Choosing correct fly size crucial to success | SierraSun.com

Choosing correct fly size crucial to success

Bruce Ajari
Gone Fishin'

As fly-fishers know, success often depends on having the right size fly. Fly size is determined by the space between the hook shank and the point of the fly. It is called the gap or gape of the hook, and this determines the size of the hook.

Most fly-fishers know that you try and match the hatch. By doing so, the angler is attempting to match the general size, shape and color of the aquatic insect upon which the fish are feeding. The length of the aquatic insect typically determines the size. An imitation should match this length, shape and color as closely as possible to match the hatch.

I am sure if you have been out on the water and an angler who is catching a number of fish gets asked, and#8220;What are you using.and#8221;

The reply goes something like this, and#8220;A parachute Adams.and#8221;

and#8220;What size?and#8221;

and#8220;A size number 14.and#8221;

So everyone immediately searches for a parachute Adams in a size No. 14. So what happens when you are not able to catch a fish using the same pattern as the other angler?

There could be a number of explanations for the lack of success. Your presentation could be less skillful than the successful angler, or the fish could be concentrated where he or she is located.

Now, if fish are rising all around and your presentation seems to be fine, what then? Fly-tiers know that hooks of the same size can have varying shank lengths. As a result, if an angler tells you a size No. 14, you have to know what type of hook is being used with fly to determine the actual size.

It could be tied on either a long- or short-shank model. As a result, you may actually be fishing too small or too large an imitation. If this happens, selective fish may pass on your offering.

Could it be the angler is giving you some misinformation? I tend to think that most fly-fishers are honest individuals and will help those who ask. I may be naïve, but I like to think the best of people. I tend to believe the problem is more likely failing to match the size properly with your fly.

So the next time someone tells you what size fly they are using, go ahead and try to match the size to the naturals on the water rather than relying on the hook size. You are more likely to have success by matching the hatch than matching the reported hook size.

and#8212; Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.