Photograph by Steve Barnett

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Breaking the "Rule" to improve your chances

The "Rule" that usually is the best policy to adopt is quite simply "Match the Hatch"!

The recent Northerly winds and the low angle of the sun in the afternoons now conspire to ripple the surface with bright highlights, which contrast with the shaded water and present an awkward decision to the Dry Fly angler.

On days like today it can be a good idea to break the "Rule" and instead choose a fly you can see against the awkwardly lit surface.  A black fly will show up well on the silvery water, but become tricky to see in the shade.  A pale fly, to mimic the Pale Watery flies we have been getting on most days recently, will show up well on the shaded water, but be almost invisible on the bright, wind raised ripples.

What to do?  Well I tied on a Double Badger today.  The pale hackle showed up well enough in the shade and the dark body was clear to see in the bright ripples.  I'm sure it was not as interesting to the grayling and the trout as a more imitative fly would have been, but at least I was striking when the fly was taken...

This tactic of breaking the "Match the Hatch Rule" has served me well for forty years, try it next time the fly is just proving too hard to keep in view and see if it serves you well too.

Regular Rod


  1. Good tip, I'm hoping to go fishing on Thurs., last day of my season on the river. Now I know what fly to start with...thanks

  2. I hope you do well. Of course any bi-visible fly would have the same effect but the Double Badger did work very well indeed last night...

  3. The great Double Badger! Can't wait for the fly tying show at Stoke next month to grab myself a top badger cape.

  4. Make sure you get a true badger cape. That is it should have a black list along the stem AND black tips to the fibres. It is not easy to find a perfectly marked genetic badger cape. Likewise it may be easy to find an Indian or Chinese badger cape that is correctly marked but it is very hard to find these with good quality hackles of the right sizes for our dry flies.

    Here's wishing you Good Hunting!

  5. RR,
    Thanks for the advice. I have a few different Indian and Chinese capes but to be honest, I find the feathers too wide and where there are fine ones; too short! I know I might struggle to find what I want but you never know.
    I am spoilt by the one or two of the genetic capes/saddles I have purchased. Having said that I have also a couple of genetics that are not so good! This will be my third year at the show. I think I am now in a position to know exactly what I want feather size wise but will now be looking closely for the pattern as well.
    Thank you

  6. For the most part, I like breaking the rule. I have always had the mentality "what else can I entice them to hit?"

    Good looking bug.

    The Average Joe Fisherman