Eat the Worm
I have the opportunity to travel the world in my professional career. Typically work is work. You’re putting in 10-12 hour days, you’re running and gunning, taking out customers, suppliers, staff or whatnot. There’s very little time to experience where you’re at.
This is why whenever I’m someplace new, particularly a new country, I like to eat local. I’ve found it a way to experience the country and town in some way, and the folks are always willing to chat with you and are eager to tell you about their area. On a recent trip to Mexico, I had the opportunity to eat some chocolate covered ants and a grasshopper plate. I did pass on eating the worm, I must confess…. that’s a bridge too far even for me.
This of course got me thinking of fly fishing with ants…. it’s a logical progression is it not? This is an often looked over pattern that can be super productive. I’m not talking the Chernobyl type either. That has its place. I’m talking about the actual ant imitations. Mid-Summer to Mid-Fall fly fisherman all over swat the water with hoppers. But that’s not the only terrestrial out there.
You can fish ants any time of day, a big bonus. Mid is most effective, but the bugs are very active creatures in general. There’s also no hatch to time during the day. This makes them a great pattern to fish blind and locate fish. You don’t need to worry about seeing fish rise. You just need to fish them in fishy looking spots.
Similar to hoppers, you need to fish ants tight to the bank unless there is a lot of overhanging vegetation. Ants live everywhere, so even in forested sections of streams there will be ants, not just the grassy areas like hoppers…. are you catching on to a them here? Ants are versatile, much more than hoppers. There are tradeoffs though. Hoppers represent a large meal, in limited terrain. Ants, smaller meal, wider range of terrain.
You all know I’m a two-fly guy, and as such, I’m sure it’s no surprise that I fish two ant patterns as a matter of course. I’ll do something like a parachute ant as the point fly and a smaller less visible one as the dropper such as a fur ant. Good tip here…. don’t worry if the small ant swamps and sinks a bit…that happens naturally. Just watch the point fly as a strike indicator.
That’s it my fishy friends…until next time
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags