Ollie Edwards videos don’t usually stay up for long on the public domain so, this is worth watching quickly before it washes downstream !
a little over an hour long and all in honor of Frank Sawyer, there’s tying and fishing with tips and tricks and of course, goofy ‘ole Edwards all along the way. enjoy !
a while back we’d seen an intro by Oliver Edwards where both of Sawyer’s most famous nymphs: the Pheasant Tail and Killer Bug where featured, tied and fished but i thought a refresher on this seminal Bug was a little overdue, this time with a bit more info (i know there’s a lot more in print but not in my collection…) and a close rendition of how Sawyer tied it by Davie McPhail.
not only a historical pattern but one that shines as much now as when created. a must have for the river fisher. i hope you’ll enjoy.
“Sawyer is probably best remembered for the development of the ‘sunken nymph’ and the associated nymphing technique sometimes called the Netheravon Style. Sawyer’s nymphs were innovative in that they were tied with fine copper wire instead of silk or thread. This allowed the nymphs to sink and also gave them a translucent colouring when under water. Sawyer advocated the ‘sink and draw’ method of nymphing where the nymph was allowed to sink and then made to ‘swim’ towards the surface by drawing in the line or slowly lifting the rod tip. This was coupled with the ‘Induced take’ where the nymph was made to swim up in front of a fish thereby inducing the fish to take.
Killer Bug ～ Hans Weilenmann’s Flytier’s Page
Sawyer developed the Killer Bug as a means of controlling grayling numbers on the River Avon where at the time it was considered vermin. The Killer Bug is designed to imitate the freshwater shrimp but also looks similar to a hatching sedge. The Killer Bug was named by Sawyer’s friend Lee Wulff. It is tied with large amounts of copper wire and light beige wool. Originally the Killer Bug was tied with a wool called Chadwick’s 477. When production of this wool ceased in 1965 Sawyer switched to a specially produced copy. In fly fishing circles the original Chadwick’s 477 wool is considered to have mythical fish-catching properties with lengths of the wool selling for hundreds of pounds.”*
indeed, seen dry, the bug and yarn don’t seem so special and we’ll probably wonder why in the world it would be worth the trouble and money to hunt down this wool but the real magic happens and doubts disappear when we see it wet. the fish most certainly think it’s special.
* lucky you ! you won’t have empty your savings if you want the real thing. my buddy Toby at Funky Fly Tying sells short lengths at a great price HERE (tell him a Cobra sent you ;-) )
always a bit dismayed by conflicting emotions and the ensuing decision making process of wanting to slap him upside the head and also show him my deepest respect, watching Edwards tie and fish is regardless, always a treat. most of his film excerpts don’t stay for long on the open net so if anything, it’s well worth checking out his by-the-book renditions and tutorials for two of Sawyer’s infamous flies: the Killer Bug and the Pheasant Tail Nymph. pushing the geek even further, Ollie goes to Sawyer’s chalkstream home waters where these flies where developed, manages to stand in the exact boot imprints of ‘The Master‘ in the riverbed of said waters (notice the quivering voice) and well, fishes.
pretty cool and in a certain way, quite exotic to us average blokes. enjoy !
my first reaction was “oh my……” , but on second look (and third and forth etc, etc) what comes out is a fly that is pretty uniquely designed around strong trigger/attractor points and that makes it stand out not only to the fish but also from the average dry fly lot.
all this spread-outness created by the separated tails and legs will of course leave a strong footprint on the water’s surface but when combined with the poly-wing, makes for a fly that lands ‘on it’s feet’ and stays that way, stabilized by it’s effective overall width, something very interesting in rolling waters. the wing itself will make it visible to the angler miles away making it a good indicator fly for fishing a nymph or two beneath it if you’re in a searching situation.
good and BigFootystuff for sure, enjoy !
is one of those general imitations very apt at imitating either a mayfly, a sedge or a midge. originally designed for grayling, it will do and do equally well for just about any species of fish that eats insects. it’s very simple design and construction are what makes it work and it’s a great fly to start off in fly tying.
as with most flies, this is one to have in different sizes and colors to suit the moment. there is nevertheless one inconvenience to the cdc feathers and that’s residual fish slime after a catch. it annihilates all the flotation qualities of these feathers, making them sink immediately and to continue fishing means either changing flies while the first dries off completely or thoroughly washing it in the water and then drying it off with something like amadou or my favorite, a piece of chamois skin before fishing again.
finally, what this means is it’s best to tie each model in good numbers to be able to deal with slime and continue catching fish. they’re easy to tie and inexpensive so it isn’t a big deal.
first, let’s have a look at the original F-Fly, scrupulously tied as per directed by it’s creator in this lovely Parkinsonized video by Oliver Edwards.
and now, the improved version tied by Hans Weilenmann.
sure enough, we can trust Hans to come up with a way to improve something that’s already quite perfect.
note: for the longest time i thought that this fly was named after me (Fauvet) but a little research shows that the ‘F’ is in fact there for it’s Slovenian creator’s name, Marjan Fratnik.
yet another example that while vanity, ignorance and wishful thinking may make for a seemingly pleasant life, it’s just plain dumb.
not being of any traditionalist’s tendencies, what interests me most in wet fly fishing is more the style of fishing rather than the actual flies used as this method works equally well with unweighted nymphs or drowned dries (yup, put sinkant, mud or spit on it and it slowly sinks just where we want it).
active, dynamic, extremely effective and a lot of fun, the goal here is to present flies that might represent deadborns, emergers or spents just below the surface of the water column.
through time i’ve found that wet flies are so effective that i’ll almost always have one trailing behind or before the ‘main fly’, even with streamers ! a guess would be they come over to see the chunk and they take the bite-size, maybe because it looks less intimidating ? who knows.
in the beginning sequence Edwards points out an extremely obvious point that the typical method of fishing wets, ‘down and across’ just doesn’t make for a natural drift.
it does work at times but it’s clear that most salmonids will shun an insect going against or across current because it just doesn’t fit in with what insects do. with the ‘down and across’ method, there are often serious issues in hooking up. if the fish doesn’t turn around or go off at an appropriate angle it’s very easy to pull the hook out of the fish’s mouth as it’s directly inline with the angler. another common problem with this tight-line technique is the fish feels an instant resistance and spits the fly out and break-offs are common with over-excited, overly caffeinated anglers. a lot more important than losing a fly, break-offs suck because the fish ends up with a fly stuck in it’s mouth…
these problems hardly ever occur with the upstream or across stream methods shown on the video as there’s always at least some slack in the system.
(unfortunately, the longer video that demonstrated these fishing techniques with more details has been removed from the public domain but for all interested in learning more about traditional wet fly fishing i’d highly recommend buying Edward’s Essential Skills dvd #4 ‘Wet Fly Fishing on Rivers’)
here Edwards is tying the famous Waterhen Boa or large dark olive or better yet, Baetis rhodani of the ephemeroptera/mayfly family.
this nymph image explains the ‘dark’ part of ‘large dark olive’
(EDIT- THE VIDEO BELOW HAS BEEN REMOVED, I’LL TRY TO FIND ANOTHER ONE ASAP)
like most wet flies it doesn’t really look like anything at the vise but it’s for sure sexy-buggy attractive when wet and tumbling down the current !