I promised someone that the ant picture would be posted with a little “Match the crawl” reference. It is rare that my fishing offers even a sliver of insight or brilliance into the fly-fishing circles that I travel. These are exceptionally acclaimed anglers with countless trout and endless miles of premier trout waters under their belt. It has been a struggle at best to convince a few…well most…ok pretty much all of them that I had stumbled across this ant pattern and actually caught fish with it.
They look quite similar when you match them up and one of the key elements to tying on a fly that represents that “special of the day” item on the trout’s menu. The window of selection in regards to what a fish will hit and what it will not may be very small so you want to be as close as possible to size, shape and colors. I have seen fly anglers stop casting to tie up a brand new fly to match the exact presentation they want. I marvel at this ability and wish that I had the patience and skill to stop casting and whittle me a wood-minnow presentation with full paint and epoxy treatment that would slap the fish silly.
What made the ant pattern so amazing on this day is that it was the one fly pattern that hadn’t been hammered on these fish time and time again. For me the trick is throwing something on the menu that the other fly anglers are not throwing. In many cases it is my only chance when the water gets crowded with experienced fly pressure.
And it is not only experienced fly anglers that I have to contend with out there. Sometimes even the fish will point out the errors in my fly game and it’s embarrassing quite frankly.
“You’re not getting low enough in the fast current.”
“Are you sure you have a low enough weight tippet?”
“Everyone else is using nymph patterns in #20 or lower. #12 wooly bugger is just obnoxious on this stretch.”
Other fish are far more courteous and say nothing. Perhaps they even tease me from time to time by rising to the presentation and then slowly sinking back to the bottom with that familiar disgusted look on their face. Sometime after, another angler approaches the small stretch of water I am fishing. Some poor dumb fish takes pity on me and hits the ant pattern impaling itself on the hook so all I have to do is lift the rod and put the small trout in my hand. Quick release of the fish and some light conversation ensues.
“…ant pattern you say?” Mr. Orvis Reddenbrocker says with a nod and then moving upstream.
The angler passes as I pull some debris from the fly and readjust my setup. Then I turn to the water and say.
“Thanks for making me look good there guys.”
“Shucks, it wasn’t nothing.” One of the trout says popping its head up out of the stream. “Hopefully he switches to that @#$% wooly bugger.”
“It’s not a wooly bugger!” I scream in defense. “It’s an ant!…smart@## fish.”
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.