Down here in Devon there are times when we are fishing and often think no matter what we cast at the fish they don’t seem to want it. We will often change fly pattern after fly pattern and sometimes it will pay off. I can think of a time recently when each pool of the river I was guiding on had a different mood to it. I was changing flies a lot more often than I normally would.

One of the things I really try to focus on is not so much the pattern but the size of the fly and the footprint in leaves on the waters surface (when we are fishing a dry) when we have cast it out.

As a result of this I don’t tend to carry a lot of patterns but variations of a few patterns in a good variety of sizes. Take the ever popular klinkhammer for example. I will carry these in sizes 12 down to 24. These will usually be in olive, grey and black. If there are no signs of rising fish I will use it in larger sizes as an attractor pattern usually in conjunction with a nymph but if there are rising fish I will play with the size a little more to fit it with the hatch. Be careful though as you there can often be a good hatch of black gnat which you are sure the fish are taking only to work out later that the gnat hatch is masking a trickle hatch of olives so off will come the size 20 and on goes a size 16!