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Match the Hatch

A technique whereby the angler chooses a fly to exactly represent the particular species of insect that is hatching on a trout river or stillwater. Matching the hatch is deemed important on many waters where the fish become fixated on one particular insect, rather than feeding generally on any unfortunate creature that happens to drift by. The theory is simple: if 2mm-long blue-winged olives are hatching, for instance, one must tie on a size 22 imitation of that insect that is ideally a perfect match in terms of of colour, wing shape and even the number of tails.

The problem with matching the hatch is that it requires the angler to carry several thousand fly patterns at any one time, as well as a large net or screen to catch the live insects for identification, a copy of Caucci and Nastasi's seminal work "Hatches", a friendly entomologist and a large magnifying glass to actually see the little buggers in the fading light. A much safer and more portable approach, favoured by this correspondent, is to carry only size 10 Royal Wulffs, which will always catch at least as many fish. American anglers are particularly fond of the matched approach, thanks to the fact that every trout in the United States sees artifical flies several dozen times a day and can spot a fake several kilometres downstream. In England, where our legendary chalkstreams are home to only the finest-quality triploid rainbow trout with the native intelligence of a matchstick, a size 4 muddler will usually suffice.

Courtesy of Sean

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