Killer fly – The Crease Fly
As far as surface lures go, this one is about as versatile as they come, says Matt Harris. Taimen, peacock bass, giant trevally, mahseer, barracuda, pike, dorado and striped bass – you name it, they will eat it.
Fly fishing has come a long way in the last 50 years or so. Advances in technology have allowed us to target fish that we could never have hoped to fish for with a fly in the past. Fast-actioned, high modulus carbon rods and aggressively tapered short-head fly lines have given us the ability to throw and turn over flies that would have led to broken rods in years gone by. And as a direct result, we are now able to target fish that were considered impossible to catch with a fly rod not so very long ago.
New fly-tying materials have also been hugely instrumental in this change as we are now able to tie bigger, lighter, more streamlined and aerodynamic patterns that can be cast and turned over with ease. And while some refuse to embrace the advent of synthetic materials, those who do are now able to break new boundaries.
Joe Blados' Crease Fly is one of the new breed – an ingenious use of closed cell foam to create a fly that does two crucial things. Its aerodynamic design allows it to be cast easily and accurately into the trickiest spots, while its hollow ‘face' makes the thing flip around erratically on the surface like a wounded baitfish. To a hungry predator, it just screams “Eat me!”
Does it work? You bet! Just ask legendary guide ‘Big-fish' Baayra on Mongolia's celebrated Eg River. Baayra told me the thing would be useless for the river's notoriously fickle taimen, but it wreaked havoc, catching five of the elusive creatures on its first day. Or ask head guide Tony at Royal Zambezi Lodge – Tony swore blind that the river's tigerfish would not take a fly from the surface, but after I managed to catch more than 40 in one day on the fly, I left him chopping up his flip-flops to make a few. Really! My great friend Misty Dhillon scoffed at my plan to fish the Crease at night for the ultra-tough mahseer of the Saryu River, yet it produced no fewer than five fish in a few hours of fishing. Misty, too, spent the next day chopping up his footwear – another convert! The fly is truly devastating, and it has also caught me GTs, tarpon, peacock bass, dorado, barracuda, pike and striped bass, to name but a few. It really is that versatile.
Anywhere that predators swim, you can trust the Crease Fly to deliver the goods. Any travelling fly fisher would be mad not to carry a few.
Veniards supply good quality closed cell foam in a myriad of colours, and the fly is a snap to tie, but a word about the Crease Fly's design: many shop-bought versions use a hook with too narrow a gape, and this effectively means a disproportionately long shank that can lever the hook out of the fish's mouth.
Rupert Harvey ties Crease Flies that are not only exquisitely beautiful but also lethally effective due to their excellent proportions and needle-sharp hooks. I cannot recommend them highly enough.