning to tie flies can be done through a book, but taking lessons from a person can shorten your learning curve and your frustration. Join a local fly fishing club such as the Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers. For more information on the Tahoe Truckee Flyfishers, contact Vicki Fenner at (916) 216-3898 or Dave Lass at 587-7110.
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