Cove’s pheasant tail

mike fox

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Incidentally, wasn't Coves PTN to imitate the midge pupa as found nearby to him and not geographically world wide and not classified as a buzzer?
Mike please get a copy of Arthurs book,a great read and a constant source of wisdom for lawks knows how many years .
I just go on my experiences rather than what I read in books and if i get better results then I'll stick with it regardless of what is someones written word.
 

JCP

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Phew.....Well after all you nymphermanics have finished with the viability of the induced take ,light speed diawl bachs and deadly damsels not to mention the rise and fall of the Chironomid Kingo_O
Do still use a lot of PT N****s:eek: in various guises which have evolved from Frank Sawyer and Arthur Cove.When I look at the old Cove ''PT'' Nymph it looks like an anchor compared to what I fish with now.As Arthur said cast it out and do nothing.I could do that but could not pouch the Woodbines.I do believe it was originally to anchor the cast hence the humungous size of it but it did catch trout.Obviously resembled something down there in the depths.

JP
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Obviously resembled something down there in the depths.

JP
I think we are on many occasions nowhere near as imitative as we like to think we are. Freshly introduced stockies that have never seen a natural Chironomid buzzer in their puff will get caught by anglers hanging buzzers under a bung, and by anglers pulling buzzers through the water. They are looking for food and/or acting instinctively to moving objects. As well as our buzzers, they will be eating stones, weed, fag-ends and all sorts.

Even after they have naturalised and are better able to recognise what is food and what is a fluorescent pink blob, they will still get caught on lots of flies that are not specifically imitating a particular insect, but are generalisations in looks and movement - crunchers, Diawl Bachs, etc, figure-of-eighted faster than any real nymph moves will catch wild and resident fish, as well as stockies.

More wild loch trout have been caught on Kate McLarens than there are atoms in the universe. 😜 It's not imitating anything, and we are moving it at unnatural speed. Some folk call them 'lures'. Call it what you want, the trout is attracted to it as something that might be food. Same with the Cove pheasant tail, if you are pulling it or figure-of-eighting it through the water. More likely to be taken as a buzzer when fish are actively feeding on buzzers and it is fished in small sizes on the dead drift, methinks. A great big Cove on a carp hook as an anchor, fished static - it's going to get picked up as just something that looks like it could be food. Trout have a brain the size of a pea and they don't carry copies of Goddard's 'Trout Fly Identification' about with them. 😜

Col
 

BobP

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I think it is really rather amusing when someone says he is so good he doesn't need to read what an acknowledged expert angler has written.

We need to think about what we are actually trying to imitate with our "nymphs" most of which are suggestive rather than imitative. Most of our so-called nymphs are actually representations of larvae and/or pupae. I would suggest that the only true nymphs we are likely to encounter in stillwaters are those of the mayfly family and there are numerous imitations and generic copies around of which the classic Sawyer nymph or variations thereof take a lot of beating. Fishing those on those rare occasions that they are needed is a little different to fishing buzzers in that the nymphs are usually located in and around weedbeds which the great majority of anglers shy away from. A good tactic is to simply fish the nymph on the drop in the pockets of the weedbeds. Sling it out, let it sink and if nothing takes it, pull it out and try again. Alternatively drift a slim olive nymph just over the top of the weedbeds. The actual retrieve matters little, it is WHERE the fly is fished that is important.

The vast majority of the food sources for stillwater trout are daphnia and the chironomid family. You can't imitate individual daphnia so we can scratch that one, but the chironomids give us lots of scope.
Bloodworms, the larval form, are not fished as much as they should which is a pity because they are very effective as Arthur found when he created his Red Diddy - the rubber band fly. We now have much better materials that Arthur did so why haven't some really good bloodworm patterns been created?

The pupal form is the one that attracts the greatest attention. They are present all year in range of sizes and colours though in truth we can get away with a much reduced range. 16-10 will cover virtually all the sizes and black, olive, brown and red the colours. We have the close copy spanflex buzzers coated with varnish and sporting orange wing buds and highly effective they are, but my go-to pattern is a simple pheasant tail version that leans heavily on Cove and Sawyer. The only divergence from those is the thorax which is a seal fur mix based on the Irish Donegal Olive colour to which are added a modest amount of two other materials. These flies probably account for around 85% of my reservoir trout, and in the river version at least 40% of the fish caught by me or clients.

Then there are a range of general impressionistic patterns that can be used to great effect when buzzers are on the menu. Various diawl bachs probably top the list followed by hares ears, Shipmans of which I used to have two versions - one for fishing as a dry and one for pulling, There are also several emerger styles around too eg the Bob's Bits and sundry hoppers.

Fishing the pupal form has been covered to death by many respected anglers and the overall consensus is to fish it slow. It was written that if you are moving it at all you are fishing too fast which is possibly a little extreme given that some measure of contact has to be maintained if takes are to be detected and reacted to. Oddly enough, not too many trout will swim off several yards with an artificial in its mouth though I have experienced it twice at Blagdon years ago. Considering that that was two trout out of many hundreds caught before and since it is not a tactic worth pursuing.

