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 Post subject: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:36 pm 
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.........Do we *ever* have enough flies? (Keeping firmly in mind that "ever" means very different things to different guys/gals).

I was fishing my favorite stretch of a favorite river yesterday (trying like heck to keep my hat on my head with one hand; while keeping my rod/reel firmly held in the other in that howling wind.

It had been quite a slow day. The bugs just couldn't seem to get airborne in that wind.....so would pulse for a few minutes......the trout would come up on them......then nothing would happen for an hour, or so.

It got to be the proverbial "witching hour" (in reality a couple of hours).......the wind laid down; and even though I carry quite literally hundreds to a couple of thousand flies with me in the combo pack at all times.............a hatch started coming off of size 16 Yellow Sulphurs. (As an aside just looking at Mayflies in the air tells you nothing. Both Sean and I thought they were size 12 Light Cahills just by "eyeballing" them.......I was somewhat stunned to catch one, look closely, and say "Holy Crap.....a) It ain't a Cahill"..and b)....it ain't a 12.......It's a Yellow Sulphur; and it's a 16."

Great...right? Uhhhhh....not so fast. Did I have ANY #16 Yellow Sulphurs with me? You already know the answer to that. Luckily I had a few #16 PMD's tucked away in a dry fly box......and they were close enough that the trout liked them just fine. *I*. however.......was not satisfied.

I fall somewhere on the "match the hatch" spectrum between Ernie Schwiebert (the fly MUSt be correct) and Ed Van Put (use an Adams for everything and you'll be just fine. Presentation trumps fly every time"). (WAY closer to Schwiebert than Van Put....as you may have guessed).

So......this morning I sat down at the vise and tied up a dozen #16 Sulphur Sparkle Duns. It's a good thing flies don't weigh much.....or I'd need to hire a Caddie to lug around my chest pack/vest.

Dave M

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:45 pm 
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Dave M wrote:
Luckily I had a few #16 PMD's tucked away in a dry fly box......and they were close enough that the trout liked them just fine. *I*. however.......was not satisfied.


I know I shouldn't ask, but . . . . . . can't resist.

If the fish like a fly just fine, what's not to be satisfied about? I get the match-the-hatch thing, and am definitely not in the Ed Van Put school, but the fish were rising to a size 16 yellow mayfly, and you tied on a size 16 yellow mayfly that you tied, and they ate it. What would have been different if you had the "right" mayfly on?

FWIW, I've always wondered why people tied different patterns for PMD's and sulfurs in the same sizes. It's a pale yellow mayfly--tie one on and see if it catches a fish . . . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:33 pm 
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Jeff Reardon wrote:
Dave M wrote:
Luckily I had a few #16 PMD's tucked away in a dry fly box......and they were close enough that the trout liked them just fine. *I*. however.......was not satisfied.


I know I shouldn't ask, but . . . . . . can't resist.

If the fish like a fly just fine, what's not to be satisfied about? I get the match-the-hatch thing, and am definitely not in the Ed Van Put school, but the fish were rising to a size 16 yellow mayfly, and you tied on a size 16 yellow mayfly that you tied, and they ate it. What would have been different if you had the "right" mayfly on?

FWIW, I've always wondered why people tied different patterns for PMD's and sulfurs in the same sizes. It's a pale yellow mayfly--tie one on and see if it catches a fish . . . . .



Well...yeah...IF the object is to JUST catch a trout then you'd, of course, be correct, Jeff.
When I go flyfishing the object may be to catch a trout.......sure. But the experience is just that much better catching a trout on a fly you tied; thrown by your favorite rod......making the cast as perfectly as humanly possible.......matching the bug in question as closely as it's possible to do.

I don't even count a trout that I catch accidentially. Offense by accident isn't much fun at all.

When we used to fish the ovipositing Zebras at the 'Mut I didn't want to catch those Browns on a #14 generic brown Caddis. I wanted to catch them on a fly I tied specifically to imitaTE THE zEBRA cADDIS. i DON'T FIND THAT TO BE STRANGE AT ALL. oTHERS MAY.....OF THAT i'M QUITE CERTAIN. i GUESS IT WOULDN'T MATTER IF ONE JUST WANTED TO CATCH A TROUT ( NO idea how the caps lock came on--sorry); but I went beyond generically catching trout back in the 60's. I now want to catch them my way......or not catch them at all. That PMD was close; but close only really counts in horseshoes; hand-grenades, and thermo-nuclear war...not trout fishing.

