nice little surprise visit this morning from Mrs. May B while having the coffee and trying to catch up on emails.
she landed on my computer’s trackpad, jiggled a bit for me and stuck around for the photo shoot and went on her jolly way.
nice way to start off the week and a new month. bye babe !
ok, this isn’t really fly fishing related but at least its about bugs and one that kinda looks like an obese caddis, plus its really trippy. enjoy !
wonderfully unpolluted by intense music and images of big fish, this aesthetic short from Stefan Agren ends in a smile and its a really nice one. enjoy !
TLC headquarters is within spitting distance of a canal in the south of France: Le Canal du Midi. as scenic and tourist-drawing as this little waterway may be, and even though its commercial use of shipment barges is long gone, it nevertheless runs through a valley where agriculture borders it from the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean sea. in other words, its a gutter for pesticides and whatever else crap that comes from both sides of the surrounding hills. not the kind of place one wants to go for a swim and its pretty rare to see anyone doing this.
aquatic insect life is what you might expect, mostly chironomids (in great quantities !) and a few dragonfly species just to name the more prominent flutterers. however, in the last few years their have been a few visits at night to my desk from small and lovely caddis adults. a little research and explanations from amateur entomologist friends have countered my idea that these lovely bugs could actually live and develop in the thick sticky silt that beds this canal but yesterday’s surprise was a real slap in the face, at least this guy’s “any kind of mayfly must come from a lovely, clean, bubbling, cool temped, stone-bottomed stream” face. i like to be slapped like this and hope it happens frequently.
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.
freshly hatched from the Canal du Midi right here at TLC-HQ, this little thing’s total body length is about 5mm long.
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 !
a stylised rendition of Mikael ‘Blue Dun’ Gröndahl fantastic ink and paper drawings.
this big guy’s on fire !
an excerpt from Mayfly – a life story by FishOnProductions, enjoy !
or enlarged views of the ‘angler’s curse‘.
just that common name alone should get our attention even if it sounds a bit masochistic fishing-wise, even for those of us who love a challenge !
“When the important hatches of Tricorythodes were first discovered by anglers, Caenis was given the credit. We now know that the Caenis mayflies are a different group, smaller and less common in trout streams, and they hatch in the evening instead of the morning.
They very rarely elicit selective feeding, but when they do they’re very tough to match because they’re often much smaller than size 28. This difficulty has earned them the nickname “Angler’s Curse.”
simple enough to say, even if these early observers didn’t have a watch or map… what comes out in the end in practical terms for us fly anglers is these thingies are very-very small and their proportions are completely off from the larger mayfly species as they have stout bodies, specially the thorax and long tails and antennae and the wings tend to sit out on the sides ‘spent-like’ instead of the usual top: basically the trigger points we’ll want to recreate when tying these flies.
here’s some reference vintage plates of our beautiful little friends to use while we’re at the tying bench. enjoy !
and just because its so cool to see details millions of times bigger than life size,
angler’s curse quote via TroutNut.com
vintage plates via Google Images
i couldn’t help but grunt and shout PUSH ! PUSH ! PUSH ! 😆
it’s cool-weird, interesting in general and fly tiers might learn a thing or two. enjoy !
this introduction note by Pete Tyjas caught my fancy as this topic goes hand in hand with the little 60 or so posts of the ‘brainwashem’ young’ series here on TLC designed to attract our younger friends to our passion. i can’t really figure out the ‘why’ aspect but i like the idea that each one of us does a little something once in a while to share fly fishing to someone else. sure, its quite possible we all might be eaten soon by zombies but on the other hand, we might defeat those ugly/stinking-sticky/disgusting creatures and get to continue on with our normal fly fishing lives. something tells me it’s probably worth doing.
” I’ve had some interesting conversations recently about the average age of fly anglers in the UK. It sounds like it comes in near to retirement age and has given cause for concern.
I have worked professionally in fly fishing for over ten years now and when I first started I am pretty sure these numbers were being quoted back then. Before this I have to be honest and say I had no idea.
It was a shock when I first heard this and it still is. Look at the scene in the US or Scandinavia for instance which seems to be booming. Fly fishing in these places is seen as cool, hip and trendy and works hand in hand with the whole “great outdoors” thing.
In the UK we generally don’t have access to big expanses of wilderness but we are lucky to have large areas of wild fishing where you might not see another angler. I count myself lucky to have one such example on my doorstep – Dartmoor.
Not everyone has though and it is where our reservoirs and put and take stillwater fisheries fill a gap. Small stillwaters also work well for the occasional angler who wants a few rainbows for the pot too.
