What makes a generic fly so frigin’ good?
If you could only have one fly to use for the entire season which one would you choose, certainly one that has worked for you more often than not. Your go to fly.
Conduct a survey and many would pick the Woolly Bugger, others a Muddler Minnow, or perhaps a pheasant a tail nymph. What is it about these flies that fish find so appealing?
The answer is simple, “Just let the fish use their imagination.” A Wooly Bugger will catch fish from just below the surface all the way to the bottom. To begin a Woolly Bugger with or without a bead is a great leech pattern when tied in black or olive. Tied in white with a bit of pearl krystal flash it can easily imitate a smelt. Fish a small olive bugger along the bottom of a trout pond early in the season and fish could easily see it as a dragon or damsel fly nymph. Add a bit of weight and bounce it along the bottom of moving water so fish see it as a stone fly nymph or even a sculpin. Assemble a box of buggers in a variety of colors, sizes and weights and you’ll have flies that imitate some sort of fish food from spring until fall.
A Muddler Minnow would be our choice but its name is a little deceiving. Yes it does look like a small minnow when fished as a wet fly. Twitch it on the surface and a muddler can imitate a hopper or add some weight and when pulled along the bottom fish mistake it for a skulpin. A small standard muddler fished in the surface film on a small trout pond could easily appear to be a struggling hex nymph. Tie on a cone head muddler wherever there are bass, hop it around and smallmouth believe it’s their all time favorite crayfish meal.
Assemble a collection of pheasant tail nymphs in a varied of sizes, colors and different weights and you‘ll imitate a variety of naturals depending on the season. Fish see smaller sizes as one of many species of mayflies. A pheasant tail or not met be a caddis but tied in the right colors fish think they are. And in larger sizes they can fool a fish into believing they are lovely little stoneflies.
There are lots of flies that imitate one bug only and will easily fool fish for a short span of time. But if you let fish use their imagination a good generic fly tied in variety of natural colors will fool lots of fish throughout the entire season.