Monday, August 30, 2010



This is a great little sunken ant pattern that works a treat in out local streams.  I first saw this pattern on the Flytalk Forum when Grant Kieser posted a step by step for it. Since then it has been a favorite in my box.

Here is the step by step as tied by Grant.

HOOK:  #16 Scud
THREAD:  Black 12/0
WEIGHT: 0.010 lead wire
ABDOMEN: Black dubbing
HEAD: Orange pearlescent glass bead
LEGS AND ANTENNAE – Black crystal flash

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gravity is alive and well....

I learned some valuable lessons today. As often happens it was during one of those "Oh F*ck" moments.

For years I have been keeping all my various beads in a handy little box separated in different sizes. I was always a bit worried that the box is going to fall and scatter it precious cargo into a million directions, so I put a few elastic bands  around the cover and hoped for the best. As mentioned, this has served me well for the last few years.

I can bore you to death and tell you all the steps that had lead up to the moment of disaster, but to cut a long story short  I will just show you the picture of the ultimate result.

Just a word of warning. This picture might cause the same effect as when you see another guy get a kick in the nuts.

My bead box will never be the same and from now on I will always wonder if that 2mm tungsten bead is really a 2mm tungsten bead.

The lessons learned. 

  1. Gravity is alive and well.
  2. A 1.5mm bead is really small.
  3. I should look under my tying table more often. I discoverd lots of long lost material and tiny hooks.
  4. The maid doesn't do a proper job in cleaning up.
  5. My wife will not help me pick up beads.
I blame it on the new girl in the house for distracting me.


Thursday, August 26, 2010



HOOK: Emerger
BODY:  OliveTurkey Biot
ABDOMEN: Peacock
POST: Antron yarn

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why you need to stay fit when going fishing.

I have finally found the perfect excuse for why I missed the strike when a fish rose to my fly.

This is how the conversation normally goes when my fishing buddy Roland and I fish a small stream together.

Roland  : "You slow bastard. You completely missed that fish. Do you want me to wake you up next time I see a fish?"
Me : "Shut up. The glare on the water was blinding me. Anyway your loud scream of excitement  gave me a fright"
Well no more. From now one I will be saying the following.

Me : "I was keeping an eye out for those Leopards roaming around wild. Someone has to make sure they don't come and eat your lazy ass"
It used to be that we only had to keep an eye out for the occasional baboon or snake when we went fishing on some remote little mountain stream down here in the Cape. Well, ignorance was bliss as it was recently found that the Endangered Cape Leopard is alive and well in the mountain ranges that we fish.

Read full story here

 The above Leopard was captured on camera by the Cape Leopard Trust on the beautiful Lourensford Estate

I know it is a fair distance between where the Leopard was spotted and the ussual places we fish, but it is part of the same mountain range after all.

And why would a leopard chase another wild animal if all he has to do is sit in wait next to a trout stream and wait for a fly fisher to show up packed full of goodies. I am pretty sure he wont mind the size 20 parachute Adams or Elk Hair Caddis's that he inevitably would need to spit out.

So why do you need to stay fit to go fishing I hear you ask.

" So that you can run faster than your buddy"

Saturday, August 21, 2010



This is a very productive dry fly here in our local streams. It was designed by Tony Biggs and you can probably  find it in every fly box in South Africa. It is a wide hackle dry fly with long trailing legs to create the impression of movement. It presents beautifully and if tied correctly settles on the water as light as a feather.

RAB stands for Red Arsed Bastard

Here is a great Step by Step by Tom Sutcliff.


HOOK: Light wire dry fly hook with a wide gape
TAIL: Cock hackle fibres or CDL
BODY: Stripped Peacock quill
HACKLES: Ginger saddle hackle and CDL.
LEGS: Squirrel tail fibres

