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Ronan's report

Tuesday October 17, 2006

Most of us know what its like to see through water. Yeah just hold up that bottle and squint, that's just what its like. Not!
Most of us have been underwater at one time or another, whether by design, complete with scuba tanks, or by accident. So we know that in rivers and streams water is living stuff: currents twisting, bubbles fizzing, bits and pieces swirling, in water filtered and stained by the land.
Fish live in that maelstrom; despite the clutter and visual noise, they even feed. As part of our thinking processes, we tend to abstract and simplify: trout or grayling never see flies against a plain white background, they rarely see them through calm transparent water, in their world everything is movement. It strikes me that we tend to forget that underwater is not under-tap-water - and our flies should take that into account.

I help to run a fly tying competition in Fly Fishing and Fly Tying. I enjoy it. We get several hundred entries from around the world. That means, every month for four months I scrutinise roughly 1000 flies - three copies of one pattern and one creative fly from each entrant.
Judging flies for a competition is a like batch tying for a customer. If she asks for 2 dozen #12 Left handed Blue Winged Treacles that is what she expects. (I made up that pattern but if anyone needs some, Lars or Ben can probably help.) And more, customers expect them to be the same, same length of tail, wing, hackle, same colour, same taper, same rib. And on and on.
So, when looking at three of the same, judging flies is actually much easier than people think. To my mind, consistency is one of the hallmarks of well-tied flies. Give a well designed fly to a tyer who can do this or this and the results are flies that you can trust. As a judge, my problems come when tyers enter flies like this which has the hallmarks of a well designed fly tyed by someone with no aptitude for the art!


Pic Of Day The Terminator for Magnus

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