From my fishing notes – Step by step tying of the Mirage dry fly, an awkward trout, a perfect day with the Choroterpes mayfly and Bob Wyatt on trout and tippet diameter

From my fishing notes – Step by step tying of the Mirage dry fly, an awkward trout, a perfect day with the Choroterpes mayfly and Bob Wyatt on trout and tippet diameter

Wednesday, 22 January 2014 14:17


Step by step tying the Mirage dry fly

Here is a minor adaptation of Agostino Roncallo’s brilliant CDC dun imitation where I add a thorax. The marvel of this pattern is its simplicity and its ability to raise fish!

You will need a grub hook from size 14 to size 18 (Grip’s Pupa & Emerger model 14723BL is used here in #16), black or peacock Hareline Ice Dub (or any equivalent fine dark-coloured dry fly dubbing), dun or black 8/0 thread and a CDC feather the colour of your choice. I prefer dark dun-coloured natural CDC.

Click in images to enlarge


Dub a small ball of Ice Dub just back from the eye



Split the CDC feather as shown by gently stroking the fibres downwards from roughly a third the way down quill



Tie the CDC on top of the Ice Dub at the split in the feather. Use two turns of thread but don’t tighten



Pull the CDC backwards to form the extended body and wrap tightly at this point



Stroke back all excess CDC fibres to form then into the wing.Trap the fibres in place with wraps of thread and trim off the remaining CDC quill.

Add a turn of Ice Dub at the head and then tie off.


Snip the centre quill of the CDC heather to form tail fibres

Agostino Roncallo’s book on tying CDC patterns


Agostino says the first PDF version of his book  Il CDC A Modo Mio (My Way With CDC) has been downloaded from Slide Share by over ten thousand people!

See also /


An awkward trout

Robin Douglas, his son Ian and I, had been after a certain fish for some weeks. It was a decent sized rainbow holding in an awkward position tight against a bank in slow water with a lane of quick current just out from the bank. Drag was a killer, even fishing directly behind the fish, let alone up and across, but we actually managed to get a few tentative inspections from it over a couple of trips. Each time drag would catch the fly at the critical moment and we’d have to give the fish best. Then last week Robin wrote:

We fished on Thursday in a foul downstream wind. Really difficult although we did manage a few respectable fish each. Thursday night it bucketed down and the river was running very high on Friday morning making dry fly fishing near impossible but again we managed a few each. We challenged each other to fish ONLY with a dry fly and it was great fun. What a gift we had this morning though – river was running very high but very fishable, temp of the water was 14 deg and we had a very light upstream breeze to help us. The big fish finally made a mistake! I got her on a #16 Para-RAB with one of those casts that you wish someone was filming. What a beautiful fish.

223 RD IMG 0847


298 RD IMG 0852

The perfect trip

Yesterday Robin and I spent a day on a different stream, fishing on an upstream breeze in exquisitely clear water. I used a 10’TroutHunter leader that turned the fly over gently and with certainty even with a long (8’) 7X tippet. We hooked, landed, or lost, more fish than I can rightly remember, taking them mainly on one of four dry fly patterns, the Para-RAB, Agostino Roncallo’s Mirage, my single feather CDC midge or a black CDC sedge tied after Marc Petijean’s style.


120 rainbow in hand IMG 2755-1

To my delight the Choroterpes mayflies were out again, often sitting jauntily on rocks. I had wanted to get images of this pretty mayfly with the stream in the background and this time I managed a couple.


718 Choroterpes IMG 0883

Back at the truck late that afternoon Robin said he’d score our day’s fishing at around 150 out of 100. Well, what more could you want than a clear stream in ideal conditions, feeding fish, dry fly only and I'd guess upwards of 70% of the trout we rose were spotted beforehand.


719 Choroterpes mayfly IMG 0903

But I must just tell you about the last one I hooked. I saw him in a slender run with a stand of palmiet off to one side. Palmiet is a robust, indigenous shrub you’ll find in patches along the Cape’s riverbanks, as illustrated in the image below.


717 palmiet

Typical stands of palmiet grass evident to the left of the angler and ahead of him to the right

Anyway this fish took my dry fly first cast, leapt clear of the water and landed straight in the middle of a bunch of palmiet!  My fly came back and for a moment I thought I’d have to wade over to extricate him, but half moments later, and much to our amazement, he was back in his feeding station! We gave him best after that and moved out.

Practical quote for the week from Bob Wyatt ‘s Trout Hunting

There have been some interesting experiments done on the effect of light or heavy tippets on trout. New Zealand anglers David Tasker and Andy Towbridge kept records of their results with heavy and light tippets for several years. The significant finding was that light leaders tended to break more often. What made a difference was the effect of the current on the heavy nylon; more surface area means more friction between the water and the tippet, increasing the incidence of drag. In itself, the visibility of the heavy tippet did not deter the fish from taking the fly, even on spooky trout in air-clear water of the South Island.


332 Bob Wyatt book

Bob Wyatt Trout Hunting – The Pursuit of Happiness – Stackpole Books 2005.

(This is a book I turn to time and again. It is extremely well written and as a guide for fly fishers keen to get the most out of rivers and streams it’s invaluable.)

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