Traditional home tied flies, supporting Bible distribution in South Africa

It's an art

The freedom to experiment and create your own patterns is truly liberating. You’re no longer confined to the limitations of commercial offerings, and you can tailor your flies to the specific conditions and target species you’re facing. This not only increases your chances of success, but it also deepens your connection to the sport and the environment.

The feeling one experiencing when a fish takes a fly that you have tied is so rewarding in may ways ………..and now………… it becomes and art and not a sport……… it!

The Lab

The laboratory is the only factory where dreams are made.” – Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

As per design

The humble fly, often overlooked and underestimated, holds within it the potential for boundless creativity and innovation.

Fly Tester

Seeing how the fly behaves in the water helps to understand how it is going to function in the real world, were the big boys are playing………..

MY Flies

Dry Flies

Dry fly fishing is a delicate and rewarding technique that requires patience, skill, and a keen understanding of fish behavior. The gentle presentation of a dry fly imitating an emerging insect or terrestrial insect can elicit a thrilling response from fish, making it a truly special experience for anglers. While there are factors like diurnal cycle, weather patterns, and hatch patterns that influence fish activity, early morning and evening hours are generally considered the most productive times for dry fly fishing.

The first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset offer several advantages for anglers:

  1. Insect Activity: Many insects emerge from their aquatic stages and take flight during these periods, providing an abundance of food for fish. Dry fly fishing can be particularly effective when targeting fish feeding on these emerging insects.

  2. Low Light Conditions: Fish tend to be less wary in low light conditions, making them more susceptible to the angler’s approach. The muted light also allows the fly to float more naturally, further enhancing the presentation.

  3. Calmer Water Conditions: Winds typically die down in the early morning and evening, leading to calmer water surfaces. This makes it easier to cast accurately and see the delicate movements of the fly on the water.

  4. Feeding Behavior: Fish often become more active as they prepare for the day or transition into their nighttime feeding patterns. Early morning and evening hours can coincide with peak feeding times, increasing the chances of encountering hungry fish.

While early morning and evening hours are generally considered prime time for dry fly fishing, it’s important to remember that fish can be active throughout the day, especially under favorable conditions. Adapting your approach to the prevailing conditions and observing the behavior of the fish can lead to success at any time of day.

Here are some additional tips for maximizing your dry fly fishing success:

  1. Choose the Right Fly: Select a fly that closely resembles the insects that are active in the area you’re fishing.

  2. Present the Fly Delicately: Cast accurately and avoid making any sudden movements that might spook the fish.

  3. Use a Light Leader: A lighter leader will help the fly float more naturally and improve your presentation.

  4. Watch for Signs of Fish: Observe the water’s surface for signs of feeding fish, such as rising or splashing.

  5. Be Patient: Dry fly fishing requires patience and persistence. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a bite immediately.


I’ve always found that using a dry fly with a small nymph or buzzer tied behind it can be very effective. The dry fly acts as an attractor, while the nymph or buzzer is what the fish actually take. The 30cm spacing between the two flies is also important, as it gives the fish enough time to see and react to the nymph or buzzer.

Tips for using this technique:

  • Use a light tippet for the nymph or buzzer, as this will make it less visible to the fish.
  • Give the flies a few twitches every now and then to simulate movement.
  • Be patient, as it may take a few casts to get a bite.


The Stimulator dry fly is a go-to attractor dry fly. This dry fly sits up high in the water

Its large body also makes the Stimulator one of the very best dry flies to use as an attractor dry fly pattern.

Griffiths Gnat

This simple great fly is often overlooked.

This is my go to fly when other flies just aren’t working.

Green Mamba

Great fly to simulating small Green mamba snake swimming on top of the waters.


Deer Hair Sedge

Imitates a variety of adult sedge flies. Sedge flies are small, soft-bodied insects that emerge from the water in large numbers during the spring and summer months. 

Best on light leader tippet.

Deer Hair Emerger

A classic dry fly that imitates an emerging mayfly. Mayflies are aquatic insects that undergo metamorphosis, and the emerger stage is when they are transitioning from the nymph stage to the adult stage. 

It is a must-have for any fly fisher’s arsenal.

CDC Mayfly

A simple yet effective dry fly that simulates a variety of emerging mayflies, particularly small to medium-sized mayflies like blue-winged olives and tricos. It is known for its high visibility and ability to float well on the water’s surface


The Caterpillar dry fly is a versatile fly that simulates a variety of aquatic insects, including caterpillars, inchworms, and sawfly larvae. These insects are common food sources for trout and other fish species, making the Caterpillar dry fly an effective choice for catching fish in a variety of conditions.


