Hook Size 8-10 Kamasan B170 Back and tail Rabbit Zonker Body Cross-cut rabbit strip palmered along the shank from the halfway point to the eye Flash Strand of Flashabou tied in each side at the lateral line position Head Rabbit fur spun in a dubbing loop and stroked back Eyes Small epoxy eyes attached with superglue
THE FINAL PATTERN I take on an early-morning walk is a simple Streamer, quite small as these things go and always ready in the corner of my box along with a slow-sinking polyleader of some sort. It’s an inside bend, slack water sort of fly, or indeed anywhere that holds shelter for the huge numbers of fry I see on the Usk. For this to work, it’s essential that you are the first person around in the morning because bankside activity ruins the opportunity for the rest of the day. Search these areas thoroughly by varying the retrieve and putting some life into the fly and you can be rewarded with a handsome specimen. I’ve been tying and fishing the Bunny Fry for years and it has accounted for many of my better fish and not only trout. Pike, bonefish, sea-trout and tigerfish have all fallen to its charms. It is a simple pattern to tie: just two strips of rabbit – one straight cut, the other cross cut – a bit of flash and, if you want, stick-on eyes. I don’t weight this pattern as it tends to take the life out of the fly. Sinking leaders achieve the required depth and maintain the allure. In the very early morning, even in the shallowest water, it’s perfectly possible to find a specimen summer fish on your stretch of river. They regularly and conveniently give their position away by slashing at small fry. Gently drift a Bunny Fry downstream into the area and give it a little life. Takes are never gentle – anticipation is everything. It’s even worth greasing the Bunny Fry and presenting it as a dry-fly in areas of activity.
RIVERCRAFT PLAYS A huge part. By getting to know the water you can quietly approach different water types in turn, fully expecting to find feeding fish. Don’t walk blithely down the banks: stay back from the edge as much as possible. Take detours to avoid alerting the fish and only slip down to the water when you’re sure you can cover a fish. None of these flies require long-range casts. I often find myself casting over dry land to present the fly. Wherever possible, avoid breaking the skyline – the fish will see you and slip away to their shelter. These summer-morning expeditions come to an end as soon as the sun hits the water. Normally by 8am, they are ancient history. I rarely meet other anglers. If you meet a dogwalker, go home or go somewhere else as it’s a sure bet the morning’s sport will be ruined. But there is always tomorrow.