Tuesday, June 16, 2015

M.H. Light Hendrickson Flymph

Light Hendrickson tied by Mark Hagopian ~ Mark Hagopian photo 
“Magic is supernatural, like talking trout. Do not confuse magic and art. Art escapes from the natural; magic interprets nature, venturing to explain what science cannot see.”    ~Datus Proper 
What the Trout Said’

Wetfly master Pete Hidy coined the term ‘flymph’, needing a word to describe a fly meant to simulate an insect in the process of transitioning from mature nymph to winged adult. Regarding the term, Ernest Shwiebert wrote: “…a creative bit of whimsy never quite accepted.” And that may be true, though I suspect it is the term’s awkward phonetics responsible for the lukewarm acceptance. However, the natural process & approach to meeting it that inspired Pete’s creative wordsmithing is still as important as ever. Nowadays most of us are familiar with the term ‘emerger’ used in describing a fly pattern fished to simulate an insect’s transition to adult, yet, in Pete Hidy’s day, that term had not yet entered the popular lexicon. Also, in the decades prior to the latter half of the 20th century, there were few writer/bait-makers on this side of the Atlantic tying imitations that were, specifically, emergers (really, we can only look back through the perspective of writers, as non-writer fly designers operate, mostly, in secrecy). But, accept his term or not, Pete Hidy was a gifted angler & was onto something that no serious trouter should overlook.

Of course, the benefits of tying wetflies meant to fish for specific insects in the emergent stage is not new, & was not new in Leisenring & Hidy’s time. G.E.M. Skues & other British writers had covered this, describing many patterns designed & fished as emergers, which were well-known in the British Isles, some tied as wingless spiders (‘spider’: a term, I would argue, at least as ambiguous as ‘flymph’) & some winged.

And there were well-known contemporaries of Pete Hidy who were also clued to the emerging nymph’s effectiveness. Polly Rosborough & Al Troth & their nymph patterns tied with half-wings of marabou or ostrich herl tips meant to simulate the unfurling wings of hatching mayflies come immediately to mind – very effective patterns that were a fair departure from earlier winged wetflies; & I think these patterns set the stage for the spectrum of emerger patterns being presented now.

New England compatriot, Mark Hagopian, generously offers us this version of a Hendrickson emerger/stillborn. Mark takes what is useful from tradition, while working from his own observations & creative instinct. His approach is informed, not dogmatic. I like the way he marries natural & synthetic materials while remaining true to the effective principles of the soft-hackle approach. Mark’s Light Hendrickson is foxy indeed. Makes me wish there were Hendricksons in my neighborhood, though his suggestion for a March Brown version is definitely on the ‘Must Try’ list.

M.H. Light Hendrickson Flymph

Hook: Hanak 550 BL

Thread: Pearsall’s silk in salmon or UNI non-stretch floss in pink or tan

Tail: bronze mallard flank

Rib: tan Benecchi 12/0

Body: dubbed red fox – guard hairs & gray underfur removed – as an option, mix in a bit of Spirit River UV2 Dubbing Enhancer (Mark suggests light or rusty brown rabbit with Benecchi tobacco rib to create a March Brown variant of this pattern) 

Wing: pinch of tan rabbit fur topped with a pinch of clear Zelon, available from Blue Ribbon Flies

Hackle: honey-dun hen ~ & finish.           

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