But what of those of us whose lives revolve around fly fishing? We dream about it, tie flies when we can’t go, read books and enjoy magazines to fill the void. Are we a minority?
Not so long ago I was starting to think this but now I am not so sure. We have great schemes like Get Hooked which introduces youngsters to all forms of fishing, Mayfly in the classroom and numerous days run by the likes of the Environment Agency and Salmon and Trout Association. I wonder how many schemes like this were being run 30 years ago?
It seems to me that the dynamic has changed a little and there is a wide range of activities that parents take their children to. When I was younger I’d play football in the winter and cricket in the summer and do some fishing for carp too. That was about it. Nowadays, there are musical instrument lessons, horse riding, ballet, football, rugby amongst many other pastimes, along with tennis which also is enjoying a resurgence too. All along with the often-mentioned computer games.
Fishing has always been there in the background and sometimes the love for it is lost for a while and then rediscovered a little further down the line. It might be one of the reasons the average age of anglers is higher but since embarking on ESF I have met plenty of fly anglers in their 20s to 40s who fish hard, sleep in cars, chase the hatches and live for fly fishing.
It has left me far from despondent about the state of fly fishing and those entering it. We have to be honest and say it is a niche pastime but I have been greatly encouraged to see not one but two new TV shows featuring fly fishing in the last few months. One of those was on terrestrial TV too which is surely a positive. Kudos to TV execs for making such a bold choice.
So, we enter 2014 and I can’t wait to go fishing in the company of friends and hope I get the chance to bring more people into our great pastime.
Good fishing! “
and that’s just the front page of this great online magazine. be sure to check out all the rest by clicking the logo above or HERE
unsurprisingly, Davie’s new tie is the prettiest i’ve seen in the tailed-for-movement chironomid larvae imitation family but there’s more to it than just pretty. bloodworms, just like most of the different stages of the chironomid are translucent, something a lot of other patterns sorely miss. they also wiggle/squirm back and forth a lot even when not going from one place to another and this is where adding a slinky/undulating marabou tail helps: fishing the fly static and letting the smallest currents in the lake or wind do the work instead of constantly retrieving the line and fly.
bugs of the same species can differ greatly from region to region and we’ll also notice that the chiro larvae goes through different stages, and more importantly for us, different sizes. bloodworms are typically red hence the name but as seen here we’ll notice that various shades of olive, tans and grey are readily found so once again, different sizes and colours of this same pattern should cover you just about anywhere.
not a fancy fly for sure but then it says ‘eat me’ all over and it’s always a treat to watch Davie work his magic. enjoy !
click either bug image for its respective source
by Louis Rhead 1914 via OpenLibrary
without a doubt we can be pretty sure that hatch timetables and even bug species in the last ninety-nine years have come to be inexistent in some areas while others have taken their place, we’re still left with an enormous wealth of information regarding river-side insect life and how to put this to good use.
geared towards U.S. rivers, anglers from around the world will find similarities and usefulness for their own waters. besides, i’m not sure it really matters, it’s a great read regardless and maybe a reminder that bugs is bugs and fishes is fishes and fly fishing hasn’t changed all that much and there’s still a lot to learn from the past.
the many hand-drawn plates created by the author back up all the groovy buggy-fishy info with beauty, further sharing the notion that it’s not just a matter of fish food and catching fish but of creatures to be admired on their own and thank you Mr Rhead for that.
click either image for 177 pages of old school coolness online or HERE to download PDF, Kindle and others to enjoy this offline.
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…
and thanks to Party Ben these two do a pretty good job at it too.
video by Necip Perver
for whatever reasons (like we’re busy fishing or they splatter to bits on our windshields or because the darn things move around a lot and fast) it’s pretty hard to have a good look at these magnificent creatures.
they’re not only a mix of beautiful, cool, robust yet delicate insects with a fairy-like appearance hiding a fierce demonic attitude (that’s the cool part), they’re also fish food and pretty big and yummy fish food at that.
i’ve often seen lake trout jump out of the water to catch these bugs as they’re flying by and it’s been an ongoing challenge of mine to catch one doing just that: false casting a dragonfly pattern low and in front of cruising fish with an upside-down loop to get an airborne take. there’s been a lot of missed-timings and even a few missed strikes, so, it hasn’t worked yet but the quest continues !
as seen in the film, some dragonflies sport a half-clown/half Hitleresque mustache (that probably explains the demonic part and who knows, that detail might be the real ticker in getting the perfect imitation !). anyhow… enjoy !
dragonfly (and other beasties) drawing by Wenceslas Hollar 1646