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Of Flies and Men

928 Views 10 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  tippet
Question: It has been said that when you tie your own flies, you can tie patterns that cannot be found in a fly shop, and therefore, catch more fish because you are fishing a fly the fish have never seen before. Yet, when someone asks what flies to use fly fishers will answer, "you can get them on the standard nymphs like a Hares' Ear, Prince or sow bug; one top they will take a Parachute or standard Adams, an Elk Hair Caddis or Royal Wulff.

Do fish really remember from year to year what fly they've seen and then refuse it? Does this only happen on heavily pressured waters? Do fish really become educated?

I use my own creations year, after, year, after year and do quite well. I'm pretty sure I have fished over the same fish in the same places, and they still take the same patterns I present.

And this might be the same question, I've asked before. That's how repetitive fly fishing can be.
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I haven't tied anything in probably five years. I've made some fishing lures since then but for my spin rod.

I enjoyed the process and focus, as others have said. It also allowed to produce patterns in colors that worked in previous trips but were difficult to find locally.

And I intentionally buy locally whenever I go to a new area. I learned to do that whenever asking for advice in a shop as I can't afford guided trips and it seems to be a good profit for the them (or so I was told). I'm not sure I do better with those patterns as the same average caster is still the one tossing them wherever I go.

I was taught trout have a "search pattern" that greatly affects what they choose to eat & chase. They are pretty lazy fish and it's lower risk they'll waste precious energy that way. At least that's the gross generalization I remember 10+ years later. Ultimately the tried and true seem to reflect what's in that search pattern pretty well until you get into a heavily pressured "PhD trout" runs. Though that seems to apply more to aquatic invertebrates than piscivorous targets.

Who knows though, I've never been great at the sport and enjoy working a river feature as much as I do the trout themselves. It's why I exploded new stretches so often when it was my singular passion.
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