Anyone who fishes midge patterns… this is for you

by Jeremy Hunt

Now I’m sure some of you would agree that when fishing size eighteen midges tied with a bead on a curved shank hook, many fly fishers probably miss more fish then they catch. There are a couple of reasons for this.

The first thing I want to talk about is the hook. I can only say this from experience. I have fished midge patterns in all size hooks and different styles of hooks. The common hooks to tie midges patterns on in the Tiemco brand are 200R, 3761, 2457(heavy wire), and 2487 (light wire). Yes, there are a lot more, but these are the ones I see the most. And from fishing bead head zebra midges for a long time, I have noticed in size 18s and smaller you are missing fish on setting the hook. I know for a fact this has happened to you if you have ever fished small flies with a bead tied on a 2457 or 2487. I think one of the reasons why we are missing fish is the bend is wrong or should I say there is not enough bend and sliding a bead on the hook only makes it worse.

Another thing we forget is we only think about tying the right size fly on the right size hook. We all know that tying is all about proportions so we are taught that if we see a size twenty midge flying in the air then we are suppose to tie it on a twenty size hook. So what ends up happening is you’re fishing the right size, but missing tons of fish. So a lot of people would still stick to a bigger size hook because they don’t miss as many fish.  However, they aren’t catching as many as they could if they actually had the right size fly the trout were feeding on. So you’re kind of in a catch twenty two. Fish the right size and miss more fish, or fish a bigger size and hook more fish. You’re probably asking, then what do we do?

What I’m about to tell you will make total sense and you will thank me later after you’re out there catching more fish. I don’t think a lot of people are doing this so I thought this might help you out. When I tie my midges I look for a hook that doesn’t have so much bend on the front part of the hook when tying anything smaller than an eighteen. From discovering up on the TMC 2499SP (which means “super point”) years ago, I found out that it kind of looks like a circle hook and there was a lot of gap left after sliding the bead on it. Another great hook that Tiemco came out with is the 2488, but I definitely think the 2499 is the best out of the two. Now here’s the trick behind all this. I like to tie smaller bodies on a bigger hook. A lot of people will tie the entire hook with thread and that will determine the size of the fly they are trying to match. . What I like to do is tie a twenty size thread body midge on a size 14 hook. That way I don’t lose any fish because of the bend of the hook being wrong or not enough room for a gap on the hook.