Dave M

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:57 pm 
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Like Dave said... It is your intentions. If you are there just to catch fish or for the experience.

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:40 pm 
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Interesting topic, Dave. I guess in most (operative word, most) situations, I’m closer to the presentation over imitation court. True “match the hatch” scenarios here in Maine are few and far between in my experience on the water. Our fish, as result, as usually very opportunistic.

I was reeling in a fish the other day and a guy asked me, “What fly did he take?”

I told him the fly pattern and then added, “But it’s a not the fly, it’s how you present it.” And I meant it.

Then again, I ran into a situation the other night were the trout were rising quite steadily, yet they largely ignored my perfectly dead drifted sparkle dun, the same fly they had hooked dozens in the same stretch a few nights earlier. In hindsight, I should have trailed a small sunken nymph off the dry because the fish weren’t breaking the surface as much as dimpling it. I'm now sure they were feeding on something just below the surface. I would have been happy to figure it out, but I kept trying to force feed them, thinking, “They took this fly two nights ago; they should take it again tonight.”

In my experience, a guy who can present a fly properly will usually out-fish a guy with the perfect imitation but poor presentation skills by a large margin. With that said, the guy with the casting/fly presentation skills AND the right fly (a rare bird indeed) will out-fish the above two fisherman, and also by a wide margin.

Then again, there are people, like yourself, who define the success of the fishing experience by very finite terms, and that’s cool too. One of the beauties of our sport is that we all get to define our own boundaries and measurements for success.

Personally, I'm a stickler about fly patterns. I need to tie them as the originator intended, knowing full well that fish really don't give a shi#. For example, you mentioned you tied some "guide fly" versions of the Hickey's PMD Automatic Emerger. I'm sure the fish will eat them just fine, but I couldn't bring myself to vary the recipe from the original. I'm just quirkly that way, I guess.

BTW, if you want a ride to the airport early Thursday AM, you might want to either setup your mailbox or answer the damn phone.


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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:12 pm 
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[quote="joelaBTW, if you want a ride to the airport early Thursday AM, you might want to either setup your mailbox or answer the damn phone.[/quote]


?????

My phone didn't ring...and my mailbox IS set-up. Did you dial the wrong number??

I'm taking my car down and leaving it in long-term parking. My Brother is going down and pickingt it up. I can pick you up if you'd like. PM me if that works easier.....but my cell works, too if you call the right number.. :shock: :lol: :mrgreen:

Dave (Still Laughing) M

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:21 pm 
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Jeff Reardon wrote:
[FWIW, I've always wondered why people tied different patterns for PMD's and sulfurs in the same sizes. It's a pale yellow mayfly--tie one on and see if it catches a fish . . . . .



Uhhhhhhh.....no.
We're talking three different colored body #16 Mayflies here.....and I tie (and fish) three different ones.

A PMD has a yellowish body with a light greenish tinge to it.

A Yellow Sulphur has a yellow body; and an Orange Sulphur has a yellow body with a definite orangish tint to it.

Yeah, yeah.......anally retentive...I get it.

As Joel says (and he's absolutely correct) Presentation is 95% of the battle; having the "right" fly helps a bit; and if it takes both to get the toughest 2% of trout......I want that tough presentation combined with the "right" color fly. You seldom need it to be that precise here in Maine.....true. But when you DO need it you want to have it....simple as that. For Maine Brookies in MOST situations you surely *don't* need it........but as Rory has pointed out on many occcasions......for some of the very large Brookies and LL's you might need it.

Dave M

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:58 pm 
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Dave,
My flies aren't the perfect specimens, but they do represent what the fish are looking for. Some of the fish in the Farmington will take a presentation over perfection. But I can't count the number that have begun a rise and refused just before they closed their mouth. This summers big hit has been a simple emerger tied in the proper colors to match the real deal. Tried sulpher sparkle dun till my arm about fell off. May as well been throwing salmon flies. But a biot bodied, tailed like a sparkle dun, CDC tied down wing creation has been just the ticket. But just when you think you have them figured out. They change the rules. It's the fishes game and they rule.

Ron

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:03 pm 
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If I had to choose between having three different shades of yellow #16 mayflies, and having some yellow mayfly patterns in emerger, adult, spinner, and cripple, I'd take the latter every time.

