“First Fly” Series

Which fly do you tie on first and most often?

I suspect that when we arrive at new water, or even familiar water on a new day, we’ve all been confronted by the question “what fly should I tie on today”. I know I frequently encounter this, and I also know I have favourites that I can initially fish with some confidence. I recently pulled into Brumbies Weir on a still blue sky day. There were fish rising and leaping and I found a seam of them along a grassy bank sipping away on some unseen insects. I tied on one of my first choice trout flies, one of Simon Chu’s CDC emergers, a rough looking but extremely effective pattern in New Zealand, and managed to annoy almost every fish in that line-up. It was purely a confidence choice, there was nothing to influence my selection of that fly other than my confidence in it – its important.

The following patterns are recommendations from some widely respected and vastly experienced anglers in both fresh and saltwater who’ve put in a lot of days over many years, and who have seen the year by year evolution of “favourites”. I’d suggest you take their advise because these would be rated as their first choice confidence flies.

The question I asked needed to be framed carefully. Christopher Bassano pointed out that if I was to ask for “One Fly” his choice would be different, and that was not what I was after. The question asked was “What is the first fly you tie onto your own, or your clients tippet, more often than any other in the course of a season”? The other specifics were also home waters and favorite species.

• Mike Hennessey - I met Mike on a trip to Nuguria Atoll, roughly 270 nautical miles south east of Kavieng – if you don’t know where that is put your Googles on. He came with a big reputation and lived up to it. This guy can fish, but better than that he’s a deep thinker about all fishing. First fly – Jedi crab.

• Alan “Fish” Philliskirk - Alan “Fish” Philliskirk – Owner operator of Fish’s Fly and Sportfishing in Weipa where he’s spent the last 20 years. First fly (for clients) white Clouser, for himself Makim’s crab.

• Bassano’s choice - Christopher Bassano – Frequent Australian fly fishing champion and competition fisherman, and Tasmanian guide – first fly, the Possum emerger.

• Rob Sloane’s First Fly - Rob Sloane. Founder and editor of FlyLife Magazine – location Tasmania – first fly, Bruce Gibson’s parachute black spinner.