Tuesday, 24 November 2015 11:29

Matt started fly fishing in 2002 and joined the competitive scene a few years later. He was selected to fish for Western Province at the Nationals in 2008, and represented his Province in seven National Championships, his team winning two golds, two silvers and a bronze medal, including an Individual silver medal in Northern Gauteng in 2014.

Crowned the WPFFA Trials Overall Champion in 2012 he has managed to retain the title since then. He coached the WP  Youth team for a few years, seeing them through to two silver medals. He was selected to manage the Protea Youth Team in 2013 when they competed in the Youth World Champs in Dundalk, Ireland. That year the team won a bronze medal – the first ever International team medal for the South African Fly Fishing Association (SAFFA). 

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Matt fishing Colorado 3

At the Youth World Champs, Vail, Colorado, 2015

Matt also managed the Youth Team in Vail, Colorado in 2015 and narrowly missed a second bronze medal. He was selected to compete in the Senior Protea Team in Czech Republic in 2014 and has subsequently competed again at the 2015 World Champs in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Training for World Champs Bosnia Hertegovina 2015

Training for World Champs, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2015

Session 4 World Champs Czech Republic 2014

Session 4 in World Champs, Czech Republic, 2014

An avid fly tyer, he was placed 1st in the South African Indigenous Fly Tying Competition 2012. He is currently ranked 3rd on the SA Fly Fishing Ranking List and is Chairman of the Western Province Fly Fishing Association.

Matt Rich tying

Matt Rich using his J Vice and portable lighting at the 2014 Cape Piscatorial Society  River Festival

Matt Rich flybox

Matt's fly box

Seven of Matt's favourite stream patterns:

Cape Streams May (CSM)

1 Cape streams may IMG 5899


Hook: Grip 11011 BL Size 12- 20

Thread: Nano silk coloured with dark brown marker pen on top of the head

Thorax: Blend of natural dubbings

Abdomen: Blend of natural dubbings

Thorax Cover: Pheasant Tail

Tail: CdL

Rib: Gold wire


The CSM is a very basic fly in essence but it took me a few outings to get the effect that I wanted. The aim of the pattern was to represent the colour of the Cape streams mayfly nymph as closely as possible, when wet. It is a blend of 11 different dubbings ranging from hare to seal and in ratios that I could never recreate… it’s a good thing I mixed a lot initially!  The thorax cover is noticeably darker to represent an emergent stage. I generally use this pattern on slower glides and in pools under a dry fly as in these situations the fish have more time to inspect the fly and a closer representation produces more consistent results. In faster water I'll move to a generic PTN (possibly with a hot spot) as takes become more and more reactionary as the flow rates increase.

Squirrel Nymph

2 squirrel nymph IMG 5901

Squirrel Nymph

Hook: Grip 11011 BL Size 12- 20

Bead: Copper or Back nickel

Thread: Nano silk coloured with dark brown marker pen on top

Thorax: Cape Pine Squirrel dubbing

Thorax Cover: Pheasant Tail

Abdomen: Cape Pine Squirrel dubbing

Tail: CdL

Rib: Dull copper wire

The squirrel nymph is another staple pattern that is a variation on well-known pattern, the GHRE. I prefer squirrel as the fibres are thinner and give a buggier look without adding too much bulk. 

I fish this pattern on the top dropper for most of my Cape Streams French nymphing. It may not be the prettiest pattern but it's one of the most effective in the widest range of situations – that is exactly what you want as an angler interested in catching the most fish s/he can.

Quill Jig

3 Quill jig IMG 5900

Quill Jig

Hook: Dohiku 301 or 302 size 16 - 12

Bead: Coffee slotted tungsten

Thread: Nano silk coloured with dark brown marker pen on top

Thorax: Peacock spectra

Abdomen: Stripped peacock quill

Tail: CdL

Legs: Natural CDC (sparse)


The quill jig is designed to be light weight, yet sink extremely fast, but at the same time have movement once it hits depth. Common mistakes that a lot of people make with their nymphs are:

$1a)      They go too heavy on the pattern (add too much weight) which, when it hits the required depth, will drift unnaturally,

$1b)       Make the pattern too bulky which hinders the sink rate and,

$1c)       If they manage to get the first two right (in patterns such as the Perdigon) don’t incorporate materials with inherent movement, which is a big trigger for spooky fish.

