Falloons

Most of my knowledge about fish, their habits and the foodstuffs, including real and fake food (lures), they respond to comes from bait and art lure fishing. These were fishing disciplines I enjoyed until fly fishing took over my interest in catching fish when I was a student. It was not an easy transition and most of the good fish I caught on fly cost me more than an arm and a leg. The school fees continue to grow the hole in my pocket though. Expenditure is something that seems to go hand-in-hand with fishing and especially experiencing good fishing; unfortunately the more you fish the more the cash flows out as well.

Anyway, although some of the flies and tactics I use in fly fishing are tips from friends gathered over the years, some are my own independent creations and methods, while a fair percentage are based on lure design and action. Falloons are classic examples of flies designed by copying lures and specifically the Sada grubs we used to catch bluegills with.

Falloon materials

It happened too often to be chance that carp ate the little plastic grubs and had us running up and down the bank and in and out the water to land them on the fragile 2 lb line we used for pan fish on ‘ultra-light’ spinning tackle. This played in the back of my mind for some time, but the lovely, lively, curly tails of those little lures were incredibly difficult to copy with fly tying materials and a pattern was never developed. That was until I recently strolled through a cluttered Crazy Store looking for more rubber toys to tie squirmy flies and I ‘stumbled’ upon balloons. Packets full of colourful balloons, even black and white ones, sparked the idea of perfect curly-tail grub flies in nearly any colour one could wish for.

Falloons edited

Although moulded plastic and silicone grubs (mostly yellow and white ones) are obviously available commercially, I believe that a true fly, no matter which materials it is made from, is created from scratch (or at least the more demanding the tying sequence, the more I like it). So I went through the effort to ‘create’ my own curly-tail grubs with balloon rubber and voila, Falloons were created.

Leonard carp by Ruben Schoombie
The author with a Berg River carp – photo by Ruben Schoombie

The name ‘Falloon’ conveniently sounds like a combination of ‘fly’ and ‘balloon’, but the roots of the word run deeper. I was at a birthday party in Villieria (Pretoria) when the mother of the five-year-old birthday boy pulled out a packet of balloons and said: “Look, I got you boys lekke falloons fo the paatie!”…There you have it, Falloons, something that was born behind the South African boerewors gordyn.

Garth fighting Berg carp 1 small

Garth fighting Berg carp 3 small

Berg carp caught by Garth 1 small

Garth Nieuwenhuis releasing his first carp on fly
Garth Nieuwenhuis releasing his first carp on fly

PS – this fly should work well for trout, tilapia, bass and many other fish species…Would be nice to get some feedback from eager testers?

8 thoughts on “Falloons”

  1. Jeff says:

    Lekker Leonard. Twitch one of those through a KZN north/south coast gully and I can think of at least 6 different species that would be all over it.

  2. Hanlie says:

    Love it! It is going to work..

  3. Ruben says:

    Hey Leonard. Thanks for the photo feature. Was a great day out. An awesome pattern, I think it will operate! Will be tying myself some soon to put to the test.

  4. Rich says:

    Love it – Definitely gonna be tying some of these up for a test in the Nile…

  5. Richard says:

    Tried and Tested – 2 new species on falloons: Awaka and Angara in the Nile below Murchison Falls

    1. Leonard Flemming says:

      Awesome Richard!

    2. Leonard Flemming says:

      Do you have some photos of the fish? If you do, would you mind sending it to feathersandfluoro@gmail.com please – would love to include it in the follow-up article showing some of the fish caught on Falloons…

      1. Richard says:

        Unfortunately not of the fish i caught but will send you some other pics of waka and angara

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