There are a lot of times in Maine when fish are selective to a particular lifestage, and very often selective to size, but very, very few times I've changed colors and had that make a difference.

Back when I was a Shawmut regular I used to listen to folks in early June arguing about whether fish were taking "the olives" or the Hendricksons when both hatches overlapped. I always found those fish would take an emerger in either color if they refused my parachute or sparkle dun, and never once had the experience of changing colors and having that make the difference. On the other hand, changing sizes, or changing from a dun to an emerger, very often made a big difference in my success.

I would occasionally find fish that were selective on spinners--but only in flat, slick water, and only just before dark in the evening. And I always found a rusty spinner or one tied with a pheasant tail body worked just fine, no matter what the body color of the naturals.

I will say that I have found that matching the shade can be important--dark bodied flies don't work well on light colored hatches, and vice-versa.

To really complicate matters, if I couldn't turn a fish after multiple drifts with different mayfly patterns, they'd almost always take a Lafontaine sparkle pupa on a dropper behind the mayfly pattern. A friend used to turn the same trick with a fly he'd prefer not be publicized, but it's sure not an example of matching the hatch by color.

YMMV, of course.

Now, like you, I'd go nuts trying different mayfly life stages to "get it right" before resorting to the Lafontaine that would almost always work. (Though I'd be perfectly happy catching fish on the Lafontaine if there were actually caddis around . . . . . .)

It's just that I never found matching the color to be very important to the fish, and therefore not very important to me.

I'm guessing your experience has been different.


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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:05 am 
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Jeff Reardon wrote:
If I had to choose between having three different shades of yellow #16 mayflies, and having some yellow mayfly patterns in emerger, adult, spinner, and cripple, I'd take the latter every time.

Back when I was a Shawmut regular I used to listen to folks in early June arguing about whether fish were taking "the olives" or the Hendricksons when both hatches overlapped. I always found those fish would take an emerger in either color if they refused my parachute or sparkle dun, and never once had the experience of changing colors and having that make the difference. On the other hand, changing sizes, or changing from a dun to an emerger, very often made a big difference in my success.


I'm guessing your experience has been different.


PS: I'm trying somethiong different here....multiple answers to multiple quotes. Maybe it'll work...and if it doesn't this answeer won't make much sense.
Often at Solon I'll be fishing a favorite run, in June. Hendricksons are boiling out of the riffles and sliding down into a great run. I've caught the flies; matched them perfectly; gotten off 20 perfect casts......and NADA. No ffing thing. Then put on an Olive and "BANG!.......every cast. Who knows what those Browns are thinking? Do the Olives taste better than the Hedricksons? Who the hell knows......

Yup....very different......bhut then, I'm definitely not much of a Brook Trout fisherman. I prefer Bows; Browns; and Landlocks to Brookies (but never turn my nose up at them, either.


Dave M

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:10 am 
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Jeff Reardon wrote:
If I had to choose between having three different shades of yellow #16 mayflies, and having some yellow mayfly patterns in emerger, adult, spinner, and cripple, I'd take the latter every time.

I'm guessing your experience has been different.



SIGH......Let's try this again. Cutting & pasting the answer didn't work either.......

WEll Yeah...of course. But Jeff.......having four different colored Yellow bodied Mayflies (gotta include Pale Evening Duns here......yellowish body with a definite greenish/limeish tint) AND Emergers; Spinners; and Cripples completes the equation.

Dave M
PS: Hopefully this answer now makes sense.

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:53 am 
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[quote="Dave M"].........Do we *ever* have enough flies? (Keeping firmly in mind that "ever" means very different things to different guys/gals).

