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Dry Fly Wings......

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8 replies to this topic

#1 lostnwilderness


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Posted 19 March 2013 - 03:45 PM

So what is the big deal?  We all focus on them, fret over them and argue on - who, what, why, and where on them.  My question is, do they really matter?  I have been tying a lot of my trout flies in an inverted position trying to focus on what the trout sees as a silhouetted form.  I am trying to "thin" my flies as much as possible making the silhouette look more accurate.  So my question for some of the sages on here is why bother with wings?  From a functional standpoint (not from a historical or traditional aspect) couldn't you just make everything into a para post and hackle it?  Do you think trout really notice the difference between a hair wing, a CDC wing a burned wing etc?  Or do they simply notice the proportional differences?  I am not talking about cripples or spinners or emergers but a true adult fly on top of the water.  It would seem to me that a translucent wing upright on the water would be dang near impossible for a trout to see from below due to the fact a trout’s vision has to be distorted past the point of water to atmosphere transition line.

So if we think along this line, would it then make sense to tie all emergers (for the sake of this argument, all true dry flies meant to be slightly below the surface 1-2”ish) with some antron type material laid back similar to a cadis to represent non dried out functional wings?




Does any of this make sense to anyone else?  Anyone got any thoughts or opinions?  This is the stuff that keeps me up at night...

#2 Piker20


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Posted 19 March 2013 - 03:53 PM

The beauty of being an angler is that you will cast the most perfect imitation out to the fish, to be ignored time after time and then a guy will arrive, make a messy cast with a ridiculous bundle of fluff and fish on! Tie what makes you happy, tie what makes fish happy??
Matthew 25: 35-36 "Out of every 100 men, 10 shouldnt even be there, 80 are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior and he will bring the others back. "No man ever steps in the same river twice"   Heraclitus, 5 B.C

Based Scottish Highlands. UK

MUSTAD The wise anglers choice.

#3 McGnat


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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:22 PM

A trout first sees the indentations of the fliy's feet on the water surface and then the wings.  So yes, wings matter.

#4 MikelC



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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:47 PM

A trout first sees the indentations of the fliy's feet on the water surface and then the wings.  So yes, wings matter.

I've been tying for about 5 years now, and have always had trouble tying wings (messed up fingers from my job), so I decided early on not to tie dry flies with wings.  I have found the fish don't care.  I have had equal success with my wingless flies, and those I have bought that have wings.


#5 switch10


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Posted 19 March 2013 - 05:44 PM

I've heard that the main purpose of the wings on a dry fly is to act as an airfoil, and help keep the fly landing upright. It's hard to imagine material like wood duck flank, or hen hackle tips would make much of a difference... I always tie in wings. Mostly for me.

#6 shoebop


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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:12 PM

I have only been fly fishing for three years and tying for 2 years. However, I have been a fisherman and a bowhunter for a very long time. If my knowledge and experience in these two fields means anything, generalizations of a specieces doesn't mean as much as the age and sex of the animal you are persueing in particular. What matters little to a doe is a big deal to a buck. Everyone knows it is easier to shoot a doe or yearling than it is to shoot a mature buck. So I imagine that it is easier to catch a small fish thanit is to catch a much older and wiser mature fish. My point is, you need to make every effort possible to catch "educated" fish. If that means putting wings on will help me then I will put wings on.

#7 Crackaig


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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:13 PM

On very odd occasions they do matter. Fishing late on the R. Lune in NW England, the sun very low in the sky, trout would only take an imitation with a good wing shadow on the water. Not my experience but one related to me by Dr Malcolm Greenhalgh. Sometimes the details matter, mostly, my experience tells me, they don't.


Some years ago I went down the same road of simplifying my fly selection. It is possible to imitate all the up winged insects with just one pattern. Of course you need it in a variety of colours and sizes, but essentially it is the same pattern. I've used it to cover May flies, down to the smallest olives. If the fish really are taking adults on the surface it has rarely let me down. It is a pattern with a wing you may call a parachute post if you like. An upright post of Antron yarn. A thorax hackle clipped flat below the hook shank, hackle fibre for the tail, and a dubbed body. You can apply the same principals to nymphs emergers and spinners and really cut down on the number of flies you carry.



"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical
minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd
by the clean end"

#8 SilverCreek


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Posted 19 March 2013 - 08:52 PM

In heavily fished waters with consistent hatches, some fish will be very picky and not only do the wings matter but the shape of the wings matter. So If the question is, "Do wings ever matter", the answer is a resounding yes. If the questions is, "Do trout ever become selective to one wing shape or style over another", the answer is sometimes. 



"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy


#9 munks


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Posted 29 March 2013 - 05:36 PM

May the guy that came up with the Para Post receive a medal,can't be bothered with flimsy winged creations when the trout are going off on caddis and mayfly as it goes dark, I haven't got time to be fluffing with damaged wings, torches and retying out in the middle of the river. I can quickly release a trout , grab my dry shake out and have that same fly back in action looking for the next take. I have even experimented with a small patch of luminess material in the post to help with fishing a bit further into the dark but the better fish in particular seem to go off the boil as the light fails completely.