Bwo - best pattern?

Spider

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I'm probably not the only one who struggles with the bwo hatch. The bigger the hatch, the worse the results can be, especially if it is masked with a caddis hatch. Last year I used a cdc buzz fly (detailed elsewhere) and it worked well on one evening, but I only had two of those flies tied!

Apart from that, I use a Plume Tip, but it's not that good, that I can see, for BWO, despite all the noise from Jeremy Lucas, Sunray etc.

Can anyone recommend a good bwo pattern in a size 18, particularly an emerger pattern? What hook would work best?
 

alibongo

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Look no further than a pheasant tail emerger, natural cdc with a pheasant tail body, if that doesn't work then try with a hares ear body if they are taking duns then use a olive or stripped quill body, if you need to do something different try a IOBO.

Ali
 

Spider

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Ali I tried stripped quill too, didn't seem to do anything dramatic. I might try Paul's Davie Mc phail number. Thread body, cdc wing, spikey thorax. Although it's broadly similar to other patterns.

I have a feeling that the wing has to be around 45 degrees to the body, like the natural? That one above by Goran Grubic looks nice
 

BobP

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Back in 1976, which for those too young to remember, was a very severe drought year. I was managing 6 miles of the River Wylye, a very nice little chalkstream. Due to the very low flows, crystal clear water and total absence of weed cover in the river, there also appeared to be a complete absence of trout - certainly during the daytime.

The picture changed come the evening. There would be a BWO hatch you could set your watch by, but mugs the trout were not. Two of us used to fish three or four evenings a week from about 8pm into the dark. The first thing we noted was that the fish were not prepared to move for a fly. Absolute accuracy was a requirement and no more than 3" to one side or the other. More than that and the fly was ignored.

We puzzled and discussed why this was and came to two conclusions. The first was that because the water was so warm - we had 90 degree temperatures every day for a month - the water was low in dissolved oxygen and the trout were not prepared to expend energy in moving more than they had to for a fly. The second was similar in that due to the high water temperatures and low DO the fish were riding very high in the water and therefore their vision was limited.

Whatever it was we found that precise casting to a marked fish usually brought the right result. The fly we found to be the most effective was a simple parachute hackled pheasant tail. No klink-type wing post, just a flat hackle and a size 16 hook. We caught an awful lot of fish on that fly until the August Bank Holiday when the heavens opened and we had about a month's worth of rain overnight.

So, a parachute pheasant tail and accurate casting worked then, and I daresay would work again.
 

alibongo

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I would persist with the patterns I mentioned but either go smaller or go sparser with them, I don't think there's a magic pattern that will crack it. One scenario that can be difficult is when fish are taking emergers but 2/3inches below the surface and won't look at anything above, in this instance try a harelug pattern with no wing, fished under the surface with your leader greased to maintain the correct depth, tricky one that.

Ali
 

PaulD

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The BWO has a 'tradition' of often being a difficult hatch to deal with successfully. . . but I don't think it's a reflection of or a problem with pattern. Yes, the females emerging tend to change their colour as the season progresses - from a bright green olive to a rustier, brown olive but I think the main problems stem from the often large scale of BWO hatches and preoccupation of the fish,

The danger is, with a huge hatch and fish continually rising, we can become a touch 'excited' and with persistently rising fish we can forget that, with a preoccupied fish, the timing of the cast must coincide with the interval that it's rising.
 

Spider

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Ali, good thinking there. I still fish Spiders, with a few strands greased, tied on a dry fly hook, and it works. I haven't tried it on bwo as its a technique I only use in the day, as it can be hard to see the fly in the evening as its flush in the water.

It's not a common tactic but one I wud definitely recommend to people. Must try it on BWO hatches.
 

Spider

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Paul, tks for that. So often I (we) cast after a rise ( in my case in frustration during a bwo or sedge hatch) and get the timing wrong, and that may be more NB than a precise imitation during a time when they are preoccupied.
 

diawl bach

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We get great BWO hatches on the Taff which continue well into darkness, you end up guessing where the fly is. You see the mating swarms from yesterday's hatch as you park up which always gives a boost, another one's on the cards .
You're right size wise, an 18 matches the hatch and as long as it's the right size, drag free and sombre in colour I don't think the pattern is that important, midge hackle and a thread body. I like Kamasan B402s for BWO dries they're just right.
 

BobP

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If anyone wants sheer frustration in a BWO hatch try Austrian grayling. I have "retired hurt" to the pub on more than one occasion due to those b*ggers.

The BWO's will hatch there in the afternoon if it is a bit cloudy, and a cool drizzly afternoon in September will just about guarantee a hatch. It starts off slowly. A few flies appear and one or two grayling start rising. "Right", thinks I, "size 16 olive klink will sort these out" & two fish rapidly prove the point. Then more flies appear and more fish are rising, but the olive Klink interests nothing. Size 16 parachute Adams produces another couple of fish, then nothing. More flies are now coming off and more & more grayling are taking note. Little voice in the head says "Try something with a bit of bling" so on goes a Terry's Terror. Two more grayling find this acceptable then nothing else. The hatch is in full swing and BWO's are pouring off the river like a snow storm going upwards. There are ,more than 50 grayling rising within an easy cast and I haven't moved in the river for well over an hour. A size 18 hares ear emerger pattern finds favour with one more fish but is ignored by about twenty and then a last change to a size 16 Comparadun pulls two more. By now I've been flogging my A*se over these damn fish for more than two hours and I've had enough. I go back to the hotel and sulk over two or three large beers.
 

BobP

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If you have a copy of Charles Ritz's book "A Fly Fishers Life" you will see he had similar experiences too.

The only time I really got the better of them was when I happened to spot how they were rising. What to was pretty damned obvious. They were coming up through 4-5' of fast water and by the time they got to the natural they were facing downstream. They took the fly and continued their oval path back down to the bottom. I watched this going on for several minutes.

The method was easy. I went upstream slightly above all the activity, marked down one particular fish and cast to it from above. I cast a slack line and when the fly had landed some way above the fish I just corrected the line it would take so that it drifted straight over it. Up it came and scoffed the fly and because it was now facing away from me the strike could be instant. 100% success over the next hour.

That was in Ritz's book as well and explains why so many European anglers fish dries downstream for grayling.

The fly I used was a size 16 Griffiths Gnat - nothing like a BWO which shows it was not so much what fly as how it was presented.
 

Gary Ridgeway

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Got to agree with Paul D and others here, it's a numbers game. Hundreds of naturals on the water so don't be off put with your fly being ignored. Regarding the comment on something differnt try a pearly butt or hot spot on your staple fly or even a size up or down. Whilst I have confidence flies I do have a WTF section!
 

ejw

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Try this one ? Works well in sizes 10 to 24's, colour and size to suit, local river normally size 18, but have used size 10's for Mayfly with great success.
 

LDO

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I think the problem with hatching bwo's is that they are very wriggly little blighters and therefore very difficult to imitate.
 

Spider

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You're more of an LDO man yourself :)
Its a good point and some good stuff coming off this thread, not just patterns

- wiggly fellas are hard to replicate
-timing of the rise more crucial than normal
-pinpoint accuracy needed too.
 

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