Dave, I have been thinking a lot about what you said here; and I have enjoyed yours and other's thoughts on this subject. Here is what it means to me. The first two flies I learned how to tie were the Light and Dark Ebson Tigers (just because they were so simple to tie), and they worked very well for me. Even though I had previously fished with other flies I had bought, it was much more exciting then to catch fish on flies I had tied. So, for several years, I would tie a few dozen of just the two Ebson Tiger patterns, put them in a small plastic fly box, and use only them on all the summer wilderness canoe trips, that I guided on the West Branch of the Penobscot, St.Croix River, Moose River, Allagash, and many others places. I fished these small Ebson streamers on my (which was very vogue at the time) eight and a half foot, Fenwick, fiberglass fly rod. I fished my little Ebson streamers as dries, wets, even like nymphs on the bottom, and of course, mostly like streamers...all these methods worked very well at times for brookies, salmon, bass, and chubs. I used these two patterns; and they worked equally as well on brooks, streams, rivers, beaver bogs, ponds, and lakes. Then it happened...somebody gave my a muddler to try...and ever since then, it does not seem like I have enough flies; and ever since then, I have been stocking up on different nymphs, wets, dries, and streamers that I both tie and buy. Today, when I go on a fishing trip, I always carry a fishing bag with hundreds of different flies and take three different fly rods. Heck, a few days ago, I panicked and tied Wood Specials all day, when I realized my stock of 6's and 8's were below a hundred. So, Dave, to answer your question, "Do we *ever* have enough flies," no probably not...but damn, fishing was so easy and relaxing, back when I just carried one fly rod and one fly box...plus, I probably caught more fish back then, than I do today :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:02 pm 
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I fall closer to the Van Put end of the spectrum. I like the challenge of catching fish on something that doesn't especially resemble the natural food item. Perfect forage matching is almost like artificial bait fishing. (I know that may be a controversial statement. My sincere apologies to anyone who is offended. It is in no way intended to slight hatch matchers, who must demonstrate great skill and knowledge at both the vise and on the water. Neither is it intended to belittle bait fishers, who must also acquire and use very specialized skills and knowledge.) This is probably due to the fact that I like to tie flies inspired by old school salmon and steelhead patterns which don't look like much of anything you'd ever find in a fish's stomach. Getting a fish to commit to something like that adds an extra bit of satisfaction.

This means that I can carry far fewer flies, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to tie more. I will be very sad when the day comes where I decide that I have enough and don't want to tie.

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:14 pm 
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Wood Special...very interesting. We seem to have followed similar patterns in our flyfishing.

My first "good" rod (relative therm, there) was a 7 1/2 ft 6 wt Phillipson "Royal Wand" that I made from a kit in Phil Fosters class at UMF back in the early 70's. (I still have that rod in a back closet......but haven't fished it in at least 15 years. I used to take it out once a season just to see how "good" rods have changed in the last 40 yrs.).The other thing that's changed substantially is rod weights (well...actually *line* weights. When I started in flyfishing a 6 wt was considered the "standard" trout rod. It then changed to 5's........and today I'd guess that the standard "trout rod" is a 4 wt.......the standard "all-around" rod is probably a 5.........vrs a 7 wt when I started).

I didn't tie flies at the time....so I too used only one pattern. It wasn't an Edson Tiger like you, though...it was a Hornberg. I fished big ones (like a #6) as a streamer; and little (another relative term there) 12's as a dry fly.......and caught a ####load of trout.

As a flytier I would be bored out of my tree tying only one pattern all the time. Just tying Hornbergs (or Adams'; etc) would send me to the Golf course quickly.

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 Post subject: Re: Philosophical Question.......
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:42 pm 
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Dave:

Got it. And I've heard the same from lots of people, and used to hear it at Shawmut all the time. But I maintain you'd be just as likely (and I'd say MORE LIKELY) to take those fish that were refusing your Hendrickson if you went down a size, or switched from a dun pattern to an emerger.

Hell, some folks would just try a different fly of the same pattern and size, figuring any change must be good. Maybe that works, too.

And you'd be almost certain to catch them if you dropped a Lafontaine pupa off the dropper behind the dry fly you had on. :lol:

Then again, what works for you works for you, and I'm pretty sure we won't change each other's minds. Perhaps when I reach your advanced age :wink: I'll be carrying 4 different shades of yellow mayflies.

I'm enjoying the discussion, though. I am with you 100% on the fact that there is more satisfaction in taking a fish on the "right" fly.

Now, to disagreed with Joel, I don't give a rat's behind what the original pattern of a fly was and what materials the originator used. I believe strongly in the art of creative substitution, and most of my flies are pretty generic. About the only "name" patterns I tie a lot of are Black Ghost marabous and Adams dry flies. I'm true to the original pattern on the Black Ghost, but my Adams are almost all parachutes, and I mostly use antron for the wing post instead of hackle tips, which I find difficult to tie, not very durable, and to twist the crap out of my leader.

Most everything else in my box is some kind of hybrid based on what materials I have on hand and what I have found to work over the years.


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