North Country Wets

by Ben Spinks

as i’ve been recently researching and learning about and tying a lot of flies inspired by the North Country Wets or Spiders style and getting quite a few comments and questions by pm in the process, i thought i’d share this inspiring article that has a lot to say about these minimalistic flies and why they’re so effective.

two extracts from an insanely great article that might make some ‘convert’s  to these types of flies if they aren’t already.

” Pritt’s argument for the spider pattern was based around something so simple and obvious that it must have been immensely infuriating to hear arguments against it. Life!
Pritt saw that it was nigh impossible to imitate an insect perfectly from an aesthetic point of view, but not from that of an impressionistic one. The theory goes that it is far more difficult to create a perfect imitation and to impart life afterwards, than it is to produce an impressionistic resemblance of an imperfectly developed insect struggling in the current. Basically saying that rather than having a solid body and somewhat rigid wing needing direct manipulation from the angler, you would have a slim, translucent body with a sparse, webby and very mobile hackle capable of moving naturally with the action of the current. It is a wonderfully simple idea that never has and never will fail to catch. “

” Stillborns, cripples and blown over duns going through this process are battered about like there’s no tomorrow, they get tumbled through fast water, bounced off rocks, stuck in weed and generally mashed about. At the end of this, if untaken by a trout, the fly no longer has the distinct uniform appearance of a dun or the crisp outline of a nymph, but appears as rather more of a contorted mess and from the point of view of a trout, a rather effortless meal.
Look at it this way, if I got hit by a bus tomorrow and ended up with my legs pointing backwards and my head up my arse, I’d still be recognisable, just not quite as I should be. People wouldn’t ignore and walk past me, completely the opposite in fact, pretty nurses would come running with ice cream and loosely buttoned tops. Trout are creatures of habit; they don’t like expending any more energy than is necessary to fill their bellies. The ever-present stillborn/cripple therefore provides an excellent opportunity for an easy meal. Ever wondered why the scruffiest of flies often prove more fulfilling than their prim and proper counterparts? Well this I like to think is why: they conform to the trout’s view of normality rather than our own. “

 as a nice bonus, there’s some rather good explanations on wing parts that’ll help when trying to make sense of the original recipes.
all in all a great read, enjoy !

click HERE for the full article

for a little look at the tying process, here’s two excellent patterns from Davie McPhail, the classic Stewart’s Spider and an ingenious winged personal concoction, Davie’s Spider.

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