Micro Fishing Photo Tank - Inexpensive Under Water Photo Set Up

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Micro Fishing Photo Tank - Inexpensive Under Water Photo Set Up

Post by letumgo » Mon Jul 20, 2020 5:37 pm

A few year ago I purchased this micro fishing photo tank from Chris Stewart (Tenkara Bum), to visualize flies under water. This weekend I pulled it out again and started playing around with it to photograph soft hackle flies under water.

I made up a small background/bottom out of white water color paper. The white paper helps brighten the background and reflect additional light into the tank, onto the fly. A couple small mirrors are also handy. The whole setup is less than ten bucks. Easy to set up and adjust. Easy to store. And a fun way to play around, while learning how fly patterns behave on/in water, and look like underwater.

Basis Set Up (Tank/Paper Clip/Fine copper wire):
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Fly held in place with small binder clip. Quick and easy adjustment of fly position.
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The end flaps can be bent backwards/forwards to allow better viewing angles (don't forget the end of the tank).
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Placing the fly at the far end, allows reflection of the fly to show different angles in the near side.
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Depending on viewing angle, you can see multiple images/angles of the same fly.
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Re: Micro Fishing Photo Tank - Inexpensive Under Water Photo Set Up

Post by hankaye » Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:42 am

Ray, Howdy;

Rainy day, got all the other chores accomplished ???
Just a few moments of idle time on your hands? :lol:
An engineer's mind at rest is a terrible thing to see,
although the results are at times like this very pleasing
to witness. 8-)
Thanks Ray for bringing us along once more.

hank
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Re: Micro Fishing Photo Tank - Inexpensive Under Water Photo Set Up

Post by letumgo » Tue Jul 21, 2020 11:40 am

Hank - Sometimes it is easier to see the "madness" under the surface, than at other times... :ugeek: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Micro Fishing Photo Tank - Inexpensive Under Water Photo Set Up

Post by ronr » Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:50 pm

you are giving away all of your secrets... those are great images, especially the reflected view from the bottom of the fly..
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Re: Micro Fishing Photo Tank - Inexpensive Under Water Photo Set Up

Post by Variant » Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:48 pm

Great post Ray,
I dunk all my wet flies and flymphs, it really shows their true colors. I think light pattern is very important with patterns in or near the surface.
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Re: Micro Fishing Photo Tank - Inexpensive Under Water Photo Set Up

Post by ForumGhillie » Wed Jul 22, 2020 7:33 am

Ray, nice.

Lately. rather than using a jar I have tried macro photos of soft hackle patterns in our lake or in the river. It is tougher to get good closeup photos because the fly continually is moving.

Here are a couple of examples:

This first one is in our lake. There is current and small waves on the surface.
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This one is in a river in a slower current
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What surprises me somewhat is that the soft hackle feather does not collapse and moves very little when underwater. I was using really soft hen hackles and no movement of the barbules underwater.

I am hoping to do some more thorough research in stronger river currents with video and stills.

BTW, I only use a jar full of water or a white dish for observing color change in the fly, not for behavior of the fly pattern.
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Re: Micro Fishing Photo Tank - Inexpensive Under Water Photo Set Up

Post by Ron Eagle Elk » Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:40 am

I use my mini dunk tank (thanks for the idea, Ray) when tying at expos so people can see the color change of the silk and movement of the hackles. Great idea for the photos, Ray. I'll have to give that a try.
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Re: Micro Fishing Photo Tank - Inexpensive Under Water Photo Set Up

Post by bearbutt » Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:42 am

Cool set-up, Ray--I like it a lot.

John, I agree about the lack of movement of the soft hackles is surprising--I've seen this with flatwing streamers too--but have seen flashabou respond very well to subtle currents. I wonder if there's a market here for a supersoft synthetic hackle? The ways the barb is attached to the rachis is part of evolutionary efficiency--to keep birds aloft in the air--lol. So even while the barb might be soft, the joint is not--.

Apropos of this photo, your tippet knot stood out, and the shine of the mono is unmistakable:

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What are you using for mono?--It's really catching the light. Curious to see what it looks like if you use a stained mono--or Chameleon?

bb
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Re: Micro Fishing Photo Tank - Inexpensive Under Water Photo Set Up

Post by ForumGhillie » Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:05 am

BB, where the hell have you been? I haven't received a fishy report from you for ages!!! :D

I am using Cortland Copolymer Nylon Tippets. The 5x is .006 and a 6lb. breaking strength.

The flash might have gone off on the macro photo. You know the river i took the photo in and the tea colored water makes everything underwater appear darker so that flash might have popped.

What I do know is the soft hackles move very little underwater in a real situation. Maybe you can help me further test this Fall. I am hoping to go West soon and then use the clear Western streams for some great underwater photo shoots, if the trout aren't rising. :D
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Re: Micro Fishing Photo Tank - Inexpensive Under Water Photo Set Up

Post by PhilA » Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:37 pm

Very nice photos gents. Ray, I especially like the light imprint of the floating spider.

John, a couple of thoughts about the lack of underwater movement...
Water currents are probably a big part of underwater hackle movement. Good luck working in a fast-flowing river though. That sounds like difficult photography to me. A video would probably show the movement best.

Hen hackle (at least, modern hen hackle) is much stiffer than that of game birds. You might try flies hackled with feathers from the many game birds that we soft-hackled devotees covet and hoard.


For anyone interested in how flies appear at or near the surface, I highly recommend reading The Fly-Fisher and the Trout's Point of View (1931) by Col. E.W. Harding. He was the great pioneer of trout perception vis-à-vis behavior. His book describes what trout see underwater and how they respond to natural insects and artificial flies. It is rich with insights that are not so obvious.

Harding's most significant insights arguably concerned the light pattern of insects floating at the surface. Cohesive forces between water molecules at the surface are remarkably potent. They cause a thin layer to be rubbery, elastic, surprisingly sturdy, and relatively difficult to penetrate. This surface tension underlies the time-honored parlor trick of floating a needle on water, and it is crucial to a trout's perception of insects floating at the surface. Points of contact between the water and insect (body, legs, wings, etc.) create crescent-shaped surface deformations that admit light underwater visible to trout well outside of their overhead window. Each insect species yields a unique light pattern, which allows trout to identify approaching insects long before they are seen directly in the window. Harding maintained that matching surface light patterns is as important or possibly more important than matching size, profile, and color. He described splitting of the nymphal skin, wiggling motions of emerging duns, and the resulting fireworks of pinpoint light visible to trout. Harding's concept of imitating light imprints of emergers was true thinking "outside the box", and it may explain why some very successful flies appear unlike natural insects. Such flies would imitate the light pattern of emergers, rather than the insect itself. For example, Harding suggested that wingless wets and Derbyshire Bumbles are so effective at the surface because they imitate the disheveled light imprints of emerging nymphs and pupae.

Phil
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