Midlands Fly Fishing — The Blog

Evolution of a Fly – Guest Post by Chip Drozenski

Posted on May 26th, 2013

We are all thinking of Mayfly as I write this. However fly fishing is the same as most things in life. Planning ahead ultimately rewards you. So it’s time to plan for the multitude of of caddis hatches to be encountered throughout the season, particularly during the second half.

In this guest post, Chip Drozenski, experienced fly tier/fisher and marketing director at Andes Drifters, destination fly fishing in Patagonia, reveals the evolution of a fly that has become a firm favorite as well as a prolific fish catcher.


I have been fortunate to be part of a small group of fly fishermen and fishing guides who readily share information for pattern design, application of material, creative techniques and some really crazy ideas in the quest to deceive trout.  Over the last thirty years there have been many “me too” designs and failures but there has been some real GOLD in these pursuits plus some great friendships.  My tying techniques were initially grounded in the “Catskill” style but has evolved over the years.  For me, effective design keys on profile, silhouette, material movement and triggers.

Gary La Fontaine, Rene Harrop, Mike Lawson, Charlie Broe and Hans Weilenmann are a few of the tiers that have had a significant influence on my patterns which gravitate to impressionistic with a natural movement.

One of the great fly concepts is the CDC & ELK introduced by Hans. I was intrigued by the application of the CDC and the tying technique as I already had many  patterns combining CDC and elk that were productive but not special. My fly series, THREAD FLIES, already had proven that CDC movement and profile were very key for highly effective May fly patterns especially for very selective fish.

Abandoning most of my old caddis patterns for the CDC and ELK was easy, it became my best producer.  With a slight change to the body it also is  “killer” as a TRICO cluster.  I also noticed that swinging a wet sparse CDC &  ELK during certain phases of the hatch would, at times, produce.  A diving version was now my quest.  My initial attempts failed as I drifted off course making the modifications too complex, altering its effectiveness.  I needed a profile and trigger that could really get the fish going.  I had added various color teardrops early on but had no noticeable success.

After much trial and error I went back to my early teardrop variations searching for a difference maker…a small olive/gray parachute with a black post and amber antron shuck is my “go to” baetis. The X-CADDIS with amber antron is a favorite.  With a beadhead for weight and a teardrop profile, viola, the amber teardrop diving CDC & ELK started to immediately produce.  Just a slight change, but now I am confident during the hatching phases top to bottom.  I vary the size and color of the CDC & ELK but not the color of the teardrop.  I have received lots of feedback from fishermen and guides worldwide that like the results.  In many places they fish it as a dropper off a  small bugger and in the Box Canyon on the Henry’s Fork they drop it off a large stone fly. Give it a try and any feedback is appreciated!!

Oh, well!  Back to the vice…………. Chip.

Pattern and tying instructions:


Hook: TIEMCO 2487 (or equivalent light wire scud hook) #12-16
Weight: Copper bead
Thread: Black 8/0
Abdomen: Natural (Type 1) CDC feather, wrapped CDC&Elk style
Shuck: Amber Z-lon, teardrop style
Wing: Fine tipped deer hair
Thorax: Black ostrich

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Posted in Fly Tying

Pin Fry Fly

Posted on July 30th, 2012

pin fry fly

Our currently most successful pin fry fly!

A fly currently scoring heavily with trout feeding on pin fry. Tying: –

  • Hook: – size 8-14 to suit size of naturals
  • Tail – Barred hen feather
  • Body – Holographic tinsel optional underbody of fine lead wire
  • Gill – Purple twinkle
  • Back – Olive twinkle
  • Head – black thread with eye created using enamel paints, vary colours
  • Finish – Coat whole body and head area with Bug Bond

Have fun!

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Posted in Fly Tying

Olive Nymph

Posted on July 11th, 2011

Olive Nymph

  • Hook: – Kamasan B175 or similar, size 14-20
  • Thread: – Olive
  • Tail: – Olive hen hackle fibers
  • Rib: – Fluoro green floss
  • Abdomen & Thorax: – SLF blend (3 parts light olive : 1 part fluoro orange)
  • Tie unweighted or weighted with both fine copper and fine lead wire underbody

Our take on an olive nymph which is very effective as a change fly on rivers from high summer to the season’s end  and during the grayling season too.

Unweighted, the olive nymph can be fished high in the water or greased to sit right in the surface film, emmerger style. Fish weighted versions on a dead drift or induced take to sighted fish or while prospecting fishy looking lies.

Bonus tip, it’s deadly on stillwaters from late August on when it makes a great imitation of many immature nymphs. It will fish well right through autumn, winter, into early spring.

Have fun!


Posted in Fly Tying

Scruffy Damsel

Posted on May 30th, 2011

Scruffy Damsel

The Scruffy Damsel is a go-to pattern for us here at MFF. An old reliable favorite, it has the potential to catch any month of the year. 2011 looks like being a massive year for damsel flies, so be prepared!

Originally inspired by the “Alley Cat” a pattern popularised by Bill Sibbons, our key differences are, a sparse tying, rib variation, weighting via dumbell eyes, and body colour variation.


