Martyn White | Tuesday, 8 December 2020

My last page was about not being too eager and overadopting in the name of progress, this time it's almost the opposite. Don't be a curmudgeon! I've not been fishing much over the last fortnight for various reasons, just a couple of hours down the river snatched here and there chasing the carp before they really slow down as the weather cools. I have on the other hand been tying a lot of flies though, revisiting old pulling patterns as I build my new stillwater trout boxes for Hokkaido and Scotland.

There's something quite nice about tying up a completely new box, especially without the pressure of using the flies each week and losing several as you try to establish a collection of viable patterns. It's also kept me well supplied with candidate patterns for videoing. Although the flies will be mainly used for wild fish, I'm including a fair selection of mini lures, boobies and blobs in the box with the wetflies.  What surprised me were some of the comments about the mini lures, not traditional enough or not imitative enough-I had hoped that rubbish had been put to bed long ago.  Interesting that what someone else puts in their fly box is of such concern..  When fishing lochs and lakes for trout, I do prefer to go down the imitative route where possible, or if conditions are right fishing wets near the surface on a short line. However, I also like catching fish and will take a fish filled day of pulling minis on a Hi-D, over a blank on buzzers every time.  There are many people who wouldn't.  That's fine of course, don't like boobies? Don't fish them, it's easy.


I do get a bit puzzled at times though, when people become critical of the modern competition style flies.  Usually I think it's about some perceived superiority being used to mask something else.  I really understand the draw of fishing traditionals through a wave, in fact whether on river or loch wets are my favourite method. When they're working. But there's no skill in not reading the conditions and changing accordingly.   It's great to match the hatch and imitate what's coming off or falling on to the surface. I do have to say that in all my years of fishing, I've never seen a hatch of blue zulus.  In some situations an orange blob might be more imitative than the old wets - for daphnia feeders- although admittedly this isn't really how they're fished most of the time.  Similarly, despite what some may think, there's no more skill in pulling a team of wets on an intermediate than there is in pulling a team of cats and blobs. It baffles me when I hear such claims, in fact I'd even go as far as to say that fishing a booby or a team of them well in front of a drifting boat, might demand a higher level of angling skill and concentration than fishing wets or straight lining a nymph!  


There's a fly in the picture I've been tying for years- the sunburst and fire orange palmer-the first time I tied it was a request from someone who shall remain nameless. It catches fish, plenty of them on the right day, so I tied them up for myself and a few friends, one of whom christened it-quite rightly- the hypocrite's flee! (fits the person and the character of the fly nicely) Apparently, it's acceptable as it's got some hackle and a rib on it, but it's hardly different to a blob, except that it pushes less water.  I picked the flies for the picture quite specifically, 3 would pass most traditionalists' test but the white mini lure falls short of the bar for many. Viewed rationally it's hard to see why really.  None of them imitate anything, none of them  are particularly natural in colour and all of them can be fished in much the same way to good effect.  


It might make some folk feel a bit better about their blank days, but it also probably limits the opportunity to learn from the blank so really it doesn't help us become more efficient catchers of fish.  By all means eschew the blob and the techno cat, but don't pretend it makes you a better or more skillful angler, it doesn't. 


Hypocrite's Flee 
Hook: B175 size 10
Thread: Fire orange UTC 70
Tail: Sunburst marabou
Rib: Gold wire
Body hackle: Sunburst cock
Head hackle:Grey partridge dyed hot orange