The Ramblings of a Fly Fisherman

Un-Matching the Hatch

I have been fly fishing now for about 5 years and one of the first things that I was taught had to do with the importance of “Matching the Hatch”. As we have all certainly experienced, there are magical times during the year when we find ourselves on the river at just the right moment. The temperature is perfect, the wind is calm, and the mood is just right… and then it happens. All of the sudden, we are in the middle of a massive emergence. We frantically rifle through our fly box for that perfect fly that the trout will certainly find irresistible. We toss pattern after pattern watching in desperation as the trout rise at what seems to be anything but the fly that we are presenting. “What’s going on”, you start thinking. Is it the fly? Is it the presentation? Is it me?

Despite the effort, you end up short. The emergence begins to thin and the surface of the river falls silent once again. You then compare your pattern to a few bugs that you have managed to catch during what was certainly a poor example of adult behavior as you uncontrollably swatted at the air still unlucky and without a trout on the end of your line. What could you have done differently?

These are the moments to throw out everything you have learned. Ignore all of the recommendations that you have been given and do the unthinkable, “Un-Match the Hatch”. Believe it or not, this technique can be quite effective, especially during those periods in which there is a load of surface activity and such a large volume of natural foods that even a great imitation still lacks the needed detail to be mistaken for the real thing. These are the times to try patterns such as ants, hoppers, stimulators, etc… Presenting something that is a polar opposite to what the trout might be expecting may be just the trick to grasp their attention, especially during what can seem to be similar to a wild feeding frenzy. Give it a try; you just might surprise yourself as to what will be effective.


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