Welcome to Flies Only


Flies Only - Section Eleven
By J. Castwell



The first picture is of two flies. On the left is a thorax tied fly, on the right is a Ephemerella subvaria sub-imago. One tied, one alive. It took several minutes to get the live fly to stay near the tied fly and the tied one did start to penetrate the surface.

Two outside of the window

Even so, they look similar enough to satisfy any trout. The next picture shows the two side-by-side on the edge of the window. This dramatically shows the likeness of the two, the mayfly and the imposter.

Both on the window edge

The series has shown that a thorax fly will more closely represent a mayfly than the standard floating modification of the original wet flies of yesteryear. By using wound hackle at the front of the wet flies, insect legs were represented. The use of more and stiffer hackle to make the fly float did just that. It made a wet fly float. This would and still does catch trout, but mostly as a life form and not as an imitation of the correct patterns of stimulus. Those of you who have and will pursue this manner of tying will notice a marked improvement in the way a trout rises to your fly and the number of rises encountered.

Hooks

Here I should give a brief addition of information about hooks. In #1 you see a common dry fly hook as it comes from the box. At #2 you see what the same hook looks like after hitting a rock on the back-cast, being removed from a snag or a hard jawed fish. The reason a hook will break at the juncture of the barb is rather simple. It is weaker there. Often the barb does not get pushed clear thru the jaw of the fish and the torque generated can break the hook at that point.

It does require nearly twice the thrust to impale a trout with a barbed hook as a barbless, nevertheless, many still continue in the mistaken notion they must have the barb to retain the trout. The hook in #3 is the most worthless variation ever developed. Many tests were performed and it had the singular distinction to fail each. It is rather, fishless; than barbless. The wretched thing turns nearly ninety degrees to the point when pressure is applied to the eye. It is to be avoided at all costs.

Of course the hook at #4 is one produced with no barb. Truly a barbless hook. This hook will require much less effort to properly penetrate to the bend as a hook should. Once full hold is established to the bend of the hook, losing a trout is a moot point.

I have found the combination of using a true barbless hook and a thorax tied fly allows me to use at least one size lighter tippet. This feature alone gives my flies a better presentation, more drag free float and therefore entices more takes. I hope the series has given you pause for thought, some degree if interest in perusing the thorax style of tie and will eventually produce more and more satisfying takes for you on the stream.

Next time, the end. J. Castwell

For tying instructions for the true Thor-X Fly click here.

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