Recently I went down to my neighborhood ponds and stayed into the last 30 minutes of daylight. I started noticing fish breaking the surface, obviously feeding on something hatching. I was trying typical bream killers and poppers but the bream would have nothing to do with my offerings. Mosquitoes were biting me so I naturally assumed it was a mosquito hatch that the fish were working on. The next day I showed up with some size 12 mosquito patterns I tied myself and I had a ball catching bream with them. Blood midge adults look just like a mosquito so I’m not sure if the hatch I was working was mosquito or blood midge or maybe even both.
I enjoyed this routine, heading to the ponds just before dark, for a couple of days until I went to the ponds with my mosquito patterns and even though the bream were working, they would not take my fly. The fish were not breaking the surface like they had been but were just making ringlets on the surface like they were feeding just below the surface. I could not get a take even though bream were rising all around my little mosquito fly. Perplexed as to why they weren’t taking my fly I got down on my knees and looked closely at the water. I noticed some very tiny bugs flying above the water and without a way to examine them closely I figured they were midges of some kind and I just needed to use the smallest fly I had.
Rummaging through my fly box I found a couple of size 18 Griffith Gnats. I took the mosquito off, tied on the Griffith Gnat and cast it out on the water. To my surprise I caught not a bream, but a small pound a half sized bass. I cast it back out and caught two nice bream before it became just too dark to fish.
The next evening I returned with a couple of Griffith Gnats I had tied using Barry Ord Clarke’s Paraloop Griffith pattern, which was hands down the best looking pattern. The GG has been around a long time and there are a lot of videos out there of people tying the typical pattern, which is peacock herl with a palmered grizzly hackle. The difference between a conventional pattern and the paraloop pattern is that the hook of a paralooped fly does not have enough hackle below the hook shank to float it like a conventional dry fly. The Paraloop Griffith fly sits in the surface film, instead of on top of it or angled awkwardly below the film. The fact that it sits in the film rather than on it is important and the fly just looks much neater.
I think most folks here in the warm South just don’t think bream can be selective, but I have seen many examples similar to the midge hatch where the bream just wanted what was hatching. I know during the mayfly hatch the fish want mayflies and will hardly strike anything else. Often they become selective down to the point of preferring spinners or cripples. Most fishermen are long gone before the midge hatch starts and don’t experience it. I personally love the hatch because it is so predictable. All I have to know is the time of the last 30 minutes of dusk and I can be there ready for it.