limbo|ˈlimbō|- (or seductive undulating and alternative uses of foam in fly design)

noun
1 the abode of ‘unbaptized’  nymphs, and of the just who died or are about to before hatching.
2  a voluntary uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an induced intermediate state or condition or indecision of water level beingness: the fate of these insects is now in limbo: neither floating nor sinking, just ‘there’.
• a state of neglect or oblivion: cast out and allowed to reside in a state of piscatorial limboness.

'Limbo' TLC 11-7-13

ORIGIN late Middle French ‘Limbes’: from the medieval Latin phrase in limbo, from limbus ‘hem, border, intermediate, limbo.
’limbo 2 |ˈlimbō|noun ( pl. limbos )
verb [ no obj. ]
to fish in such a way.

ORIGIN 2: back to the foam part.
in a roundabout way, it’s pretty simple to make a fly float or sink. create an ensemble of floating/floatant holding materials in a sufficient volume and it should easily stay on top through fast and slow waters and maybe even after catching a few fish if the materials aren’t too slime-absorbant.
invert those basics and if need be add some actual weight and it’ll sink towards the bottom easily.
now, what about when we’re faced with fish that are greedily eating bugs just under the surface and are completely ignoring any fly presented above or below them ?
a pretty standard  technique in this situation is to control fly depth through the use of various types of fly line densities (or various density sink-tips) but that involves retrieving the line in stillwaters or having the line ‘swing’ in currents. that’s all fine and well but sometimes (often… ) that’s too much movement as far as the fish are concerned. a lot of observations in many water types have shown that they can be lazy bastards at times and will only be interested in bugs that are basically stationary: close to their slimy mouths…

enter the Limbo (or any other pattern that can be relied to hover as much as possible before eventually sinking): and here’s where the foam and ultra-soft materials come in.
closed-cell foam is usually considered a sure-fire floating material but depending on its volume and whether its compressed or not changes that common characteristic to one that also helps a fly stay under the surface yet sink as slowly as possible: the closest thing we can get to actual hovering.
less of a problem in faster waters, in a still or slow water situation, if we use ‘standard’ materials such as cock hackle or even pheasant tail fibers for the tail and some stiffish dubbing say, like a lot of non-water-absorbing synthetics or seal’s fur we end up with a stationary and pretty rigid imitation. replace those stiffish materials with the soft, water absorbing materials like very soft hen hackle for the tail and rabbit underfur combined with no more than a dozen hare ear guard hairs to represent a few legs and other straggly emerging bits and now we have an imitation of a bug that’s stationary yet moving a little bit as if it’s still alive or gently undulating with the current in its death.
this gets the lazy bastard’s attention.

this fly’s general profile is pretty  generic so that leaves us a lot of room to adjust the basic construction ideas to match the various bugs of our waters. the trick here compared to the standard float or sinking fly is finding the exact balance between the floating and sinking elements without forgetting how it has to combine with the hook’s weight or some eventual pull from the leader.
this takes some experimenting. expect to come up with a lot of duds and stripping the hook to start all over again before finding the ‘just right’. i test each one at home before fishing them. it’s one of the better uses of bidets there is.
also keep in mind that everything usually changes when going up or down a hook size or hook shape or from one type of insect to another. to be honest, this has been the toughest challenge i’ve ever encountered in fly tying but then, there aren’t a whole lot of times when ‘cracking the code’ feels this good when all else fails.

you can find all the necessary goodies to make these critters and a lot more from Lucian Vasies at TroutLine.ro

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