Form and function – creating the ultimate fly is a lifetime’s work


Forethought and preparation play prominent roles in so many aspects of our lives. Rightly so – especially these days in our professional capacities or, say, when organising logistics for that once in a lifetime holiday. It’s exactly the same in fishing. Once you get to the water’s edge though, there is much to be said for spontaneity.

You have to be able to tune in and absorb everything around you… What’s actually happening under the water, on the surface, and in the sky? Is there a storm brewing? Is there a glut of insects or baitfish, or a spate of floodwater adding to the confusion? Are you frightening the fish? Knowing how to read and interpret all the signals, then to adapt to different conditions was crucial in bygone times when repeated failure to catch threatened our ancestors’ ability to survive. We are all descended from the ones who made it!

Nowadays for the vast majority of us, the consequences of failure are usually less drastic, however if we are open to learning, we can still tap into those in-built lessons. Keen observation, prudent choices and appropriate actions will mostly yield us the best chances of catching fish. Now for an ultimate truth: EVEN THE BEST ANGLERS HAVE BLANK DAYS!!

In my experience, these are usually the best days of all for they force one to really engage… To try everything. To pit oneself against Nature in all her dominant glory. Is it really that bad if you haven’t caught a fish? I may be incorrect, however I think it was Henry David Thoreau who stated “every day spent fishing is another day added to your Life” We cannot lose if that’s the case!

When I tie flies I’m looking for the answers to questions that only blank days can and will ask… What else can I add, or often more importantly, should I leave off the hook that will entice even the most stubborn of fish? I’ll sleep on these thoughts many times, revelling in dreams of pristine waters and untouched wilderness…

This fly caught eight fish in one day... On 24March 2012

This fly caught eight fish in one day… On 24March 2012

Thanks for reading, please visit again soon!

2 responses to “Form and function – creating the ultimate fly is a lifetime’s work

  1. Mark, if your life depended on one dry fly pattern only, whatever the conditions, what would you choose? RH

    • Hi RH

      I struggled with this question at first because of my childhood antics with catching bass on poppers in Africa… Traditionalists scorn them however they are hard to beat when it comes to catching multiple species. Now for trout I would use my own version of a dry fly tied in a very minimalist way either with a stiff olive hackle or a little, compact, clump of deer hair – will make up a few and write a post about them… Perhaps a video too? Sending my best regards – metiefly

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