Sunday, March 12, 2017

Compton's Cinnamon Toast Baetis Nymph

A while back Kevin Compton owner of Performance Flies and I got together to film him tying up some of the patterns he is best known for and popularizing.  These patterns are staples in the competition scene.  Kevin is always refining these patterns and making them simpler to tie.

At Performance Flies, you will find materials and patterns from the competitive fly fishing scene.  Also, Kevin has Jack Mickievicz's original materials such as Honeybug Cotton Chenille, Jack's original dubbing blends and DuPont Antron yarn.

The Cinnamon Toast Baetis nymph is a BWO (Blue-Winged Olives) nymph.  BWO’s are staples in most if not all rivers.  These nymphs are an important food source for trout because of their high number, and multi-broods.  The fact that many BWO’s are multi-brood means they are available to trout year round.  Baetis are streamlined swimmers, and the nymph pattern should be slender.

Here Kevin ties his Cinnamon Toast Baetis Nymph, which is a deadly BWO nymph.


Compton's Cinnamon Toast Baetis Nymph


Hook:  Hanak H230BL #14-16
Head:  3/32 Gold Tungsten Bead
Thread: FLY DK 80 Brown
Tails:  Golden Olive Coq de Leon Fibers
Rib:  XFine Copper Wire
Body:  Brown-Olive Condor Substitute
Thorax: Jan Siman Peacock Dubbing, Peacock Bronze

For materials visit
For more fly fishing content visit:

© 2017 Louis DiGena All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sawyer’s Killer Bug

Hook:            TMC 2302 or Mustad S80-3906 in  #14-18
                      (Tied here with a 3906

Thread:         Copper wire in size Brassie or Small
                     (Size 16-18 tie better using small wire)

Chadwick’s 477 wool substitute

The Sawyer’s Killer Bug is famous in the U.K. and Europe but only recently has this pattern gained a following in the U.S.  This fly is famous for its catching fish and mythological properties of Chadwick’s 477 yarn used in its construction.

I became aware of the Killer Bug through English fly tier and author Oliver Edwards who featured Sawyer’s patterns in his DVD Essential Skills: Search and Sight Fishing released in 2001.

Frank Sawyer was a river keeper on the River Avon at Lake in Wiltshire in the U.K. along with being a writer, and inventor of such flies as the Pheasant Tail Nymph. 

Sawyer’s pattern is simple and effective, using in many cases only two materials.  In the Killer Bug and Pheasant Tail nymph, he used copper wire the thread and weight.  Both patterns are brilliant in their simplicity and effectiveness.

The killer bug was developed by Sawyer’s to manage the grayling numbers on the River Avon.  Back then Grayling were considered vermin, and gentleman would only angle for trout, never grayling.

In alkaline chalk stream, one of the main food sources is freshwater shrimp and the Killer Bug was designed to imitate shrimp and scuds.  Today in the U.S. it’s an effective imitation for larva (crane and caddis), scuds, cress bugs and shrimp.

The originally the Killer Bug was tied Chadwick's 477 darning wool and reddish brown copper wire.  For some, the original Chadwick's 477 wool has mythical fish-catching properties with lengths of the wool selling for hundreds of dollars.  Production of Chadwick’s wool ceased in 1965, which only added to its value.

The Killer Bug was named by Sawyer's friend Lee Wulff, but its popularity never quite took in the U.S.

By the time I found out about the “Bug” there was no wool to purchase.  I was on a mission find a suitable substitute.

Veniard’s sells their version wool (Veniard 477) but without a sample of the genuine article, it was nearly impossible to know if it was a good match.

My first substitute took the form of a cutting up an old rag wool sweater that now too small, which worked well.   Next, I found some old craft yarn “Fun with Fibers” that had a viable candidate but was as rare as the Chadwick’s.  Then I started to use Patons Classic Wool Natural Mix (00229), which I found at Michael’s.  Then I struck gold, one blogger from the U.K. sent me a yard of Chadwick’s 477, now I had the yarn to use as a reference.

Many other bloggers and friends pointed me in the direction of finding a suitable substitute. Chris Swart (TenkaraBum), Juan Ramirez (The Hopper Juan), and Jason Klass (Tenkara Talk).

The link below is great reference page on the different yarns and how they look wet and dry.

Here is a list of yarns you can use to tie your killer bug.

Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift: Oyster (Color #290)
Patons Classic Wool Yarn (00229) Natural Mix
Regia Darning Yarn: Light Camel Marl
Veniard Chadwick Wool - 477 (Killer Bug Yarn)

Places to purchase these yarns and your local craft or yarn shop.

Good luck and tie some Killer Bugs for your next fishing adventure.

Lou DiGena
Fly and Fin
© 2017 Louis DiGena All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Regal Vise featured on Discovery's Science Channel Go - How It's Made

In the recent episode of How It's Made (Season 20 Episode 10) we get to see how the Regal Vise is made.

REGAL VISE - The World’s Best Fly Tying Vises and accessories.

REGAL VISE is a family owned business New England. All vises and accessories are are manufactured in U.S.A.
All their products are made by fly tiers and anglers for tiers and anglers.

In full disclosure I'm an Endorsed Regal Tier.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

MFPD Pocket Picker Nymph

Last year Kevin Compton owner of Performance Flies and I got together to film him tying up some of the patterns he is best know for and popularizing.

Kevin is bring some of best materials and patterns from the European competitive fly fishing scene to the states. As well as introducing tiers and anglers to these new materials and methods he is also has Jack Mickievicz's original materials such as Honeybug Cotton Chenille, Jack's original dubbing blends and genuine DuPont Antron yarn.

MFPD Pocket Picker Nymph is a pattern designed by Peter Durisik of Slovakia and tied here by Kevin.


MFPD Pocket Picker Nymph


Hook:      Hanak H230BL #14-16
Head:      3/32 Gold Tungsten Bead
Thread:   UTC 70 Watery Olive
Tails:       Coq de Leon Fibers, Medium Prodo
Rib #1:    Synthetic Quill Body, Graphite
Rib #2:    Sybai XF Gold Wire
Tip:         Glo-Brite Floss, Hot Orange #6
Body:      UTC 70 Watery Olive Thread
Thorax:   Pine Squirrel with UV Flash

For materials visit

© 2016 Louis DiGena All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The New Fly Fisher: Joe Humphreys | Nymphing Techniques

Joe Humphrey needs no introduction to the fly fishing community, here "The New Fly Fisher" pays homage to Joe Humphre, angler, author and educator. 

Joe Humphrey teaches the essentials of nymph fly fishing. This full-length show was shot in Joe's home region of Pennsylvania.

Monday, January 20, 2014

South Branch of the Raritan Bug Sampler

Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions posted this great video with a sample of he bugs found in the South Branch of the Raritan.

First appearing is a willow nymph, or early black stone fly nymph.  The early black stone is makes it's first appearance in February and March when temperatures start to rise in the late afternoon.  This hatch offers some great winter dry fly fishing, but don't forget the nymphs which are in the stream all year.

Next is the Isonychia bicolor, also called Iso, Slate Drake, or Lead Wing.  Found in fast moving  riffles in highly oxygenated water, these nymphs are fast swimmers that dart along the stream bottom. These mayflies start emerging in midsummer and hatch in to the fall.

Followed by one of my favorite bugs the scud because they are very abundant an in the streams year round.  Tim's video show how prominent the orange is in the natural.

Then there are two may fly nymphs one from the genus Ephemerella (Sulpher) and the other  from the genus Maccaffertium (March Brown or Cahill).

Trichoptera (Caddisflies) are next on the scene with Hydropsyche, which is a free living net builder, which are important because they get dislodged from time-to-time and drift down stream during times of behavioral drift.  

Finally a Gastropoda or snail which float and crawl most of our streams.

The one bug I did not mention was the Water Penny, which is a beetle larva that the Sulpher nymph was riding.  I don't know the type of beetle it becomes, but a cress bug imitation should represent this bug quite well.

Tim's South Branch Sampler 1/17/14 is a wonderful sample to the food available to trout in our streams in New Jersey and a great reference to use when designing fly patterns.

I recommend you check out Tim's other videos at Tightline Productions on Vimeo.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Richard Strolis ties his DDT Nymph" Deep Darlon Terror"

Richard Strolis ties his DDT Nymph" Deep Darlon Terror"

Richard Strolis is by his own admission a fly-fishing fanatic who enjoys designs new flies for catching large trout.  Rich has 30 years of fishing experience, 25 of those years tying and 10 years as a guide.

