Nest robbing theory
Fred Evans and I discussed something that he suggested I bring up to the board since he's too lazy to type.
His observations was that a particular fly pattern was a killer in dark olive but a non-starter in light olive.
I brought up a theory a gear-chucking friend of mine has-- that one reason steelhead and salmon hit plugs like the Wigglewart series is that the action and color often mimics nest robbers such as sculpins, squawfish and the like. The swimming/diving action of a plug mimics a nest robber diving to the bottom to retrieve eggs, and the salmonid of your choice is trying to kill the little bugger. My thought was that Fred's dark olive fly (a conehead pattern) might be closer in color to the sculpins or whatever egg-stealers there are in the Rogue than the light olive version.
This behavior would explain why crawdad shapes and colors are effective in Warts. It wouldn't explain why fluorescent colors are so effective, though. It might explain why weighted-head flies can be effective as well.
Does anyone have experience that might corroborate this theory? Refute it?
Geez, I need to go fishing...
Interesting question. I am curious as to Riveraddicts read on this as this seductive up and down would seem to fit his Intruder quite well and I can surely see where action would play an important role.
Part of me says that the variations in color would make little or no difference in most cases but your theory makes as much sense as any. Undoubtedly some colors on some days under some conditions just tend to piss off some fish some of the time. Why that is, I have no idea. If it works for Fred though, I say don't fix it.
Can give my insight
Well, you gotta remember that in most lower depths, most colors go to shades of black, depending on depth. Some colors do work better in higher depths or clearer conditions.
Ok, one of my favorite plugs that outperforms is a green metalic tadpolly custom dipped with a black bill. Second is a plain metalic pink tadpolly. This is steelhead mind you. When it comes to salmon. I run bigger K15-16 baitwrapped kwikfish. Usually in chrome only. I assume those manage to similite fish. But I only use warts on the tidal flux areas of rivers. I like chrome only! Hot pink in the magnum sized in tribs. But chrome in standard wiggle wart size with either an orange or black stripe down back. I cast them like spoons and retrieve. Fish hit them VEROCIOUSLY!!!! I can only describe as watching a steelhead rise to a dry. I've literally watched silvers and kings follow my warts to the boat and attack. Talk about a rush. So, I designed some of my flies to somewhat resemble the best I could to a wart for silvers. These I assume resemble baitfish, since they attack as if they're going to eat (I watched one of my 20+# silvers completely ENGULF a standard wiggle wart!!!!). Say it this way, he came into the boat no problems. LOL.
So, depends on where you're at. I think in the rivers, unless you're near redds, they are attacking because they're miffed. In the tidal flux, they're after baitfish. I've never run plugs for summerruns, so not sure if my theory would hold out. I know most of my patterns I PURPOSELY tie like crawdads and sculpins. I tie up a retrofitted GP for fishing the Nooch. All in shades of brown and oranges. Very effictively flies.
I have never seen a blue pirate sculpin before and a plug doesn't move anything like anything you'll find in the natural enviroment except maybe a migrating salmon/ steelhead smolt. ( swimming downstream butt first)
Once when I was a kid while fishing for sea run cutthroat with a worm and bobber I had a steelhead about 10 lbs cime up to the surface and push my bobber around with it's nose. It did so for about a half an hour then appeared to get bored and it went away. Not once did it try to take the bobber in it's mouth.
We can speculate all we want about why steelhead do this or that and even if we are right we will never know..
I'd say that the light olive hasn't worked because it was never put in front of a willing fish that saw it.
I think its more the "Schock and Awe" antognize technique which will work on the aggressive steelhead. I am working on my new series of marabou Show Girls to shock and awe them.
Put a big wiggling and flashing marabou in front of the aggressive ones and there is a good probability they may go for it.
I am refining this to add to my traditional Naturalilistic techniques,
meaning natural colored nymphs.
I don't see many people using spinners for steelhead in the GLs but I can tell you they are very effective in a skilled fishermans hands. I used them the first two years out here and the steelies hammered them. That was 20 years ago, all fly fishing since.
Good luck in your pursuits of the chrome !
I use light olive with good succes myself. Maybe Fred is just jinxed with that color?
For some reason, I seem unable to get fish to grab a GP -in any color!. I don't understand it. I use it enough (more out of determination to get one with it) but have only managed a few fish ever with this bug that is held in such high esteem by many steelheaders.
I agree with Rob about the (lack of) semblence between a plug and a sculpin. Who knows why these fish hit? We can hypothesize all we want and we never truly know. Sure, some ideas seem plausible or even probable but we still don't know. The important thing is we know they do, and this builds confidence and, well you know the rest. It's kinda fun to think about the "why" though.
Anyone else got a fly that puts a jinx on them as soon as they tie it on?
I have had good luck with olive. Usually the materials I buy are the darker shade, and I caught fish, so I never paid attention to the shade.
When it comes to metallic colors, most charter captains on the lake specify silver plating on their spoons, etc., as it seems to reflect light deeper than other metal finishes (chrome, nickel, etc.) Going back to my electrochemistry background, I can tell the difference between "silvery colors" at a glance! Silver has a "whitish" cast, chrome has a "bluish" cast, and nickel has a "yellowish" cast. Some exotics, like tin/nickel (pinkish) and others that we describe as "silvery" all have their own "color", and reflect light different ways.
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