dongish’ winged worm

born from indecision,

dongish' worm thingy m.fauvet:tlc

the kind that says “you know worm imitations are always good early season fly thingies for when there aren’t any pronounced hatches !” and “dude, it’s March and you should be fishing March Browns !” and then the “ffs, you’ve been to the river three times last week and the bugs are playing dead, the only thing they’re (the fishes) are really excited about are baitfish imitations” and all that compounded by the sudden tying arousal provoked by yesterday’s arrival of this yummy new Premier vise by Marc Petitjean,
MP Premier m.fauvet:tlc
compounded by wanting to try out an all-in-one (material) abdomen/body that’s been safely tucked away behind all the voices noted above (there’s a whole lotta more but somehow the sexy vise managed to eclipse them at least temporarily) and this curved, appropriately-limped, subsurface, winged and dongy-worm thingy happened.
the voices say its gonna kick ass and i’m not about to contradict them. although me managed to fight the streamer directive (there’s tons of them in the box anyhow), at times its simply best to be submissive to oneself and simply bow deeply, tie as they dictate, drive, cast and reel them in.

limbo|ˈlimbō|- (or seductive undulating and alternative uses of foam in fly design)

1 the abode of ‘unbaptized’  nymphs, and of the just who died or are about to before hatching.
2  a voluntary uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an induced intermediate state or condition or indecision of water level beingness: the fate of these insects is now in limbo: neither floating nor sinking, just ‘there’.
• a state of neglect or oblivion: cast out and allowed to reside in a state of piscatorial limboness.

'Limbo' TLC 11-7-13

ORIGIN late Middle French ‘Limbes’: from the medieval Latin phrase in limbo, from limbus ‘hem, border, intermediate, limbo.
’limbo 2 |ˈlimbō|noun ( pl. limbos )
verb [ no obj. ]
to fish in such a way.

ORIGIN 2: back to the foam part.
in a roundabout way, it’s pretty simple to make a fly float or sink. create an ensemble of floating/floatant holding materials in a sufficient volume and it should easily stay on top through fast and slow waters and maybe even after catching a few fish if the materials aren’t too slime-absorbant.
invert those basics and if need be add some actual weight and it’ll sink towards the bottom easily.
now, what about when we’re faced with fish that are greedily eating bugs just under the surface and are completely ignoring any fly presented above or below them ?
a pretty standard  technique in this situation is to control fly depth through the use of various types of fly line densities (or various density sink-tips) but that involves retrieving the line in stillwaters or having the line ‘swing’ in currents. that’s all fine and well but sometimes (often… ) that’s too much movement as far as the fish are concerned. a lot of observations in many water types have shown that they can be lazy bastards at times and will only be interested in bugs that are basically stationary: close to their slimy mouths…

enter the Limbo (or any other pattern that can be relied to hover as much as possible before eventually sinking): and here’s where the foam and ultra-soft materials come in.
closed-cell foam is usually considered a sure-fire floating material but depending on its volume and whether its compressed or not changes that common characteristic to one that also helps a fly stay under the surface yet sink as slowly as possible: the closest thing we can get to actual hovering.
less of a problem in faster waters, in a still or slow water situation, if we use ‘standard’ materials such as cock hackle or even pheasant tail fibers for the tail and some stiffish dubbing say, like a lot of non-water-absorbing synthetics or seal’s fur we end up with a stationary and pretty rigid imitation. replace those stiffish materials with the soft, water absorbing materials like very soft hen hackle for the tail and rabbit underfur combined with no more than a dozen hare ear guard hairs to represent a few legs and other straggly emerging bits and now we have an imitation of a bug that’s stationary yet moving a little bit as if it’s still alive or gently undulating with the current in its death.
this gets the lazy bastard’s attention.

this fly’s general profile is pretty  generic so that leaves us a lot of room to adjust the basic construction ideas to match the various bugs of our waters. the trick here compared to the standard float or sinking fly is finding the exact balance between the floating and sinking elements without forgetting how it has to combine with the hook’s weight or some eventual pull from the leader.
this takes some experimenting. expect to come up with a lot of duds and stripping the hook to start all over again before finding the ‘just right’. i test each one at home before fishing them. it’s one of the better uses of bidets there is.
also keep in mind that everything usually changes when going up or down a hook size or hook shape or from one type of insect to another. to be honest, this has been the toughest challenge i’ve ever encountered in fly tying but then, there aren’t a whole lot of times when ‘cracking the code’ feels this good when all else fails.

you can find all the necessary goodies to make these critters and a lot more from Lucian Vasies at

Related articles

Matuka !

