Search and Sight fishing

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 !

Frank Sawyer’s Killer Bug

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.

via Hans Weilenmann's Flytier's Page
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.”
Chadwick's 477

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.

Oliver Edwards, Frank Sawyer’s Pheasant Tail Nymph and putting all that old stuff to good use.

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.oliver edwards eats his glasses 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 one of Sawyer’s infamous flies: the Pheasant Tail Nymph. enjoy !

BigFoot !

or the Footprint Dun, an Oliver Edwards design tied by Hans Weilenmann

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 BigFooty stuff for sure, enjoy !

Traditional wet fly fishing techniques

with Oliver Edwards

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’


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 !

Oliver Edwards demonstrates the Snap Roll Cast

part one of what’s going to be an ongoing series on the Roll Cast, it’s uses, what, how, why, when, debunking myths and etc and etc and etc, here’s Oliver Edwards demonstrating the Roll Cast pick-up or Snap as he calls it for fishing small streams and rivers. we’ll see later how this exact same method can be used just about anywhere.

most often described as a way to cast when there is little or no backcast space, i’ll be explaining the many other uses of the Roll Cast and if i manage to get some of those ideas across while suggesting how it’s a marvelous tool for just about any fishing situation from the high altitude to open sea, we’ll see that the idea of it being just for no-backcast room situations is really reductionist and that we might be missing out on something really useful yet very easy to do.

“the proof of the pudding is in the eating”

Search and Sight Fishing by Oliver Edwards

maybe mostly known for his fantastic fly designs and tying innovations, here’s a preview to one of the chapters of his ‘Essential Skills’ set available on dvd. being one of my favorite ways of fishing rivers when waters are clear enough, the upstream nymph to sighted fish technique needs a sharp observant eye of both the water and fish.

Edwards is one of my heros, with a hat like that how could he not be ? as interesting in real life as he is in his films, it’s well worth the time to listen carefully to this living legend.