I've had some frustrating sessions this last few days on my river. Very little fly life about - the odd willow fly, but the occasional dense midge hatch, small midge that would last for a few minutes, then all is dead again.
No fish coming up, but, during the midge hatch, there was the odd 'bubble' at the surface - not a rise as such. I am interpreting this this season as the fish feeding on pupa sub surface, and occasionally this takes them into the film.
I tried just about everything, but without much result. Yesterday, two fish (and one a sprat! lol) in three hours fishing wasn't unusual for me this last few days.
This morning I had a play at the vice, trying to tie up something that might pass for a midge pupa - at least in a back alley on a dark, moonless night.
Hook: Verivas Wave #22 Thread: Olive. Small gold bead. Overbody: Shredded carpet backing.
I would have gone for a #24 if I had had any.
The hole in the bead was too big, in the sense that it would slide over the hook eye, so I had to build up a thread stopper. I tied these in olive, yellow, black and cream - yellow / cream seem to match the colours of the midge I have seen hatching these last few days.
The necessity of the thread stopper got me thinking. The other evening I was talking to Karl Humphries (fly fisher and tyer of some renown!) about a story I'm working on at the moment. Rather cheekily, I asked him for any advice regarding these frustrating sessions, and we got talking fly tying in general. Karl was talking about tying in 'hotspots', and that in his opinion they should be at the head of the fly. Given the need for this thread stopper on this midge pattern, I thought that here was the ideal opportunity to try out the theory. So I put on my sunglasses and got out the Lureflash:
Yellow underbody this time.
Went out onto the river and fished a team of two, with the punk fly on the point. Now conditions weren't as they had been this last few days. They were similar inasmuch as there was very little fly life, and no rising fish, but the midge hatches were sporadic rather than in the density of the last few days.
But, the flies caught fish. The punk fly caught me three before I lost it - and the only one I had with me. But, the others caught for me too.
Satisfyingly, on two ocassions, I saw fish 'bubbling' at the surface as they had been doing in the dense midge hatches, and by pulling this pattern quickly through their general location it caught fish.
So, wouldn't go so far as to say problem solved, but I feel happy that problem is identified - which is half the battle! The 'hotspot' pattern was interesting though - near instant results. Will be trying that again. I suspect today would have been another very frustrating day without these flies, so must be on the right lines.