Love it or hate it, the inevitable need to go deeper and find the fish, is married with the arrival of colder (and often wetter) weather. Whilst it may not be the dry-fly fishers’ idea of fun, big and heavy, lead-packed nymphs are often the answer. Fished in a variety of styles, they can be hugely effective. Given running water of suitable depth and flow, short line, ‘Czech –Nymphing’ with a team of these heavy bugs can be a super-productive method – often allowing good numbers of fish to be brought to the net. However, when faced with fluctuating depths and speed of the flow, this style can become a more of a hindrance than a winning technique. Plus there are times when the fish demand something smaller, but at depth. So it’s time to start changing patterns and approach.
When fishing small pockets and fast riffles, you need a fly that can sink quickly, exhibit a ‘buggy’ profile and retain some movement to suggest legs or pulsing gills. All of this, and it needs to be crammed into a range of bugs from size 14 all the way down to the sub 20 patterns. A challenge? Well there’s a simple answer in the form of the ‘Brassie’. A simple pattern with few materials, the Brassie and its variants are easy to tie. With the body formed from wraps of wire, it has ballast and profile combined as one. Most of all, the slim, smooth body helps the fly to cut through the water, getting to the bottom where the fish are likely to be feeding. Dubbed bodies trap air and have much greater resistance as they travel through the water – limiting the time your fly spends in the killing zone – and this is time you can’t afford to lose if you are to maximise your chances in fast, deep streamy water. The Brassie avoids this, making it ideal for getting down deep quickly.
A well-trusted pattern across the world, the Brassie has become a hugely popular nymph and must take many, many thousands of fish across the globe each year. We all have our own interpretation of a pattern, and by experimenting with materials and styles, we may develop a variation on a theme that brings confidence and elevates our approach and, hopefully catch rate, to a new level.
Taking the concept of the Brassie, here are my thoughts when choosing your materials.