Martyn White | Thursday, 14 September 2023

We had a typhoon this week, so the end of my time off wasn't spent fishing, but hopefully it's the last one of the year and the weather will break into autumn. I like this time of year because there are plenty of options for fishing; the carp will be making the most of the last of the warm weather, the big bait will be coming into the bay so the seabass will be switching on, the bass fishing is usually good whether it's river smallies or stillwater largemouth and a few more targets open up too. So it's been introspection and flies this week.

As I wasn't fishing I was getting into the horrific task of tidying up the tying room. I know it'd be less horific if I did it more often but that's a lesson I refuse to learn. While I was doing it I found a few bendbacks I'd tied ages ago and forgotten about - I'd actually restocked my box again recently so I'm well supplied now. I love bendbacks, they're great if done right. But a few of my friends are less keen, and it's not unusual, a lot of people complain that they're poor hookers. You often see similar statements about weedguards being fishgauards. I think this is largely down to the user rather than bendbacks or the impact of weedguards. Either of these MIGHT result in a marginally lower hookup rate, but if it's more than marginal I'd bet its because if it's a bendback, the hook is either over-bent or the wing is over-dressed. The same is true for weedguards, regardless of the style if they're really causing a drop in hook ups it's most likely because they're not tied in proerly or they're too heavy. All of that iss the tyer's fault. The other thing that is possible is that all failed hooksets get blamed on the fly- not something that's people do with an unguarded or unbent version. I don't have a 100% conversion rate from eat to hook up regardless of the fly I'm using. I don't know anyone who does, but I know people who confidently blame the weedguard/bendback when they fish with one, even when they've trout set on a hardmouth salty fish! I'd sooner check the hookpoint to be honest, but usually it's my fault if I don't make the conversion. Not always, but most of the time.

Fishing and fly tying is full of misattribution and random speculation stated as fact, and I noticed another example this week when I got drawn into a discussion about the original Lureflash Mosaic. It's been discontinued for years, but a packet pops up now and then on ebay and goes for far more than is rational. I remember it becoming popular on the competition scene, probably in the mid-nineties or maybe a bit earlier. I think it went out of production around the early 2000s although my memory might be off there, but one thing I do remember clearly was depite it being hailed as some kind of magic ingredient, its disappearance had zero impact on catch rates. People grumbled about it but just switched to a different flash on their Leven Vivas which just kept catching, similarly the people who'd panic bought years worth of packets failed to meteorically rise to the top of the pile. Mosaic is just an example, it happens all the time as materials disappear. I'm not immune either, even though I know it's nonsense I bought 15 packs of mottlebou when Spirit River stopped producing it. OK, confidence is a thing but much like blaming weedguards for missed hookups a lot of the addition of specific materials to flies is being given undue credit when it's almost certainly maiking no difference.

I wish I could completely free myself from this, and I'm definitely working on it. I think it'll be very good for confidence over time and allow more focus to be applied to things that do matter.