fly design- Seeing Red

by Alan Bithell via Rodtrip

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“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.”

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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 !