the quote’s from Doris Lessing, i guess that kinda makes me a dummy and that’s ok.
not a whole lot to learn or whoop and whap about but a 1:52 short little venture into Scottish river-side humour for your pleasure that’s bound to raise a few lip corners. the cheering ooohs and ahhhhs make it really special, enjoy !
“Aquatic entomologists place little emphasis on body color when attempting to identify a mayfly species. They collect virgin, male, mayfly spinners, and dissect them to clearly see their penes (mayflies have two). They then count the spines on the penes and compare them to photos in books to identify each species. There is no way to be sure of the species from a female spinner, and you may not be able to tell from a nonvirgin male. No kidding! I couldn’t make this stuff up.”
see ? as seemingly far-fetched, mind-boggling, thought-provoking and mostly giggly because it’s not like these two thingies are going to double their pleasure.., as much as i like to make up shit i didn’t make up this post’s title either.
seeing how some aquatic bugs breathe through their butts and then all the others do all sorts of other weird things, that one little fact (ok, two) doesn’t help us all that much if we’re trying to match a hatch on the stream but it’s all good to know because well, knowing is better than not knowing, it’s cool and this kind of stuff is just a reminder that fiction usually isn’t so far-fetched after all. the weird and mostly wonderful is all around us and it’s real.
Paul Weamer’s excellent article, Understanding Mayflies on Fly Fisherman -via Erin Block’s super-duper Tippet section at MidCurrent- doesn’t give us all the answers either but goes a long way in getting to know our little friends a little better.
click either pick to access the complete article and please excuse the fact that the main character in the second image isn’t a mayfly but hey, it might turn into one if you stare at it long enough… enjoy !
just sent in by buddy Trevor Hayman, a Large Dark Olive spinner – Baetis rhodani
“Quite a few of these around on the (Southern England) chalk streams right now.”
this kind of ultra-lovely bug image gets me going in a good way. i wish i was on those chalkstreams right now but that’ll have to wait till next month so, to get in the mood i immediately went to the local café, ordered a double espresso and got to work on making a few somewhat dark olive imitations for the trip. i’m feeling really positive about this one !
thanks again Trevor !
probably not and however much i try, i can’t either… but thanks to the inquisitive and coolnerdy group at Noticing we’ll find out how and why dragonfly nymphs do exactly that and other exciting things with their wiggly butts.
we’ll also get a pretty darn good explanation how mayfly and other nymphs manage to breathe whilst being underwater (something i’m already pretty sure none of you can do) and all sorts of nifty and fascinating things about our favourite bugs. wonderfully explained, this article is well worth sharing with your little ones as its yet another fantastic example of the marvelous, adaptive, fascinating capabilities of the animal world right there at our (wet) feet. they’ve found the perfect balance of easy-to-understand informative while keeping things light and humorous. the site is quite new yet they’re off to a fantastic start and i really-really wish them well.
to read more and see a video showing why dragonfly nymphs are next best thing after Alien and find out why all these grey beachballs are trying to prevent the red one from going out you’ll have to click on it to see. enjoy !
here’s the scene- i’m on a lovely Scottish river that’s noted for having a good run of seatrout. there’s also a lot of golden-bellied brown trout and salmon but since seatrout are far and few between in my part of the world i decide to spend the evening trying to catch what’s been so far an elusive species for me or who knows, maybe a salmon. on the way to a promising looking run, all of a sudden mayflies started popping up, dancing all around me and all-exciting rings started to happen all over the pool. a lot of them.
those rings where created by the aforementioned golden-bellies. the as-yet unstrung rod was an 8wt more than capable of of handling the biggest seatrout this river might offer and the flies in my box where all seatrout/salmon type things which could never be confused with the mayflies that where dancing about and being chomped by my buttery friends.
the little voice said: pursue the quest and persist ! so i listened, got ready, waded in and started the evening wilfully thinking that one specie’s appetite was sure to be wetted by another’s.
the hatch got stronger and stronger and the feeding frenzy carried on relentlessly despite all my line-thrashing and Spey swoops and whomps right over the trout’s very heads. i even tried swinging and retrieving my seatrouty morsels in front of their noses and they’d just continue sipping the bugs away, sometimes right next to my offering and at others, right next to the line that was moving in front of them. these guys where in gluttony mode and nothing could put them down… you’ve already guessed that once again, seatrout where only a bittersweet, delisional dream that never came through.
once back at the camp, my friends where very happy to tell me in great detail of all the lovely browns they caught, released and took pictures of and that made me very happy for them. i showed them my ‘trophy pic’ above and since they are friends and good friends, i guess no-one felt the need to say “should have taken the trout rod instead, Marc…” and i fully agree with that unstated statement.
fishing for seatrout is a boring, fruitless and frustrating endeavour. they’re not even pretty and i know this because i’ve seen countless photos of them that other people have caught. i’ll probably never do it again but then, i just might if i ever get in better terms with my mojo.
“A massive mayfly hatch on the Mississippi River in the La Crosse, Wisconsin area July 20, 2014, was described as a insect infestation of “biblical proportions” so intense that it made driving in the region difficult and even dangerous. Poor visibility and slippery roads (due to mayflies) were blamed for a three-vehicle accident on the Hwy. 63 bridge linking Red Wing and Hager City, Wisconsin, that left one person hospitalised.”
sure, this info has gone a bit viral lately. some have seen it and this is for those who haven’t. apart from the poor people hurt in the accident this is a magical moment to say the least.
click the gif for the full story by Ross Purnell at FlyFisherman
i can’t figure out why but this dun to spinner transformation stuff gets me all excited ! after two seconds i immediately shut down the sucky music and found myself grunting along with the beast simultaneously shouting PUSH – PULL – PUSH !!!
for the full exhilarating experience i suggest you do the same. note how near the end it just ‘walks away’ from its front-right leg just as any self-respecting zombie might do. too cool, 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.
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
ok, not really but this video sure reminds me of them.
“Most mayflies lay their eggs immediately after mating; the eggs then take anywhere from 10 days to many months to hatch. Cloeon cognatum is an exception. This species is ovoviviparous, which means that a mated female holds her eggs internally until embryonic development is complete (about 18 days), after which she lays them in water and they hatch immediately. This female was dropped onto the water surface moments before the video started.”
Video credit: David H. Funk
the magic starts to happen after a minute. enjoy !
should you not remember Sea Monkeys, you can find out about them here.
by David Webster 1885 via OpenLibrary
“Loop-Rod and Loop-Line”
what a nice descriptive. i like that and i like it a lot. it seems just right and somehow more appropriate than our usual ‘fly rod and fly line’ but fear not friends, this isn’t about changing what we call them but about sharing a really cool find.
you’ll also discover funny ways to talk to the fish to get them to take the fly, it’s a great read. click either image for the online book or HERE to download the file in various forms to read offline. enjoy !