is a funny little guy that stops by TLC headquarters once in a while. he doesn’t have much to say and I don’t understand his sign language and he doesn’t understand English or French or my own sign language.
we do however play ‘show me yours and I’ll show you mine’ so I pull up my t-shirt and show him my belly, Ben in turn does the same. I’m not sure what he gets out of our little exchange but I get to observe all his little details and not just groove on how cool looking my little friend is but also get to figure out what can make a great adult chironomid imitation and all that seen from below, the fish’s point of view. it’s a pretty good deal, I like this game.
not a whole lot to learn here (except that trout eat chironomids at all stages of their development, from the bottom of the water to the top and when they come back to deposit eggs: i guess just like any other aquatic bug… ) but ! it’s still an amusing little film that might be of interest for your littles ones. i bet they’ll chuckle when the fish shows up. enjoy !
by Davie McPhail
here’s a very good example of what first appears to be non-sensical hybridization and further proof that trying to understand why a fish will take an artificial fly over another is as futile an attempt as well, maybe trying to understand the meaning of life or maybe why i went out with any of my exes…
what we have on today’s tying tutorial menu is your basic, if not more realistic and finer made than most, buzzer, or chironomid/midge pupae imitation with a black, undulating ‘wing’ mounted on it’s back. bugs in their pupal stage don’t have wings and for the sake of argument, even if they did they most certainly wouldn’t be black and wouldn’t do the sexy wigglings that a marabou wing does.
now for the weird part. i’m getting more and more convinced that it’s this tail and not so much the body of the fly that’s really getting the fish to take.
after doing a lot of experimenting over the last year or so with this basic idea with flies like these that where inspired by the upright-wing Clyde style of wets or other UK reservoir flies. far from wanting to compare my flies to Davie’s, this winged aspect and purpose however fits in with the Cormorant/Buzzer variant in the video at the bottom of the post.
anyhow, what remains is, a whole heck of a lot of fish have been brought to the net with these weirdly winged flies. next step will have me trying out flies with just a wing. the idea is the wing acts as an extended body with a nice generalist shape with lots of attractive movement making the traditional body obsolete. of course, the main objective is finding flies that greatly attract fish but it’s also an exercise in minimalist tying. i guess the ultimate goal is to use just one material but that material’s selection and application needs to be just right. it’s a quest !
i’ve several prototypes that haven’t fished yet but judging by the all-important bidet-test, they have that certain-special ‘smell of success’ about them. pics to follow.
i almost forgot ! Davie’s video is as always an understated goldmine of tying tips and overall tying excellence. be sure to take note of the finer points by using the pause and replay buttons. enjoy !
by Alan Bithell
“This isn’t a pattern of my own invention. Many years ago Alan Roe arrived home from work late. On looking in the refrigerator for something to eat he saw a box containing 4 packs of Birds Eye Cod in Parsley Sauce. Grabbing it he put two in the microwave for dinner. Between the packs he found a sheet of thin foam packing material. After his dinner he sat for a couple of hours thinking that there must be a fly tying application for this foam sheet. This pattern is what he came up with.”
thank goodness for supermarket food !
in what has to be a sure-fire, hard-core fish-slurping fly, what makes this one stand out is the wing material. standard, thin sheeted transparent foam sure looks the deal at the vice but a) doesn’t float for long and b) gets torn to shreds after just a few fish, usually one. Tyvek on the other hand, has a strengthening backing, keeps its transparency and alleviates all the problems mentioned above. the creative tier will find all sorts of uses for this: wing cases, streamer bodies, shucks and indicators just to name a few.
nice way to tie it on !
Buzzers – Midges: Chironomids
a flash from the past happened as i was watching Davie McPhail’s tying video of this truly amazing pattern. a lot of memories trickled back of all the good trout-stalking fun and success i’ve had with this pattern and i thought i’d share it here.
often neglected because of it’s ‘looks like nothing’ appearance…, i’ve heard they’re banned in some waters because they’re so effective.
(see, i wasn’t kidding, they’re awesomely butt-ugly ! these old munched and crunched ones come from my box, they’re around 3-4 years old and a conservative guesstimation has them at maybe 25-30 fish each)
created in the 70’s by Dave Shipman to imitate ‘buzzer or chironomid hatches on England’s Rutland reservoir, it can be fished with a floating line on top like a dry, half way in/half way out like an emerger or sunk.
dead-drifted with the wind or animated slooooowly, it’s a pretty rare occasion where these won’t catch the fish’s attention.
sizes range from no. 8 to 28 sized hooks. any color will do with personal favorites being black, red, claret, and darkish brown and combining all those colors makes it super-versatile and sexy !
i’ve had great success with it in rivers and streams as well. it’s not just a stocked fish stillwater pattern because midge distribution is getting bigger and bigger because of pollution and other nasties: the ‘standard’ trout bugs have a hard time living in dirtier waters and the midges move in because their metabolism allows it.
here’s how Davie ties it, in fact he ties three different versions for us. enjoy !
btw, don’t forget this previously talked about method of presenting them:
Frank Sawyer’s Bow Tie