Sexyloops - The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game

Martyn White | Saturday, 16 March 2019

I've recently spent a lot of time looking at pictures of winged termites and hoglice (sow bugs for our American friends) trying to dial in some better imitations than I've seen so far. For termites there's not alot out there so there's a lot of messing around trying to get something that will look edible to a wild gourami. Because of Paul's input on gourami being very hard to fool and termites being a new imitation, I'm giving it much more time at the design and willing to allow the individual tie to be much longer than a trout fly would take-if my new hoglouse takes more than about 3minutes to tie, it's not acceptable when a Ray Charles will do largely the same job most of the time. So why bother? Well, it's a combination of things for me, a bit of confidence, a bit of giving them something different and just the enjoyment of spending time playing around at the vice, picking out the key features that I think will trigger a positive response from the fish before getting them on the water to test.

So, obviously something I often think about as a fly tier is how closely to try to match forage species. Everyone who ties flies seems to have their own take on this from wanting highly realistic "close copy" patterns to any old bit of fluff will do the job. I reckon I'm somewhere in the middle depending on my target species but I always wonder how other people make their minds up. For example,  I enjoy tying things like Ollie Edward's heptagenid, but 9 times out of ten a hare's lug will probably catch the same fish during the same hatch and takes a fraction of the cost and effort to tie.  I'm still willing to tie and use the complex pattern because I'm not trout fishing much anymore but if they were my regular target I doubt that I would be willing to spend the time to keep stocked up.  So for me, it's not always worth spending ages on one trout fly, but I'll happily spend half an hour or more on a flying fish imitation for tuna or a fancy bug for some exotic species.   

Why not head over to the board and let us know if you're on the close copy or bellybutton fluff side of the spectrum?