Crafty Bunny a.k.a. “Die Muishond”

Step by step tutorial for tying the Crafty Bunny a.k.a. “Die Muishond”

HOOK: Gamakatsu B10S, #4 or AWA SHIMA 42-8714, #2
140mm Ultra thread in black or olive
4mm Ufudu real dumbbells – tied underneath the hook shank
2cm black zonker strip
Hairline ICE DUB Minnow back shimmer flash
Dubbing loop craft fur brush


Step 1
Cover the shank with a layer of thread and figure of eight a pair of real
eyes to the bottom of the shank about 4-5mm from the hook eye. We mostly use 4mm “Real Eyes” obtainable from UFUDU.

Prepare the hook

Die Muishond – Step 1

Step 2
Tie in a loop of 20-30 pound mono to the rear end of the hook to act as a
tail wrapping guard. I use 30 pound Maxima.
You can also attach a short piece of the same Mono to the front by flattening a
4mm section pushing the Mono through the eye and wrapping over the flattened
section to act as a weed guard. You can also postpone this step till later. This
is also the time to include some turns of lead wire behind the eyes if you are
aiming for a heavier version.

Die Muishond - Step 2

Die Muishond – Step 2

Step 3
Tie in some flashy material above the weed guard and then tie in a Rabbit
strip of approximately 3cm. In this picture I have pushed the weed guard back
into the eye to keep it out of the way for the following steps.


Die Muishond – Step 3

Step 4
Double up your thread to create a dubbing loop and insert your dubbing


Die Muishond – Step 4

Step 5
Cut up a few pieces of flash to mix with the craft fur. Insert craft fur mixed with flash of your choice and spin to form a Craft Fur Brush and comb it out with a dubbing brush, copper brush or comb.


Die Muishond – Step 5

Step 6
Wrap the brush forward whilst continuously stroking it backwards and
combing to loosen trapped material. If you have omitted the weed guard tie it in
before you wrap over the eyes, if already tied in then wrap over the eyes with
the brush in a figure of eight fashion, once under and in front of the eyes and
tie it off. Keeping the weed-guard at an angle.


Die Muishond – Step 6a

Brushing back the fur with your fingers.

Die Muishond – Step 6b

Step 7
Trim the fly to the desired shape (I like a fairly tightly trimmed
bullet shape).

Trim the fly

Die Muishond – Step 7

This pattern is nothing new and merely combines a few of the traits of several
Largie favourites in one attractive package. Most other Largie streamer patterns
would probably have delivered the same results but it has been very effective
this summer and has accounted for more than 60 Largemouths and many big
Smallmouths between 3 anglers since January. It should be a welcome addition to
any Largie hunter’s arsenal.


Crafty Bunny a.k.a Die Muishond

Black has been our favourite colour mostly due to the relatively poor visibility
in the river the whole season but olives and combinations of olive and black
have been equally effective. More natural colours such as whites and greys and
grizzlies would probably be effective in clearer conditions as well.



Nice Smallie with the “Muishond” dangling from it’s upper lip.


Another victim of the “Muishond”.


lm c

A nice Largemouth which fell victim to a Tungsten eyed Muishond

The Pheasant Tail Nymph (PTN)

As a Smallmouth fly-fisherman, if there is one fly you should be very familiar with, it will have to be the PTN (Pheasant Tail Nymph). Mastering this very simple and basic nymph will help you tremendously, laying a solid foundation for all your other nymphs. It is not flashy and fancy, but it is effective in both still water and rivers and it is very easy to tie.

I’m aiming this SBS at the novice fly tier and I hope the novice can learn something out of this, saving a lot of time on future attempts at the vice!

If we look at a nymph pattern you can divide it into three parts:
The thorax, the body and the tail section.

  • The tail should be at least, but no more than one and a half times the length of the body of the fly.
  • The body should cover about half the shank of the hook or a little more.
  • The thorax should be clearly defined and should be thicker than the thickest part of the body.


For the PTN we are going to need the following:

  • Nymph hook of choice (I’m using a #14 R72 Mustad hook in this step-by-step)
  • Ringneck Pheasant center tail feather
  • Peacock herl
  • Fine copper wire
  • Tying thread: 6/0 Danville waxed brown thread


  •   Brass/tungsten bead and lead wraps to weight the fly.

