Sunday, April 20, 2008

Some thoughts on Bob Wyatt and Snowshoe Hare.

Over the winter, I have had the pleasure of reading 'Trout Hunting' by Bob Wyatt, and I can honestly say that it is the best book on contemporary trout fishing I have yet encountered. Angling literature tends to fall into one of two fields; the purely instructive or the evocative and subjective. I find Wyatt's book belongs in neither category, but is more an attempt to delve into the workings of the trout and finer points of progressive modern fly fishing.

Wyatt is clearly an intelligent and insightful angler - the theories he present are the result of experience and careful observation and seem to make perfect sense. I am going to try to take on board some of his suggestions, particularly with regard to fly design.

Wyatt has a fly - the deer hair emerger, a simple creation of deer hair and hare fur. Anglers north of the border may be more familiar with it than most as it is a pattern developed on the wild rivers and stillwaters of the highlands. The author is adamant as to its (and other 'no-hackle' emerger designs) devastating effectiveness. The guy is a respected angler and I have no reason to doubt him, but for my local waters, I would prefer a more ephemerid-orientated imitation. It seems the answer may be lurking amidst the colour plates of flies in the middle of the book - the snowshoe hare emerger.

My version of this pattern is shown above. So far this season I have found it to be absolutely deadly during hatches of large dark olives. The snowshoe hare fur floats like a cork and allows the fly to assume the correct attitude on the water - when it drifts down the current seams, it looks exactly like the surrounding duns. It can't be too bad from the fishes' perspective either as I have had very few refusals so far. I like the way the abdomen hangs suspended in the surface film, but without the fussiness created by the hackle on a klinkhamer type design.

It's very rare that a new pattern has instilled such confidence so quickly, but if the 'SHE' works so well in smaller sizes for hatches later in the season, it will have proved to be a revelation.

So thank you Mr. Wyatt, for a great book and just maybe, a great fly too!
Tying for 'SHE':
Hook: Varivas 2200 size 14-20.
Thread: 16/0 tan.
Rib: Olive Pearsalls silk.
Body: Masterclass dubbing #5 baetis pale watery.
Wing: Dun snowshoe hare foot.

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