Caddis dry flies simulate adult caddisflies, which are small, soft-bodied insects that emerge from the water in large numbers during the spring and summer months. 


A light leader will help to prevent spooking fish. A 5X or 6X leader is a good choice for most stillwater fishing situations.

Caddisflies typically move slowly, so you should retrieve your fly slowly as well. A slow, jerky retrieve is a good way to imitate a struggling caddisfly.

Caddis Alder

The Alder Fly is a large about 1.4cm, sluggish insect often found on vegetation near to water, they are frequently confused with caddis which they are not, they are a different fly all together. 

May Fly Emerger

May Fly Emergers imitate the mayfly in its transitional stage between nymph and adult mayfly or dun. Many fish that look like they are eating adult mayflies are actually keying on mayfly emergers just below the water’s surface. Fished by themselves or as part of a dry dropper rig.

Wet Flies

Wet fly fishing is a traditional and effective method for catching trout and other fish that feed subsurface. The key to success in wet fly fishing is to use the correct flies and techniques to match the conditions and the fish you are targeting.

Choosing the Right Flies

There are many different types of wet flies, each designed to imitate a different type of food source for fish. Some of the most popular wet flies include:

  • Nymphs: Nymphs are immature aquatic insects that are a major food source for trout. Nymph patterns are designed to imitate these insects, and they are often fished with a sinking line to get them down to the fish’s feeding zone.
  • Minnows: Minnows are small fish that are also a favorite food of trout. Minnow patterns are designed to imitate these fish, and they are often fished with a sinking line or a floating line with a strike indicator.
  • Leeches: Leeches are another popular food source for trout, and leech patterns are designed to imitate these creatures. Leech patterns are often fished with a slow retrieve.

Casting and Retrieving

Casting and retrieving a wet fly is a bit different than casting and retrieving a dry fly. When fishing a wet fly, you want to cast the fly upstream and allow it to sink to the bottom. Once the fly has reached the desired depth, you can start retrieving it. The retrieve can be varied depending on the type of fly you are using and the conditions. For example, a nymph might be fished with a slow, steady retrieve, while a minnow might be fished with a faster, more erratic retrieve.


Stripping is a technique used in fly fishing to help set the hook when a fish takes the fly. When a fish takes a wet fly, you will usually feel a tug on the line. To set the hook, you can strip the line in a quick, sharp motion. This will help to drive the hook into the fish’s mouth.

Landing the Fish

Once you have hooked a fish, it is important to land it carefully. To land a fish, you can use your rod to guide the fish towards you. Once the fish is close enough, you can use your net to scoop it up.

Tips for Success

Here are a few tips for success in wet fly fishing:

  • Use a variety of flies: There is no one-size-fits-all wet fly, so it is important to have a variety of flies to choose from. This will give you a better chance of success in different conditions.
  • Cast upstream: Casting upstream will help to ensure that your fly sinks to the bottom before it reaches the fish.
  • Vary your retrieve: The retrieve is an important part of wet fly fishing. Experiment with different retrieves to see what works best for you.
  • Be patient: Wet fly fishing can be a slow and methodical process. Be patient and wait for the fish to come to you.

Wet fly fishing is a rewarding and effective method for catching trout and other fish. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success.


Fishing a Single Fly

  • Use a sinking or intermediate line to allow the fly to settle deep.
  • Retrieve the fly with a quick hand-twist or down-strip motion.
  • A floating line can also be used with a long leader.

Fishing a Double Fly

  • Tie a smaller fly about 30cm behind a streamer.
  • The streamer attracts the fish, while the smaller fly is more likely to get the take.

Attractor Flies

  • Any fly designed to grab the attention of nearby fish.
  • Large, highly-visible dry flies are common attractor patterns.
  • Flies with bright or flashy characteristics, including nymphs and streamers, can also be considered attractors.



This fly works well for many months of the year but is deadly in winter. It has colours that annoy spawning, lake cock fish, while still being subtle enough to entice feeding fish. The colours also act as an attractor where you often find the trailing fly being taken. Most of my big browns was caught on this fly

Chilly Pepper

The Woolly Bugger fishing fly pattern has to be one of the most versatile and productive flies around. The marabou tail and in most cases a palmered body suggest succulent small juvenile bait fish, insect larva, tadpoles or leeches that trout devour. This fly is like a chilly it works every time.

