“I look into … my fly box, and think about all the elements I should consider in choosing the perfect fly: water temperature, what stage of development the bugs are in, what the fish are eating right now. Then I remember what a guide told me: ‘Ninety percent of what a trout eats is brown and fuzzy and about five-eighths of an inch long.'”

~by Allison Moir, “Love the Man, Love the Fly Rod”, in A Different Angle: Fly Fishing Stories by Women~

interestingly enough, in many if not most conversations amongst fellow anglers it would seem that those two ‘philosophies’ or rather, approaches fall into an either/or category. maybe because i have a hard time sometimes making my mind up about some things… i rather prefer to take the longer route and combine both.
after-all, observation, and not only for the sake of being a more efficient fisher is just part of the whole experience, besides, staring at the water all day makes me dizzy.

there really isn’t much to say about the ‘brown & fuzzy’ approach. pick, tie on, cast and present but before doing all that the lookers however have the possibility to use at least two more senses, vision and hearing (ok, it’s not like we can usually differentiate different species of bugs by their sounds but at least we can be alerted to their presence if they buzz around nearby). the more obvious methods being turning over stones from the riverbed, watching hunting birds, using a kick-net, or simply see what’s floating downstream or flying by.
Moir’s quote reminded me of another trick i was taught as a kid: search for spiderwebs. our little eight-legged friends do a great job at collecting and giving us the chance to have a rather perfect view of what the fishes might be eating.
if we’re lucky we might even get the chance to see the spider coming in for the feast ! (which is of course enthralling and would probably mean missing out on some fish and finally resorting to using ‘brown and fuzzy’ to make up for lost time…. )

bugweb Speyside TLC 5-13
Speyside chironomid display, Scotland

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