nice little surprise visit this morning from Mrs. May B while having the coffee and trying to catch up on emails.
she landed on my computer’s trackpad, jiggled a bit for me and stuck around for the photo shoot and went on her jolly way.
nice way to start off the week and a new month. bye babe !
TLC headquarters is within spitting distance of a canal in the south of France: Le Canal du Midi. as scenic and tourist-drawing as this little waterway may be, and even though its commercial use of shipment barges is long gone, it nevertheless runs through a valley where agriculture borders it from the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean sea. in other words, its a gutter for pesticides and whatever else crap that comes from both sides of the surrounding hills. not the kind of place one wants to go for a swim and its pretty rare to see anyone doing this.
aquatic insect life is what you might expect, mostly chironomids (in great quantities !) and a few dragonfly species just to name the more prominent flutterers. however, in the last few years their have been a few visits at night to my desk from small and lovely caddis adults. a little research and explanations from amateur entomologist friends have countered my idea that these lovely bugs could actually live and develop in the thick sticky silt that beds this canal but yesterday’s surprise was a real slap in the face, at least this guy’s “any kind of mayfly must come from a lovely, clean, bubbling, cool temped, stone-bottomed stream” face. i like to be slapped like this and hope it happens frequently.
freshly hatched from the Canal du Midi right here at TLC-HQ, this little thing’s total body length is about 5mm long.
true, fish will usually see these tidbits from underneath as chironomids/midges finish their final transformation from emerger to completed adult at the water’s surface but a) the canal isn’t very inviting swim-wise, b) it’s cold and rainy outside and c) i have no idea where my swim trunks are and d) i don’t feel like scaring the little girls that just moved in next door…
anyway, i always consider it a treat to see the delicate beauty of these creatures but also on practical terms, as fly tiers this image can help us with details, proportions and to highlight how sunlight shows through them and maybe give us a better idea how to translate all that to our flies.
with a similarly replicating ‘looking up towards the sky’ fish’s perspective, the bug was completely backlit when the image was taken. note that every part except for the darkest are translucent.
of interest as well are the slender micro feather-like breathers, big eye(s), hefty thorax and slender abdomen and the legs are as long as the body. to me it’s not about tying hyper-realistic flies but of gathering the essential trigger points that make great fishing flies, not flies that catch fishers.
sure, depending on which area of the world you’re in, midges can and will be of very different sizes in hook terms, say, from a size 8 to size 28 and while this one’s green they’ll also be found in various tones of red, black, yellow and who knows what else, but these bugs all basically have the same details and proportions.
generally speaking, tie your midge patterns skinny and airy and you’ll most certainly catch more fish !
“The lochs in my part of the (Scottish) Highlands are acidic; this is from the peat that blankets this part of the world.
Aquatic insects find it difficult to extract oxygen from the water if it is acidic. To counter this their haemoglobin has to be more efficient. As it becomes more efficient it also becomes redder.”
“This explained the choices which of flies we use. Tradition has us using lots of flies with red in them. My approach to the traditional flies has been to ask “What is it that makes this pattern successful?” then to look into how modern materials enable me to tie flies with more of what makes them work.”
brilliant info indeed. after a loooong time and a lot of experimenting, i had finally been able to somewhat ‘break the color code’ on the similar dark-dark waters in Sweden but had no clue why red somewhere on the fly seemed to do the trick better than other tones. thanks Alan !
as a side note when talking about fly colors, it’s a well-accepted fact that red is the first color to ‘disappear’ in the water column (loose it’s distinctive hue and turn to a shade of grey) the deeper it goes down and conversely, blue will retain it’s hue deepest. true, most Loch-Style flies are designed to be fished pretty close to the surface but i can’t help but wonder how this red vs blue phenomenon is affected by peat-stained water ?
click either pic for the complete article. enjoy !
not a ‘fishing’ insect in the sense that we’d want to imitate them with our flies but one we all must have to deal with at one time or another. it’s not like seeing how beautiful the emerging beast will make us feel any better when the female takes out flesh and blood from our exposed skin but it’s still nice to watch. enjoy !
Stonefly exoskeletons (order: Plecoptera) found near a french Pyrenean river. it’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly but i believe them to be of the Leuctra ariega species even if they seem to be a bit too big for that particular bug.
whatever they are they’re beautiful and i know the trouts like them too…