Thin Mint

The Thin Mint Bugger has proven itself to be a remarkably effective streamer pattern over the last several years. It’s basically your standard Woolly Bugger with a tricolored tail and a few little extras thrown in for good measure. The brown, black in green, is like a Thin Min Cookie in color.

Hot Head

This is one of the most productive and popular wet flies, a must in the fly box, all around year fly. Works well as a New Zeeland rig. 

The orange head seems to attract the fish.


Woolly Buggers are the bread and butter of fly fishing flies. Fished deep on a sinking line or a slow intermediate line. Fast strips and slow figure 8 retrieves work well.  The olive Kalamata color works well in cloudy conditions.


A smaller version of the The “Humongous”. The longer tail and hackle fibers throw a pretty big wrinkle into the original bugger style and are part of what makes this so effective. Plus, it’s got some nice flash on the body

Purple Rain

What is it about the color purple that turns fish on? This wooly bugger color is one of our most effective color patterns.

Black Mamba

The Black Mamba is a variant of the Zonker lure and has to be one of the best trout lures to have in your fly box.

Originated from the UK, but have produced some great trout in large still water lakes, like  Lyndhurst and Eastern Cape.

Butha Buthe

A fly that is tied normally for Largemouth Yellows. Some minor changes were done to the fly and bam…. bam… fish on a great success on Katse Dam with this fly pattern.

Killer Flies

Mr Simpson large

The Mrs Simpson is another traditional wet fly pattern, that is known as a streamer or a killer.

It was named after the Duchess of Windsor, Mrs Wallis Simpson, who caused quite a bit of controversy when she and King Edward VIII started to get romantically involved. 

Mr Simpson medium

The way Mrs Simpson almost lured King Edward VIII into marriage, it was only fitting that the fly was named after the Duchess Of Windsor. The Mrs Simpson fly is a great streamer for catching Trout, and is a very similar pattern to the legendary Walkers Killer.


Marabou Trout Minnow

The Baby Trout Minnow is a versatile fly pattern that can be used to catch a variety of fish. There are many variations that can be used to match different hatches or fishing conditions. Marabou feathers are the soft, downy feathers along the bottom of a common domestic turkey.

Craft Trout Minnow

There are several advantages to using craft fur for fly tying. First, it is very durable. Craft fur can withstand the rigors of fishing in both fresh and saltwater. Craft fur is also very realistic. The variety of colors and textures available allows you to create flies that closely resemble natural baitfish and insects. 

Marabou Minnow Brown

Overall, minnow fly patterns are effective tools for catching fish in still water because they simulate the appearance and behavior of baitfish, which are a natural food source for many fish species.

Marabou Minnow Green

Minnow fly patterns can be retrieved with a variety of techniques, but they are typically retrieved with a slow, jerky motion. This motion mimics the movement of a real baitfish struggling to escape.

Reversed Tied Minnow

A reverse-tied minnow fly pattern is a type of fly that is tied in the opposite direction of a traditional minnow fly. This means that the tail of the fly is tied in at the eye of the hook, and the body is then tied up along the shank of the hook. This technique can create a fly that is more realistic and effective in still water.

Low Fat Minnow

The Low Fat Minnow is a great fly for fishing around weeds and other structure.

When fishing around weeds, use a slow retrieve and twitch the fly occasionally to make it dart and wobble

This TINY Fly Catches BIG Fish.

My Minnow

New Creation to be tested in Eastern Cape

Dragon Flies

Dragonfly larvae (nymphs) are aquatic, usually drab, with 6 legs, large eyes, and small wing buds on the back of the thorax. Gills are located inside the rectum (unlike those of damselflies, which extend from the hind end like 3 leaflike tails). They breathe by drawing water in and out of their hind end.

Intermediate or sinking line, let it sink to the bottom, targeting fish that are feeding on or near the bottom, a slow figure 8 retrieve with small short slow medium retrieves in between. BAM…BAM…Fish on, don’t be surprised if it is a PB, especially if you have spend hours on a float tube, figuring out the old river bed.

RBT Bug Black

When I saw this fly tied by a well known South African guide for targeting large trout, I had to copy it. 

Specially for the monster trout in the Eastern Cape still waters. 

RBT Bug Brown

Rohan Big Trout Bug……..

Paparouchie Brown

I tried to creat a dragon fly nymph simular to the Papa Roach but simplified, smaller in volume, thus the Paparouchie, 

I’m very happy with the result it has enough movement and still mimicks the shape of a big dragon fly nymph.

Paparouchie Speckled

The Papa Roach is renowned for taking big fish, designed by Herman Botes, it has accounted for great catches around south Africa. It is one of the most effective dragon fly nymph patterns ever. 

