Confidence flies are a part of every fly angler's arsenal. What is it that gives us confidence in a given pattern? Consistent success is usually the answer. Each angler has a unique set of "go to" bugs that on their water routinely take fish. As I've traveled around the world chasing fish I've found that many different flies will take fish in the same waterway on the same day. For example, as Team USA prepares for a competition in a foreign country we set out for a day of practice (fish the water, seine for nymphs, pump the occasional fish etc€¦) and at the end of the day converse about the productive patterns. Generally we all catch fish on drastically different patterns yet yield similar results. With that in mind I pose this question: Does the fly pattern (color, size, and silhouette) really make much difference? It certainly can, but more often than not I'd argue that confidence in the pattern is the overriding factor.
I often get caught up in "match the hatch" imitations which do work, but many times are out performed by attractor patterns or fluorescent conglomerations nowhere near anything naturally found in the water. The exception is when there is a major hatch taking place causing the fish to see millions of the same insect. In non-hatch situations many standard "buggy" patterns take fish with regularity. Flies like a Prince Nymph, Copper John and Hares Ear can imitate a wide variety of aquatic insects or could just look enough like food to be accepted by a fish. My flies have been trending toward the attractor type patterns lately rather than exact imitations and I'm catching more fish than ever before. In the next few blog posts I'd like to share some of my confidence patterns starting with the Iron Lotus.
The Lotus is a general mayfly imitator with a slight red hotspot. You'll see there is a trend toward hotspots in many of my nymphs. Below is a recipe, tie a few and give them a whirl. I'm confident you'll find success with the Iron Lotus!
Hook: TMC 3769 #12-18
Bead: Gold Tungsten
Weighted underbody: Lead wire
Thread: Olive UTC 70 or 140 (depending on hook size)
Tail: Coq de leon medium pardo
Body: Olive UTC thread
Ribbing: White Uni thread 6/0
Thorax: Arizona synthetic peacock dubbing
Wingcase: Black flashback tinsel
Finish thread: (hotspot behind bead) Red UTC 70 thread (I finish the thorax and wingcase with red thread, then whip finish with the red thread to create the micro hotspot just behind the bead).
Note: The body and ribbing (not the thorax) of the Iron Lotus are lacquered using Gudebrod rod finish to create a durable, dense body. Add the bead, weight, tail, olive thread body and white ribbing then lacquer the abdomen. Once dry, finish the wingcase and thorax.