Flyvolution: The Para-Daddy


Flyvolution is simply my phrase of describing how a fly evolves over time. These days I don’t fish as often as I would like, but that doesn’t mean I’m not having a lot of fun. Life isn’t only about fishing, it’s about family, farming and the great outdoors. I have only just got back to my fly tying desk after a month or two of tying very little. As is so often the case with me and my fly fishing, my flies seem to evolve much faster than I can fish them.

There’s been lots written about Leonard Flemming’s wolf spider pattern by several prominent fishermen. I have never used the fly, or tied one but I think that my favourite dry fly over all my years of fishing has evolved into something that looks fairly similar through the eyes of a trout. Well I reckon that it would pull the same triggers that a Wolf spider would. The response that fish have to my fly is unlike any other dry fly I’ve used. When I have used compared it to the deadly Para-Rab it seemed like the number of fish in the stream doubled, and the fish came back for a second bite if the first take was missed. I call my fly the Para-Daddy. It’s been particularly successful on my favourite Brown trout stream in the mountains close to where I live, and in the upper reaches of the Drakensberg streams in the Underberg area.

I have no idea if the fish will like my newest version of the fly, but I am fully confident that it’s an improvement on my last version which was my favourite fly up until yesterday evening when I tied the new version. I will only really get to test the fly out next summer so by then it may look something completely different, who knows, but I believe that Para-Daddy, version “10.0” is here to stay.

The newest version is basically a simplified version of the older one. The first version of the Para-Daddy had a long tail and parachute hackle with a squirrel tail halo. In the newest version in have done away with the tail which was probably an unnecessary addition in the first place, as I really believe that it’s a spider profile that the fish are seeing. I have also substituted the standard hackle with a CDC hackle which definitely gives the fly more life and bugginess. The following pictures are the evolution of my latest fly. The Para -Daddy is the great great great grandson of two legendary flies South African dry flies, the DDD and RAB, which then got crossed with a Para-Rab. The ingenious head design of the Para-Rab is probably the most important feature of the fly.

The original Big Daddy which is basically a Red-arsed DDD with some daddy long legs. This particular fly was tied in 2002 in my first year at Stellenbosch University. It was practically all I ever fished on the Cape streams. It didn't take me long to simplify the fly as the wings often caused my tippet to twist and the legs and wings made it a difficult fly to tie.

Version 2 of my Big daddy. This was how I tied them for a long time up until recently. I obviously use different colours for different situations or purely because that's the colour of deer hair I had at the time.

My first ever Para-Daddy. I found this to be a far better fly due to better presentation and profile on the water. I basically took the head of a Para-Rab and put it onto a deerhair body.

The Para-Rab. A deadly fly designed by Philip Meyer. I took his head design and stuck it on my Big Daddy's body.

A more refined version of my Para-Daddy.

I have now removed the tail to simplify the fly as I think it's the spider profile I'm after. I have also used a CDC hackle instead of a normal hackle.

The latest version of my Para-Daddy

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