Given that many observers have shown that buzzer pupae ascend to the surface in a series of swim/wriggle upwards followed by a static period during which they drift and slowly descend. So, from this we can deduce that a retrieve that incorporates a "lift" movement in it from time to time is likely to attract the attention of a fish which it does - sometimes. Many years ago I noticed when bank fishing at Farmoor using buzzers deep with an indicator that if the breeze was a bit too strong and was pulling the line and hence the flies round too quickly to attain or keep the right depth, that an upwind mend of the line would slow down the drift, but would also cause the flies to lift in the water and occasionally resulted in a take within a very few seconds. This is now a regular part of a retrieve, but doesn't produce a response more than maybe two or three times in a dozen trips totalling hundreds of casts. Not one to rely on to produce often compared to the normal drifting retrieve.

Damsel flies are usually tied far too big. The natural is only about an inch and a quarter long and yet we have "imitations" that are 2 or even 3" long, fresh from Jurassic Park. What the fish take these for is anyone's guess, but I doubt it is being mistaken for a damsel fly larva. Someone once said that you can't imitate the wriggle which I guess applies to many of the insects we find in stillwaters.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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We need to think about what we are actually trying to imitate with our "nymphs" most of which are suggestive rather than imitative. Most of our so-called nymphs are actually representations of larvae and/or pupae. I would suggest that the only true nymphs we are likely to encounter in stillwaters are those of the mayfly family
Insects with 'complete metamorphosis', such as butterflies and buzzers have a larval stage, a pupal stage and an adult stage. Damselflies and dragonflies, have 'incomplete metamorphosis', similar to mayflies, grasshoppers, etc. Therefore, their immature forms are nymphs, not larvae.

So, add damselflies and dragonflies to your list.

The vast majority of the food sources for stillwater trout are daphnia and the chironomid family.
That's a very parochial opinion, based on the waters you fish. There are many stillwaters with little of either of those food items. On some upland waters the main source of food might be what lands on the surface from above. On Loch Shiel these days, the main food source for the trout is sticklebacks (numbers have exploded thanks to waste from the smolt farm cages). Earlier in the season, the Menteith fish were probably on buzzers, but if you spoon one right now, you are most likely to find it full of mayfly shucks or Caenis. Folk certainly should learn about what are the main food sources on the waters they are fishing, and how they change with the season, but be aware they vary around the country.

Bloodworms, the larval form, are not fished as much as they should which is a pity because they are very effective as Arthur found when he created his Red Diddy - the rubber band fly. We now have much better materials that Arthur did so why haven't some really good bloodworm patterns been created?
Do they not spend the majority of their time in the silt and mud on the bottom? I know they do emerge and wriggle about, but how much of a chance do trout get at them? Who finds bloodworm in fish in significant numbers on significant occasions? If they are mostly in the mud, how do you imitate something that is buried? You can fish a bloodworm imitation like other 'nymphs' and catch lots of fish on it, but it doesn't mean the fish recognised it as a bloodworm. Squirmy wormies, anyone? ;)
 
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Cap'n Fishy

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Damsel flies are usually tied far too big.
But those flies are nothing to do with imitating damsels. They are 2 inches long for the reason they catch a lot more fish than a damsel nymph imitation. I have rarely come across trout eating damsel nymphs in numbers. Has anyone? More of an occasional find for them - and as such it's simply just something they spotted that looked like it might be food... and it turned out it was. Doesn't command a close copy imitation, except on the odd very specific occasion when they are hatching and doing the wiggle-nymph thing just under the surface, looking for a hatching post.

We should call the 2-inch things olive tadpoles or olive woolly buggers, or olive humongouses, or olive dancers, but of course if we do that it doesn't sound as self-righteous as calling them damsels, so we like to kid ourselves and we call them damsels. 😜
 

mike fox

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I think it is really rather amusing when someone says he is so good he doesn't need to read what an acknowledged expert angler has written.
Why? Who said that? Not me; to the contrary I have always said and written that I proclaim to be "an average angler". As I'm sure you will be aware that one of the key rules of being an 'expert' guide/coach is to never put oneself above ones station. And we all know one of those who does, don't we!! ;)
 

BobP

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Your post at the top of the page basically says you don't need to read anything by anyone because your experience is so much better.

And unlike the person who "liked" your post I don't have a kingsize ego.
 

steve collyer

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I don't know anyone who sinks and draws a buzzer. Do you? That's why we have buzzer imitations and nymph imitations so they are fished differently, are they not?
I sink & draw buzzers - always have done.
Sink & draw buzzer fishing to me usually means casting out, waiting a good 30 seconds, then making a slow, steady foot-long pull, then allowing the fly to sink for around 30 seconds again.

However, I do agree that midge pupae fishing & nymph fishing to me at least are very much distinct methods of fly fishing.
I tend to fish buzzers much more slowly than I fish other nymph patterns. I wouldn't use a medium-paced figure of eight retrieve, or a 6-inch twitch retrieve with pulls every second for a buzzer that I would use for many nymph patterns, such as a GRHE or damsel nymph.

