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Fishing Small Flies: "Matchbook" Your Midges to Make Knots Easy

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September 21, 2012

Fishing Small Flies: "Matchbook" Your Midges to Make Knots Easy

By Kirk Deeter

Here's another slice of sheer genius ingenuity, courtesy of my friend John Gribb from Wisconsin. John is one of the most innovative fly tiers I know; he uses things like fabric from the seat belts of junkyard cars and Christmas ribbons to make some of the most effective patterns I've ever fished.

Last week he hit me with another idea that made me slap my forehead. As most of you know, tiny midge and mayfly patterns can be just the ticket, especially in the fall and winter months. But if you're like me, putting the bug on a strand of tippet in the first place is often as difficult as hooking and fighting fish on small flies. Seeing the eye opening is only half the battle. It's difficult for me to twist and manipulate those flies in my cold fingers, especially after a morning cup of coffee or two. I can't count how many midges I've dropped as a result of digital malfunctions.

John suggests making a "matchbook" for your midge patterns. Take a sheet of foam, and slice it with scissors to create match stick-sized sections, then staple it to a tab of cardboard or heavy stock paper. Stick the midge (or small mayfly, caddis, whatever) flies at the ends of your "matches." The flies are protected when you fold the cardboard like a match book and tuck the tab under the stapled end, and this packet easily fits in your shirt pocket, vest, or pack.

The best part is, when you are ready to fish, you can thread the tippet through the eye with the fly still on the foam (you can either tear off the individual tab, or twist the whole booklet to help you tie your knot). Then simply detach the fly from the foam, maybe add a dab of floatant, and you are good to go. I've been monkeying around with this for a few days now, and believe me, it makes all the difference in the world. Fewer dropped flies. Better, faster knots. And the frustration factor decreases exponentially.

Give it a try, and you'll see how a little pre-fishing system preparation and a dash of innovation can go a very long way, especially when you're using small flies.

Comments (15)

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

I like the way a radioshack electrical connection tester holds flies better than the ones they sell in the fly shops. I like this idea though if you know you're fishing with midges all day.

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

I bet it won't be long before they start selling flies like this in the stores. Good idea.

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Let the games begin.

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Love the avatar Buck, The KD Princess nympher?

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from kirkdeeter wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

buckhunter, why did you decide to switch to a photo of the Ohio State homecoming queen?

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from kirkdeeter wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

She is gorgeous, however.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

What are you calling a "midge" deeter?

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Say hello to the newly crowned Ms. Carp USA. Fitting, eh?

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from Rhythm Rider wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Sorry to get off topic of the stunning avatar, but on topic of the post I keep a little plastic hook and hackle plier on an s-beaner attached to my vest. The little hook holds small flies well, and picks em out of/and returns them to a box nicely. Serves a similar purpost, but this is a good idea too.

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from Matt Regan wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

If only someone could invent a way to make 6x flurocarbon tippet cooperate with cold hands, bad eyesight, and tiny flies.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

So deeter, and no one else knows what a midge is? You put it in the topic, post on it, but don't know what one is..rather strange.

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from kirkdeeter wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Sorry, midges are insects in the family chirnomidae. Typically quite small, but abundant throughout the country. In fact, midges account for over 50 percent of a typical trout's diet.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Wonder how many others that post knew what a midge was? The term is loosely used to mean small flies of any kind, but the true meaning is the one you gave.

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from Bez wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Great idea! Seems like you could also cut the heavy stock paper to have a thin section on each side which would be folded over the foam stick (end ones only) to minimize risk of losing flies if one shakes loose.

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from Nyflyangler wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Or one can tie say an 8" length of tippet on to the fly at home with visual aid if needed and a loop at the other end.

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Post a Comment

from kirkdeeter wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

She is gorgeous, however.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

I like the way a radioshack electrical connection tester holds flies better than the ones they sell in the fly shops. I like this idea though if you know you're fishing with midges all day.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

I bet it won't be long before they start selling flies like this in the stores. Good idea.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Let the games begin.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Love the avatar Buck, The KD Princess nympher?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kirkdeeter wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

buckhunter, why did you decide to switch to a photo of the Ohio State homecoming queen?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

What are you calling a "midge" deeter?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Say hello to the newly crowned Ms. Carp USA. Fitting, eh?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rhythm Rider wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Sorry to get off topic of the stunning avatar, but on topic of the post I keep a little plastic hook and hackle plier on an s-beaner attached to my vest. The little hook holds small flies well, and picks em out of/and returns them to a box nicely. Serves a similar purpost, but this is a good idea too.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Matt Regan wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

If only someone could invent a way to make 6x flurocarbon tippet cooperate with cold hands, bad eyesight, and tiny flies.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

So deeter, and no one else knows what a midge is? You put it in the topic, post on it, but don't know what one is..rather strange.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kirkdeeter wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Sorry, midges are insects in the family chirnomidae. Typically quite small, but abundant throughout the country. In fact, midges account for over 50 percent of a typical trout's diet.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Wonder how many others that post knew what a midge was? The term is loosely used to mean small flies of any kind, but the true meaning is the one you gave.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bez wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Great idea! Seems like you could also cut the heavy stock paper to have a thin section on each side which would be folded over the foam stick (end ones only) to minimize risk of losing flies if one shakes loose.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nyflyangler wrote 1 year 23 weeks ago

Or one can tie say an 8" length of tippet on to the fly at home with visual aid if needed and a loop at the other end.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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