Herman Botes ties a celebrated dragon fly nymph imitation: the Papa Roach. It’s an internationally renown fly that has been the demise of big trout the world over.

The original: Herman Botes' Papa Roach Dragon Fly Nymph
The original: Herman Botes’ Papa Roach Dragon Fly Nymph

As stated elsewhere in this blog, its been a cold, long winter. I look up from the Mac at rain that is sheeting in from cold Atlantic! This weather, while putting a damper on fishing exploits, has at least translated into some decent time behind the vice. What a pleasure it has filling up the the boxes in a cosy room with some whisky in a coffee.

Being the fly tying short-cutter that I am, I took a good look at the Papa Roach and simplified to my own tying whims. I cut away a few of the extras, extended the zonker strip over the eyes and threw in some extra legs. I’m very happy with the result – a fly the rides rides level, has enough enough movement and mimicks the shape of a big dragon fly nymph.

It can be tied in whatever colour combo grabs your fancy – natural olives and browns, to all the all black red-eyed name starter or even in Cat’s Whisper white and chartreuse or Dutch Flicka orange and pink!

The eyes for me are an extremely important trigger. They need to dominate the front of the fly. I’ve been using nail polish for the colour combos and Clear Cure Goo for the finish.

The reason for the Ninja name appendage - "It looks sneaky and dangerous: like a Ninja!"
The reason for the Ninja name appendage – “It looks sneaky and dangerous: like a Ninja!”

The recipe to tie is pretty simple:

Hook: anything from a #10 to #6 straight short shank.
Thread: in colour of your choice, thickness depends on preference.
Eyes: Any dumbell that will create a large eye. I like black of red or a combo of the two. Type of dumbell depends on where you are fishing (fast or deep water = heavier, shallow or slow water = lighter)
Tail and top body: zonker in colour of your choice.
Underbody: any material that can be dubbed or wound around the shank, colour (as always) is up to you.
Legs: Silli legs – I’ve been using the Grip Silli Legs because I have them in the box, any will do.

fly tying for trout in the western cape and south africa
Colour combos…

The Step-by-step so that you can too 🙂

Fred Davis

Fred Davis

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5 Responses

    1. It does – especially with the heavy eyes. Keeps the hook out of weeds and other snags. The zonked still creates great movement whether on top or not. And often you will find that fish attack it below.

  1. Interesting, thanks. I tied up a version using crystal chenille and zonker strips but no legs. Fished it on a floating line with a long leader and had some good success.

  2. nice looking, but don’t forget that the fly will float upside down in the water as per the shale of the hook eye.

    1. Tomas, the zonker strip keeps the fly with the upright. It acts like a flight on an arrow. Sometimes the ones with heavily weighted eyes do flip over. However, I have seen no significant difference with hookups.

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