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Fly Patterns: Why Trout Hit Them
Gene Macri


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© 2017 E. P. Macri Jr.


Fly Patterns continue to increase at a rapid rate in the fly fishing world even trout don't hit most of them  However, many of the so called new patterns are nothing more than old Fly Box with Fly Patterns www.flypatterns.infopatterns revisited or some variation of something previously tied. New patterns made with synthetics, plastic, and other product continue to come onto the market all with magical fish catching properties. Yet, most fly anglers still struggle on tough streams and tough fish no matter what's in their fly box.

The reasons for this is, which seems to escape most fly anglers (because in most instances you are only as good as your skill level) is that the best fly fished improperly still may not catch fish while the worst fly fished properly will. It makes good fishing sense to carry a variety of fly patterns and god knows we obviously overdue it. But what are the criteria that you should use to stock your fly box? Well ask 50 fly fishermen and get 50 different answers is usually what you'll get. Flies attract trout in a number of ways including:

Why Trout Hit Most Patterns

  • Imitation: It imitates something the fish eats almost exactly.
  • Suggestion: Suggests a wide variety of something the fish eats in their environment
  • Action Response: The fly pattern causes jealousy or predator instinct by certain action usually by some material that cause action.
  • Color Response: Certain colors either imitate, suggest or cause a fish to respond
  • Shape and Form: Often overlooked these characteristics are important.
  • Movement and Behavior: Patterns of movement, drifting etc. will cause a fish to eat or strike the fly. This is especially true during certain hours when insects may be drifting in the stream
  • Combinations of the above factors.

So there you have the basis of why most fly patterns work or don't work depending on the fish and the environment. They should give you some ideas on how to select certain patterns under real fishing conditions. Remember that in most instances the harder a stream is fished and the tougher the fish become, the "triggering response" that allows the fish to strike will be more complex as compared to streams where the fish are easy to catch. For example on a stream where the fish are relatively easy to catch a simple shape and color trigger may work for most flies. While on a stream that has wild trout you may have to meet everyone of the triggers above for the trout in order to succeed (and then sometimes they still won't hit). This information appears to be lacking from most fly fishing books, magazine articles and websites. But unless you understand this you will never succeed on tough streams with wild trout.

You may wonder where I search for patterns that I often use on these tough streams...well you may be surprised. . Read the works of Skues, Halford, and other English writers and you might be surprised at what you'll find and how easily you can tie and adapt these flies to your streams. This is one of the secrets that most fly anglers never learn. They think that it's the new stuff that catches trout. Try looking in the literature and you'll find things you never dreamed of. Unfortunately, many fly anglers just don't read much and are too busy to learn.



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