I'm not sure who came up with the idea of the overlap, but it certainty exists. I knew about the overlap, recently read Skip Morris's writing on the "Bluegill-Bass Lap," and it got me thinking about the how the overlap can help even more.
What is the overlap? Funny you asked, I was just about to explain that.
The overlap is a theory to maximize your opportunity to catch fish by choosing specific "lures" or "baits" or "flies" that will appeal to a broad range of fish species. This overlap theory is used when you want the opportunity to catch multiple species, effectively doubling, tripling, or more, your chances to hook up with a fish. However, it can also be modified to give more weight to specific fish species. Basically, you decide what species of fish you want to target, find the overlap in their food sources, and choose your flies based off of that.
I created a system called the Overlap Score, here is how it works.
Step 1: Make a list the species of fish that you want to target in the body of water you are fishing. (If you are unsure of some common fish in Texas' waters, TFFF has a resource for that on "The Fish" page.)
|Step 1: The Species List|
Step 2: Make a list of possible food sources for each of those species in that body of water. Think about the littlest thing they might eat, on up the largest. Do this for each species you might want to target. What aquatic insects, fish, crustaceans, frogs, mice, birds, etc., might each species in that body of what eat during that time of the year?
|Step 2: The Food Source List|
Step 3: Circle the food sources that show up on more than one target species list. If they show up on more than two...highlight those extra somehow!
|Step 3: Matching the Food Sources|
Step 4: Determine what flies you have that will match each food source that you have listed multiple times, and make a list of the flies that you have written the most.
|Step 4: Matching the Flies|
Step 5: From this new list of overlapping fly choices, give your flies points based how many times they show up on the food source lists. So, if a fly matches two food sources on one species list, and one food source on two other species lists, then that fly scores a 4. Then rank your flies from highest score to lowest.
|Step 5: Ranking Your Flies|
Now, there are ways to modify this Overlap Score in order to adjust for targeting specific species. For example, if you specifically want to target largemouth bass but will happily catch a few other species as well, you can adjust the scoring system for that. All you would need to do is give bonus points to the flies on the largemouth bass list. You could give those flies an extra point or two each time they match something on the list. This will effectively give more weight to the flies targeting that species.
In theory, this Overlap Score is helping you to determine what fly or flies give you the most opportunity for generating strikes. I hope this can help some of y'all out when you are struggling to decide what fly you want to fish!
Peace Out-side, y'all.
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