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Thread: Mayfly body

  1. #11

    Default Re: Mayfly body

    Quote Originally Posted by brook rookie View Post
    Silver, as I think about your two responses I am confused. They seem contradictory. In your first response you said that trout have terrible vision, compared to humans. So, at a distance, the composition of the Mayfly body cannot really be determined by the trout. I understand that, and it makes a lot of sense. But then you say that as the fly drifts closer to the trout and vision improves the trout has the acuity to tell the difference between a size 24 and a 26 hook. According to Mr. Best the actual size difference in the two hooks is four one-thousandths of an inch (0.004). If a trout can discern a measurement that small wouldn't it also be able to tell (at that point) that a dubbed body is not smooth and waxy like the natural?
    I am not trying to argue, but I don't understand the discrepancy.
    Size is easier to see than detail.

    Think of a monitor. Whatever the pixel count is: low, medium or high: the SIZE is identical. Color is identical. Motion is identical. What can vary is detail or the pixel count.

    Can you tell the difference between 7X and 3X tippet by looking at it? I can. 7X is .004" and 3X is .008" inch. I can tell the difference easily from 2+ feet away. The difference is the same as the 0.004" you ask about. Do you think if I had 1/14 th the vision, I could tell the difference if I was 2 inches away?

    Here's the deal. When the trout is feeding it is nose to fly to the artificial. How well the fish sees the fly depends on how smooth and clear the water surface is.

    Trout see size, shape, color, motion but the detail is less than human vision. You can see size without seeing detail. If I pixilate a face, you can still see the size, shape, color but the detail is missing.

    Here are images from an article on "How Trout See" by opthalmologist Gordon Byrnes, MD. in volume 21, issue 5, of Fly Fisherman Magazine, July 1990. pp 56.

    This is what a human sees when looking at a fly from the fishes perspective.



    This is what a fish sees at 3 inches before it decides to refuse or eat the fly. Note the it can see the size but not the detail of the image above. Detail is blurred but size is evident.





    Now that I have posted the images above, allow me to use them to answer the OP's question:

    Quote Originally Posted by brook rookie View Post
    I have been reading some books by A.K. Best. One of the points he makes is that Mayflies have smooth bodies. So, he ties his Mayfly patterns with a quill body to imitate the the look of the natural. Almost all, or at least many of the recipes for Mayflies call for using a dubbed body, even though dubbing looks "hairy" and "buggy" and not at all like real Mayfly. Is there a reason for this? My first assumption is because it is easier to work with dubbing than a quill. But that seems too simple since many tiers go to great lengths to make an accurate imitation. Do you use dubbing or quill bodies on your Mayfly patterns?

    The image in my post above is the best estimate of the BEST DETAIL a trout can see of an artificial fly. This is as good as it gets for a trout.

    So the question is IF this is as good a look at a fly a trout will get, will a quill body as A.K. Best says be more effective than a dubbed body when conditions are not "perfect" as when there are riffles or micro riffles between the fish and the fly?

    My opinion is that A.K. Best is making the error of not considering the difference between human vision and trout vision. My opinion is that the difference between a quill body and the "fuzziness" of a dubbed body is based on the ability to see fine detail which lacking even in up close vision for a trout. I am not saying it cannot make a difference in some conditions as in spring creeks but for 98% of fly fishers, I think not.

    Here's the other side of the argument. If you think a quill body is always the best as AK Best does, then tie all your flies with quill bodies. Then you will never be "wrong". Because it takes longer for me to tie a quill body than a dubbed body, I would personally would rather have more flies in my box for the time spent tying.
    Last edited by silver creek; 10-09-2019 at 10:47 AM.
    Regards,

    Silver



    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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  3. #12
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    Default Re: Mayfly body

    Quote Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
    Size is easier to see than detail.

    Think of a monitor. Whatever the pixel count is: low, medium or high: the SIZE is identical. Color is identical. Motion is identical. What can vary is detail or the pixel count.

    Can you tell the difference between 7X and 3X tippet by looking at it? I can. 7X is .004" and 3X is .008" inch. I can tell the difference easily from 2+ feet away. The difference is the same as the 0.004" you ask about. Do you think if I had 1/14 th the vision, I could tell the difference if I was 2 inches away?

    Here's the deal. When the trout is feeding it is nose to fly to the artificial. How well the fish sees the fly depends on how smooth and clear the water surface is.

    Trout see size, shape, color, motion but the detail is less than human vision. You can see size without seeing detail. If I pixilate a face, you can still see the size, shape, color but the detail is missing.

    Here are images from an article on "How Trout See" by opthalmologist Gordon Byrnes, MD. in volume 21, issue 5, of Fly Fisherman Magazine, July 1990. pp 56.

    This is what a human sees when looking at a fly from the fishes perspective.



    This is what a fish sees at 3 inches before it decides to refuse or eat the fly. Note the it can see the size but not the detail of the image above. Detail is blurred but size is evident.