If people strip back midge pupae patterns with success then good for them, but it's not really my cup of tea.
 

mike fox

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Your post at the top of the page basically says you don't need to read anything by anyone because your experience is so much better.

And unlike the person who "liked" your post I don't have a kingsize ego.
"Basically" being your misinterpretation you mean. It doesn't say that at all. What I read is for guidance only as angling has no hard and fixed written rules as every day and every venue is different to that technique and location being written about. An angler learns more from experience than anything that is read about in any literature. The only angling book I have read from cover to cover, word for word (twice actually) is Isaac Waltons' The Complete Angler. The only other general book I have fully read is Enid Blytons' Shadow The Sheepdog.
All angling authors write from their own experiences don't they?
 

mike fox

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I sink & draw buzzers - always have done.
Sink & draw buzzer fishing to me usually means casting out, waiting a good 30 seconds, then making a slow, steady foot-long pull, then allowing the fly to sink for around 30 seconds again.
Not sure if that constitutes 'sink and draw' though. To me 'sink and draw' is allowing the nymph to sink once and then drawing it to the surface and lift out then recast and repeat. Mostly done within 1 or 2 rod lengths.
 

jmac

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I’ve read all the posts on this thread and have concluded that I should have done something more useful, like tying some nymphs/buzzers or whatever youwish to call them to be fished on the drift/short twitches/12” pulls or any combination thereof. Or perhaps even have gone fishing. Which I am doing tomorrow, complete with buzzers and nymphs though I expect I’ll do best with a CDC shuttlecock.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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I’ve read all the posts on this thread and have concluded that I should have done something more useful, like tying some nymphs/buzzers or whatever youwish to call them to be fished on the drift/short twitches/12” pulls or any combination thereof. Or perhaps even have gone fishing. Which I am doing tomorrow, complete with buzzers and nymphs though I expect I’ll do best with a CDC shuttlecock.
 

taffy1

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Some do & some don't. I've caught my fair share on a Cove PTN, the one & only that I think is the best looking fly created is the Silver Invicta. I have yet to seduce anything utilising this... the Invicta & Pearly version have been very successful.
 

sabalos

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I too never caught much on Arthurs Pheasant Tail, the Heron and Condor herl versions are deadly for me. They were based on some massive "Buzzers" found at Grafham Water. Big mud beds on freshly flooded land.
The large one on the point was to get down without using bulky snag seeking lead and still enable a decent drift fishing three levels. Not to say they were always fished dead drift. "Give it to em as they want it"!
Was a favourite saying.
De greasing and smearing mud on the tip of the fly line to help slow the drift down and stay deep.
With plenty of upsream mends..
Always and never do not belong in discussions about Angling. Stripping buzzers fast is one of the deadlist methods in a flat calm. We all know the pupa are not jet propelled, it works beacause you are presenting the fly where the fish are looking. (amongst other reasons)
Too many pedantic experts in this world, no wonder there are so many keyboard warriors.
It is only fishing and disagreeing is great for learning. But being rude never solved anything.
Wish you all good fishing.
 

clag

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Always and never do not belong in discussions about Angling.
I enjoyed this post but, with respect, this statement is not quite correct. Allow me to illustrate why with the three absolute rules in salmon fishing.

1. You will always blank if there are no fresh salmon at all in the river to catch. Many salmon rivers in the UK have seasons that are historic and bear no relation to when salmon now run. Technically they are open, and often they actually charge, but there will be litterally be no fish there in the opening months - and kelts don't count. Of course, I appreciate this is not typically a problem a Trout fisher needs to grapple with.

2. You will never catch a salmon unless your flee is in the water. Most, but not all, successful salmon anglers I know fish like they are powered by Duracell. I won't go in to it now, but the absolute truth of the statement covers a rather more nuanced and related point.

3. You never stop learning or stop being presented with opportunities to learn. Look, for example, at the almost complete takeover of shooting heads/Skagits from full sinking lines over the last decade. New casts needed to be learned, new ways of managing running line and new and different ways in how to fish them. More importantly, nature is not static. Every beat I have fished over decades has changed in that time and so have where the salmon take in different heights. What was good information 30, 20 or even 10 years ago is often redundant now. Usually these are subtle changes over time, but, as Storm Frank illustrated, many rivers can be completley reshapped in days.

Regards

CLaG
 

Rob Edmunds

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Arthur used small "Cove" nymphs to really big ones as I remember as we fished with him a lot back then either at Ringstead, Grafham, Eyebrook or occasionally Elinor ( when Popperwell used to run it and there were more course fish than trout)

It was sizes 4's to 14's, just at different times of the year, and in different conditions.

And sometimes the big versions were moved quite fast, with slow pulls, almost like fishing a " baby doll"...if you remember them😁

The best version as I remember it was the Heron Herl version with copper wire rib ....it went darker when wet and was deadly in size 10 and 12 fished static or with a slow figure of 8......"traditional nymphing" retrieved just as you would now use crunchers, diawls, muskins etc....

The pheasant tail version never did it for me.....Always the Heron Herl
 
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