My, anglers see them very briefly, usually when they fly out as adult insects. In the water, however, the flower larvae live for quite a long time, provided of course, that no fish would get interested in them sooner…
There is such an insect, which not only stimulates the imagination of fly fishermen, but also a great challenge for all fly tying mates. This insect is a bug. Americans call it a caddis, while in England it is referred to as the sedge.
The birdworm image can be easily observed over the water during the period of mass outbreaks of these insects.
A resting bird always folds its long wings over its abdomen. There are very fine hairs on the wings.
There are around three hundred different species of handworms in Europe, of which in Poland approx 240. Many species have adapted to different environmental conditions.
Hawthorn larvae, called padlocks by some anglers, can be found in almost any water – in small ditches, large lakes, fast mountain streams, in meadow streams and practically all rivers.
Cottages only build larvae (sprock) belonging to one of the three large families of cookies. The remaining larvae make nests or live without houses at all. To be precise, it should be said, that more or less 80 percentage of all cookies (their larvae) actually builds cottages.
The larvae make their homes as follows: they surround themselves with a cocoon, and then they stick to it masking materials from the immediate area. The cocoon is never too small, because the larva is constantly "building it" on the front. The most common materials used to build cottages are grains of sand, pieces of snail shells, small pebbles, tiny sticks, bits of decaying leaves and bark (photos 1+2).
Species living in stagnant or slowly flowing water are satisfied with "light" building materials, while species inhabiting faster watercourses are forced to use much heavier materials, for example, grains of gravel (photos 3 + 4).
Species found in swift mountain streams use an even more reliable method: they attach their houses to some large stone and thus avoid being carried away by the water current.
The birdworm larva that builds the house spends quite a lot of time on this, so that her place is as unobtrusive as possible. The ability to blend in with the environment is one of the most important factors in survival, because free-moving larvae are, despite their home, a tasty morsel for many species of fish – grayling and trout swallow the padlocks whole, together with their elaborate houses!
After removing the padlock from the cabin, explains very quickly, why the beetle larva builds it at all – it has no protective shell, it is as soft as a caterpillar and very prone to damage (picture 5).
Legs with claws
The head of the larva is clearly pointing downwards, a bit more to the rear, there are six claw-shaped legs in the thoracic part. The dorsal side of the larva's thoracic part is protected by several chitinous plates. The padlock abdomen, however, is very soft and sensitive to damage. There are hair-shaped respiratory organs on the abdomen. There are also claws on the last segment of the abdomen, with which the larva attaches from the inside to its house.
There is a tiny vent at the back of the Blackbird larvae house, through which the padlock pumps (rhythmic movements of the abdomen) oxygen-rich water to the cottage.
House with an anchor
When it's time to pupate, padlocks anchor your bungalows and close the front entrance opening. A metamorphosis takes place in the resulting cocoon, that is, the transformation of the larva into an adult insect. The legs change, antennae and wings sprout. The latter are folded together in a special pocket and will disconnect and straighten out only after the insect has disembarked.
Over the years, fly fishermen have made many attempts, so that their bait imitates the beetle larva as faithfully as possible. Almost all novice fly fishermen admire the faithful imitations of the "starting model"”. Most of these "artistic” however, the fly never comes into contact with the fish's mouth, because, framed in gold frames, hang on the wall above the binding table.
Very effective nymphs for everyday fishing look much simpler. Fly tying flyers shall adhere to the KISS definition rules – Keep it Simple and Stupid. In other words – make it the easiest, how can.
The fact cannot be overlooked here, that imitations of houseworm larvae are mainly used for fishing in stagnant waters. For fishing with nymphs in flowing water, imitations of non-house-making handworm larvae are better. If someone wants to necessarily fish with an imitation of a birdcatcher in a river or stream, there is no better fly than a heavy golden-headed nymph tied with hare's ear hair (picture 6 on top). One of the oldest standing water designs, and at the same time very hunting, there is a "stick fly". This bow tie is bound in two versions: with hare ear dubbed body or peacock feather ray body (picture 7).
Other classics are "Sand Caddis" by English flymaker Richard Walker (picture 8) and checked many times, equally catching flies provoking calm water - “Fuzzy Wuzzy” and "Wolly Worm". "Peeping Caddis" are quite modern (picture 8 on top), that is, additionally weighted nymphs on a hare ear padding. This lure is perfect for wet fishing from a boat in small lakes with a lot of naturally occurring pygmy larvae.