words and photos courtesy of Rex Fey
What on earth do I mean by “Flyvolution”?
Simply put; it’s evolution of a fly pattern over time. I am an avid trout fisherman, and an equally avid fly tier. Most evenings I spend either on my vice, or looking at my fly tying desk and with a guilty conscious wondering if I can squeeze in a few flies.
Why guilty? Well I’m now partially (well, equally) responsible for a 3 week old baby boy. Nappies have to be changed, bath time, helping cook dinner and of course, early nights. Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting times – as some of you will know – but fishing is not exactly taking centre stage in my life right now. Thankfully my missus enjoys fishing herself and she likes the fact that I am passionate about the outdoors and sitting behind my vice in the lounge is at least better than me frequenting the local pub!
All of us who enjoy tying flies have got that special pattern that’s either a well-known classic, a fly of their own creation or a modification of some well-known pattern that they tend to lean back to. All fly patterns borrow from other patterns and so I suppose there aren’t really many truly unique fly patterns anymore. A Royal Coachman springs to mind as a fairly unique fly, as do would have many of the original traditional patterns, but today it’s a case of borrow, lend and blend.
The upcoming articles were inspired by a recent and particularly unbelievable day’s fishing. What made it so unbelievable was that it was by far the most fish I had ever caught on this stream. Previously the most I had ever caught was 2 fish. Do remember that these fish are spooky browns in a tiny crystal clear stream. The stream is very, very low at the moment which adds to the awesomeness of the day! There are very few fish and I know where most of the decent ones hang out.
Generally I will sit and wait for them to show themselves before sight casting to them and I am pretty used to having my flies rejected. This weekend was a different story. 7 fish sighted, 6 landed and one I lost at my feet! I didn’t have one rejection, not one!
But why was today so different? Obviously Brownies are temperamental at the best of times, and today they were out and feeding in bright sunshine, but I think that a lot of it has to do with the two new flies I had used for the first time.
My fly tying has evolved a huge amount over the last 6 months or so. I had almost completely stopped using Facebook until I discovered S.J Roberts’ page called “Fly Tying South Africa”. It’s a fantastic platform to share ideas with other tiers around the country. It’s pretty much the only reason I find myself on Facebook – I leave the baby photos to the wife!
It has put me in touch with a lot of other tiers who are helping and learning from each other. It’s inspiring seeing what other guys are tying. The best thing of all is it led me to attend a fly tying clinic held by Gordon Van Der Spuy. This was probably the best R1200 I have every spent. I had never tied a proper hopper style fly, a parachute dry fly, a soft hackled wet fly, or anything with CDC. I have been tying decent flies, fish catching flies for 20 years by doing pretty much the same thing over and over again. I have been fishing the same 3 or 4 flies for about 15 years now, and have caught plenty of fish. The patterns I have been using are genuinely my own creation or modification, which is why I like using them. I like doing things differently, and I like the idea of catching fish on my own pattern. I’ve always liked to keep things simple with my fishing but from this weekend’s fishing, I have come to the conclusion that it’s time for a change in flies.
I will introduce to you the two dry flies that I think will become my go to flies, at least for the foreseeable future, and tell you a bit about their evolution. And then I’ll take you through the history of the Basuto-Basher – my go to dragon fly pattern.
The Para-Daddy Step-by-Step
The VDS Hopper
The VDS Hopper Step-by-Step
The Basuto-Basher Step-by-Step