Wine drinking and fly tying can be happily carried out at the same time although I suspect the enthusiasm of the former impacts significantly on the effectiveness of the latter. I have just been outside on the terrace enjoying both activities and carried on until the evening light made it difficult to see clearly. In that time I imbibed perhaps a third of a bottle of wine and tied up three modest flies.

I remember reading in a Chemistry textbook that I came across in the lab that native Indians produced a poison for the darts they used for hunting monkeys. The monkeys that had been shot received a dose of the poison, which is now called curare, and the strength of the dosage could be worked out by how many trees the poor monkey managed to flee to before plummeting to the ground. The strongest dose was “one tree” curare, and this was followed by two and then three tree curare.

It occurred to me that a similar pattern might be found to describe the quality of flies whipped up at the vise and how many glasses of wine had been consumed in the process. The quality of “one glass” nymphs, for example, might be compared to that of “two glass” nymphs and so on.

This seems to be a valuable and relevant line of scientific investigation and I offer myself up unsefishly to carry out the research. 

The three flies I tied up were intended for a very specific purpose and that is to tempt one of those carp in the river that periodically drift into the shallow margins. I hooked one of these carp last Sunday and we battled it out in a little pool for a good ten minutes before it returned my nymph to me. The sustained pressure I had to exert was enough in that time to straighten the hook slightly and in the end it popped straight back at me. That fish broke my heart I must tell you. I did not get a good look at it even though the river is quite shallow but I would be surprised if it were less than six or seven pounds which is some going in a skinny little river like mine.

The plan with my newly-tied flies is to cast them beyond any carp that happens to get within close range and then to draw the fly back on the surface before letting it drop in front of the fish. That, at least is the theory. The fly does not alarm the fish by landing too close. I had used little nymphs tied up with a tungsten bead for this purpose (my standard patterns for the gypsy barbel) but it was difficult to draw these along the top since they are pretty dense. I also wanted a fly that would sink slowly so that it could spend a little longer in the carp´s view and so I added a little foam to counter the dense head of the fly.  

In the morning I will take a little peek at my flies and see how they look. I know what order they were tied in and so can consider whether the results give any initial support for the following hypothesis: flies get crapper the more wine you drink.

One little test of course is hardly scientific. Greater rigour is needed. It should be repeated many times with a much greater range of volumes of wine consumed. In the interest of extending our knowledge of this important question I am prepared to sacrifice many hours of my time in this pursuit.

There is no need to thank me.