Imitation vs. - - - what?

Imitation vs. - - - what?

Viking Lars | Saturday, 4 January 2020

I’ve always believed that when in doubt, fish with a fly that looks like something your targeted fish is used to eating. That can never be a bad decision, I think. Since 2008 (or there about - can’t actually remember the precise year), when asked about which flies to fish in Denmark for coastal sea trout by people travelling here, I’ve always just said: Fish the Pattegrisen (the Piglet). It’s immensely popular for many reasons, the first and most important of course being that it really is a very good fly.

But it begs the question - do sea trout really take it for a shrimp? It’s certainly tied to look like one (eyes, shell back, legs etc), but no sea trout has ever seen a boiled shrimp, and it certainly does a good job of imitating one of those as well.

I personally don’t believe that the sea trout really take this for a shrimp. But I certainly don’t question its efficiency either. The big question is then, would the fly be just as effective tied as a simple palmer fly? This fly has some key features. It’s quite big as you can see - at least three times the hook length and often more, depending on the fly tyer (in this case me - I keep mine “short” to minimise tangling), so size is one important feature. It’s also very mobile due to the long Whiting spey hackles.

It’s also tied with a fluorescent tail and body, which is also a key feature. The originator, Claus Eriksen, has fished identical flies on the same leader except that one had some fluorescence in it. Regardless of position (dropper or point) the sea trout took the fluorescent one in over 70% of the catches (maybe even more).

The colour is also a key feature - salmon pink. Would it do as well in olive or tan? Maybe - I haven’t fished the two against each other on the same leader. Some of the guys close to Claus Eriksen like to fish a white version during the winter, and they certainly get their share of fish on that.

But if we fished a simpler palmer version with just the fluorescent tail and body and a palmer hackle, would that do as well? Actually I think so. And that would be faster and easier to tie as well. Maybe I should try fishing the to against each other? One thing I do know is that sometimes, the Pattegrisen is simply too big and I catch more fish on smaller flies, sometimes really small. As small as a size 12 or 14 wet fly hook. Would a Pattegris in these sizes then out fish other patterns? Another thing I *do* know is that I also like to fish the original Pattegrisen - because it looks good! It can go on forever, and hopefully we’ll never know - it’s this that makes fly fishing to interesting. It’s never completely the same, and sometimes different is just better than anything else.

Have a great weekend!