While I have previously written about the “Honey Troglodyte”, it is the black one that is my real go-to pattern on a swiftly flowing stream.
My son James did a photo session recently, while I tied up some samples for an article on the fly.
See this LINK for the full story and tying instructions.
Photos by James Fowler
My Friend Jay Smit recently returned from the States, bearing gifts from his host in Boise, a week or two earlier.
The ever generous Jay, invited me to put my paws in the cookie jar, and take a look at what I pulled out!…….
Thank you Jay, and thank you Bill!
In April this year, a man by the name of Kenneth Einars posted these pictures on Facebook:
Interesting aren’t they! And beautifully tied too.
These immediately sparked my interest, because I had recently read Peter Hayes’ excellent book “Fly Fishing outside the box”, where, in chapter 3 he makes a rock solid argument for having your adult dun imitation facing upstream if there happens to be a downstream wind. Hayes is a deep thinker, and a great writer, and throws old ideas wide open for re-consideration. That’s what he has done with the idea of having your adult mayfly imitation tied on the hook in such a way that you “pull it” from its nose.
Hayes makes a great case for the reverse fly, at least 50% of the time (when the wind is bowing downstream).
But like so much common sense, it is far from common, and a search on the internet for reverse flies turned up lots of women in their gym clothes doing a particular exercise, and very few pictures of flies.
What I did find was reference to a man named Roy Christie, and I then found reference to him in Hayes book too.
Roy Christie is a reverse fly aficionado. In fact he is credited with inventing the reverse parachute fly. See his video on how to tie the Reversed Parachute HERE or see his blog (albeit dormant now) HERE
Interestingly, Christie makes a case for the reverse fly partly because it places your tippet, on his emerger (not an adult) pattern BELOW the surface. Hayes makes a solid case for floating your tippet elsewhere in his book. Yes, I Know, it is controversial, and many of us want the tippet sunk, but that is not the topic here.
Hayes’ book refers to the reverse fly in the context of the dun, but Christie is tying it as an emerger. This got me thinking about the angle of the tail on a reverse fly, and the angle you might want the fly to float at if you wanted a dry fly, rather than an emerger. In other words, do you want its butt under the surface, or do you want it up on top, with the tail fibres supporting the flotation?
Which gets me thinking about Kenneth’s flies…the ones I started this piece with. Kenneth Einars confirmed that he intended them to be duns, but he hasn’t tried them yet.
They are superbly tied, but they are “no-hackle” flies, and may need some more flotation, and Christies are emergers, and if they were to be converted to duns somehow, they may need a different angle to get the fly up on the surface of the water.
The reverse flies I did find on the net all seemed to have their butts in the soup. That is not a bad thing, but I saw a fly tying challenge emerging (excuse the awful pun).
So, first I tied these reverse flies the easy way:
Only afterwards I found that the fly above has already been invented, by none other than Christie, and is called the “Avon Special”, with the hook flipped around as I had done. I recommend you click on that link above to read all about Roy Christie and the invention of his excellent fly, which is pictured below:
The only thing is, the tails may or may not sit on top. The fly is pictured here at the right angle, but look at the angle of the hackle. To test, I filled a glass of water and tossed my version of the Avon Spinner in there. It floated like a cork, but sure enough, the tails were below the surface. (I can’t help wondering: a greased leader (as promoted by Hayes) might help keep the bum up. I wonder if an ungreased one , tied to a #18 as pictured here, will sink below the surface on the strength of just the eye of the hook being under the meniscus……)
I really like this fly as an emerger, and have tied up a bunch, but I have not lost the quest for the high floating dun: the one that floats like a sailboat, and facing upstream when thrown upstream. I did however like the fact that the hook point was hidden up there in the hackle.To get them up there on top though, with tails on the meniscus, I needed a better angle.
So I tied these:
I have just tossed these in a glass of water.
But as Roy asked me over a bowl of stir fry last night: “Aren’t we over analysing things?”
Hell yes Roy, but it is fun isn’t it!
September 13, 2016 | Categories: Fly Tying | Tags: Andrew Fowler, Avon Special, dry flies, duns, emergers, Flyfishing outside the box, Kenneth Einars, Peter Hayes, reverse emergers, Reverse flies, reversed parachute, Roy Christie | 1 Comment
Tips, Theories & Pointers
Back in the day, nymph hooks were quite the thing: we started getting hooks that had a longer shank to accommodate the nymph patterns we were all tying, and I for one, went crazy on them.
Our human aesthetics (and tunnel vision on the matter) dictated that a nice long hook fitted with the nymph shape.
But nowadays it seems to have gone full circle, and for good reason I think.
Take a look at these: the shank lengths are about the same (so we can tie the same nymph on them right?). But look at the gape of the top hook (old style nymph hook) vs the bottom two hooks …the middle (modern) hook in particular:
Here are the hook models by the way:
The sizes are somewhat irrelevant aren’t they! Just pick how long you want your nymph to be, and then tie it on a hook with a nice big fish catching gape. Many times, you will find you are tying what you see as a #12, on a hook of say #10. I say it doesn’t matter.
Note: a TTP topic still to come: Tying your materials offset so as not to block that gape….and the release this week by BIDOZ of their offset beads will no doubt feature in this upcoming topic.
a photo essay
Even my patience was waning, but I am happy to tell you that the limited edition, hard cover version of my book arrived yesterday.
To those who have already pre-ordered: Thank you for your support. Your books will be making their way to you by courier, personal delivery, or whatever else you requested or arranged.