This wild river Brown loved the RAB

Friday, August 20, 2010

Terry Pratchett on Mayflies

 This is an extract from Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

The shortest-lived creatures on the Disc were mayflies, which barely make it through twenty-four hours.
Two of the oldest zigzagged aimlessly over the waters of a trout stream, discussing history with some
younger members of the evening hatching.
“You don’t get the kind of sun now that you used to get, “ said one of them.
“You’re right there. We had proper sun in the good old hours. It were all yellow. None of this red stuff.”
“It were higher, too.”
“It was. You’re right.”
“And nymphs and larvae showed you a bit of respect.”
“They did. They did,” said the other mayfly vehemently.
“I reckon, if mayflies these hours behaved a bit better, we’d still be having proper sun.”
The younger mayflies listened politely.
“I remember, “ said one of the oldest mayflies, “when all this was fields, as far as you could see.”
The younger mayflies looked around.
“It’s still fields,” one of them ventured, after a polite interval.
“I remember when it was better fields,” said the old mayfly sharply.
“Yeah, “ said his colleague. “And there was a cow.”
“That’s right! You’re right! I remember that cow! Stood right over there for, oh, forty, fifty minutes. It
was brown, as I recall.”
“You don’t get cows like that these hours.”
“You don’t get cows at all.”
“What’s a cow?” said one of the hatchlings.
“See?” said the oldest mayfly triumphantly. “That’s modern Ephemeroptera for you. “ It paused. “What
were we doing before we were talking about the sun?”
“Zigzagging aimlessly over the water,” said one of the young flies. This was a fair bet in any case.
“No, before that.”
“Er . . . you were telling us about the Great Trout.”
“Ah. Yes. Right. The Trout. Well, you see, if you’ve been a good mayfly, zigzagging up and down
properly -”
“- taking heed of your elders and betters -”
“- yes, and taking heed of your elders and betters, then eventually the Great Trout -”
“Yes?” said one of the younger mayflies.
There was no reply.
“The Great Trout what?” said another mayfly, nervously.
They looked down at a series of expanding concentric rings on the water.
“The holy sign!” said a mayfly. ”I remember being told about that! A Great Circle in the water! Thus
shall be the sign of the Great Trout!”
The oldest of the young mayflies watched the water thoughtfully. It was beginning to realise that, as the
most senior fly present, it now had the privilege of hovering closest to the surface.
“They say, “ said the mayfly at the top of the zigzagging crowd, “that when the Great Trout comes for
you, you go to a land flowing with . . . flowing with . . .”
Mayflies don’t eat. It was at a loss. ”Flowing with water, “ it finished lamely.
“I wonder, “ said the oldest mayfly.
“It must be really good there, “ said the youngest.
“Oh? Why?”
“ ‘Cos no-one ever wants to come back.”

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A fishing weekend

A few months back I was stuck in traffic late on a Friday while driving home. I was tired from the week and decided that now is a good time to take a break.I phoned my friend who owns a farm next to a river  and told him to get the beers in the fridge because we are on the way for a bit of an impromptu fishing weekend.

Arriving home I first told my Jack Russel (Spud) about the trip, and I guess he remembered the Jack Russel Bitch that my friend has as he put on his best grin, hoped in the car and announced himself ready. He was less impressed when I told him he had to pack all his own food and other junk.

My wife was just as easy to convince and we chucked some clothes and other goodies in the car and were soon on our way.

The four hours drive to my friends farm passed rather quickly and pleasantly, but I was in for a bit of an surprise on having my first look at the river. I guess I should have listened more carefully when he told me that they are having quite a serious drought there and that the river was a "tad" on the low side.

Nothing could however dampen the anticipation of spending a relaxing weekend in a beautiful part of the country, and soon the beers were flowing, the fire was lit and stories were shared.

The next morning I headed down to the river, but where I used to fish I was now driving around in my car. I found one or two deep pools and and only had the following monstrosity to show for my effort.

A while later Spud joined me and he looked rather depressed and plunked himself in the water to sulk.I am not sure if he was thinking about how bad the fishing is, or whether he was cooling his balls seeing that I haven't seen him since he and the bitch ran of the previous night.

The rest of the day was spend relaxing and exploring, and the next morning I went down for a hour to the nearby river mouth to try my luck with some salt water fishing before heading home, but I guess the weekend wasn't meant for catching any fish.

It is always a sad time driving home from a good weekend, but at least the memories spend in good company will always be there.

Monday, August 16, 2010



HOOK: Knapek Midge Pupae
TAIL: Partridge
BODY: Hare'e Dubbing
WING: Deer Hair
LEGS: Partridge

Clamp your hook in the vice and attached your thread.
STEP 2:  
Tie in your tail.

Spin a thin noodle of dubbing and form your body.Leave 
enough space at the hook eye to tie in your deer hair and legs.

STEP 4: 
Tie in your deer hair and legs.

STEP 5: 
Spin another thin noodle of dubbing and cover over the deer hair tie in area right up to the eye of the hook and whip finish.
Finished fly

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Is it worth it?

It starts of with a discussion after a session on the local dam.. The topic is how great it is to get out on the water, any water, and invariably ends up about how we miss fishing the streams. A plan is quickly hatched about how we should do an exploratory trip to some obscure little river somewhere to see how the fishing is. Plans are made and schedules get synchronized.

A couple of times it almost gets to happen but mostly the weather, work or a million other things don't play along. Eventually the weather gods and the boss (read wife) agrees with each other and the green light is given.

The night before fly boxes gets checked, and you realize that the flies in there are truly horrible little things. Never mind that they were working last season and will still be working this season , but you have evolved since tying the current stock and are a much better fly tier now and so the vice gets dragged out and you start tying the new and improved versions of last years flies. Once completed they look pretty much the same as the old ones, buy you feel much better about them.

The morning of D-day arrives and you drag yourself out of bed at the crack of dawn. Over a cup of coffee, you look out the window and see that the weather gods are still asleep and haven't bothered yet to start thinking about how they can bugger up your day.