Paparouchie Green

Fish on a static retrieve near weed beds with a slow figure of eight retrieve on the odd occasion.

Damsels Flies

Damselfly nymphs are aquatic, and live on the bottoms of freshwater habitats such as in streams, ponds, lakes, wetlands, and rivers. They are not good swimmers so are likely to be found sitting on aquatic vegetation, or climbing on plants or rocks in stream areas in water that is still or slow-moving.

Floating line with a long leader or a slow Intermediate line, slow figure 8 and a occasional twitch retrieve to mimic the nymphs’ movements will attract the fish.  Between reeds and grass normally produces the take…BAM… Fish on, don’t be surprised if it is a decent size.

RBT Damsel Black

Copied from Rohan again….

Rohan Big Trout Damsel.


Eastern Cape here we come…..

RBT Damsel Green

Overall, damselfly nymph patterns are effective tools for catching fish in freshwater because they simulate the appearance and behavior of damselfly nymphs, which are a natural food source for many fish species

Rainbow Flash Damsel

The Rainbow Flash Damsel is a fly pattern that simulates a damselfly nymph in the underwater stage of its lifecycle

Rainbow Flash Damsel

The Rainbow Flash Damsel can be fished with a variety of techniques, but it is most effective when fished with a slow, jerky retrieve. This retrieve mimics the movement of a real damselfly nymph struggling to escape.

Rainbow Flash Damsel

The Rainbow Flash Damsel has a flash of iridescent color that can attract fish from a distance. This flash is also designed to mimic the flash of light that is emitted by a real damselfly nymph when it is disturbed.


The Platana fish is a valuable food source found in still waters. They are adaptable to various conditions and breed frequently, making them abundant. They are best caught where tadpoles are visible, usually in shallow water with gradual slopes or near weed beds. Use a fly with a marabou tail to mimic the tadpole’s movement.

Retrieve the fly slowly while bouncing your finger to create a bobbling/wriggling motion. Vary the retrieval speed to make the fly move up and down, imitating the tadpole’s movement.

The Hot Tadpole

Hobson’s Original Tadpole is an imitation of the tadpole stage of the life cycle of the Platana, Xenopus Laevis, commonly known as the African Clawed frog, which occurs prolifically throughout our water systems in Southern Africa.

Baby Tadpole

The Platana is one of the greatest food sources in our still waters, because of their ability to adapt to localized conditions. Their instinctive urge for survival means they are very adept at breeding at every opportunity, usually after heavy rains, be it winter or summer.

My Tadpole

As the tadpole develops it is a good idea to match the size of the tadpole in the water, thus we tie it up in three different sizes. These flies produce big fish, hence we now tie the fly on the extremely strong Daiichi or Gamakatsu Octopus Carp hooks with a wide gape.


The Minky Fly pattern is a versatile fly that can simulate a variety of aquatic insects, including damselfly nymphs, dragonfly nymphs, and stonefly nymphs. This pattern is effective in a variety of freshwater environments, such as streams, rivers, and lakes.

My Minky

The Minky Fly pattern has an elongated and flattened body with a humped back, which is the general shape of a damselfly nymph, dragonfly nymph, or stonefly nymph. This shape helps the fly to mimic the movement of a real aquatic insect


Cormorants can be fished almost static on a floating line to resemble a buzzer or similar aquatic insect; it can be retrieved with a slow figure of eight to allow it to resemble a nymph or fry, or it can be fished on an intermediate or sinking line and pulled back at speed

Nymphs and things......

Yes, nymph fishing can be challenging, but that’s part of what makes it so rewarding. It’s a technique that requires patience, practice, and a good understanding of trout behavior. The small flies and stealthy approach are what make nymph fishing so effective in catching fish that are feeding beneath the surface, where they spend a majority of their time.

Here are some tips for overcoming the challenges of nymph fishing:

  1. Choose the right flies: It’s important to select flies that are the right size and color for the conditions. Match the hatch if possible, or use generalist nymphs like Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, or Prince Nymphs.

  2. Use the right leader: The leader is essential for nymph fishing. It needs to be long enough to get your flies deep enough and light enough not to spook fish. A 9-foot tapered leader is a good starting point.

  3. Cast accurately: Nymphing often requires casting to specific spots, such as seams or behind rocks. Practice your casting in still water before heading to the stream.

  4. Mend your line: Mending is the technique of keeping your line in contact with the water, which helps to control your flies and prevent them from dragging.

