The Mess…

The Mess,a Gary LaFontaine pattern,is probably the ugliest fly in my box. It is the kind of fly that makes a fly fisherman ashamed when tied to the tippet. The fly really is a mess,an impressionistic mayfly pattern. It is created to mimic a nymph trapped in the surface film. I have given it very few chances over the years,but I plan to give it a new and fair chance this season. Aesthetics are no issue on this one…

Tail

1. Tie in the tail,use just a few fibers. Then cut a small strip of large cell foam and tie it down.

Back

2. Dub the body in any color to suit the natural. Then tie down the foam strip. Make sure you leave enough room for the head and the hackle.

Head

3. Form the head using the same dubbing as the body.

Wing

4. Tie in a few fibers of mallard to give the impression of a wing.

The Mess

5. Next,choose a oversized hackle and make about three turns. Secure the thread and cut…The Mess is ready to go!

The Original Skin…

Shedding May
When mayflies,and other aquatic insects, hatch they shed their nymph/pupa skin in the process.They also have small airbubbles surrounding them when trying to break the surface film. This can often be a very important trigger to the fish. I think the key is to just give the fish a small hint of this element. The whole point is not to make it to firm and compact. I see a lot of flies tied to please the human eye,and not the eyes of the fish. The old skin is translucent and often it still carries small silvery air bubbles in or around it. Personally I think the best method is the one deviced by G. LaFontaine on his Halo Mayfly Emerger. To create this illusion he simply winds a few strands of antron down the hook shank. Be sure to wind them loosly,and never use to much. This has worked well for me in various hatching situations. The second method that I use is just a small amount of cdc hanging behind the actual pattern.

Shedding Antron
LaFontaine´s method using antron yarn.

Shedding cdc
Alternative method using a few fibres of cdc.

Emergent Sparkle Pupa…

20120422-163117.jpg
It’s kind of strange to think about,but this fly has been a staple in my box for over 20 years now. It is a fantastic pattern. The reason for it’s incredible ability to fool trout is the special “touch-dub” method. Use a very sticky dubbing wax and make a blend of antron and fur/synthetics.When using this dubbing technique combined with real antron yarn the fly traps hundreds of shiny air bubbles. This feature is what attracts the fish and makes it go for the fly. During caddis hatches this fly can really work wonders. It must be Gary La Fontaine’s most succesfull pattern.
This is the color combination that works best for me, but I also use brown,rusty and yellowish colors. If this is not in your box already,then make sure it’s there before the season begins…Remember,it´s very important to tie it sparse and airy!

Halo Mayfly Emerger…

20120420-160536.jpg

I had the book signed by Gary when I met him in Norway back in 1991.

20120420-160542.jpg

The Halo Mayfly Emerger is an odd looking creature, but it works! Again it´s the “halo” that is the most eyecatching feature of the fly. Probably the most important feature is the butt made from clear antron fibers. The halo must be made from clear polyurethane foam, not closed cell foam. The clear foam gives of an aura of light above the thorax. La Fontaine says that this state lasts only 10-20 seconds in the life cycle of the mayfly. The spike/wing stub is made from fluorescent orange deer hair and may also be a good trigger. Some of his tests showed that the fish almost never rejected this fly when presented right.  I have had success mostly on rivers and streams with this pattern. I have yet to test it seriously on norwegian lakes. This pattern can of course be tied in any color to match the natural.

The Halo Midge Emerger…

20120416-213813.jpg

20120416-213818.jpg

The Halo Midge Emerger (Original)

Gary La Fontaine was a great fly fisherman. I have read most of his books over and over again. Some of his theories may come across as a bit weird and sometimes to detailed. With the exception of the emergent sparkle pupa and a couple of others I have never really fished his flies a lot. On the other hand, his theories and ideas are with me when tying or fishing. His fly designs are not beautiful flies, they often look strange and awkward. They are effective fishing flies. They are based on what fish see from under the water and what makes it go for the fly. Some of the chapters in his brilliant book “The Dry Fly” certainly give food for thought on a lot of subjects concerning the way we think of imitations.

One of the imitations that interested me from the start were The Halo Midge Emerger. It doesn’t quite look like a midge pupa, but Fontaine states that it is enough for the pattern to simply rest partly in and partly under the water.  Further he says: “The shape of an emerging midge pupa is critical to proper imitation, but it is not the triggering characteristic. The most important aspect of the natural is the quicksilver brightness of the air within the transparent outer sheath. If an air bubble is visible in the emerging insect, it overwhelms every other feature”

EZ2c Caddis…

This is a Gary La Fontaine pattern. The wing is made from half deer hair and front wing is yellow or orange calf tail. I find it to be a good caddis pattern, especially when fishing in the afternoon. It is also a good attractor. It is a lighter version of his Double Wing fly. Also the classic blend of grizzly and brown hackle never go wrong in any caddis fly…