Suddenly you realize that you cannot remember where you have stashed all your stuff when you last swapped your small steam rod for the still water rod. It is a mad scramble to get everything together and into the bag. Eventually you even find your wading boots that the wife has stashed in a far of deep corner of the garage to put as much distance between herself and the moldy smell that only a good pair of wading boots can have.

You eventually have everything in the car, crank up some good tunes and head of to some distant destination with the hopes of catching some fish.

On the way there you stop every time when you see the river somewhere in the distance to "Have a look". Not sure what that look is for seeing that you have already driven for more than a hour to get there and there is no way that you are going to turn back now, but look you must.

Arriving at the parking spot it is a scramble to get your boots and vest on as fish fever is high. Leaders gets checked, fly boxes gets packed and its a race to see who get to the water first.

That first step into the cold water is a doozy, but a few minutes later your legs are numb enough that you don't care anymore.

For the next few hours it is you and your rod, fly line, leader and fly against nature. You scramble over rocks, slip and fall, crawl on your knees through bush, shoot off some bow and arrow casts, hook trees, hook rocks, hook yourself, swear that there is no fish in this damn river, but still you and the river are one.

Then suddenly, you see a small flash, the anticipation shoots through your body and then ....BAM ..... the fish hits your tiny little dry fly, you set the hook and land a beauty.

The rest of the day nothing further happens and you put it down to some or other weather system that is on the way,the Fish Eagles ate all the fish, the fish are still in shagging mode or some other obscure reason, but you are satisfied that at least there is fish in the river.

You hike back out for the next hour, pack up your stuff and drive the hour home.You get on the computer, download the photo's and tell the wife to come and look at the pretty fish you caught.

She takes one look and says "I dont get it. All that effort for that? Was it worth it?"


Friday, August 13, 2010



TAIL: Partridge
WING: Deer Hair
LEGS: Partridge

From Left to right: #20, #18, #16

Thursday, August 12, 2010


HOOK: Streamer
BODY: UV Dubbing
EYE: Jungle Cock
WING & TAIL: Rabbit Strip

A few other variatons

Wednesday, August 11, 2010



HOOK: Gamakatsu
EYES: Dumbbell
BELLY: Steve Farrar Blend
BACK: Steve Farrar Blend

Tuesday, August 10, 2010



There probably is not much that can be said about the Wooly Bugger that havn't been said before. Love it or hate it, it should be in everyone's fly box as it is a proven fish catcher from Trout, Bass, Bluegills, Carp, etc.

From What I can gather a Pennsylvania fly tier, Russell Blessing tied the first "Buggers". He added a marabou tail to a woolly worm fly, to help suggest a swimming movement as the fly was retrieved in the water.The Wooly worm is very old and was already mentioned in Izaak Walton 1653 book "The Compleat Angler". The original Woolly Bugger was tied to imitate  the Dobsonfly Lava.

Woolly Buggers suggest lots of different trout food: Dragonfly nymphs, damselfly nymphs, leeches, baitfish, or just something that might be alive and edible. 

To fish the Whoolly Bugger you can use a countdown and retrieve or slow retrieve. Vary the retrieve until you find what works best at the moment, slow and steady, fast, strip and pause, or what ever works for the fish on the day.

Below is my favorite variation. 

 HOOK: Streamer
BEAD: Brass

Monday, August 9, 2010



HOOK:  Streamer
BACK & TAIL: Olive Zonker
BELLY: Crawfish Orange Zonker in a dubbing loop

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Going to fish my local dam again tomorrow and needed some more Pheasant tail nymphs, so I tied up a few tonight. These little flies worked well  some time back as they sink fast. I fish them on the dam with a long 5x leader on a floating line. I just let the line drift in the wind and give it the occasional twitch.

With the dams water being so clear at the moment I also love to cast them to cruising fish. You can often spot the fish turning toward the fly if you get the fly in its path.

BEAD: Gold tungsten
BODY: Pheasant tail
THORAX:  Peacock Hearl
THORAX COVER: Medallion sheet

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A new bug is born

With the start of the river season still a month away I decided to give Blue Gum Grove another try today. It was mainly to give my new Barrio Fly line a test and I can tell you for the price of these lines I am suitably impressed.

While bobbing around on my float tube I noticed the below little bug popping to the surface. Unfortunately I just had my little point and shoot camera with me and sitting on a float tube taking macro pictures is no easy task so apologies for the poor pics.

A few seconds later he started to make his appearance.

Next thing you know the wings came out, and at this point I was praying for a Rainbow Trout to come and get him.
And in a matter of just a few seconds a new bug was born....

You would be excused if you though that just witnessing this that I would off course find a suitably imitating pattern in my fly box to tie on, but at the end of the day the good old Olive Woolly Bugger did the trick just as well.