  • Hook: – Kamasan B175 size 8-14.
  • Thread: – Colour to match body.
  • Eye:- Dumbell or beadchain on top of hook shank, sized and weighted proportional to hook size (e.g. large to large etc.)
  • Tail: – Marabou, in various shades of olive, plus brown, black and yellow.
  • Body: – As tail, wound around hook and eyes to splay feather. Tie off behind hook eye.
  • Rib: – Floss or fine wire in silver, red, yellow or fluoro green.

Differing sizes and colours replicate damsel nymphs at various stages of development over the whole year. Play at the tying bench and waterside to find out what works for your local waters.


This fly will work in both lake and river situations, though is most commonly associated with lakes. Heavily weighted versions make superb flies for stalking sighted trout, while any version is perfect for fishing on floating, intermediate or medium sink fly lines according to situation. During summer, fairly fast figure of eight or erratic retrieve styles generally get the best from this fly, making positively pulse with life.

Have fun!


Posted in Fly Tying

Tweaked Taddy

Posted on February 14th, 2011

The Tweaked Taddy

Trout - Be afraid, be very afraid!

Hook – Kamasan B175 size 6-12.

Head – Black metal bead or dumbell eyes. Eye colour, yellow, orange or red with black pupil. Bug bond the head/eyes for durability and lifelike sheen.

Thread – red, orange or yellow.

Tail – Marabou or polar bear of appropriate colour, 3 x longer than body.

Body – UV straggle fritz of appropriate colour.

In addition to colours shown, pink, olive, green, red and yellow have also proved effective. Good combo colours are yellow/olive, orange/black and silver/black.

What makes this fly work? It combines movement with, vulnerability, the key trigger points of eyes, size, realistic reflection and action.

Top tip – tie size 12 versions, plus variant on a large hook with half the normal body so you can tie in the tail close to the hook eye. Try both when experiencing tail nipping, one or the other will work far better than shortening the fly’s tail which totally destroys the fly’s action.

Successful colour depends on light levels and water conditions as fish scales reflect colour according to both. Hence what we perceive as a blatant attractor, is in certain conditions imitating  the trouts natural prey. Here you have 2 options.

1) Pay your dues, experimenting with colours in various conditions of light/water at all times of year. This takes time, effort and disciplined record keeping. It’s how we work things out.

2) Take a humungus short cut, book a trip with our guides!

Best Fishes

Team MFF

Posted in Fly Tying

Taddy Buzzer

Posted on December 10th, 2010

The Taddy Buzzer has caught thousands of fish in recent years and is particularly effective during extreme conditions (i.e. cold or hot). This makes it an excellent fly selection for winter fishing, when trout are taking midge pupa.

The key to success with this fly is size or lack of it. I fish size 14 to 20. It gets to depth fast, has a great appearance and the gift of lifelike movement missing in so many modern midge patterns. A real winning combination.

Taddy Buzzer

Size 16 black/red taddy buzzer


  • Hook – Kamasan B110 size 14-20
  • Head – Silver bead 1.8 – 2mm
  • Underbody/tag – Red 6/0 tying thread
  • Overbody – Black 6/0 tying thread
  • Tail – Tuft of white marabou
  • Rib – fine pearl lurex

Previously I’ve finished the fly with either 3 coats of varnish or 1 of epoxy. I now use BUG BOND however as the finish is clear, application is fast and easy compared with epoxy and the resulting fly is more robust.

Top tip – tie up some alternative colours for testing on your home waters. All red, crimson/red tag, grey/red tag, olive/orange tag, white/orange tag are some I’ve found to be effective under certain conditions. However the original is by far the best all round, year round version.

Would love to hear your feedback on the Taddy Buzzer.

Have fun!


Posted in Fly Tying

BB Bug

Posted on November 30th, 2010

Bug Bond Bugs

BB Bugs

The BB Bug started out life as I played with variations on the lead bug theme. Little did I know at the time I would find a cracking fly for river as well as stalking lake margins.

Tie this simple fly by making wraps of lead wire along the hook shank to create a segmented body, securing with a fine smear of super glue. Apply 2 or 3 coats of Cellfire Varnish No.11 (yellow) allowing drying time between coats. Once complete take a black pantone marker, colouring a small area around the hook eye to form a head. Job done!

I experimented with colours and had great success using it as a stalking bug on lakes and rivers for deep lying grayling and trout feeding on caseless caddis.

This year saw a further evolution. I wanted to make the fly more robust and add further lifelike lustre to it’s appearance. Enter the latest wonder material in fly tying, BUG BOND! Apply a small quantity of this UV curing resin to the previously finished fly, rotate to help level the coating and hit it with a short blast of the UV light, the original fly is transformed.

The fly is rock hard and it’s life span increased massively (unless cast up a tree). Appearance is improved, the segmentation suble, though apparent and with a beautiful insect sheen. Result!

So impressed am I with the end product I renamed the fly after the wonder product that transformed it. It’s now known as the BB Bug.

For further product information and ideas on how this product can help you improve your flies, check out the Bug Bond website.

Has this tinkering improved the fly’s appeal to fish? Undoubtedly! Sealing the surface of the bug means it sinks faster. When river fishing, this means getting your flies to the river bed using less weight. A huge plus for grayling fishing in particular. Equally when stalking big trout, a lighter fly that still sinks quickly is easier to cast accurately with better presentation. Net result, more fish fooled!

Have Fun!

Steve Y

Posted in Fly Tying