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.
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.