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.

Tony Bigg's Red Arsed Bastard

Tony Bigg’s Red Arsed Bastard (www.tomsutcliffe.co.za)

Tom Sutcliffe's Yellow DDD

Tom Sutcliffe’s Yellow DDD (www.tomsutcliffe.co.za)

Philip Meyer's Para-RAB (www.tomsutcliffe.co.za)

Philip Meyer’s Para-RAB (www.tomsutcliffe.co.za)

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.

The below mentioned pool.

The below mentioned pool.

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.

The results of Rex's effort; a beautifully coloured, slender fish of 17 to 18”.

The results of Rex’s effort; a beautifully coloured, slender fish of 17 to 18”.

I was shocked to see this fish cruising along the edge of the rocks. She was circling in and out of that shadow. I waited for her to be facing the other way before making my cast out to the right of where she was, but I knew she would see my fly on her next trip round. She inhaled my Para-Daddy lazily as only a big brown trout can.

I was shocked to see this fish cruising along the edge of the rocks. She was circling in and out of that shadow. I waited for her to be facing the other way before making my cast out to the right of where she was, but I knew she would see my fly on her next trip round. She inhaled my Para-Daddy lazily as only a big brown trout can.

Capturing the pandemonium.This 48 cm monster made a huge commotion once I set the hook. Rod in one hand, and camera in the other.

Capturing the pandemonium.This 48 cm monster made a huge commotion once I set the hook. Rod in one hand, and camera in the other.

My best fish in this stream to date. She was 48cm, or 19” and in prime condition. I estimated her weight at just over 3lbs.

My best fish in this stream to date. She was 48cm, or 19” and in prime condition. I estimated her weight at just over 3lbs.

The Para Daddy

The Para Daddy