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Do nice flies catch fish or fishermen?

2007/5/24 14:51
Posts: 52
I've wondered about this for a long time, actually since I've been able to tie a decent fly. Are anglers too concerned about how their flies look to fellow anglers, or do well tied flies actually catch more fish? I've noticed that after fishing a fly for an extended time, and it's become somewhat ratty, it seems to catch more fish. Maybe this is because I generally nymph fish and the fibers of the fly look more realistic after they've been chewed on a time or two, or maybe I'm just crazy. I don't know, what do you guys think?

Posted on: 2007/6/19 8:31

Re: Do nice flies catch fish or fishermen?

2007/5/10 14:53
From Carlisle
Posts: 631
Im gonna have to go with nice flies catching fisherman, at least for nymphs, because like you ive also experienced the roughed up nymph working better then the "perfectly" tied nymph. As for a dry fly I think sometimes tying it "nice" is helpful when fishing over selective fish. Streamers pretty much have there own shape to them and it doesnt really matter as muh what they look like. There was an article in I think Fly Tyer a couple of years ago about this topic and there conclusion was most "pretty" flies catch fisherman and not fish.

Posted on: 2007/6/19 9:12

Re: Do nice flies catch fish or fishermen?
2006/9/9 9:29
From Monessen, PA
Posts: 23875
If I spend $1.85 or more on a fly, the dang thing better be fit for a museum. On the other hand, if I tie it, I just hope it looks enough like a bug that the stupid fish bite it. If you have or would see some of the flies I catch fish on, you know that pretty ones just catch anglers.

Posted on: 2007/6/19 9:27
I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying.

Oscar Wilde

Re: Do nice flies catch fish or fishermen?

2007/5/24 14:51
Posts: 52
I have to agree. I read a book by Rich Osthoff "Active Nymphing" a few months back and in it he said he actually rough's up new nymphs with a gun cleaning brush before using them. I guess a well tied nymph is a matter of pride to the tyer. It is to me, I suppose that is just another reason why I love fly fishing so much.

Posted on: 2007/6/19 9:39

Re: Do nice flies catch fish or fishermen?

2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
Posts: 19464
During a freestoner caddis hatch my best fly is a hare's ear soft hackle where I chose to eliminate the following:

Tail, ribbing, thorax, wing case.

It looks like a turd with hair. The little streambread browns thrash it when it's stripped over them.

Nuff said about ugly flies catching em, I'd think.

Posted on: 2007/6/19 10:14

Re: Do nice flies catch fish or fishermen?

2007/5/24 14:51
Posts: 52
I use the same fly. Very effective.

Posted on: 2007/6/19 10:21

Re: Do nice flies catch fish or fishermen?

2006/9/28 14:40
From Philadelphia
Posts: 400
Yes, I'd agree that a roughed up nymph is a better fish catcher than one that's prime and proper. Joe Brooks has the same direction for his stonefly as Osthoff---tie the fly then grind it into the stream before fishing. On the other hand, I do think a clean profile is important for a dry, though my go to pattern, Gary Lafontaine's Grey Coughlin is tied "rough". In any case, caddis drys seem more shaggy than mayfly duns.

Posted on: 2007/6/19 15:35

Re: Do nice flies catch fish or fishermen?
2006/9/13 12:42
From Altoona, PA
Posts: 2251
A properly tied dry fly is important. Poorly sized wings will result in line twist. Hackle that is too big will make the fly flop over on the water. Hackle that is too small will not float as well. If the tail is too short, the fly won't float well or sit high on the water. Proper proportions are important for imitating the bug you are trying to present. And if it's tied well, it'll last longer.

Where nymphs are concerned, I agree that a beat up nymph is going to catch more fish. But I still think that it should be tied well so it'll hold up.

In all cases, I find that my simplest patterns are my most effective ones.

Posted on: 2007/6/19 21:12
Never challenge a cat to a staring contest

Re: Do nice flies catch fish or fishermen?

2007/7/26 14:46
Posts: 8
A chewed up nymph does seem to catch fish more effectively than a freshly tied neat one.

I suspect that scent may play a role here,
A fresh nymph fresh from the vise has all kinds of flavors on it that "could" be offputting to the fish eg. fur and feather preservatives, the scent of plastic (mylar, etc.), scent from the tiers hands, just to name a few.

A bit of time in the water, or a go-round or two in a fishes mouth, or a quick rub in the mud could go a long way toward masking or
neutralizing those odors.

The hare's ear soft hackle sans most of the salient parts save for the hare's ear,speaks more to fly design and less to execution of the tye.

And there are examples of Rough and buggy dries, eg, fran betters usual or haystack, the original goofus bug (humpy), or the original wulff flies. All designed with specific proportions to behave in specific ways on the water.

Neatness may not always count, but proportion and design do.

and perhaps scent :).


Posted on: 2007/7/26 21:14

Re: Do nice flies catch fish or fishermen?

2007/8/10 22:09
Posts: 67
I would say that nice or pretty flies don't mean more fish but some things like porportions should not be overlooked even on a ugly fly. Don't let the "ugly flies catch more fish" keep you from improving on your tying skills. A good tyer can MAKE a fly ugly or rough on purpose will others have no choice.

Posted on: 2007/8/10 22:31

Re: Do nice flies catch fish or fishermen?

2006/9/13 22:36
From Tioga co. formerly of bucks co.
Posts: 5843
yea, listen to plumbob...hes tied some very nice flies..just wish he would stop using garden hackle..

Posted on: 2007/8/11 7:19

So many Fish, So little time !!!
from the outer edge of nowhere
fly tying and fishing ghillie..

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