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Micro thin fly lines. Chironomids, Squirmies & Rain

July 07, 2016 2 min read

What a start to 2016, rain, rain & more rain. My only fishing option has been my local small still water. Tiny Chironomids are the mainstay food for the resident rainbows throughout the year.

David Southall blog - Chironomids, squirmies and micro thin fly lines

Micro-Suspender Buzzer

Some days the fish focus on the adults, particularly if it is cold which delays their lift-off from the surface. Some of my best dry fly action has been when the temperature has been around freezing, particularly at dusk. At such times a size 24 (or smaller) CdC Minimalistic Micro-Midge or IOBO Humpy is my choice of fly.

If the fish are concentrating on the pupae at the point of emergence in the surface film I’ll opt for a size 24 or 26 Micro-Suspender Buzzer or similar sized Shuttlecock. At other times, when buzzers are hatching, the subsurface pupae are on the menu & a tiny Bead-head Buzzer Pupa is required. Finally there are times, particularly in windy conditions & early in the morning when there is no hatch: then the fish may well be feeding on red bloodworms & other coloured Chironomid larvae (yellow, olive & orange) from the lake bed in silted areas.

I find bloodworm feeders to be less fussy about fly size & I usually opt for a size 16 Squirmy worm in red (alternatively pink, orange or green if the fish have seen a lot of anglers’ red bloodworms. On heavily fished ‘catch & release waters fish can soon wise-up to popular fly patterns or colours). Just occasionally I find I need to use a more realistic size 20 Bloodworm tied with red flexifloss. The great thing about Squirmy Worm material is that it is very soft, flexible & translucent.

David Southall blog - Chironomids, squirmies and micro thin fly lines

CdC adult imitations

Good presentation is vital, particularly with tiny flies. Chironomid larvae & pupae have brief spells of rapid gyration interspersed with periods of immobility, however they make very slow progress through the water. Much of the time they drift at the whim of subsurface & surface currents. Even the slowest figure of eight retrieve is totally unrealistic.

I fish CdC adult imitations dead-drift, avoiding any drag from surface currents & the wind. Buzzer pupae I suspended under a small dry fly, from a greased leader or tiny indicator, alternatively I fish them ‘on the drop’ using a greased leader, watching for any change in the rate that the leader draws down into the water. If fishing ‘on the drop’ Dump/Pile Casts, heaped the leader on top of the fly ensure that the fly sinks vertically rather than unnaturally in an arc as would happen with the leader landing in a straight line. Bloodworms I generally fish very slowly suspended just above the lakebed.

To facilitate good presentation I like a long light rod (10’ to 12’, 2 or 3 weight), Jeremy Lucas Dry Fly line & light tippet (5, 6 or 7x depending on fish size & hook size). I often tie my flies into a loop knot / Rapala knot to facilitate free movement.

This video is 1 of 94 casting tutorials explaining everything from basic set ups to master level casts

Fundamentals | Starting to Fly Cast

The basics of tackle
Language of casting
Sensory awareness


Fundamentals | Understanding Fly Tackle

Fly line weights, lengths & tapers
Rod lengths & weights
Leaders & tippet
Tackle to practise with


Fundamentals | Overhead Casting

How to hold a fly rod
Circles 8's & straights
Remove all slack
Plane of the Cast
Triangle Method
Overhead Cast
Stop & Drop
Retrieving the Line
High Back Cast
Breaking The Wrist
Shooting the line
Loop Shape
Slipping the Line
Stroke Length
The Forward Delivery
The Shelf
Drift Versus Breaking the Wrist
Backslash Forwardslash
Speed Ramp
Body Movement


Fundamentals | Double Haul

Intro to the Double Haul
Tackle for the Double Haul
Single Haul
Double Haul
Double Haul Fast Track
Cast Trajectory
Late Haul
Hauling Grip
Double Haul for Accuracy
Line Trays
Offset Alignment Guides


Fundamentals | Taking it to the Water

The Lift
Pick Up & Lay Down Cast
Roll cast
Energy of a Roll Cast


Advanced | Spey Casts

Intro to Spey Casting
Switch Cast
45 Degree Single Spey
Backhanded Cast
90 Degree Single Spey
90 Degree Snake Roll
45 Degree Snake Roll
90 Degree Double Spey
The Running Mouse
The Silent Spey
45 Degree Double Spey
45 Degree Snap T
90 Degree Snap T
45 Degree Circle Spey
90 Degree Circle Spey
Body Movement
Spey Cast Hauling
Beating Obstructions Spey


Advanced | Beating the Wind

Tail Wind
Head Wind
Side Wind


Master | Mends

Upstream Downstream Mends
Curve Mends
Reach Mends


Master | Pick Ups

Corkscrew Pick Up
Snap Pick Up
Roll Cast Pick Up
Double Spiral Pick Up
Snap Pick Up Variation
Aerial Spey
Cast Stringing


Master | Accessory Casts

Casting Big Flies
Feed Cast
Free Snag Cast
Snap Cast