matuka BOC 1 probably more fun than tying or fishing them, the greatest joy with this awesome streamer pattern is yelling


at the top of your lungs when approaching a likely big-fish holding spot. this seemingly counter-intuitive act puts the bigger fish in a prime eating mode and also chases away any other angler for miles around. (nothing’s worse for good fishing mojo than say, having a casting instructor observing your style from behind a bush with the ensuing silent tsk, tsk critiquing). the unsuspecting angler may not see or hear anything but  as we all know, negative vibes are the real cause of tailing loops !

having a hard time finding out the actual creator of this pattern, i’ll go sheep-like and simply bleat that it’s origins originate in New Zealand (the land of sheeps) and was devised as a bait fish imitation to match well, the local baitfish.
matuka BOC wingsit’s particular shape comes from the use of two feathers, carefully prepared, trimmed to form and tied in back to back on top of the hook shank. that in itself doesn’t seem to be so unique as it apparently has been part of much older salmon patterns and we’ll also readily find flies of the same name tied in with a rabbit fur (or other similar fur strip) instead of  hackles so, what seems to me is the Matuka style can mostly be attributed to the fact that whatever the ‘wing’ is made of, it’s held in place by the rib starting by the back of the fly and wound towards the front.

anyway, in what is by far the prettiest, neatest and over-all yummiest version of this pattern i’ve ever seen, Monsieur Barry Ord Clarke shares with us a great step-by-step of this version with all of the finer points in making a not-only beautiful but successful fly worthy of presenting to a bigun‘.

as suggested, don’t hesitate to mix and match other materials to suit your needs and get ‘just the right profile’. one recommendation though, be anal with the feather preparation and symmetry as this greatly affects how the fly swims and tracks through the water.
click either pic to access the step-by-step. enjoy !

matuka BOC 2

somewhat related articles


Emerging Debra

Debra was a girl i went to school with when i was a kid. having recently found class photos at my parents place, i discovered that she and i where in the same class for ten years and usually side by side both in class and on the class shots. we where always together doing what kids do. i loved her then and even though i have no idea what she has become, that love is still there. she was a redhead, a tomboy but a cautious tomboy. she always stayed right beneath the surface while i floated high and took the blame for the both of us.
cdc ptn emerger foam head

tan an’ dubh

dubh, pronounced doo is Scottish Gaelic for black.

tan 'an dubh

made with:
hook- Maruto D82 bl #16
thread- Veevus 12/0 dubh
tail- 7 Pardo medium fibers, select the spotted fibers near the tip of the feather to match the markings of the hackle
abdomen- hare dubbing  dubh
thorax- 2-3 fibers of Hends Spectra warm-dubh
hackle- Whiting Coq de Leon hen natural


is yet another take on the North Country Spider style of wet flies. this one will have the job of imitating a chironomid. i’ll see if it’s a good actor soon.

reddie 2

made with:
hook- Kamazan #18 barbless Maggot (yes, maggot… )
thread- Veevus 14/0 black
abdomen- peacock eye quill died red
thorax- Hends Spectra reddish black
hackle- Whiting Brahma hen natural

the Tummel fly, nudity and the Highlander

“Of all the original Scottish fly-designs, that of the old Tummel fly must be considered the most individual.  In no other part of Scotland is the dressing of a trout fly so severely curtailed in every respect.  It has been said that the Highlander liked two things naked – his whisky and his women – but the old Tummel fishers extended this preference to their trout flies, which in marked contrast to the rough-dressed flies commonly used for trout fishing in most Highland rivers, all are but naked also. Compared with the true Tummel fly, the daintiest modern nymphal representation is heavily dressed and bulky in appearance.

   The austerity of the dressing of the Tummel fly in itself constitutes the most conclusive refutation of a widely-held assumption that our forefathers could not dress the most dainty and masterly trout flies when they so desired or found it to be necessary.” 

straight from the land of fierce, gorgeous women and men in kilts, here’s a real gem from the now and past found on Donald Nicolson’s Historical Wet Fly & Spider Pattern Site. do yourself the favor of browsing through Donald’s site for an amazing wealth of old-fashioned yet timeless fishy stuff. enjoy !

GammaroShrimps !

a super-sexy deluxe gammarus imitation step by step by Dave Wiltshire.

” Slim, heavy Czech nymphs and shrimp imitations can be essential for getting down to fish feeding in deeper, fast water. However where more gentle flows occur, I have found this shrimp imitation to really be successful. Don’t be fooled though, there is plenty of lead in this fly – and it is this ballast that is used to give the fly its  effective ‘hump’ appearance. It is particularly effective when fished in chalkstreams for grayling. “

click either pic for the humped super-shrimpy step by step !