Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 14 - Fly patterns

Traditionally, when I think of a fly pattern, I think of a wire hook, some feathers, some fluff, and maybe a piece of wire or tinsel. The history of fly material has always had a tumultuous journey. By this I mean, anglers have always pushed the envelope with what material to use. Bead heads, rubber legs, epoxy, foam, mylar... these are all things that I have in my fly box, but at some point in angling history they were considered taboo.

Earlier this year, I wrote a business plan for a friend who was starting up a fly company. I believe the plan was successful as he told me he was getting orders from a couple of big box retailers. His fly pushes the boundaries of traditional fly patterns and I question whether or not it should be classified as true fly pattern. I must concede that the pattern does catch fish though.

My friend's fly pattern is tied on a micro jig hook. In theory there really is no big distinction between his pattern and a bead head pattern. The action of the hook is a little different than normal as it rides point up versus the standard point down. Other than that, no big distinction. Yet, when I wrote up his plan, I had a gut instinct that this pattern was going to be met with some hesitation if not aggression.

I have to beg the question then, "Where do we draw the line?" I mean, do we start tying on treble hooks? Feasibly if you were using a tube fly, you could do that. What about using spinning blades? I've been told that there are some companies that are marketing this as a fly. Does the line occur at soft plastics? If so, the industry could be in for a shock as there is a product on the market that exhibits the soft body of a bait fish and is considered to be a new fly tying material.

If I had to express my opinion on the subject, it comes down to undestanding the nature of fly fishing. A fly angler sets certain restrictions or limitations on themselves that allows a sense of fair play and honor. The goal of fly fishing isn't to catch meat, for if it was then the angler would soon abandon the fly rod for corn, a worm, and a treble hook. Instead, the goal for the angler is more of wits and skill. We choose not to use certain materials as we feel that it would not show off our skills and prowess.

As a result of this moral value, here is how I will draw the line. I have/will use my friend's pattern. I find that it has some practical uses. Since the point rides up, it won't snag on the bottom as much as my other nymphs do. I can see this as being a real positive when using this fly as an anchor pattern for the Euro Nymphing style. Also, as I have mentioned before, I don't really see a huge distinction between this and a bead head nymph.

However, I will not use a fly that has rattles, treble hooks, or spinner blades. To me this crosses the line. If I want to use those, I'll pull out my ultralight rod and spinning reel. I will not use the preformed soft plastic bodies for my flies. However if the product comes in some sort of ribbing material, I may use that in my patterns.

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