Welcome to Just Old Flies

Welcome to 'just old flies,' a section of flies that used-to-be. These flies were tied with the only materials available. Long before the advent of 'modern' tying materials, they were created and improved upon at a far slower pace than todays modern counterparts; limited by materials available and the tiers imagination.

Most books, and yes, even we here, bring 'new and improved' designs; however, in days long gone, fish readily accepted these creations; there existed a 'fraternity' of anglers who felt an obligation to use only the 'standard' patterns of the day. We hope to bring a bit of nostalgia to these pages and to you. Perhaps you will enjoy them. Perhaps you will fish them. Perhaps . . .


Part Twelve

Stimulus Filtration As It Applies To Trout Hatch Behavior

By "Old Rupe"


Why did that dumb trout ignore my perfectly good fly and then take a natural that was "in the shade" of my fly. I thought trout were opportunistic feeders. Why did he refuse my perfectly good offering. The Trout Gods hate me! The only thing that touched my fly was the Sun. What happened? Well, that trout never saw the fly. "How can that be," you ask? Both flies were in the trouts "window". How could he miss the artificial? As Old Rupe says "now comes the tale."

Animals during their evolutionary development "learned" to ignore stimuli that were not survival positive. If the awareness of stimuli hindered the animals survival those organisms that could ignore them survived. Those that didn't perished. "Ahhhhhhh prove it" you say. The proofs in the pudding. Here's the pudding.

Have you ever driven late at night for hundreds of miles and arrived safely with no remembrance of any peripheral view or event? Have you ever wondered why the pressure of your clothes, or the effect of the wind, on the hairs of your body didn't drive you crazy? Well now you know. Your brain selectively filtered those counter productive sensory stimuli.

This also happens during a hatch. Trout brains during a hatch do the same thing. When the trout are "on the color" poor imitations just are not seen. The intensity and duration of the hatch seems to govern the amount of filtering the trout's brain does. A sporadic hatch elicits little filtering, where a blanket hatch of long duration enables the trouts search pattern to become so defined that the only thing that works is a hook super glued to a natural.

"Ahhhhhhh, you say," now I know but how does that affect my fishing?" "What is the practical use of this little bit of wit," you ask?

"Behold Grasshopper knowledge will fall from the heavens."

Hewitt skater

Once trout search patterns have become really defined there are only two choices, break the pattern or time the presentation. Breaking the pattern is a somewhat tough act. When I used to guide years ago I would run a Hewitt skater with the point and bend removed over the "good" fish until the fish would "slap" at it and then the sport would pass a larger and brighter fly over the fish. The fly would be one to two sizes larger and the color would be enhanced. A green fly would be real green and a yellow fly might be fire engine red. This was a 40% act I would guess. I got to raise a trout and the sport got to see an act that wasn't in the "books". I guess the real motivator was the fact that I just hated to fish to a trouts feeding rhythm. Now comes the trick.

There is a fine line between breaking a search pattern and the accompanying filtration process and spooking the fish. That's the difference between chicken and feathers. It's not the fly presentation that is critical it's the pattern breaking act that determines whether you eat trout or spam.

Sorry, catch and release people will email me for months over this but you get the idea. It's either time your throw or break the pattern. The pattern breaking thing is a judgement call depending on the fish, the intensity of the hatch and the hatches duration. It's an art. Some got it and some don't. Trout are like "honeys" some will and some won't. That's why they sell Prozac and Fosters.

If you spook 10 big trout a day it's real hard to go back the next day and try it again, but if you do you will be able to ride that fine line. You will be a unique fly-fisher, the master of your fate-----a less than 60% feather merchant---with luck your fly might get "ate" 40% of the time. Buy stock in spam------
~ "Old Rupe"


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