For me this pattern ticks all of those boxes. It has a slim profile, a tungsten bead for the desired weight and sparse CDC which will continuously move in the micro currents. It has all the attractors that fool fish and none that spook fish. Add a slotted bead onto a straight down eye hook and the fly will ride at 45 degrees with the hook point facing up. This will obviously limit hook-ups on the rocky bottom but it is also the most natural position for a rising nymph. Add all these factors together and for me you have the perfect point fly.


4 Red Wing Para RAB Redwing Para


Hook: Grip 11011 BL size 12 - 20

Thread: Nano silk coloured with dark brown marker pen on top

Thorax: Black spectra (Hends 45)

Hackle: Dark grizzly

Abdomen: Egyptian goose biot

Rib: 7X Mono

Tail: CdL

Post: Fluoro red Antron yarn

The Para-Adams is my primary searching dry fly.  80% of the time if I get to the water and I can’t identify a specific hatch the trout are feeding on then this is the pattern I will choose. Many anglers will search with a RAB, but I find fish will often miss the fly. The low ride profile of the Para-Adams very seldom results in misses and consistently outperforms higher riding flies. As its composition is almost entirely hackles, is take well to floatant and can be fished for hours through varying water without much interference.

If I get a rejection on this fly I will change to the CDC May immediately.


5 CDC May CDC Dun


Hook: Grip 11011 BL Size 12- 20

Thread: Nano silk coloured with dark brown marker pen on top

Thorax/Wing: Natural CDC

Abdomen: Stripped peacock quill with superglue underneath.

Tail: CdL

The CDC may is fished if I get a rejection on a Para-Adams. The inherent movement and the softer landing of this CDC version make it a superior fish catcher. The major drawback is CDC is much more effort to maintain you have to cycle through multiple flies while the others dry.

I will also tie the exact same patters in varying CDC densities and use the sparser versions in slower, shallower and generally more spooky conditions.


6 Tabanas Red spot Sedge


Hook: Grip 11011 BL size 14 - 20

Thread: Nano silk coloured with dark brown marker pen on top

Thorax: Olive dry fly dubbing

Abdomen: Olive dry fly dubbing

Rib: Chrystal flash, stretched

Wing: Possum underfur

Hackle: Brown genetic

Post: Fluorescent Red McFly foam

Everyone needs a generic caddis dry fly as well seeing that almost 80% of a trout's diet consists of caddis in some form or another. In this case the Tabanas is my weapon of choice. Introduced to me a few years back by Pascal Cognard, the French three times World Fly Fishing Champion, it has been responsible for its fair share of fish to say the least. Originally tied with hairs from a Hares back, I now tie it with Possum underfur. I find that although the Possum still sits low in the water, Its has superior floating characteristics and is less admin.

The post is another interesting feature of the fly. It is made by tying a piece of foam onto the hook and pulling the ends together as you would for a normal post. You then grab the post with a set of tweezers or wing burners so that a few millimetres of the material is clamped between the jaws. You then trim the foam above leaving 1mm above the jaw and then singe with a lighter. The fibres will melt together and once released will create a little bubble of air inside the post.

Soft RAB

7 Soft Hackle RAB

Soft RAB

Hook: Dokiku 302 SH or 644 Size 16 – 18

Thread: Red Sheer thread 14/0

Abdomen: Pheasant tail fibres

Rib: Copper wire

Hackle: Brown Hungarian Partridge

Soft hackles are one of the most underrated patterns in the Cape and for the life of me I can’t think why. On the day they can be unbeatable. I fish my soft hackles on the top dropper and then will change between a dry fly or a nymph on the point. The un-weighted pattern won’t influence the drift of the point fly and it has the added benefit of fishing a second layer of water.

Says Matt:

Why no hoppers in this selection? I will only use hoppers as a searching pattern when there are two weather conditions prevalent. Firstly it must be sunny and hot which is when the hoppers are active and secondly when the wind is blowing. I use a pattern that was covered in MC Coetzer's stream selection on your website. See

8 MC Coetzers favourite stream flies 7

MC Coetzer's Hopper

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