A certain aura of foodiness

Organizing my old pictures onto a new portable drive I came across a pair of gems that I’d been meaning to share. Not because they are truly fantastic pictures. Hardly. But rather because I think that they’re hilarious.

As a preface to the images themselves, understand that while I think fly fishing is a fantastic way to spend a day, I am not particularly grand at it. I can cast well enough (as long as my back isn’t right up against the shoreline) but the ability to tie neat flies eludes me.

The theory, (that I’ve been taught) is that a fly needs to have an aura of foodiness around it. It doesn’t need to look exactly like something a fish might want to sup upon, but it needs to look like something that the fish believes might — in fact — be sup-able. This single rule leads the vast majority of flies to fall into (in my eyes at least) three broad categories.

  1. Big stuff: Designed to look like wallowing / distraught mice or other mammals.
  2. “Wooly-buggers: Designed to look like some sort of insect floating serenely upon the surface of the water
  3. Streamers: Designed to sink a few inches beneath the surface and entice the more cautious fish that feel like rising to the surface is a poor choice.

Within those three categories things tend to look pretty much the same. Most wooly bugger types have the same shape and are made with the same basic color scheme, as are most streamers, as are most of the big-things. Its pretty simple really. There are a few colors and shapes fishers can use that are “sure” to attract interest among their aquatic prey and unless those combinations aren’t working out, why change the formula?

So why, given that knowledge, was I handed this beauty and told to try my luc?.

Of course I can catch a fish with that. It totally looks like it could be food.


The only place where that could pass at food is a candy store. No fish in the world is going to think “Oh! Sweet. Pink! My favorite foods are all neon pink!” If anything it should frighten fish away. Bright colors are supposed to indicate toxicity in the natural world. (Even though humans have decided that bright colors in our food simply mean “sour”).

Still, I tried it, and after a dozen fruitless casts it actually worked. Never before had I actually laughed at a fish, but there’s a first time for everything.

You sir, have made a terrible mistake.

I have no idea what that proves about fish. Except that apparently “foodiness” is a much broader term than I had imagined it to be.


Posted on March 16, 2012, in Fly Fishing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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