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
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 . . .
Stimulus Filtration As It Applies To Trout Hatch Behavior
By "Old Rupe"
Archive of Old Flies
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
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
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."
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
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
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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