    Now that I have posted the images above, allow me to use them to answer the OP's question:




    The image in my post above is the best estimate of the BEST DETAIL a trout can see of an artificial fly. This is as good as it gets for a trout.

    So the question is IF this is as good a look at a fly a trout will get, will a quill body as A.K. Best says be more effective than a dubbed body when conditions are not "perfect" as when there are riffles or micro riffles between the fish and the fly?

    My opinion is that A.K. Best is making the error of not considering the difference between human vision and trout vision. My opinion is that the difference between a quill body and the "fuzziness" of a dubbed body is based on the ability to see fine detail which lacking even in up close vision for a trout. I am not saying it cannot make a difference in some conditions as in spring creeks but for 98% of fly fishers, I think not.

    Here's the other side of the argument. If you think a quill body is always the best as AK Best does, then tie all your flies with quill bodies. Then you will never be "wrong". Because it takes longer for me to tie a quill body than a dubbed body, I would personally would rather have more flies in my box for the time spent tying.
    I think I understand what you are saying, Silver, and it would be a blow to the realistic imitation school of fly tying, except for the situation you noted of slow moving water with in a crystal clear spring creel.

  4. #13

    Default Re: Mayfly body

    Quote Originally Posted by el jefe View Post
    I think I understand what you are saying, Silver, and it would be a blow to the realistic imitation school of fly tying, except for the situation you noted of slow moving water with in a crystal clear spring creel.
    1. I do think that everything is important. But I think I am also a pragmatic fly fisher.

    2. I don't think the everything is EQUALLY important. I think most fly fishers would agree with me.

    3. If you do, then the logical thing would be to spend time on things in proportion to their importance. Conclusion 3 logically follows from 1 and 2.

    4. Then comes individualization. Fly fishing and fly tying are meant to be enjoyable. So even though we may believe conclusion 3, we are not robots. We each have different personalities and so we spend time according to what we enjoy doing. Otherwise, why fly fish?

    5. If someone enjoys tying and fishing more realistic smooth quill body vs dubbed body mayfly patterns, I have no problem with that. If they say this realistic fly body catches more fish, I have no problem with that. But if they say everyone should tie quill bodied mayfly patterns, I do have a problem with that, because that statement implies that quill bodied flies are better in every situation and I just don't think that is true. I think they are better in some situations and just about equal in most situations.

    6. I also believe that not all realistic features are equally important. For example, for a mayfly dun pattern, comparing a smooth quill body vs a dubbed body is different than comparing an upright wing pattern vs a down wing pattern. It is different because now we are comparing SHAPE, a key determinant of matching the hatch. This is an example of point #2, not everything is equally important.
    Regards,

    Silver



    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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  6. #14
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    Default Re: Mayfly body

    Quote Originally Posted by dillon View Post
    I use both, but of course, not on the same fly. Sometimes I just use the tying thread. However, if I use a quill or thread, It is only for the abdomen. I always use dubbing for the thorax. This gives the body a nice tapered appearance and the fibers in the dubbing give the appearance of the insect's legs. Which is something a trout may key in on. If the fly is hackled I always trim off the fibers on the underside of the fly. This helps the fly float flush to the surface.
    Come to think of it, I was a bit off in my thinking when I wrote this reply. Probably because I'm on a steelhead trip and it's been several months since I've tied a dry fly or even thought much about trout. I do not use quills. However, I have in the past but I no longer do. For one thing They are brittle and therefore must be soaked in water before tying. Instead I use goose biots for the abdomen of many dun, and emergers patterns. Again, when I do, I almost always use dubbing for the thorax. Whether it be a mayfly or a caddis pattern. Biots make a very nice, slender abdomen and can be smooth or appear segmented depending on the side of the biot that is on the outside. I still use a straight dubbed body at times. The trout seem to like them all, but on many patterns. I like the biot because the appearance of the fly pleases me more and that's a big part of why I tie. In the last few years I ve been tying most of my dry flies by copying Nate Brumley's patterns. If you'd like to check them out, I attached a link below.

    Mayflies - Dry Fly Innovations

    Okay, I told a little fib. I am on a steelhead trip in Maupin, but the fishing has been very slow. So, this afternoon I snuck up to one of my trout ponds to see what was up. Last time I was up there on the mesa above the river canyon was in August. I saw a few fish cruising and sipping but the lake was choked with weeds and the water was warm and low, unfishable it was. Now, we've had some rain and overnight lows are in the twenties. When I arrived, today the lake was full of water and the weeds were down. I waded in and it felt like 50 degree water. After tussling with a few fat and sassy rainbows, I went home a happy man knowing my friends are well. I'm now getting ready for a brief session on the river, before cocktails and dinner. Wish me luck...

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  8. #15

    Default Re: Mayfly body

    I like the idea of using biots. Much easier to work with. Thanks to everyone for your information.

