by James Matthews
The roots of this fly are firmly
in Eastern Europe, specifically the home of Czech nymphing: the Jan Shiman stable. This
may offend Polish nymphers, and in my opinion the technique should really be called Polish
nymphing, but the origins of a name are seldom fair and thems the breaks.
I first came across this style of
hook design, which is basically lead moulded to a curved long-shank hook or curved grub
hook, in 1999/2000, but was unable to source a supplier in the UK. I was so taken with the
idea that I was desperate to try moulding my own, but molten lead really didnt
appeal to me so I had to wait a year or two for the hooks to come out here.
It was at a flytying convention
that Jan Shiman presented Steve Thornton with these hooks and in broken English said
"Stev, you tie fly with these." A month or so later Maximus was born and was
taking fish all over the Czech Republic and UK, thanks again to Steve Thornton for the fly
pattern. The hooks became available in the UK soon afterwards and at last I was able to
try them out. The first thing you notice about the hook is the sheer weight, which brought
our Eastern European cousins to call it "grenad" or grenade in
For this pattern you will need:
Hook: Jan Shiman moulded
lead hook (not to be confused with Jiri Klima hooks).
Body: Nymph skin.
Thorax cover: Flytyers Designer skin.
Thread: Powersilk, Dyneema or other GSP.
Dubbing: rabbit or SLF.
Head: Hard as Nails.
Colouration: permanent marker brown, olive, pink - whatever.
With the hook in the vice tie on
behind the final stages of lead mouldings, ie towards the hook bend. (If you try to tie on
behind the eye of the hook and wind back it slips all over the place not
Tie on with the very corner of
your nymphskin, just where your thread wraps are. Make sure its tied in securely and
with one wrap of thread advance towards the eye.
You will notice a thread wrap
hanging horizontally underneath the body, under the lead windings. This is OK, as
well cover it later.
Stretch your nymphskin, tightly at
first, winding on exposing 50% of your previous nymphskin wraps. Advance towards the eye
and tie off. Whip finish and snip off the waste tag.
Take your thread back to just
opposite the hook point and leave your thread hanging.
Cut a strip of Flytyers
designer skin 4mm wide by 5cm long, tie this on top just where your thread was hanging and
advance towards the eye. Wind back in open turns to the position just opposite the hook
point and with the very fine tip of a partridge feather, concave side uppermost, tie in.
Split your thread and with your
preferred dubbing spin a fine rope. Advance towards the eye.
Take your Hard as Nails and add a
tiny drop on top of the dubbing. Pull your partridge feather over towards the hook eye and
tie off, the snip off the waste.
Pull over your Designer skin (this
is the thorax) and tie off. Whip finish and snip off the tag.
Take a permanent marker and from
eye to hook bend stroke backwards. Add a drop of varnish at the eye end.
Another one for the fly
The Czechs and the Poles used
simple floss or painted bodies for this hook and it was used mainly as an anchor pattern,
ie to get your other flies down. I have since played about with the hook and a current
favourite is simply to colour the actual lead with a pink fluorescent marker, varnish and
whip on a sparkle thorax. Again a simple anchor pattern that takes fish.
The Maximus, however, with its
grub-like appearance, is serious fish food. This is one for your seriously deep pools. It
reaches places no other fly can, which is where we would expect to find Ms Thymalus
Thymalus. Its a relatively simple pattern and it really is worth having a few of
these in your box.
I tend to fish it Czech-style on
the middle dropper or point fly, or with a New Zealand dropper rig tied to some spiders.
Have a go, you wont be disappointed.
James Matthews, Ayr
November 2004 ©