Swedish version

Tiny BWO
By Goran Grubic

  The Blue Winged Olive (Serratella ignita) is probably the most widespread mayfly species in Europe. There are literally hundreds of flies tied to imitate this species. In the latter years I realized that most of the times when that fly is hatching both trout and grayling prefer to take emerging BWOs. Various emerger patterns are quite successful, usually tied with CDC wings. This time I would like to show the one that was the most successful for me, which I call Tiny BWO, because it works best when tied on small hooks.

  I must explain that on the Balkans, where I fish, there is not one but five recorded species of BWO (members of Ephemerella family, which look almost identical and live in the same rivers, with only small differences in their size. It is well known that on most of the European rivers BWO imitations are tied on hooks size 16 (ranging from 14 to 18), but on the Balkans it may go down to the size 22 or 24. On the rivers where fish are not under much fishing pressure the issue of size may not be so important, but on the rivers where catch and release is the rule (and their number is increasing) on most of the days it is very important to have BWO size 20 or smaller. And they are hatching almost every day during the summer and autumn.

  Considering all of the above, I constructed very simple little BWO emerger. It is a variation of No-hackle patterns made famous by Swisher and Richards. In the book titled “Emergers” published in 1991 they recommended similar no-hackle flies with CDC wings. They called them Duck Rump Patterns. Those flies were tied with dubbed bodies, and this is how I tied them first. Latter, trying to get as simple flies as possible, I abandoned dubbing and started to tie them with the whole body made just of tying thread.

  There are many fine fly tiers on the Balkans and probably many of them tie similar flies, so I don’t think that this pattern is very original. But there is one detail that is special – it is the hook model which is used. In many of the standard hooks designed for fly tying wire used for sizes 20 and smaller is very fine. I had situations where hooks made by several respected brands were broken or open, sometimes at the hooking moment and sometimes later during the fight. The mistake was certainly mine because I tend to strike fast and strong, which is not surprising considering that about 80% of the time I fish with heavy nymphs. Knowing that after over 40 years of fly fishing I cannot change my habits,  I was looking for a hook model which is strong enough in small sizes. And I discovered it in the Mustad “Black Nickel Eyed Maggot Barbless Hook 90344BLN” which they list under Long Point/UltraPoint Freshwater hooks in their online catalogue (http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=290) . There is also a barbed version of that hook, but in small sizes it is much better to use barbless variety. Not only because it is easier to release fish from such hooks, but also since it is much less harmful when such a hook finds its way to my finger or shirt. Their wire is quite strong and there is also a bonus feature – the eye is large compared to those in “proper fly hooks”. They make them in sizes from 12 to 22 but their actual size is smaller compared to standard fly hooks (like Mustad 94840).

  I was amazed when I discovered those hooks in the “coarse fish” department, because they are really perfect for fly tying but were completely unknown as such. Maybe the “maggot” in the name makes them unattractive for fly tiers, but it is a pity since the hooks are fine. It was only recently that I discovered that well known Australian fly tier Mick Hall used similar hooks (Mustad 90338BLN) for some of his very interesting tying creations.

The example fly was tied with following components:
Hook: Mustad 90344BLN size 18
Thread: Olive Gordon Griffiths Sheer 14/0
Tail: pale blue dun cock hackle fibers
Wing: natural dun CDC fibers.

Tying procedure is shown on the following pictures:

1. Tail is attached and spread with one turn of thread under the fibers

2. Body is formed with two layers of the tread

3. First bunch of CDC fibers attached

4. Second bunch of CDC fibers attached

5. Wing is positioned backwards with thread wraps

6. Wing is positioned upwards with thread wraps in front of it

7. Wing is fixed with several wraps in its front and back

8. Fly is secured with four wrap whip finish (no need for cement)

9. The wing is finally shaped with scissors


The size of the fly on a hook number 18 is shown in the given picture. I believe that this simple fly can be useful whenever small olive duns hatch, particularly if they belong to Ephemerella family.

By Goran Grubic 2012 ©




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