I got a real kick out of watching Jack Gregory tie flies at Troutfest last summer. He'd tie up a big messy bug on a size 10 or 8 hook and I'd offer that it didn't look like any specific thing, but that it did look "buggy", and he'd kinda grin and wink and say, "Yeah, that'll fetch!"
Sounds to me like that's where you've gotten to... the point where recipe meets practicality. You learn the essence of the "bug" - the materials list that defines the best material for imitating the natural - and then you start to visualize that imitation floating toward you, bouncing along the stream bottom. That's when you throw the "formula" out the window and tie something that you'd take a chance on eating if you were that hungry brown hanging out in that side eddy... something that looks like it would "fetch".
Take a look at Oliver Edwards tying Frank Sawyer's "Killer Bug" (you can find it on YouTube, but if you don't I can supply a link). You'll probably never find the 85/15 yarn that Frank used to tie the original... but I've found a Bernat Felting natural wool that comes pretty close - although I'll probably have to break it down and use only about every other foot of it, since it's a newer hombre pattern.... and then there's the red wire... yeah, I've got that too.
Inspiration. Tie up what feels right in whatever order is best for your insight, and then go fish it.
If it doesn't work, tweak it!!!
Last edited by Gerry Romer; 01-01-2009 at 11:33 PM.
Reason: inadvertent post. inother words, I hit "enter" when I meant to hit shift...
"I've since learned to use the best knot rather than the one that uses the least line. I go through more tippet material but compensate by drinking cheaper whiskey. One must have priorities." ... Art Scheck