Words by Rex Fey. Photos are his too unless otherwise credited.
Two of South Africa’s most effective dry flies are Tom Sutcliffe’s “DDD”, and Tony Bigg’s “RAB”. My go-to dry fly for all situations for the last 15 years has been what I call a “Big Daddy”. Basically it’s a red-arsed DDD with a more slender body and long legs like a RAB. It has been fished in many countries and in all situations. Having a deerhair body, it has natural buoyancy which I like. I have never really thought that I need much else in my box. I tie them in #10 to #16 with 12 being my favourite size.
I have always been interested in Phillip Meyer’s Para-RAB as a pattern, not only because people rave about its effectiveness, but because it just looks so good. It’s a real fisherman catcher but I had never tied a parachute fly before. When Gordon taught us how to tie the Para-RAB, I was already wondering if it would be possible to make my own different version of a Para-RAB based on my long-time favorite, the Big Daddy. So here is my cross between a Para-RAB, and a Big Daddy.
Meet the Para-Daddy.
It presents like a dream, it has a little more meat in it for those big trout looking for a substantial meal, and it has natural buoyancy with the deer hair body. It got off to a flyer on Sunday with 5 presentations to spooky brown trout in clear, thin water, and it had 5 fish hooked and 4 landed. These fish were all sighted and hooked with the camera in one hand and rod in other. It was definitely taking a chance to fish like that but the photos were very well worth it and I ended up with some epic shots. Then again fishing is about so much more than just landing a fish.
There was one pool, however, that made me work hard for its fish. Every time I came close and tried to present my fly the fish bolted. I swear they have eyes in the back of their heads. They reappeared and started feeding after 20 minutes. I eventually caught one of them by casting into the pool from about 10m back where they couldn’t see me. I watched the surface of the pool for a rise near where I thought my fly was.