  5. Be patient: Nymph fishing is a slow and methodical process. Don’t expect to catch fish every cast. Take your time, work your flies through the water, and you’ll be rewarded with more fish in the long run.

As for the argument that the flies are too small for the fish to see, it’s important to remember that trout have very good eyesight. They can see small flies even in low-light conditions. The key is to use flies that are realistic and that mimic the insects that the trout are feeding on.

With practice and perseverance, you’ll be able to master the art of nymph fishing and catch more fish than ever before.

White Death

The White Death gets it’s name for a very good reason. On some days this fly will catch fish, when other flies won’t even get a second look, never mind about a fish. 

Fished singe fly stripping fast, or as a second fly behind an attractor.

Hare's Ear Nymph

Hares Ear Nymph Trout Flies have to be the most recognised trout flies. They generally work all year round even when there is no sign of a hatch the hares ear nymphs just get the trout to strike. As the Hares Ear Nymph Flies represent almost all of the nymphs in the trouts diet.

Epoxy Buzzer

A superb buzzer pattern. Buzzers can be fished in a team or as a single fly. When fly fishing with buzzers you normally retrieve the flies very slowly or even let the buzzers drift in the ripple letting the wind move them.


Larva fly patterns are most effective in areas where there is a current, such as riffles and runs.

The best retrieve for a larva fly pattern is a slow, steady retrieve.


Snails are fished same way you fish a dry-fly.

Let it drift and then hold on for the take as fish usually commit when taking a snail imitation.

My Bloodworm

Bloodworms are bottom dwellers, so focus on fishing your fly close to the bottom.

Vary between different retrieve speeds and techniques but be patient. 

Dirty Bug Small

Made up of four primary stages (Egg, Larva, Pupa, Winged Adult), the Caddis goes through what is referred to as a Complete Metamorphosis. It resembles the life cycle of a moth or butterfly rather than a mayfly or stonefly

Dirty Bug large

The fly is tied using Dirty Yarn and imitates Caddis.

It is a versatile fly that can imitate a variety of aquatic insects.

Fished single in a drift or 30 cm behind a attractor fly like a wooly bugger.

Sinking Ant

Fish under overhanging vegetation during the summer months, when ants are most active.

Use a variety of ant patterns to match the size and color of the ants, fish early in the morning or late in the evening, when ants are most likely to be feeding.

Tequila Blob

It’s often said that the blob imitates a cloud of Daphnia, but it isn’t actually supposed to be a natural imitation of anything. Instead, it’s an attractor pattern designed to grab the attention of passing trout.

Fished with small pattern flies behind the blob, the blob attracts and the take is on the second fly.

Fly fishing can indeed be challenging, but with the right approach and a bit of practice, I found it to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Over the years I have learned that the following elements are all crucial for success in fly fishing, and mastering them will increase your chances of catching fish consistently.

  1. Right Time and Place: Timing is essential in fly fishing. Understanding when and where the fish you’re targeting are most active will significantly impact your chances of success. Different fish species have different feeding patterns and seasonal preferences, so researching their behavior in the specific water you’re fishing in is key.

  2. Appropriate Gear: Choosing the right gear, including the rod, reel, line, leader, and tippet, is essential for presenting the fly effectively and handling the fish once hooked. The gear should match the size and weight of the fish you’re targeting and the conditions of the water.

  3. Correct Fly Depth: Presenting the fly at the correct depth is crucial for attracting the attention of the fish. This will depend on the species, their feeding behavior, and the water conditions. Observing the water and using different techniques to control the depth of your fly will improve your chances of success.

  4. Suitable Fly Selection: Selecting the right fly pattern is essential for imitating the natural food sources of the fish you’re targeting. Consider the size, color, and action of the fly to match the conditions and the fish species. Experimenting with different flies can lead to more productive fishing sessions.

  5. Effective Retrieve: The retrieve is the movement of the fly through the water, and it can make a significant difference in attracting and enticing fish to strike. Different retrieves mimic the movements of different natural prey, so understanding the behavior of the fish you’re targeting and experimenting with different retrieves is important.

  6. Positive Attitude: A positive attitude is often overlooked but can play a significant role in fly fishing success. Staying focused, maintaining patience, and learning from your experiences will contribute to your overall enjoyment and increase your chances of catching fish.

I find fly fishing to be a continuous learning process, and mastering these elements takes time and practice. With dedication and perseverance, you can improve your skills, increase your catches, and enjoy the rewarding experience of fly fishing and get “hooked” like me.

The proof is in the pudding.......

Eastern Cape

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