Dose Size Really Matter (When it comes to Flies)? - Page 3 - Fly Fishing Forum
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  #31  
Old 12-01-2003, 11:36 AM
t_richerzhagen t_richerzhagen is offline
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large fly small hook

Skilly - using tube flies or a Waddington shank, it is possible to use large flies with smaller hooks. These often hold fish better too, while doing less damage. Also, These can be bulky without being so difficult to cast, as you do not have the heavy hook. The "appearance" of bulk with materials that do not absorb a lot of water.

The "intruder" style fly is a good example of this idea.
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  #32  
Old 12-01-2003, 02:25 PM
Topher Browne Topher Browne is offline
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Fly Size

Riveraddict,

To continue the movie motif (and speaking purely about myself):

As his cellmate in "Trading Places" says to Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy), "It ain't cool to be no jive turkey so close to Thanksgiving." And so I renounce my earlier devil's advocacy in order to come clean.

I, too, believe fly size is important. Alec Jackson, with whom I have had the pleasure of discussing such concepts (and Philip Green, with whom I have not) refers to the question of fly size as a search for the "reasonable fly." By "reasonable," I take Alec to mean a generally accepted RANGE of fly sizes for a given river system, strain of fish, and time of year.

The size of the fly must work in concert with the speed of the fly in order to present the illusion of a living thing going about its business. That speed is determined, or greatly governed, by the size of fly one ties on in the first place. This relationship has a bit more of a 'chicken and the egg' sort of thing going on than one might prefer when gift-boxing one's pet theories.

In medium to low water on Atlantic salmon rivers, we generally know right where the fish are. Fish location ain't the problem; getting the little fellers to bite can be. We often run a tremendous variety of fly sizes over the the fish: I'm talkin' 5-inch rigs down to sz. #14 doubles, and everything in between. We're looking for a combination of the right fish, the right size of fly, the right speed of fly, and, yes (to introduce a greater obfuscation into our little discussion), the right fly pattern. As a 'presentationist,' I believe "the right fish" is by far the most important part of that multi-faceted equation.

I've fished the Skagit and Sauk both Spring and Fall in the company of Messieurs Rossano, Stroebel, Kinney, Mahoney, and Farrar. The steelhead were far more scattered than I am used to on your typical Maritime Atlantic salmon river. Taking into account my REAL limited time on these two rivers, actually finding steelhead was definitely the toughest part of the deal. I figured if I found a taking fish, any reasonable fly fished at a reasonable speed would probably get him. Please correct me if I don't have it quite right.

I look forward to conducting additional research in your neck of the woods.

Best regards,

TB

Last edited by Topher Browne; 12-01-2003 at 02:59 PM.
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  #33  
Old 12-01-2003, 05:18 PM
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Skilly Skilly is offline
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Ted

Thanks, I will have to try some of the tube flies.

Skilly
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  #34  
Old 12-01-2003, 10:41 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Topher,

I think you pretty much got it regarding steelhead. Any reasonable fly fished at a reasonable speed and depth (depending on time of year) will probably induce a take.
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  #35  
Old 12-02-2003, 03:54 PM
Riveraddict Riveraddict is offline
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Fly Size

Topher,
Your thoughts regarding "generally accepted RANGE of fly sizes" pointed out a circumstance that may alter the thrust of what I have been trying to establish in my posts, that circumstance being how clearly/unclearly one manages to explain a point. I have not been trying to say that a difference in fly size as specific as, say between a #2 and a #4 is going to critically affect whether or not a steelhead decides to take it or not. The context of my posts on this thread have been aimed in a more general aspect. Quite frankly, I should have been saying "range of fly sizes". Deschutes fish are a small fly fish in that they are usually caught on flies ranging from size 6-2, as opposed to Skagit winter fish which are most often caught on size 2-2/0, etc., etc. Hopefully my posts will now be better understood, and no one will envision me running around fretting about having to have the absolute exact size of fly for a given fishing situation.
Your thoughts on fishing the Skagit/Sauk are totally dead on. That's what I love about the steelheading here, the act of "searching". I too am a "presentationist" and base my fishing on finding the "right fish".

