FlyVolution: The Para Daddy

Words by Rex Fey. Photos are his too unless otherwise credited.

Two of South Africa’s most effective dry flies are Tom Sutcliffe’s “DDD”, and Tony Bigg’s “RAB”. My go-to dry fly for all situations for the last 15 years has been what I call a “Big Daddy”. Basically it’s a red-arsed DDD with a more slender body and long legs like a RAB. It has been fished in many countries and in all situations. Having a deerhair body, it has natural buoyancy which I like. I have never really thought that I need much else in my box. I tie them in #10 to #16 with 12 being my favourite size.

Tony Bigg's Red Arsed Bastard
Tony Bigg’s Red Arsed Bastard (www.tomsutcliffe.co.za)
Tom Sutcliffe's Yellow DDD
Tom Sutcliffe’s Yellow DDD (www.tomsutcliffe.co.za)
Philip Meyer's Para-RAB (www.tomsutcliffe.co.za)
Philip Meyer’s Para-RAB (www.tomsutcliffe.co.za)

I have always been interested in Phillip Meyer’s Para-RAB as a pattern, not only because people rave about its effectiveness, but because it just looks so good. It’s a real fisherman catcher but I had never tied a parachute fly before. When Gordon taught us how to tie the Para-RAB, I was already wondering if it would be possible to make my own different version of a Para-RAB based on my long-time favorite, the Big Daddy. So here is my cross between a Para-RAB, and a Big Daddy.

Meet the Para-Daddy.

It presents like a dream, it has a little more meat in it for those big trout looking for a substantial meal, and it has natural buoyancy with the deer hair body. It got off to a flyer on Sunday with 5 presentations to spooky brown trout in clear, thin water, and it had 5 fish hooked and 4 landed. These fish were all sighted and hooked with the camera in one hand and rod in other. It was definitely taking a chance to fish like that but the photos were very well worth it and I ended up with some epic shots. Then again fishing is about so much more than just landing a fish.

The below mentioned pool.
The below mentioned pool.

There was one pool, however, that made me work hard for its fish. Every time I came close and tried to present my fly the fish bolted. I swear they have eyes in the back of their heads. They reappeared and started feeding after 20 minutes. I eventually caught one of them by casting into the pool from about 10m back where they couldn’t see me. I watched the surface of the pool for a rise near where I thought my fly was.

The results of Rex's effort; a beautifully coloured, slender fish of 17 to 18”.
The results of Rex’s effort; a beautifully coloured, slender fish of 17 to 18”.
I was shocked to see this fish cruising along the edge of the rocks. She was circling in and out of that shadow. I waited for her to be facing the other way before making my cast out to the right of where she was, but I knew she would see my fly on her next trip round. She inhaled my Para-Daddy lazily as only a big brown trout can.
I was shocked to see this fish cruising along the edge of the rocks. She was circling in and out of that shadow. I waited for her to be facing the other way before making my cast out to the right of where she was, but I knew she would see my fly on her next trip round. She inhaled my Para-Daddy lazily as only a big brown trout can.
Capturing the pandemonium.This 48 cm monster made a huge commotion once I set the hook. Rod in one hand, and camera in the other.
Capturing the pandemonium.This 48 cm monster made a huge commotion once I set the hook. Rod in one hand, and camera in the other.
My best fish in this stream to date. She was 48cm, or 19” and in prime condition. I estimated her weight at just over 3lbs.
My best fish in this stream to date. She was 48cm, or 19” and in prime condition. I estimated her weight at just over 3lbs.
The Para Daddy
The Para Daddy

3 thoughts on “FlyVolution: The Para Daddy”

  1. Niel Malan says:

    Nice one! Looking forward to the next article!

  2. Martin von Holdt says:

    Epic Rex. I like the way you think!

  3. Keith Falconer says:

    going to float like a cork. very nice pattern.

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