Step 1
If you want to weight your nymph a bit you can place a brass/tungsten bead on it and give it a few lead wraps.


For this SBS I’m going to tie an unweighted PTN.
Tie in your thread and also secure the copper wire at the base of the hook. When tying in your thread, wrap it till it is in line with the barb on the hook. Further than this and you run the risk of tying on the bend of the hook and not on the shank.


Step 2
Take about 5 strands of the pheasant tail barbs, making sure they are long enough to cover the whole shank when we are going to wrap them later.
Tie in the tail. A tip is to tie in the tail too long, wrapping it once with your thread only to hold it in place. Now take the barbs at the thick base part and pull them into place till you are satisfied with the length of the tail. Wrap it again once to secure it into place. Be mindful not to use to much thread turns here otherwise there will be a bulge near the tail which we would want to try and avoid.


Step 3
Wrap the pheasant tail barbs forward, forming a tapered body as you move towards the thorax area. A tip is to spread the barbs our in the beginning to ensure a tight thin tail section and to bunch the barbs together as you move forward making it easier to add volume and form a tapered body.


Step 4
Wrap the copper wire in the opposite direction than you wrapped the barbs in, overlapping the barbs securing and strengthening the somewhat fragile pheasant tail barbs.
Wrap the wire loosely and evenly spaced, around 5-6 wraps (depending on the hook size) would do nicely. Secure the wire with a couple of thread wraps and remove the waste.
You can use a thicker wire to create a more ribbed effect and even tie it with different colours, gold and silver wire also being very popular.


Step 5
Take 2-3 peacock herls, snip of a centimetre or two from the tips removing the most fragile part of the herl. Tie in the herl at the tips.


Step 6
Wrap the herl towards the eye of the hook forming a nice dense thorax. For trout flies one can strengthen the herl by first covering the shank with head cement or super glue, or take one or two loose wraps of thread through the herl to strengthen it. I found this not a necessity for Smallmouth Yellowfish since they have a very soft mouth and very, very rarely rough up a fly.


Step 7
Bring over the rest of the pheasant tail creating a wing case. Try and flat it out as much as possible to create a well defined wing case. One tip is spread the barbs out like a fan and try and secure it like this with one or two thread wraps.


Step 8
Tie off the thread, half hitch or whip finish, and snip of the excess as close to the wraps as you can without cutting the thread. A drop of head cement to secure the wraps and you are done.


Like I said in the beginning, this is the foundation for almost all nymph patterns, like the orange hot spot, flashback nymphs, etc.


Happy tying!

Local bly ma lekker!


After my Orange River experience I was very keen on fishing my old hunting grounds close to home. I had some scores to settle as I missed two big fish with Wentzel on 23 March and lost a big fish as well.

I lay awake on Friday evening daydreaming about how I would approach the specific ledge I had in mind. Of course I pictured a perfect morning and a perfect cast with a fairy tale ending.

When my son Stefan and I launched the boat, it was a perfect misty morning; you could feel the winter was tangibly approaching. These were ideal Largie conditions, the water had lost a little visibility but I was still cautiously optimistic.

We headed for my mystery ledge and I asked him to lower the anchor gently within casting range, I stripped enough line from my reel and launched my first cast at the surface swirl created by the underwater structure. The Crafty Bunny landed with an audible plop at the exact spot I wanted it to.

I maintained direct contact and control and to my amazement ,before I could even make my first strip, the water erupted and a huge fish took off with fins flashing in the early morning sunlight. Dreams do in fact still come true!

I was shaking in my boots but after a good fight I finally landed the beautiful Largie. I could only guess at its weight but it had an enormous girth and was in spotless condition and fast approaching 16 pounds or even more. I did not mind not knowing the exact weight or length as I was only interested in a few pictures and to release this lovely specimen, a veritable dream come true, as soon and as undisturbed as possible. Later that morning I hooked and landed another small Largie, my 50th since 18 January 2013. What a day!

I will be preparing a weighing mat which with which we will be able to weigh these fish and return them unharmed in future.

