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Ronan's report

Tuesday February 6th, 2007

In a reply to the FPs last week Ronan posted:
"The royal wulff is not worth a front page. It works because so many people fish it, including me. New Zealand speaking, an adams or similar is equally good but a wulff is easier for the angler to see."

This really cuts to the bone and exposes a number of problems with thinking that flies catch fish because they imitate something. Flies that get most fishing time catch more fish. Fly design has as much to do with fishing as it has fish.

For centuries, flies that imitated nothing under the sun caught fish, yet now we need that justification, even wild fuckups must be hatch-matching imitations of something.

What does this imitate?

or this?

Or this?

I'm quite sure we can invent a link between our flies and 'something it looks like to a fish.' We may even name a fly so it seems more imitative, Ally's Shrimp for example - yeah must use a shrimp, that's food.

Finding the referent is a trout angler's fetish (mostly, in my opinion, a dry-fly trout angler's fetish) and it's infectious. Paul for example, has a badly tied fly that catches fish, it spend a great deal of time fishing so it has a significantly higher chance of a hook-up than any well tied flies in his box (yeah I know he only ties fuckups but surely some kind friends must donate well tied flies to his cause.) Because it catches fish he goes seeking what it imitates - beetles!

For centuries salmon anglers cast fantastic flies to fish that simply don't eat - and caught Atlantic salmon. When salmon reach fresh water they may never eat again - yet they take flies.
Perhaps we should turn it about, look at what non-dry fly anglers use, at what non-trout anglers use, for a better understanding of fly design.

Oh - and this is art.


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