Swedish version


When the leafs are falling
the grayling get's mad

by Hans van Klinken

Text & Photos by Hans and Ina van Klinken ©

  During all the years I fished the English, German and Danish rivers in the autumn, I have been particular successful with very small green insect imitations. The patterns I have created several years ago, are designed to imitate insects known as Aphids (also possible to write Aphis). These are the same tyny insects that plague gardeners: the rose grower's deadly enemy.

  Aphid patterns: Highly effective, but for some reason largely ignored and deeply underrated by many fly fishers. I just wonder why and and I can not understand this at all. Just a very few Aphid patterns are to be found in the literature. Aphis are very small insects that lives on plants. In the fly fishing world the Aphid is also known as little greenfly.

  On occasions when these tiny terrestrials are blown onto the water, the grayling seem to feed on them exclusively. Why this should be so seems simple to me: they must taste very very good. It is the same with people. Give the choise between a dripping sausage and a first class juicy steak and most people would choose the steak. I would! Whatever the actual reason, grayling sometimes go mad for aphids.

  The insects occur throughout the Summer, but for me personally they are of greatest importance to fishing in the autumn, when the leaves are falling. I have seen grayling actually picking aphids off leaves blow onto the water by a strong autumn wind. If these are the same insects as the aphids of summer, I am not sure.

  In Germany and Denmark I have always had very good catches on one of my aphids patterns, but I never seen so many fish rising to this little green insect as on my visits to the rivers in Yorkshire. Even for two years when the water was heavily coloured I caught some very good fish on aphids imitations. I think every good fly fisherman should be prepared for all seasons and hatches of fly. After my experience over the last few years I would recommend that a few aphids imitations should be kept in the flybox between your favourites and general patterns.

  I'm sure that aphids are eaten by grayling and trout in unbelievable numbers. Whenever you see rise after rise from steadily feeding fish taking some unseen tiny insect, there is a strong possibility that they might be taking aphids. And, if at such times you discover natural aphids on the bank side vegetation, a small green imitation can be very well worth trying.

  Fishing aphids imitations is not that easy, but I will give you a few suggestions that might help you to catch fish. A system rate AFTMA 3-4 is ideal and I personally use a lovely little T&T rod with a great parabolic action, such as the Light presentation series. If it is not to windy, I prefer a small cane rod but this has been almost impossible with the heavy autumn storms I experienced on my trips over the last few years.

  The reason for the light tackle is that you need to fish these tiny flies on very fine leader tips. (0.10 or 0.12mm) This is of vital importance since small flies won't fish natural on thick nylon. They have to float naturally or fish just in the surface film. Try and fish upstream as much as possible, casting right under under the leaves and trees overhanging the water. The fish will be feeding right at the surface and downstream fishing will often scare them.

  Fishing these small flies is very exciting, but can be terrible frustrating too. You will miss an awful lot of fish for every one you land. Striking is very difficult and you have to get the right timing. Never strike by rod! You will brake your leader and lost the fish. Most people new to this game will probably strike to quickly and also too hard. Remember that you are using very tiny flies. I have found that striking with the rod results in too many breakages. Instead, just set the hook with a calm pull on the line with your retreiving hand, gently drawing the hook point into the fish mouth. Keep calm and cool.

  As I said before, it can be really frustrating fishing with small flies. It is a real problem getting a good enough hook hold so that you can play and land the fish properly. When you keep this in mind, every fish you catch is a real victory. Many years ago, I only wanted to hook and land as many fish as I could get. I just want to proved myself, my fishing techniques and the patterns I made. Nowadays, I get a better thrill from catching difficult fish or those I really want. I find the most satisfying of all is to catch a particular fish that I have selected from a group.

  So let's look to my patterns. Because the insects often drift on the water in pairs of little clusters stuck together, I tie my aphid imitations in two sizes. The larger, tied on a size 18 or 20 suggest more than one insect. The smaller representing a single aphid, I dress on microscopic Vincent Marinaro Midge hooks, size 24 or smaller. (Partridge code K1A) To work easier on the tiny hook I use Danvilles Spiderweb. The following dressings can be used to tie both patterns; the large and small version.

Text & Photos by Hans and Ina van Klinken

  Aphis no 1

Hook : Size 18 and Partridge K1A size 24
Thread: Danville's spider web
Body : Three herls of a white turkey feather dyed fluorescent green or fluorecent dubbing
Wing : White antron-yarn, organza fibres or white cul de canard (last highly recommended)
Hackle: Light ginger or light green

  Aphis no 2

Hook : Size 18 and Partridge K1A size 24
Thread: Danville's spider web
Body : Three herls of a white turkey feather dyed green or green fluorecent dubbing
Wings : P.C. variant wing (substitute), white with bluish- green tint
Hackle: Light ginger or light green

  Aphis no 3

Hook : same
Thread: same
Body : Three herls of white turkey dyed green or dubbing tied to halfway up shank
Wings : Organza fibres tied in delta form
Thorax: Green fluorecent extra fine dubbing
Hackle: Light ginger or light green

  Aphis no 4

Hook : Same
Thread: Same
Body : Same
Wing : Any fine white syntethic sheet cut into a sedge wing
Hackle: Same

Text & Photos by Hans and Ina van Klinken ©


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