Modern Midges

Modern Midges

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I ususally fish freestone, cutthroat streams. I like dry flies and beautiful scenery with lots of solitude. But I have fished a few tailwaters and spring creeks. So I understand the need to fish tiny flies to discerning trout. Even after some experience and the usual magazine articles, I don’t feel that comfortable with fine tippet and sub-20 sized flies.

So when I came across a new book by midge masters, Rick Takahashi and Jerry Hubka, my eyebrows shot up and I grabbed it. It is called Modern Midges – Tying and Fishing the World’s Eost Effective Patterns . What a book! Physically it is impressive. 9 1/2″ by 10 1/2″, hard cover, and spiral bound to lie flat when tying. It weighs in over 3 pounds.

After only 6 pages of introduction, it jumps right into tying flies. Now that is my kind of book! The organization is logical and linear, following the life cycle of these little bugs.

  1. How to tie larva paterns. Then 20 pages of patterns
  2. How to tie pupa patterns. Then 83 pages of pupa patters.
  3. How to tie emerger patterns. Then 47 pages of emerger patterns.
  4. How to tie adult patterns. Then 18 pages of adult and cluster patterns.
Fly patterns in the book

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Now that you are saturated in all the patterns you could ever want, starting on page 238 is a series of short articles by some of the biggest names in the fly fishing world. They

Fly tying details

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share insights and tips on using those patterns you just learned to tie. Wow.

The patterns are laid out six to a page so the pictures are large, razor sharp and easy to read. Sprinkled throughout are pictures of flyboxes with rows of beautiful flies; large fish with tiny flies in their jaw; and fishy water to drool over. The book is a refrence for midge fishing, but the tips in the back apply to any stream or lake you might fish.

If you are like me and need help learning to fish midges, or if you want more patterns to

 arm yourself for battle, then this is the book for you. This is the kind of meaty reference book on which I’m happy to shell out my hard earned money. I know you will like it too.

Bobbin Holder

Fly tiers come in three flavors:

Everyone else

Sorry to say, I lean toward the slob category. I would like to be neater, truly I would, but it will never happen. But I do like things that help me stay organized. A few years ago, I had a chunk of firewood from a pie cherry tree my folks had taken out. Knowing that it should have an interesting grain, I squared up the bottom and one side. Then with a band saw, I cut an arc across the top surface. A few minutes on a drill press; a little sand paper; a little danish oil; and a bobbin holder appeared. I spiffed it up with four small, felt dots on the bottom so it would slide nicely.

Now my bench is a tiny bit neater, and much prettier. I enjoy the look of natural wood. I even like the splits that showed up as the wood dried. You could use any old piece of scrap wood you have around. All tools are optional.

Keep your spools neat and at hand. Wooden bobbin holder
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Ribbing Soft Hackle Flies

As I mentioned earlier, the basic soft hackle – silk thread and a partridge feather – is just the start when it comes to soft hackled flies. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Let me share three of my favorite ribbing options.

I use Pearsall’s silk for most of my bodies. To increase the appearance of segmentation of the abdomen, a ribbing can be added. Here are three choices: tightly twisted tying silk, contrasting silk, fine gold wire.

These are just three of many choices to rib these flies. You can also rib with krystal flash, colored wire, tinsel, holographic tinsel, or any other material that strikes your fancy. The effect may be subtle, like when using the silk of the body material. Or dramatic if you choose to use a peacock herl to rib with. I suspect that many of our choices are based on our preferences, not the fish. But that is ok too.