Inland,
I don't always fish flies that make the most sense of the conditions. I fish flies that I think are going to give me the best chance of producing the results that I happen to be seeking on that particular day. Some days I may wish just to catch a fish, most days however, I am looking to elicit the most aggressive take, even at the risk of reducing my chances for hooking any fish at all. If I were to use a smaller fly I would in all likelihood catch MORE steelhead, but the grabs would not be the same. I have been flyfishing for steelhead long enough to be well past the stage of having to catch as many fish as possible.
Fish the same fly for a season and catch the same numbers of fish? Let me put it to you this way. If two anglers of equal skills fished together for an entire year, one always using the same size/color of fly, while the other was allowed to match flies to the varying conditions - would they catch the same amount of fish? I think not! I couldn't buy that theory no matter how well it was dressed up.
During my Deschutes example, I fished that fly every which way except backwards and upside-down!
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  #36  
Old 12-02-2003, 04:56 PM
Topher Browne Topher Browne is offline
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Riveraddict,

I ain't a low water kinda' guy, and I never figured you for the type to fret about fly size. I like water up in the trees, the more the merrier; don't like to know where they are, increases the anticipation: "When is IT going to happen?"

It's blowing hard now and the season's done. I'm one big cold snap away from loading up the truck, and pointing it over the Divide.
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  #37  
Old 12-02-2003, 11:11 PM
Riveraddict Riveraddict is offline
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Fly Size

Topher,
Exactly! The anticipation is the spice of the game. Hopefully I will someday make it "back East" for some Salmo fishing. I am presuming that the early part of the season is best for "search" type fishing?
To add even more dimension to the fly size debate, any experience/opinions on fly profile? Example, will a fly with a bulky profile display any advantageous aspects for certain fishing conditions as opposed to a fly with a slim silhouette, or vice versa? I should think that the Atlantic Salmon community should have far more insight into this subject than us steelheaders because of the fact that a good portion of salmon fishing is over known fish lies and therefore more study can be concentrated on what responses particular aspects of a fly may/may not produce from a fish.
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  #38  
Old 12-03-2003, 02:03 AM
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Riveraddict,

Going down the same road, and taking different paths, I am all too fond of catching summer fish with small flies. The smaller and sparser the better. I live for the subtle rise of a good steelie to a size 8 low water dress just under the surface. It never ceases to amaze me how soft some of these fish take, and the eternity held in your gut waiting to know if they are hooked.

As for winter steelhead, a few years ago something started to draw me to fishing the floating line for the deep wet fly swing. Tinkered with it a bit but eventually gave in to fishing the known tactics. Through a stroke of pure luck we, myself and a grand fishing buddy, happened to run into one of the finest examples of angler and gentleman alike. A friend of yours, and now mine, he took me under his wing and coached. What was once viewed with pessimistic uncertainty is now confidently seen as opportunity. It opened my eyes to a new world of careful water editing, line control, and fly designs. I love the thought that goes into these flies, always tinkering the balance to get maximum profile with minimum bulk. Certainly not the easiest, or most effective, way to hook these fish.

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer questions and debate my ramblings!!!

William
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  #39  
Old 12-03-2003, 10:29 AM
Topher Browne Topher Browne is offline
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Riveraddict,

The early season (first three weeks of June) in Quebec is certainly the best time of the year for "search" type fishing. Dec Hogan found the three rivers he fished very similar in tactics, if not in scale, to the Skagit in April. I would agree, having fished both locales.

We do fish some larger "profile" type patterns in the early season: big Magog Smelts (4") and Tiger Ghosts; certainly not necessary, however. Flies of average proportions tied on #4 doubles account for the lion's share of my fish. The water is clear and the fish have no problem seeing the fly. Large profile flies are also very useful in late September in Quebec and in October in Nova Scotia: the fish are becoming very territorial once again.

Generally, I prefer slimmer flies for salmon. Once the water is in the 50+ degree F. range, it is difficult to fish the fly TOO QUICKLY. This is a radical departure from Winter steelheading, where it may be difficult to fish the fly too slowly. Salmon, in general, seem to prefer a faster fly than steelhead (unless you're talking 42 degree F. water). I don't want to piss off the Dean River, Deschutes, and N. Umpqua floating line crowd with this statement, but I have heard the same from many experienced, bi-coastal anglers. Slim flies seem to work well with a fast swing.

As a hardcore steelhead fly swinger, you may find the 'beat' system in Quebec--where you are limited to certain sectors on the river--a little frustrating. You might prefer to take your best steelhead guiding clients for an all expenses paid trip to the Kola Peninsula in Russia....all expenses paid for you, that is. Slap a "research" label on that or a "furthering of steelhead/salmon relations," and who knows, you might even qualify for a tax write-off!
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  #40  
Old 12-03-2003, 10:50 AM
t_richerzhagen t_richerzhagen is offline
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Salmon and Steelhead

are different. I am wondering if Atlantics and Pacific salmon do not have their differences as well, to further complicate the equation.
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