The first picture is of two flies. On the left is a thorax tied fly, on the right is a
Ephemerella subvaria sub-imago. One tied, one alive. It took several
minutes to get the live fly to stay near the tied fly and the tied one did start to penetrate
Even so, they look similar enough to satisfy any trout. The next picture shows the two
side-by-side on the edge of the window. This dramatically shows the likeness of the
two, the mayfly and the imposter.
The series has shown that a thorax fly will more closely represent a mayfly than the standard
floating modification of the original wet flies of yesteryear. By using wound hackle at the front
of the wet flies, insect legs were represented. The use of more and stiffer hackle to make
the fly float did just that. It made a wet fly float. This would and still does catch trout, but
mostly as a life form and not as an imitation of the correct patterns of stimulus. Those of you
who have and will pursue this manner of tying will notice a marked improvement in the way
a trout rises to your fly and the number of rises encountered.
Here I should give a brief addition of information about hooks. In #1 you see a common
dry fly hook as it comes from the box. At #2 you see what the same hook looks like after
hitting a rock on the back-cast, being removed from a snag or a hard jawed fish. The reason
a hook will break at the juncture of the barb is rather simple. It is weaker there. Often the
barb does not get pushed clear thru the jaw of the fish and the torque generated can break
the hook at that point.
It does require nearly twice the thrust to impale a trout with a barbed hook as a barbless,
nevertheless, many still continue in the mistaken notion they must have the barb to retain
the trout. The hook in #3 is the most worthless variation ever developed. Many tests
were performed and it had the singular distinction to fail each. It is rather, fishless; than
barbless. The wretched thing turns nearly ninety degrees to the point when pressure is
applied to the eye. It is to be avoided at all costs.
Of course the hook at #4 is one produced with no barb. Truly a barbless hook. This
hook will require much less effort to properly penetrate to the bend as a hook should.
Once full hold is established to the bend of the hook, losing a trout is a moot point.
I have found the combination of using a true barbless hook and a thorax tied fly allows
me to use at least one size lighter tippet. This feature alone gives my flies a better
presentation, more drag free float and therefore entices more takes. I hope the series
has given you pause for thought, some degree if interest in perusing the thorax style
of tie and will eventually produce more and more satisfying takes for you on the stream.
Next time, the end. J. Castwell
For tying instructions for the true Thor-X Fly click
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