Mike Ladle


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Tackle and Tactics.

THINK LIKE A FISH Part 47 It's black and white!

I think I mentioned that I have been trying black and white 'flies' (Redgills) in my saltwater fly fishing. The idea was not to catch lots of fish at once but to compare the effectiveness of the two contrasting colours for different species. The idea came to me when I realised that I could catch five species, on fly, from one spot in sufficient numbers to make the experiment worthwhile.

My gear is a 'trout' fly rod with a number seven weight forward floating line. On the end of the line is a length of 6lb nylon with a dropper tied part way along. Two 6cm flies are attached one black and one white and when I am catching fish I simply keep a count in my head of the number and species caught on each. Sometimes the action is almost too thick and fast to keep a true count but the numbers are about right. Of course, with two flies, it quite often happens that two fish are landed at once and it can be a bit tricky to know which fly was taken first so this distorts the picture somewhat.

Normally I start fishing before it gets light and the fish don't begin to bite for perhaps ten minutes after I begin to cast. On my first attempt I had three pollack and a scad on the black fly and one pollack on the white fly - interesting I thought! It then blew up for a few days and I did not fish. Next trip was a bit more productive and I landed four pollack and five mackerel on the black and two pollack, two garfish (one black one white), a bass and 18 mackerel on the white fly - conclusive you might think! Next trip however I had 24 pollack in more or less equal numbers on the black and white flies, two scad one on black one on white and two mackerel one on black one on white.

All in all it did not seem to prove anything much with the different species taking both colours. The totals were pollack - 19 black 15 white, scad - 2 black 1 white, mackerel - 6 black 19 white, garfish - 1 black 1 white, bass - 1 white. In fact the real interest was not in which species took which fly but in the fact that most of the pollack and scad were caught early in the session when it was darker and most of the mackerel and garfish later in the session when it was lighter. Perhaps (just perhaps at the moment) the black fly is a bit more productive in the gloom and the white fly in the daylight. What I need now is two of us fishing side by side, at the same time, with different coloured flies and using my very simple technique (more whipping the water than fly casting).

I should mention that the fish are feeding on sprats about the same size as my flies. Incidentally, on the last trip I had changed my cast from nylon to a fast sinking braid - I'm sure it did not affect the species of fish caught (the mackerel were thin on the ground and the pollack prolific) - which seemed to enhance the proportion of bites which were hooked.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.' get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com


Think like a fish.

It's black and white.

Sprat and flies.

The white fly is a Redgill and the black one a Delta but they are virtually identical in size and action.

A pollack almost landed.

My best pollack was 1.5 lb.

A pollack on the black.

Pollack and scad were always the first fish to bite before it got light.

A mackerel on the white.

Mackerel bit best a little later on.

A scad on black.

The violet eye of the fish is just visble even in the poor light.

A gar on the black.

Garfish, like mackerel, bit best in the brighter conditions.</CENTER></P> 


A bass on the white.

Bass are known to be keen on white lures (see Garrad - Sea Angling with the Baited Spoon.