I tied up a batch of spiders for when the trout are fixated upon tiny early season chironomids in flat calm water conditions. They seem to be working. Here is the first one: the Red Tag Spider.
I don’t normally fish patterns smaller than a #14 since for the most part anyway, #12 and #14s do well on the waters I fish. However, ocassionally, perhaps a couple of times a season, I would find the trout taking pupae just below the surface in flat calm water conditions and generally in good numbers too. I would try every fly in the box it seemed, including dry flies and nymphs in addition to my soft hackle wet flies, spiders and flymphs. They would maybe take a solitary fish or perhaps a few fish during the session, but I felt I should have been getting more takes given the numbers of trout present. After some thought (and discovering the pin-head sized nauturals they were feeding on) I decided to tie some #16 flies and see if they would increase the number of takes I was getting. So far the #16s are proving sucessful in these sorts of conditions.
The Red Tag Spider was the first off the vice and was also one of the first succesful ones I used during these calm, mirror like conditions. The fly incoporates a red holographic tinsel butt, a red thread (8/0) rib, a black thread (8/0) body dubbed very, very lightly with fine black dubbing and a soft black hen hackle, all attached to a Kamasan B175 #16 hook. The takes could be quite savage, or merley the softest pluck was all that was felt. Equally a flattening of the water surface or a boil would indicate some interest from the trout.
I had one interesting thought that will need to be investigated: during the calm, mirror like water conditions it was easy to spot the activity of trout feeding just below the surface. Had it not been so obvious it would have been easy to think there were no fish in front of me given that the #12 and #14 sized flies were being ignored. So the next time the more usual sized flies are not receiving any interest in a surface ripple (which may hide any subsurface activity) would it be worth trying the #16 spiders again? There is only one way to find out – I will just have go fishing again!