If you already solved the problem, here's the thread.
To begin with, they are in general not the best at hooking fish. I’ve seen and experienced this several times with trout and grayling on danicas. Early on in the hatch, the simple French Partridge generally works well, but as the hatch gets maybe a week or 10 days in, the fish I tend to get more wary (maybe fishing pressure) and more selective. A closer imitation is simply imperative. I like Oliver Edwards Mohican Mayfly (I tie a variation - see PoD), and I also wouldn’t be without an extended body version of a danica spinner. These fish very well, and it’s not hard to fool fish with them. But I’ve seen so many times, observing friends fish through binoculars, that fish (especially grayling of course with their smaller mouths) simply push the imitation in front of them because of the extended body, and thus never get in contact with the hook.
I’ve experienced the exact same with long sandeel imitations in the salt. It happens that you get 2-3, sometimes 4 pulls before a fish really connects. I’m positive that it’s because the fish bites the tail, and never contacts the hook. I’m fine with this, but if it happens a lot during a day, I’ll use an imitation with a stinger hook. I dislike stinger hooks, because sometimes they hook too deep, and I’ll often simply snip the front hook, because there’s no reason to tempt fate with two hooks. Most of the times, though, I think predators target eyes, and they simply hit the front part of the imitation.
Another imitation that calls for “extensions” is the rag worm imitation which are so important this time of year in the salt around Denmark. My preferred imitation is tied on two hooks and a body of rabbit spun in a braid connection. This thing moves and undulates like nothing else, and is very effective. The two hooks are really necessary, because sea trout knows that rag worms are very easy prey, and my imitations are so soft that I think the sea trout often sucks in the whole thing. The one in the PoD only has the back hook, the front hook I cut off. I fish them the other way around, with no back hook.
Now to Paul’s challenge. Yesterday driving home from work I began thinking about a solution to Paul’s problem. Because there’s no doubt that hooking fish on an imitation this size is problematic. So the first problem to be solved is to move the hook to the back. And if you read the thread on hook strength on the board, it’s obvious that you need an extremely strong braid connection. This can be solved, I’m sure, I just haven’t got the time to experiment this weekend, but I’ve made notes. The thorax is easy as well, I think. These bugs are so large that you can get away with some foam, and keep whatever the thorax is tied on a float that way. I’m think a cut-off-hook is the easiest, but I’m also considering something with a short piece of tube.
Next problem - wings. Wings this size will easily cause the imitation to spin, unless you cast very slowly (which I think is out of the question). Soft wings are the obvious solution, but in this size, they could easily collapse. Hackle wings, maybe?
I’ll keep thinking, and maybe tie the first prototypes tonight. I have to start packing for The Danish Fly Festival next weekend.
Have a great weekend,