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Coin

Legs on a fly

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 Can anyone tell me does a fly need to have 8 legs or is that something to just make it look nicer to the person doing the tying? When you fish a fly with only 4 do you catch less fish? I know these are some dumb questions but does it make a difference?

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Spiders have 8 legs, insects have 6. I doubt if fish count the legs. BTW, I don't tie with any kind of wing, either.

My father always said the only dumb question is the one not asked. We learn by asking. If I have a question, I ask my wife.😁

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No.  Yes, and also for the person doing the buying.  No. 

As far as my tying goes, I'm almost never concerned with matching the correct # of legs to the natural.  The benefit of putting legs on my flies is the movement they give to the fly.  Taking stoneflies, for example.  I used to tie in three legs on each side (biots, rubber legs, what have you), but have switched to just wrapping the thorax with hackle and covering the top with whatever I happen to be using for the wing cases.  Sometimes, I even leave off the wing cases.  I have noticed no difference in my catch catch rate, and its a lot easier to tie.   

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Have you ever seen a spider (fly-style NOT the arachnid!) - AKA a soft hackle.  Ever the sparsest tied spider has MANY more than 6/8 legs.  FISH CAN'T COUNT!  If they could I wouldn't catch anything!😁

The number of legs on tyed fly is only meant as a representation of legs on a real insect.  Try to keep the proportions correct and don't focus on the numbers.

Kim

 

 

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I always say the flies we tie look NOTHING, and I mean absolutely NOTHING, like the real thing.  I tie flies with legs, without legs, short legs, long legs, light legs and some with numerous legs. it all depends on how I feel.  Whatever comes off my vise gets fished without regard to what us fly tiers may think of it’s consistency, proportions, historical accuracy or its strict adherence  to traditional materials. Fish, trout included, especially trout, can’t count and don’t care so tie however and whatever makes you happy. Now if your carp fishing, carp can count so get the the leg count right. 

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All these patterns will catch plenty of fish:  and while these and many more are tied without legs, there are some patterns that MUST have legs like A Pat's Rubber Leg,. Or a Brooks Stonefly Nymph.  In general very small nymphs can be effective without legs.  Large nymph will work better with legs. Fish can't count at least not yet.  On a dry fly, you wrap hackle which may appear as legs to the fish, but the real purpose of the hackle is to float the fly on or in the surface with the spread of hackle.  There is only one surefire way to know, and that is to put your flies past the fish in a natural way, and see if they like them.  

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What you need is the suggestion of life and proportion. 

Two winds of hackle would dwarf a size 20 fly but look perfect on a #8

 

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Some flies need them some flies dont

use the natural as the model for the fly you’re tying

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 The answers you gave me is kind of what I was thinking but I have been wrong many times before. Thanks for your answers and skeet3t my wife doesn't think we need the internet.

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You wouldn't believe what my best fishing late season black stone fly pattern is if I told you. But it has palmered dark grizzly hen hackle, it's ribbed with wire has a shortish marabou tail and a bead head on it. Sometimes I lose the the idea of the wing cases and I almost think it fishes better. Honestly it's not much different from a woolly bugger . The body wrap is peacock herl or black marabou. It's not about building models of insects,those usually fail but lots of moving materials that entice fish. The soft hen is a key element and when mine runs out I'll be hard pressed to find another with more to the dark bars than white. I bought it for 5 bucks in a grab box in a fly shop, maybe 20 years ago, sold as rejects but it's perfect for this need. Fish dive on this thing when it hits the water sometimes. My wife and avid fishing partner now passed on, one time banged a 24" land locked salmon before the fly sunk, literally, just off the side of the boat too.We had anchored in a run with a hole to the rear of the boat, she toss her line over the side figuring to let it drift back, when the fly hit the water this fish jumped it and ran down river. The advantage of the boat won, pulled anchor and just backed down through the hole to where the fish settled down with less line pressure in calmer water on it and she successfully boated that fish.

I tie the same thing but in full fledged woolly buggers too, she loved them always dredging them deep with sinking line. She was quite the fisher lady from a boat, not so great on foot but from a boat always getting the big one it seemed. She had me tie those two patterns for her as stocking stuffers at Christmas lol !  Those and a certain little Muddler I tied for her that she clobbered brook trout with from a canoe. She kept right up with me with her little 7ft RP 4 wt.

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Coin, the internet is a gold mine of information. My cell phone can pull up the state regulations for hunting and fishing if I have a doubt or question. I'm also a writer and photographer. The internet keeps me from going to the public library or the three college libraries for information. I have also scored some books that are valuable resources for me. Just finished plowing through 709 pages of American Caesar by William Manchester; detailed biography of Douglas MacArthur. Extensive bibliography. I highly recommend it.

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