Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Brown and Bright-Green Simplified Deep Sparkle Pupa



Dark brown

One-third olive Sparkle Yarn; two-thirds bright green acrylic Craft fur

Dark red grouse dressed sparsely, wrapped one turn

Brown marabou strands

With his seminal Caddisflies (1981), Gary LaFontaine changed the way anglers and fly tiers looked at caddisfly representation. His signature Deep Sparkle Pupa introduced anglers to the synthetic Sparkle Yarn for representing the air bubbles trapped between the molting exoskeletal shuck and body of a hatching caddisfly. The dressing itself has a clear soft-hackle heritage, though the body is perhaps better designed to trap air bubbles that enhance the natural sparkle of the synthetic dubbing, and the hackle itself is so sparse as to be almost nonexistent. The head, however, would be at home on any dressing historical angler fished, like dressings of the Winter Brown and Dark Spanish Needle stoneflies or the Light Sedge caddis dressing.

The Brown and Bright-Green Deep Pupa is second on LaFontaine’s list of primary patterns:

"HOOK:   Mustad 94840
WEIGHT:  lead or copper wire
UNDERBODY:  one-third olive Sparkle Yarn and two-thirds bright green acrylic Craft fur (mixed and dubbed
OVERBODY:  medium olive Sparkle Yarn
HACKLE:  dark grouse fibers (long wisps along the lower half of the sides)
HEAD:  brown marabou strands or brown fur"

LaFontaine chose to designate a more traditional soft hackle style dressing of his Deep Sparkle Pupa as "Simplified" to avoid the confusion among anglers who purchased commercially-tied Deep Sparkle Pupas. He created this version because "fly-fishing friends urged" him to design "an optional recipe minus the overbody, for easier and quicker tying." He notes reservations about the effectiveness of the simplified dressing, questioning "how effective this type is compared to the regular pattern. They are much better than any drab-bodied creations, but they are not quite as bright, nor do they trap air bubbles quite as well, as the overbody style." He prefers the overbody "regular type" for his own angling.

Authors like Bob Wyatt have recently questioned LaFontaine's premise in designing the Deep Sparkle Pupa pattern. In What Trout Want (2013), Wyatt argues that the "gas bubble phenomenon is undocumented in any scientific study because pharate caddisflies don't exude a gas that creates a bubble between their instar cuticles," and he points out that the "lack of evidence in itself is not proof that no such insect or behavior exists" and promises "when that proof is produced, I'll be happy to eat my baseball cap." Nevertheless, LaFontaine's pattern is, as Wyatt notes, "a very successful trout fly," and the fly itself remains, if not a strict imitation, at least "another very good attractor pattern."