March 12, 2009

Simplicity: quick fly ties

As TC alluded to the other day on the Underground, I also love quick ties. I am a practitioner of the "less is more" philosophy. I firmly believe that fish are queued in on the size, profile, and silhouette of a fly, more so than the actual appearance. While catchy to an angler's eye, ultra-realistic flies offer little value to me other than showcasing a tyer's skill and artistic merit. So I don't waste time by bothering to tie in individual legs, abdomen segments, complicated hackles or parachute posts. It's time to slum it up a little and simplify, man.

Belle's nymph
By simply modifying the pattern size and color of the dubbing and thorax, you can mimic about %90 percent of the aquatic biomass with the Simpleton. Start with a bead head, wire rib, thorax material (peacock herl, glimmer flash chenille, etc.), a rainbow of dubbing, and a variety of hooks. A dubbed body in green, yellow, cream, etc., along with a dark thorax tied on a scud hook and you've got a caddis. Oranges, grays and olives, with a matching thorax (or without) and you have scuds and sowbugs. Brown, gray, olive and black and a dark thorax you've nailed most of the mayfly nymphs. Increase the size up to a 4 or 6 dressed all in black, and you've got a stonefly. Change the color to olive and you've got dragon and damselfly nymphs. You might even be able to get away with a baitfish pattern, by using lighter colored dubbing like white, gray, cream, or silver tied on a streamer hook. The possibilities are endless.

Olive caddis nymph
Ecto-caddis nymph
The preceding fly bodies were tied, courtesy of the custom dubbing blends I created last weekend. Call these flies ghetto, but each tie used only 5 ingredients (including the hook) and were all tied in under a minute each. About as cheap, fast and easy as you can get. They may not win any Fly Tyer of the Year awards, but they'll catch fish. After all isn't that what we're all after? I don't know about you, but I tie to fish, not fish to tie.


- the roughfisher

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  1. Look like some fish catchers to me, fella.

  2. I hope your few days of silence means you have fish pictures to show soon. Hope your weather was as nice as mine has been. Peace