Most of my knowledge about fish, their habits and the foodstuffs, including real and fake food (lures), they respond to comes from bait and art lure fishing. These were fishing disciplines I enjoyed until fly fishing took over my interest in catching fish when I was a student. It was not an easy transition and most of the good fish I caught on fly cost me more than an arm and a leg. The school fees continue to grow the hole in my pocket though. Expenditure is something that seems to go hand-in-hand with fishing and especially experiencing good fishing; unfortunately the more you fish the more the cash flows out as well.

Anyway, although some of the flies and tactics I use in fly fishing are tips from friends gathered over the years, some are my own independent creations and methods, while a fair percentage are based on lure design and action. Falloons are classic examples of flies designed by copying lures and specifically the Sada grubs we used to catch bluegills with.

Falloon materials

It happened too often to be chance that carp ate the little plastic grubs and had us running up and down the bank and in and out the water to land them on the fragile 2 lb line we used for pan fish on ‘ultra-light’ spinning tackle. This played in the back of my mind for some time, but the lovely, lively, curly tails of those little lures were incredibly difficult to copy with fly tying materials and a pattern was never developed. That was until I recently strolled through a cluttered Crazy Store looking for more rubber toys to tie squirmy flies and I ‘stumbled’ upon balloons. Packets full of colourful balloons, even black and white ones, sparked the idea of perfect curly-tail grub flies in nearly any colour one could wish for.

Falloons edited

Although moulded plastic and silicone grubs (mostly yellow and white ones) are obviously available commercially, I believe that a true fly, no matter which materials it is made from, is created from scratch (or at least the more demanding the tying sequence, the more I like it). So I went through the effort to ‘create’ my own curly-tail grubs with balloon rubber and voila, Falloons were created.

Leonard carp by Ruben Schoombie

The author with a Berg River carp – photo by Ruben Schoombie

The name ‘Falloon’ conveniently sounds like a combination of ‘fly’ and ‘balloon’, but the roots of the word run deeper. I was at a birthday party in Villieria (Pretoria) when the mother of the five-year-old birthday boy pulled out a packet of balloons and said: “Look, I got you boys lekke falloons fo the paatie!”…There you have it, Falloons, something that was born behind the South African boerewors gordyn.

Garth fighting Berg carp 1 small

Garth fighting Berg carp 3 small

Berg carp caught by Garth 1 small

Garth Nieuwenhuis releasing his first carp on fly

Garth Nieuwenhuis releasing his first carp on fly

PS – this fly should work well for trout, tilapia, bass and many other fish species…Would be nice to get some feedback from eager testers?