the Perils of Pernod

caught in a puddle of this disgustingly sweet anis-flavoured apéritif, little did our little midge know that it would be the death of her, specially when drank pure instead of the more traditional preparation consisting of four parts cold water and maybe an ice cube or two. live and learn.

'the perils of Pernod' m.fauvet:tlc 13-6-14

an adult chironomid

freshly hatched from the Canal du Midi right here at TLC-HQ, this little thing’s total body length is about 5mm long.

adult midge m.fauvet:tlc 3-5-14

true, fish will usually see these tidbits from underneath as chironomids/midges finish their final transformation from emerger to completed adult at the water’s surface but a) the canal isn’t very inviting swim-wise, b) it’s cold and rainy outside and c) i have no idea where my swim trunks are and d) i don’t feel like scaring the little girls that just moved in next door…

anyway, i always consider it a treat to see the delicate beauty of these creatures but also on practical terms, as fly tiers this image can help us with details, proportions and to highlight how sunlight shows through them and maybe give us a better idea how to translate all that to our flies.
with a similarly replicating ‘looking up towards the sky’ fish’s perspective, the bug was completely backlit when the image was taken. note that every part except for the darkest are translucent.
of interest as well are the slender micro feather-like breathers, big eye(s), hefty thorax and slender abdomen and the legs are as long as the body. to me it’s not about tying hyper-realistic flies but of gathering the essential trigger points that make great fishing flies, not flies that catch fishers.

sure, depending on which area of the world you’re in, midges can and will be of very different sizes in hook terms, say, from a size 8 to size 28 and while this one’s green they’ll also be found in various tones of red, black, yellow and who knows what else, but these bugs all basically have the same details and proportions.
generally speaking, tie your midge patterns skinny and airy and you’ll most certainly catch more fish !

past sex

a couple of what where probably happy chironomids encased in amber while doing the do several zillion years ago.
let this be a reminder to be sure to be our best at all times should this sort of thing happen to us,  you never know if someone might reblog your frozen acts in the distant future…

past sex TLC 27-8-13

brainwashem’ young- What a Life(Cycle) !

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 !

“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

related articles

‘cheese-eating midge

cheese-eating midge 4-3-13

at an estimated 4mm body length it wasn’t the easiest thing to get so close to the beast without it flying off and away but some encouraging words followed with promises of some fresher Gouda kept it a bay long enough to get a somewhat decent shot to be able observe this fish-food’s key elements to be later transposed to imitations of adult chironomids.
apart from getting proportionally slimmer, it’s interesting to note that the adult’s body stays basically the same as in it’s pupal stage.  the breathers, antennae and other leggy-wingy goodies are quite delicate and beautiful, transforming it from the Alieny thing below into a mini fairy. Midge Pupa - google images

related articles

pupa image via Google Images

“This fly has guts”

the Gutbomb Bloodworm, a chironomid larva pattern by Curtis Fry at Fly Fish Food

a lot of high quality tying step-by-steps and videos have been coming out in the recent weeks and to start off a selection of the best, today’s little gem certainly has the required qualities we’d expect from a midge larvae: the curvy shape, size, slim profile and what maybe most tiers neglect and to me what really makes or breaks the effectiveness of these imitations: translucency, meaning that not only we and the fish can see what’s inside the bug but that light is seen coming through the bug by the fish looking up at it through the water column on their squigly-wiggly way to the surface.

“In my way of thinking, the chironomid larva is the hotdog of the stillwater trout world. Plump, juicy, full of tasty goodness and they’re all over the place.”

gutbomb bloodworm flyfishfood

personally, i can’t get excited about hotdogs but i like his point. it’s a well known fact that fish love them and that’s more than enough reason to have a nice selection of these ‘dogs in the box !

as a bonus, during the video we’ll notice an interesting comment about fish having “x-ray and UV eyes and they “shoot UV rays out”. now, i’m not about to go into commenting on that… 😆 except for it added a special touch to what is already a great tying tutorial and fly.
i hope you’ll enjoy this as much as i did.

be sure to check other great videos and articles at Fly Fish Food while you’re there. good stuff indeed.

the ‘well-hung’ buzzer

following the line grub idea of using fly lines as body parts for flies here’s a little midge-type emerger with an extended abdomen.

made with:

love
size 18 grub hook
Veevus 14/0 brown thread
extended body- fly line, tips burned to seal the line and colored with permanent markers, coated and secured with BugBond
abdomen- severals dubbing materials (can’t remember but there’s Glister, seal’s fur, ? and ?)
wing wisps- brown-beige fox body fur
wings- twisted Chrystal Flash
wing case- pheasant tail
head- Antron dubbing black

edit: Ronan’s comment below has lead me to change this fly’s name. it sounds a lot better this way, thanks !

monday’s midge

” My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three, and, save for a pocket of warmth in the darkest past, nothing of her subsists within the hollows and dells of memory, over which, if you can still stand my style (I am writing under observation), the sun of my infancy had set: surely, you all know those redolent remnants of day suspended, with the midges, about some hedge in bloom or suddenly entered and traversed by the rambler, at the bottom of a hill, in the summer dusk; a furry warmth, golden midges.”
Vladimir Nabokov

midge(t)s

well, they’re small enough to be really hard to see and easily trip over…

anyway, whatever they are, there’s more and more of them in a lot of trout waters around the globe as the typical caddis, mayflies and stoneflies are having a hard time with mankind and what we’re doing to the aquatic systems. midges thrive just about everywhere at just about anytime of the year and in some areas, become the primary food source for salmonids and other bug eating species.

today’s film is chapter five of the seminal documentary ‘Bugs of the Underworld’ by Lisa and Ralph Cutter. yes, a lot of you have heard about it for years but it’s still a reference and an amazing film every freshwater fisher should own and study because we get to see how the bugs we try so hard to imitate look and behave in real life and not how some fly tier steeped in someone else’s tradition decided they should look.
we’ll also notice that the highly sought after ‘dead-drift’ might not always be in sync with what the real bugs are doing. in short, most bugs are a lot more alive than our stuffy imitations.

there are trillions of nice midge imitations out and about but here are a few recent ties that caught my eye.

Tim Barker
KG’s Fullback/Foamback Midge…Glissmeyer/Variant…Chocolate, #18-#22

Andy Baird

(Andy gets bonus points for the name !)

Al’s Rat midge pupae by Tightline Productions

and just in case you’re one of those flat-earther, keds wearing, climate change denying, bamboo shwooshing mayfly dryfly-only  purist types, here’s proof that trout are already drastically changing their feeding habits…