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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Axioms of Fly Tying and Hatch Matching

What the heck is an "axiom". Well Websters Dictionary states an "axiom" is "a fundamental principal widely accepted on its intrinsic merit".

I dug into my library and picked out a book, "Handbook of Hatches, second edition", I have the first edition by the way. It was written by, Dave Hughes, someone that has written many books on the art of fly fishing. I've got a bunch of them. I was inspired to dig into my library and refresh my perspective on "matching the hatch". It helped to meet Hogan Brown and watching him give his presentation on matching bugs and selecting and tying the correct fly patterns to match them at our local fly fishing club.

On the first page of the "Handbook of Hatches", after a short introduction Dave lists "Axioms" that outline his premises of the book. I'll share these axioms with you and hopefully inspire you to locate a copy of this book.

These Axioms give a different perspective on how to go about designing fly patterns to match the hatches anywhere that you fish, west coast, Rocky Mountains, east coast or even other countries.

Major Axioms

Axiom #1 - Within each of the three major orders of fly fishing insects, caddis, mayflies, and stoneflies, adults of all species have the same shape.

Axiom #2 - Within each important order of aquatic insects, all species can be matched with size and color variations of the same pattern style.

Axiom #3 - Endless study of someone else's work will never tell you what insect hatches are important on your own home waters

These three axioms are examples of some of the basis of his "Fish don't read Latin" approach to designing and tying fly patterns to match the hatches all over the world. His approach demystifies the process of fly selection and will allow you to approach your local waters with confidence and with success.

(1) Learn to identify the three main insect types

(2) Take stream samples to see what bugs live in your home waters

(3) Take notes and samples and take that knowledge back to your fly tying desk.

(4) Pick out a bug out of the water, place it in a small white dish, place your fly selection in the dish next to it and verify it's the correct size, shape and color.

Your rod will be throbbing a little later if you've matched it right.

Minor Axioms

Minor Axiom #1 - Choose your pattern style based in part on the type of water on or in which the pattern will be fished.

Minor Axiom #2 - See the whole day. On any extended fishing trip be on the water from daylight until dark, watching the water, on the first or second day of any trip. After that you'll know the best times to be on the water and the safe times to take your leisure.

Minor Axiom #3 - On stillwaters or small moving water an important rule is to suspect midge pupae whenever trout are rising but you can't see what they're taking.

Minor Axiom #4 - Anything you can learn about trout will increase your ability to catch them, whether the information is applied immediately in the form of an imitation tied to your tippet at once, or becomes a part of your body of knowledge about trout and the world in which they live and is applied over time.

These Axioms are tied to chapters in the book and has many common sensible examples of putting them to use. I again would strongly recommend picking up this book and it may change you perspective on fly design and matching the hatches on your home waters. I guarantee it!

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Have any Questions or Comments? Let me know, Clay.