  9. #16

    Default Re: Mayfly body

    I use biots regularly, I really like the effect and they are quick to tie with. But I’d have to agree with Silver... I doubt there is any difference in most fishing situations between biot or dubbed body. But seeing as i am taking the time to tie flies, it’s enjoyable to do a few different styles.
    I have to admit I don’t tie or carry anywhere near the number of patterns I did a few years ago... I probably have 6-8 dry fly patterns, for my rivers I find 14-22 covers it all, predominantly in 3 ‘broad’ colours...
    something light
    Something medium dark
    And you guessed it.... something dark
    Plus as always, a couple of exceptions... a few yellows etc

    And they are all without fail, simple and quick to tie.... the one below is a definite go to pattern... biot, dubbing, CDC & and a tiny bit of flash at the ‘tail’.... a 2 minute tie, which can nail it..


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  11. #17
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    Default Re: Mayfly body

    From my own experience it is not what a fly looks like TO ME that matters nor how it looks from, what I THINK is, the trout perspective but that it simulates something that is alive, edible and triggers a feeding response.
    There are times when the fish seem fixated on a particular food item but even your closest "exact" imitation is treated with disdain, then along comes the next chap who ties on a monstrosity of a fly and can't stop catching.
    Only the trout knows why it takes or refuses any particular imitation, we just fool ourselves most of the time into thinking we've cracked the code when in reality we are left just as confused on our next fishing trip. If this were not the case then we would only need a few patterns in our fly box instead of the hundreds of "just in case" patterns.
    My preference is for dubbed bodies but that is my preference, not always the trouts.

  12. #18
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    Default Re: Mayfly body

    I messed around with this little experiment this past spring and did pretty well. The body I tightened down, trimmed and was more tapered. The body extension is a goose biot.



    Denny

  13. #19
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    Default Re: Mayfly body

    Boisker,
    Nice tie! Now that's what I'm talking about. That's a great emerger pattern. I tie it in several colors, but with a yellow body and white wing it's a ver effective, go to, pmd pattern in my box. I like it on a sz 20 2x long curved daiichi hook, 1270 I think. Put a dab of CDC floatant on the wing only and dry it with froggs fanny when it gets soaked or preferably, slimed...
    This is a pattern where I think the biot wins over a fully dubbed body as I think it dangles into the film better. On a pattern such as a thorax dun it wouldn't seem to make any difference, imo.

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  15. #20

    Default Re: Mayfly body

    Quote Originally Posted by bumble54 View Post
    From my own experience it is not what a fly looks like TO ME that matters nor how it looks from, what I THINK is, the trout perspective but that it simulates something that is alive, edible and triggers a feeding response.
    There are times when the fish seem fixated on a particular food item but even your closest "exact" imitation is treated with disdain, then along comes the next chap who ties on a monstrosity of a fly and can't stop catching.
    Only the trout knows why it takes or refuses any particular imitation, we just fool ourselves most of the time into thinking we've cracked the code when in reality we are left just as confused on our next fishing trip. If this were not the case then we would only need a few patterns in our fly box instead of the hundreds of "just in case" patterns.
    My preference is for dubbed bodies but that is my preference, not always the trouts.
    I appreciate your observations

    There are times when what you describe occurs, but I would say that that is the exception and not the rule. Certainly exceptions occur, but the thing about exceptions is that we cannot know when they will occur. Therefore, the best overall strategy is to play by the "rules."

    The "rules" of matching size, shape. color and behavior were not formulated out of thin air. They have stood the test of time because they have been found to work in the vast majority of times to catch selectively feeding fish. If the fish are NOT selectively feeding then almost any fly can work, and we have instances of when a fly like the purple haze becomes the fly of the season.

    I have told this example before, but here it is again.

    On another BB, a member said he was fishing one of the famous spring creeks in Pennsylvania. There were a group of fly fishers fishing to trout feeding "selectively" on a hatch and he asked what the hatch was. He did not have that fly so he put on a Royal Wulff and caught 3 fish. His conclusion was that the fly fishers were wrong and the fish were not feeding selectively.

    I pointed out that the only thing he could say was that the fish that took his Royal Wulff were not feeding selectively. He could not make any conclusions about the fish that did not take his fly, nor could he even say most of the fish were were feeding non selectively.

    Whenever we do catch a fish, of course the fish was susceptible to the method we were using. However, our goal is not just to catch the occasional fish by using a method that will work on a small proportion of the fish. Our goal should be to figure out the method that will work on the greatest proportion of the fish, because that method will result in the greatest chance for success.

    The difference between the very good fly fisher and the average fly fisher is not just their ability to read water, or thier casting ability, or a whole host of other assets at their disposal. It is also the ability to figure out the fly and the presentation that will result in the greatest chance for success.

    When the majority of the fish are feeding selectively, my belief is that "matching the hatch" remains the best strategy.
    Regards,

    Silver



    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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