The right fly (and why)

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The right fly (and why)

Everything you need to know about flying And maybe a little more.

Sometimes it is easy to choose the right fly (and by “right” we mean the one that draws a large, beautiful rainbow from the depths of the water onto your line). And sometimes it requires a delicate balancing act between art, science and good old-fashioned observation. But either way, it’s nowhere near as complicated as you might think. Here’s how to decide which fly is most likely to bring a fish into your net.

The fly guide

The first step is to know and understand the different categories of flies. A Dry fly is fished from the surface of the water and is generally an aquatic insect that has recently hatched from its larval stage. A wet fly can imitate a swimming insect or small minnow and is fished below the surface – near the top or bottom of the water column. Streamers resemble wet flies and are fished below the surface; they generally mimic larger bait fish; Crustaceans or leeches. A nymph is a larval stage aquatic insect and is usually fished down around the rocks and other structures that make up its natural habitat. A arise is the stage at which a water insect has risen to the surface and hatches into an adult. Finally a terrestrial is a non-aquatic insect or bug like a grasshopper that has been blown or dropped into the water.

Wet

Dry

Streamer

nymph

Emerge

Terrestrial

Attractor versus imitator

A Attractor (also known as “looking for a fly”) is an all-purpose fly that does not necessarily represent meat to be a food source with which the fish is familiar, but is simply too conspicuous and curious to ignore imitator Fly is exactly what it sounds like: a fly that mimics a known food source as closely as possible.

Before you decide on a fly, first take a few minutes to watch the water.

Which fish-friendly food do you find? Do you see mistakes? Minnows? Do locusts float downstream? When these food sources are in place, the fish you are targeting will be familiar with them, and familiarity is the first step in filling your gate. This process is known as “Match the Hatch”. This is just a clever way of saying that it is usually best to use a fly, which is a source of food that the fish knows about at the right stage of its life cycle.

Quick tip:

It is also helpful to look for clues as to where and how the fish are feeding. For example, when you see ripples on the surface, you know the fish are feeding on the surface, which means that … you guessed it … you want to use a dry fly.

There will be times when it is not immediately apparent what the local fish feed on. This is a great time to try out an all-purpose attraction or land fly.

Think of it this way: even if you don’t know what a particular food is, you probably have a sense of whether it is good to eat or not. And fish are no different.

Finally don’t stress and just fish the way you mean it. Often times, confidence and awareness of your technique and your surroundings are better than the perfect fly. It is often said that you can fish the wrong fly pattern correctly and catch more fish than someone who gets the right pattern wrong, and it is true.