I am fortunate enough to have a lake at the bottom
of the garden, no fairies, just a lake. It has lots
of fish in it but unfortunately, all coarse fish,
carp, tench and roach. We saw some suggestive movement
last summer and consequently took two pike on the fly.
Recent efforts to repeat this have failed. We feel
those two were the entire stock of pike. The other
fish are not really my cup of tea. I was brought up
in Ireland where coarse fishing was (at that time)
unknown and consequently have no knowledge of or
feeling for such fish. The water is supplied by
natural field drainage and therefore does not flow
as required by trout. It just seeps away. Perfect
for coarse fish but no hope for stocking with trout.
HOWEVER. Peering into the murky depths one evening,
I discovered a virtual soup of aquatic insects.
They would all have featured high on a trout's menu,
and as such got me thinking. If I filled an aquarium
with the soup what a perfect case for study of the
beasties we so painstakingly strive to imitate as
trout food. I know this is not by any means a new
idea, but it was the first time I had realised my
lake was full of such stuff. Should have been obvious
really! We only moved here a year ago and it just
hadn't dawned on me that a lake full of coarse fish
would still produce the ingredients for trout heaven.
SO. I duly extracted a couple of gallons of the stuff,
put it in an aquarium and sat back to peer into it.
It was another world. Beetles, bugs, larvae, bloodworms,
nymphs - you name it, I had it. All there before my eyes,
ready to copy.
BUT. What is that buzzer doing? You must realise that
in the UK we catch possibly 30% of all our reservoir
trout on buzzers, or chironimids to be precise, both
in the bloodworm stage and the buzzer. We fish them
in myriad colours and sizes, new patterns evolving
daily and appearing in our magazines in vast numbers.
It appears every fly tier sits at his bench and thinks
"Now what silly colours can I use this week?" He ties
his monstrosity and Lo and Behold catches a fish on it!
he same applies to pattern outline. We have anorexic
buzzers, Slim Jim buzzers, Goliath buzzers, epoxy
buzzers, hare's ear buzzers and on ad infinitum. The
natural ascends from the lake bed to the surface and
on the way up becomes food for the trout, and in
phenomenal numbers to boot.
This one however, was playing around! No direct
businesslike rise to the surface for this lad! It
came wriggling up to the surface, fiddled about a
bit and then turned turtle and swam down out of sight.
I became aware that lots more were doing the same
thing. I have never read of this facet of their
behaviour before, it may be that they all do it,
always. It was new to me.
I next noticed that after a fairly rapid ascent,
the descent was leisurely and not so purposeful.
Dithery, somewhat undecided.
The suggestion arose in the deep recesses of the
grey matter. If they do this all the time and do
it more slowly than they come up, surely this
portion of the life cycle is of as much, if not
more, interest to the trout.
TIE ONE! So I did, see illustration (digital cameras
and I are not yet intimate acquaintances, but I will
persevere.) And it worked.
I have had quite a few rainbows from a few of our
local lakes on this, tied in the ubiquitous black
with silver rib and white breathing tubes, but also
in green with gold rib and white tubes. It is an
interesting looking fly and one that I can
confidently commend to the reading multitude.
I look forward to the response.
P.S. Another version I am fond of in
clear water is tied very small on a man-sized hook,
they don't seem to mind this one either! ~ Jim Clark
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, longer ago than he cares to
remember, after leaving school he went into his family's business -
Gunmakers and Fishing Tackle manufacturers. By the time he
joined the firm it had become more retail than manufacturing,
though the history and reputation of the company was somewhat
patrician, which stood them in good stead in the face of the
modern, retail only, fly-by-night businesses which
proliferated in the fifties and sixties in the climate
of leisure time explosion. A few years later,
feeling somewhat stifled in a company run by
father and two warring uncles, he left to take over
an ailing gun maker in Chester, England. He was
to stay there for thirty pleasant years, retiring
some six years ago, ostensibly to have more time
to fish. He had given up shooting, but in reality
appears to have retired to garden, decorate and
construct THINGS in the garden. He has, nevertheless
managed to fish in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and
England, with trips to Sweden and Alaska thrown in.
You will find more of Jim's writing in our Readers Casts
and Worldwide/Europe section.