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THAT FLY PUSHES A LOT OF WATER, BUT DOES IT CATCH A LOT OF FISH?
Like most human endeavors, fly fishing is subject to fads. One of the latest fads in the sport is flies designed to push water. Largely fueled by the increased popularity of musky fishing with the fly rod, fly tyers are pushing the boundaries like never before. Streamer patterns commonly resembling something Tina Turner might have worn in Mad Max are the norm and nothing is off limits. It’s the Wild West.
The mantra of most folks tying these flies is “push more water.” The idea behind pushing water is simple. A large fly with a blunt head displaces a lot of water when stripped. Fish “hear” this water displacement through their lateral line and it helps them key in on the fly. Nothing wrong with that logic. It’s all true.
When fishing for species like musky or redfish which rely on sound more than sight to hunt, it’s a truly important principal and flies that push water produce. But it’s not always the most important element of a fly’s design. In fact, when this idea that a fly must push water makes it’s way into trout fishing it often causes more problems than it solves.
Trout are predominantly visual feeders. They live in clear water where their excellent vision is their greatest asset. This is not to say that they pay no attention to what they hear or smell but they do not aggressively eat midges because they push water…
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