“Sly Fishing” I like that. I didn’t ‘coin’ the phrase, but it works for today’s post. There are many competing concepts in fishing and fly fishing in particular: matching the hatch, proper gear, the appropriate realistic fly pattern, timing, weather, lighting, location, reading the water and finally presentation, which in some ways combines much of the above considerations.

photography-fly tying-sparse-pattern-macro-swittersbSometimes the above images are insulting, challenging to fly fishers and tiers. Such simplicity flies in the face of the necessarily complex make up of fly fishing. I suppose, at times, there are required, exacting patterns that must be used on well bred, snobby, elitist fish. But, come on now, you know it is true….often simple patterns, sparse patterns are quite effective. It is the presentation and location of the offering that are often more important than some exacting pattern. 

I like to tie overdressed concoctions as much as the next tier. But, I annually come back around to the reality that all that material on that hook may not be necessary. At a minimum, tie some minimums. Sparse patterns that are suggestive, have movement, but are a fraction in quantity of materials and focus on presentation/location. It doesn’t lessen the sport to experiment and possess a few minimalist patterns for the less refined fish.

Read this fine piece by Tim Rolston (The Fishing Gene) entitled “The C Word” re patterns and confidence.

Marc Fauvet wrote about pattern and presentation also in this piece.