Many of his flies have been published in Flyfisherman, Magazine, Eastern Fly Fishing, Caddisflies by Thomas Ames and other publications. Rich runs the blog, Catching-Shadows, where he post videos of his fly tying creations, and photos of this fishing adventures.  His videos are also available on his Vimeo page richstrolis, where he has 118 high definition videos of his patterns with detailed instructions.  Rich is on the Performance Flies, and Regal Vice Pro Staff. 

Rich is known for targeting large trout in the Farmington River with large streamers and he rarely fishes anything lighter than an 8-weight rod.

You may purchase Rich’s patterns directly from him at his web site:

Rich is going to be at the following events:

October 2, 2013. Farmington Valley Trout Unlimited.  Presentation on Streamer Fishing For Trophy Trout.

October 8, 2013.   Southeastern Massachusetts Trout Unlimited.  Presentation on Fly fishing The Farmington River.

2013 International Fly Tying Symposium.  November 23 & 24, 2013.  Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, NJ.

I’ve come to know Rich through his videos and social media, and finally met him at last years International Fly Tying Symposium, where he was next to my friend Kevin Compton of Performance Flies.  We finally got to talk and spend some face time and I was able to film him tying his DDT nymph.


DDT Nymph

Hook:                   Scud/Grub Hook Size 16 - 20
Thread:                14/0 Veevus Olive
Bead:                   2.0 mm Tungsten Bead
Tails and Legs:    Darlon (Any fine fibered synthetic such
                             as Z-lon or Antron will work.)
Flash:                   Midge Flash
Body:                   Olive Super Fine Dubbing
Hot Spot:             UTC 140 Florescent Orange (Optional)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Troutrageous! Names Fishing Blogger Pro Staff

On July 3, 2013 I plus 9 other bloggers were named to the Troutrageous! Fishing Blogger Pro Staff.  

What does this mean, I'm not sure.  

According to Troutrageous the criteria for being named to the pro staff.
  1. You have to be a fishing blogger (of a blog I actually read)  
  2. I need to have met you in person at least once
  3. You never agreed to be a member and are likely on this list against your will
For number one I guess I have to trust him that he actually reads my blog (even though it's not very active these days).  I have to admit I've met Mr. Troutrageous in the flesh, and yes he is just as funny in person.  Finally number 3 is a yes and double yes.

According to my lawyer there is nothing I can do.  So not only am I out some cash to consult with my lawyer I'm receiving all kinds on email because of this new found BLANK (I don't know what noun,   adjective or expletive to use).  

Well maybe I exaggerate, in truth there was only one email, that from Troutrageous! warning of the blog post.  It is a fun post and I can't wait for next years inductees.

For the whole story go to Introducing The Troutrageous! Fishing Blogger Pro Staff  and take a tour of his site.

Thanks, Mike.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chris Stewart ties a Takayama Sakasa Kebari

Chris Stewart is know as the Tenkara Bum, he got in to fishing Tenkara by accident by way of English Spider patterns.  In researching North Country soft hackle patterns he was drawn to there simplicity and beauty. During that research he came across David Webster's book, The Angler and the Loop Rod which talked about using a long rod, no reel and a horsehair line tied to the rod tip. He also came across a mention of Tenkara (Japanese Fly Fishing), which is very similar to angling with a loop rod.  Those of you who read the blog knows that in the The Compleat Angler, Piscator used only a rod and line to catch the first fish. (Diving into Tenkara)

Chris experimented with crappie rods, because at the time Tenkara rods were not available in the U.S., in 2008 when he got his first Tenkara rod.  At the time information on Tenkara was hard to come by and most of it was in Japanese. Chris goal in starting Tenkara Bum is to provide the information he wish he had when he was started out.

He's a featured tier in “Tying Tenkara Flies" which is put out by Learing Tenkara.
Chris goes on spreading the word of Tenkara through his blog Tenkara Bum, where shares information on all things Tenkara, from rod reviews, how to ties traditional Tenkara flies, sharing Tenkara stories and sell everything you would need to get in to Tenkara fly fishing.
Here Chris ties the Takayama Sakasa Kebari, a legendary sakasa kebari originating in the Takayama region of Japan. I hope you enjoy the video, filmed at the 2012 International Fly Tying Symposium.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Check out the lates issue of Kype Fishing Magazine

Here is the latest Issue of  Kype Fishing Magazine, Volume 4.2. 

My favorites reads are the Punk Rock Fly Fishing with Mike McAuliffe on page 14, the Modified Caddis by Aileen Nishimura Ellis on page 24 and Longevity for Nymphs by Gaeron Friedrichs on page 26.