Tight loops


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Orange River – Boegoeberg and Groblershoop

Boegoeberg and Gorblershoop area – Easter Weekend 2013:

This trip was a spur of the moment knee jerk reaction to a phone call from Brian Nell who fishes the area fairly regularly. Long time bucket list item for me and Tinus and we decided to head to the land of raisins, dessert wine, crazy names and family bird nests, and hopefully, HUGE Largemouth Yellows!

We were graciously accommodated by Nico van Zyl on his farm about 15 km from Groblershoop and we decided to follow the camping route, next to the river which at first sight was stunning, with lovely rocky structures on our doorstep. No amenities and some free roaming “free range pigs” as company, what more can a man ask for!

Onder seekoeibaard

We arrived at about 10h00 am and hit the water at about 11am and decided to head upstream. It was evident that the flow on this river is very deceptive, it was moving at a steady 70 cumecs which on the Vaal, would have meant a disastrous fishing trip! We were still optimistic as the visibility was adequate to good and there was some fish movement. We managed four smallish Largies and a nice Smallmouth with Botox lips to die for. One Largie might just have pipped the 8 pound mark and we were quite positive about the next day’s prospects. Interesting aspect was that the Largies were not hugging the rocky structures but were mostly caught next to dense reed beds. That night it rained and it was clear that our weekend had coincided with a frontal system with a wet prognosis.

Botox Smallie

Botox Smallie


The next day followed the same pattern ,some small Largies next to dense reedbeds and a few Smallies off the ledges, again no Largies off the Ledges. Two nice Barbel also sent our hearts racing till we realised they were not big Largies but whiskered Highveld Steelheads instead!

Next day we headed to Boegoeberg dam from the famous ancient Afrikaans song “Boegoeberg se dam is n baie lekker dam” fame! The turnoff to the farm is marked “Onder -Seekoeibaard” roughly translated this means “under the beard of the Hippopotamus”? I told you, this place has some weird names!

The trip there was worth the effort, 4×4 country! Beautiful rocky terrain with Koedoe and even Boerbuck, gone wild and roaming the surrounding hills. Classic, semi dessert foliage with huge sand deposits next to the river.

Brians poor Toyota Hilux 4×4 had to endure the brunt of the abuse and after getting stuck in the loose sand we endured about half an hours digging and sweating before we were able to hit the water. We were on the river for two minutes when Tinus got a small Largie and I followed suit with another baby Largie which led to a huge spike in our anticipation. First big underwater structure we hit and I make a long cast which lands perfectly next to a protruding pinnacle, my line straightens as expected and I am into what I and everyone else believes to be a monster Orange river Largie, which unceremoniously strips line off my reel and takes me into my backing in a split second. After managing to coax the fish within 20 meters I however realise that I had hooked another Highveld Steelhead and I was despondent!

We failed to attract any Largies from the ledges and decided to head to the fast water below the Boegoeberg weir overflow which, by the way, is a spectacular construction of 900 meters in length spanning the river and built during the great depression. Tinus jumps out of the boat and slams two small heavily weighted Woolly Buggers down behind a big rock and is immediately into a feisty 8 pound Largie, beautiful fish which erupts out of the water and only succumbed after a spirited fight.

Tiens O

We land countless Smallies in the fast water, what a great stretch of river, unspoilt with fish galore.

Largies have big hearts

Largies have big hearts

Ominous clouds gathered while we were enjoying ourselves and instead of running for our lives we continue tempting fate by catching Smallie after Smallie, and then the storm hit. To say that this was a near death experience would be an understatement, we were electrified thrice while sitting in the water ,and when we took shelter under some reeds a lightning bolt hit a tree 100meters from us making it glow red for a second or two. To make matters worse it started hailing which made the ambient temperatures drop considerably! Fortunately we survived the incident and even managed to nail a few nice Smallmouths and a small Largemouth after the storm passed by.


The next day we fished the farm again and it was a repetition of the first two days, some small Largies this time on sinking lines but also a number of Smallmouths as we headed downriver and fished some fast pocket water and under the shoreline trees which produced some good fish.

That evening it rained non-stop and we decided to pack up in the incessant rain the next morning.

This was a great trip and I would love to return when this river flows at 40 cumecs! Thanks to Brian and the van Zyl family!