The founding of a new field of science – Relative Entomology

27 Mar

That is what we came up with.

I work with scientists. Biologists, chemists, researchers and analysts. We discuss lots of things over lunch or in the halls when we need a break. Today we started chatting about fly fishing entomology.

Now, I know very little about actual entomology. Latin and I have never been friends. During my university days any course named ‘Entomological Study of…’ scared me away. Now I wish I had taken it. This would probably be a much different post.

As for our conversation, some folks around the office asked how I identify the bugs in the streams what I look for when I am fishing and how I choose flies. I was honest. I told them about the aquarium net, the rock flipping, and the staring at the water which is involved in my method. The next step is looking for the closest fly in the box. Once selected and tied on this ends my methodology.

After a fair amount of ribbing from the scientists, because of my very unscientific methods and my lack of counting leg hairs or measuring tarsal lengths, we kind of arrived at a good name for my approach. Relative Entomology.

What is relative? Well the fly should be relatively the same size, shape, and colour as the insect you see in the water, or net. If you have one tie it on. If not pick the next closest thing you have. The presentation and depth is then up to you. If nothing looks right, I pick one of my attractor patterns and fish that.  The Rainbow Warrior is a great search pattern.

Now I know there are a bunch of guys that know that there are two western green drakes, a big one and a small one. And I know some people can identify lots of their local bugs right down to genus. Those people love the Latin, and can tell you which days these critters are likely to be around just by feel. It is an awesome skill. But for me if it looks close to what is in the bug net or under the rock or landing on the water, I fish it.

Simple as that.


4 Responses to “The founding of a new field of science – Relative Entomology”

  1. stevegalea6953 March 27, 2013 at 8:21 PM #

    I’m with you on this one. I’ve known a couple of guys who spend more time turning over rocks than fishing. It seems strange to me because when all is said and done this is supposed to be fun,
    I always do my best to be close and, if in doubt, tie on a wooly bugger. It works almost every time.

    • hydroflynamic March 28, 2013 at 9:05 AM #

      Yeah that Woolly Bugger must the the most hated fly by folks who try to match every hatch. I was standing in a local stream and a guy very new to the sport started fishing the upper riffle. Within minutes he had a really nice smallmouth bass and wanted to show me. It was his first fish on the fly, caught on a woolly bugger, while I was nymphing some caddis pattern. He outfished me for the rest of the day, and only had 6 wooly buggers in his box.

      • stevegalea6953 March 28, 2013 at 9:19 AM #

        When I guide, this is the fly I tie on 90 per cent of the time…Beadhead, preferably in olive or black.

  2. Anon March 28, 2013 at 9:49 AM #

    Fellow rock flipper here as well. I find that I flip rocks in streams that I have not been on before. I check what is most common and go with that. Sometimes I just like to look at bugs though.

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