I believe there are two “most” important factors for success with baitfish patterns Oskar. First, you should mimic the actual baitfish in your waters and not tie too many “dream up” patterns. Second, try to find materials that match the colors and movements of those baitfish.
Given that most baitfish have light or white colored bottom (ventral) surfaces, I find that pearl flash works well to imitate the bottom of your baitfish pattern. Also given that most baitfish have dark backs (dorsal surfaces), long fibered dark materials with lots of movement in the water are a key. If you want ultra simple, try marabou feathers in white for the ventral surface and brown, olive, or gray (depending on the natural baitfish in your waters) for the dorsal surfaces. Adding a few strands of pearl crystal flash or flashabou to each side helps make your baitfish more attractive.
One other thought that can not be stressed enough is how the fly is “presented” to the fish. Many baitfish in moving water tend to feed from upstream to downstream allowing the water’s current to move them along. Once the baitfish reaches the end of the run or pool, they work their way closer to shore (to avoid the force of the main current) and work their way back to the head of the pool. Fish your imitations similarly. Allow a drift through the target water by casting upstream, mend the line as the imitation moves through the pool to its end. Allow the fly to “swing” in towards the shallows and retrieve it in short strips.
There are tons of “attractor” patterns that will catch some fish. These often don’t look like anything in nature (a red and yellow Mickey Finn fly is a good example). The pattern catches fish but I believe such flies only point out the importance of your presentation.
Baitfish patterns are most effective when they both “look” and “move” like the naturals. Wishing you much success in your efforts.
Yes there was an interesting and knowledgeable lecture, as always when the voice of experience and knowledge speaking ,the voice shares its wisdom with to us apprentices.
Heartfelt thanks again Bill, for all the good care and great contribution in familiarizing yourself with the secrets of fly fishing.
I too really mean it.🙂 👍
Gentlemen, some interesting comments regarding words “legend” and “king”. Got quite a laugh out of them regarding my “opinionated” posts here.
It’s true that I’m a bit “long-winded” with some of my comments. There’s a reason for that though that I’d like to share.
This site provides me with a way to fulfill a promise to some extraordinary fly fisherman I’ve had the great fortune to know over my lifetime. Some had famous names, others were relatively unknown. I was blessed with their acquaintances and their kindnesses. But each of them, as they passed on their knowledge of fly tying and fishing, made me realize I had a debt to repay.
Simply put, I promised myself I’d try to emulate them and share both what they taught me and things I learned myself. I am still trying to find ways to share their (and my) passion for our obsession with fly tying and fly fishing.
I was quite young (a million years ago it seems) when my mentors helped me overcome the difficulties of learning our sport. The most important part of my promise is to share my ideas to young folks just starting out. I’ve been involved with many youth programs over the years and am now at that stage where I’d rather see someone follow my instructions and tie that first really good fly or catch that really large fish than doing either myself.
I offer all here my heartfelt thanks for allowing me to keep my promise and keep my memories of my beloved mentors alive.
On FlyFlasher.com you can find 42,923 flies from all over the world. Flash your own fly patterns, upload your current work or search for inspiration. The flies are tagged, so you easily can search for them.