Those who would like to buy a limited edition book, or a soft cover second edition, which will be available within days…..….please click on the “Book launch” tab at the top of this page and follow the ordering instructions there.
I am very pleased with how the hard cover limited edition has come out. It is not cheap (R1,295 + courier if applicable), but the canvas cover and print quality are outstanding, even if I say so myself. The soft cover second edition, at R380 should make a pleasant Christmas gift, and the order form has been updated: you can now place an order for one of those too (just 2 days away from being able to deliver those too!).
Thank you to all who have sent me messages of support and congratulations. In this strange endeavor of trying to sell my wares without being pretentious about it, encouragement is my haven and asylum!
November 25, 2015 | Categories: Fly Tying, Photography & Imagery, Stillwater, Streams, Trout breeding & stocking, Waterside bird & animal life | Tags: Andrew Fowler, first edition, fly fishing book, limited edition flyfishing book, Stippled Beauties Seasons Landscapes & Trout | Leave a comment
There is a lot of hype around the splitting of threads to form a dubbing loop. In my opinion, if you are using fine enough thread, you can simply create a loop in the thread, and you, or anyone else looking at your flies, will never be able to tell the difference.
To create a loop, simply use your fingers to hold a loop of thread away from the shank, and return the bobbin lead thread, to the shank, wind it around the base of the loop so formed, and continue winding. You could also introduce a thread loop using a separate thread of finer diameter than that which you are using to tie.
I use 14/0 thread most of the time. On delicate nymphs I use one of the “spider threads” for the dubbing loop.
One advantage of making a loop instead of splitting the thread, is that the winding up of your dubbing in the loop, will definitely not wind up the thread you tie with thereafter, meaning that it will continue to lay flat. There is a technique for ensuring that the split thread doesn’t remain wound up (and rope-like) after wrapping your dubbing, but I don’t think it is failsafe.
To read about the book, or to order a copy click here.
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September 21, 2015 | Categories: Fly Tying, Photography & Imagery, Stillwater, Streams, Trout breeding & stocking, Waterside bird & animal life | Tags: #StippledBeauties, Andrew Fowler, Fishing books, fly-fishing, south african fishing books, south african fly fishing, stippled beauties | 2 Comments
When I was at varsity there was this dumb saying, that in a man’s life he should buy a farm, write a book, and visit a whorehouse!
I have no intention of achieving one of those, and another I simply can’t afford.
I have however published a book!
This is an announcement I make here with conflicting emotions of satisfaction and humility. Satisfaction, because it has been close on two years of work, and I am pleased as punch with the result. Humility, because ……well because it feels downright pretentious and uncomfortable to announce this out in the marketplace and to then ask people to part with their money to buy it!
But such is my lot, because I have self published, and if I don’t sell it, nobody else will.
So here it is.
(The cover picture was painted by my Dad. I am very proud of him.)
If you ARE interested in parting with some money, please do go to the page on this blog called “Book Launch”. There you can read about it, and, if you like what you see, proceed to the order form.
That form will take a pre-order for the limited edition hardcover, or give you an opportunity to be on the waiting list for the second edition.
I say “pre-order” because the first edition is still with the printers, but it will be ready to post out in a few short weeks. That edition is downright expensive. I would apologise for that, but the main reason for the price (apart from the considerable cost of doing such a limited run in such high quality) is that this is a fundraiser. For every book sold, a figure of R350 (about $27) will be donated to an initiative to clear wattle trees and brambles from the upper Umgeni River. This is a cause that is very close to my heart, as those who know me will be well aware.
So there it is. If you like what you see, and if I haven’t stood on your toes or broken your fly-rod, then I would be most grateful to you if you could spread the news by posting a link to this blog entry, or visiting the book’s facebook page and doing the “like and share” thing.
And if you do choose to buy a copy of either the first or second edition:
September 21, 2015 | Categories: Fly Tying, Photography & Imagery, Stillwater, Streams, Trout breeding & stocking, um...I dont have a category for this, Waterside bird & animal life | Tags: #StippledBeauties, Andrew Fowler, stippled beauties | 4 Comments
When tying in materials, and this applies in particular to bulky materials, you need to handle steps in the diameter of the thread base.
If you tie in a bunch of thick deer hair, and trim the butt ends in a straight line, you will probably have a wide diameter zone over the butt ends, dropping in a step to the smaller diameter zone where you have only thread around the shank.
This is depicted in the top sketch :
A sudden step like this can be managed: You can leave it as a step, and wind one material on the “high ground” and another on the “low ground”, as depicted in the centre sketch above. Watch Davie McPhail do this (watch from 8 mins into the video to about 9 mins 45)
Alternatively you can build up thread to make the base even, or manageably sloped as depicted in the bottom sketch.
If you choose to trim the waste materials at an angle to create a tapered base to work on, that is fine, but be aware that a steeply tapered base will still cause problems as materials wound onto it may slip down the cone shape. Either consider working on a step by building up thread in front of it, or put a thin base of superglue and wind carefully onto the glue brushed, steeply tapered base.
Steps and tapers close to the hook eye are invariably problematic, and should be avoided completely by tying materials well back of the eye. If you have a step or taper problem close to the eye of the hook, you probably haven’t left enough space for the head of the fly in the first place.
“lay flat threads” are also preferable, and there is the aspect of deliberately creating a step to splay materials, but I will get into that in another post.
(One step at a time!)