Flying ants — windscreen wipers’ enemy, fisherman’s friend

2012-10-27 00:00

ALTHOUGH not always a welcome site on the road, flying ants form the basis of many fishermen’s fantasies. The slimy innards of this small, yet formidable enemy of the windscreen wiper, are a favourite snack of most freshwater fish.

If you are lucky enough to bear witness to the countless fish gorging themselves on a platter of flying ants, it is likely that you would never want to miss another flying ant day. The last week has seen at least three major hatches of flying ants find their attempts at survival and progression of the species wasted, as these red tinged termites take to the air only to find their feet later landing in a dam full of cold water, instead of in the softened soil typically brought on by the spring rains.

Bass, barbel, carp and tilapia all rejoice in the buffet that follows an ill-defined landing spot and I was privy to an almost exclusive viewing of the fun to follow the first major flying ant show of the season.

Carp were to be found cruising the length of farmhouse banks in their dozens, their mouths making smacking sounds as they casually moved from one tasty tidbit to the next. Barbel were also seen touring the scene of the feeding frenzy, identifiable by their long whiskers sticking out just above the surface of the water. Pan-sized red and blue tilapia darted in and out, nipping the unsuspecting termites from the patches of water as yet undisturbed by fish.

These calm patches of water were quickly in short supply as the bass moved in to take advantage of the abundant spread. They smashed their squirming targets with an enthusiasm most commonly seen in the summer months when bass tend to take advantage of the plentiful fry.

When the flying ants come out, fishermen often find their only problem to be which fish to target.

The trick in fishing always lies in imitating the current food source of the fish that you are trying to catch. During a flying ant day, the fish will be targeting small creatures twitching and floating on the surface of the water. Therefore, anglers should attempt to mimic the action, size and shape of a flying ant as much as possible.

Any angler with a fly rod is bound for success, especially when using a flying ant fly. These dry flies tend to become less effective when the wings break off. This can easily occur during the ten to two push and pull of casting with a fly rod. The secret to top water fly fishing is to ensure that your fly lands within line of site of your target. If he can’t see it, he sure ain’t going to eat it. Just make sure that you don’t land the lure so close that you spook the fish.

Other techniques that are worth a try include throwing either a three centimetre floating Salmo or a small floating crank bait. These crank baits should range from three to five centimetres and should be twitched slowly on the surface of the water.

Flying ants are always a fisherman’s best friend. While you might not appreciate their greasy impact smears dotted all over your freshly cleaned windscreen, anglers will be flinging out every excuse in their tackle bag as they attempt to get out of work and onto the dam.

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