Biot Nymph

As fellow anglers know, the go to flies such as GRHE’s, PTN’s and Hotspot Nymphs are sometimes ignored for reasons only known to fish. When this happens, try this one. It is easy to tie and the materials used are readily available.

1. Hook: Kamasan B175 #14.
2. Thread: Olive 140 denier or 6/0. Use thread that splits easily such as Ultra Thread from UTC.
3. Tail: Fibres from hen hackle.
4. Abdomen: Goose biots, olive. For larger hooks use turkey biots.
5. Thorax: Hare’s dubbing dyed olive with plenty guard hairs.
6. Wing case/flashback: Saltwater flash cut smaller lengthwise.


1. With the hook in the vice, start the thread behind the hook eye and cover the shank with thread. Stop above the barb. The last wrap should be on top of the second last one to create a small bump, as can be seen at the left end of the hook shank above.


2. Select about 10 fibres from a feather. Tie in on top of the hook shank with the first wrap just on the hook eye side of the little bump. Put just enough tension on the thread to flair the tail fibres a little.


3. Cover the fibres with thread till behind the hook eye and cut off the excess. Wrap the thread back to the tail to form a smooth under body.


4. Tie in a goose biot by the tip with the nick at it’s base facing the hook eye. Wrap the thread to the thorax area.


5. Wrap the biot in overlapping turns to the thorax area, tie off and cut the excess.


6. Tie in the flash on top of the shank in the thorax area.


7. Split the thread and add a sparse noodle of dubbing to one side for about 70 to 80 mm. Make sure to include plenty guard hairs.


8. Spin the thread clockwise to form a tight rope.


9. Wrap the dubbing to form the thorax, fold the flash over to the hook eye, tie off behind the hook eye and cut the excess. Form a small head with thread and tie off.


10. Add some head cement and you are done! Tight lines!

– Herman Loubser

Kalizo Lodge – 25 July to 01 August 2013

We are a funny bunch us Fly fishermen, when we cross our borders to depart for foreign waters we are always under the misguided perception that the fish will be willing and suicidal in their eagerness to jump at our offerings. We sometimes forget that the fishing over there like it does here still depends on prevailing conditions. We experienced this during our trip, the river was very low compared to last year and we had a fluctuating barometer and windy conditions which made the fishing challenging.

What was evident was the rampant netting in the middle Zambezi is taking on critical proportions now and the efforts by the Namibian Government to curb this needs to be stepped up. Zambian illegal netters on both sides of the river seem to be the main problem and the focus shifting from sustenance to Commercial netting being the main driver. The adverse effect will probably show up in the Bream population initially but it will affect all species negatively eventually. The saving grace for this region is the summer flooding which drives all the netters inland. We had to save a Kingfisher from a net and we believe that these nets kill many water birds and even Crocodiles annually, one was seen with a spear in his head and he eventually died.

All was not bad news and apart from a few big fish being lost, some right at the net, we still managed huge numbers of smaller Tigers, a 10 pounder and some thin face Largemouth Bream and Nembwe.

It seems that the best time to visit this area would be when the floodplains begin emptying in earnest towards end April and we will put this theory to the test next year!

– Marius

10 pounder Croc Fly trimmers Kingfisher rescue from net Nembwe Thin face Largemouth bream

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


Compressed2 compressed dikke2

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!


Quick report 22/03/2013

Wednesday day night I get a message from Marius ‘Are you keen to fish pick you up @ 5am’ now while I was reading the message I was already parked in front of the vice tying a few crafty bunny’s ala Marius and thinking of big large mouth yellows eating my offerings with recless  abandonment  so a few seconds later I send a message back  ‘see you tomorrow’.

This was the start of my largy mission 3.0 and oh was it a interesting experience!

We were on the water by 6am and I must be honest dam it was hard waking up at 4:30am but I managed to drag myself out of bed.

 The water was looking good and we saw a few smallies rising in the early morning light.

The vaal river is stunning in the morning and everything looked good for a productive day out fishing. Man o man we weren’t disappointed! After we launched the boat and fished a section of rocky outcrops not to far of Marius was into his first fish an absolute beaut gold yellow large mouth. If you start the day of with a largy within the first 30min of fishing the fishing can only get better. Soon after Marius landed his fish a absolute bus largy boiled behind Marius’s fly just after he lifted it out of the water! Epic fishing if you ask me and it certainly got the hart pumping!

We moved of to a section with some nice structure in the middle of the river but for some reason the fish weren’t on these rocky outcrops. Now this shows you that these fish are consistently one the move from one piece of structure to the next.

After seeing no fish movement, we moved to points with a lot more current and BAM! First point fish number 3 explodes  out the water and no joy,  marius  sigh’s ‘this can not be happening ‘.

 Off to point number 2 Marius sits down to retie his tippet and I quickly change to a crufty bunny and shoot of my fist cast, the fly lands with a plop and to strips later I get a hard bump and I see the fish boiling but no take. My second cast fly’s out and the the fly land just left of rock sticking out of the water 5 strips or so  Mr largy inhales the fly like it is its last meal and does one of those I’m gonna swim straight to the boat down stream runs and you Mr fisherman will not be able to strip the line quick enough!! Yep that is exactly what he did! I just managed to get things under control and all the the fly line was out and  the fish was on the reel and that was when my next worst nightmare happened, in my haste to get everything sorted I disengaged the spool from the reel! Epic fail!! now it was me and the fish fly line in hand and  a spool drifting down stream what a balls up!I few tens minutes later Marius grabbed my largy and what a sigh of relief.

This was one of the most intense fishing experiences I had. After a few quick pics we safely released my fish and jeepers was I lucky. I can not get over the fact of how  super fast these fish are!! Largy’s are super  predators and I understand why guys get addicted to largy fishing.

Our day progressed slowly and Marius managed to land a few barbel, one or two nice small mouth yellows and few smaller large mouths.

We drifted back down stream where we launched the boat for one last shot at that big nunu from the morning and it was not long before it showed its fins! The same thing happened  again to Marius  just after Marius lifted his fly out of the water Mr largy boiled behind the fly, awesome stuff and one eager largy!, few shots later with no joy Marius picked up a bulletjie baber. That was how we ended our day out fishing.

Big thank you to Marius for inviting me along

tight loops









WEEKEND UPDATE -16/17 March 2013:

My son and I visited the river on Saturday after a night of howling wind anda loud and non stop electric storm.

It was a beautiful morning and when we assembled the inflatable we saw quite a lot of fish movement ,the water and air temperature had dropped a little but we were fairly optimistic .

We made our way upriver and when we approached one of my favourite underwater ledges we noticed some fish moving and small fish jumping. We decided on the Crafty Bunny as it was such a successful new addition to the Largiearsenal.What followed was quite a hectic hour of fishing ,we landed 5 Large mouths between 6 and 9 pounds and two big smallmouths.

It seems the fishing on the Vaal is definitely improving in the Potchefstroom/Stilfontein area and we have high hopes for a great winter season although the rest of April and May is normally also excellent Largemouth months !

Meanwhile we are planning a trip to the Orange river over Easter weekend, this has been on my bucket list for a few years and we hope the trip will be worthwhile.

Tight lines