Another rainy day fly to share and one that has served me well over many years. But, first my apologies to John Haily, Al Troth and Randal Kaufman for taking bits from each of their flies, but on the other hand, thanks for the inspiration.
John Haily a professional fly-dresser living in New York City, first tied the Royal Coachman in 1878. Dave Hughes in Trout Flies-The Tier’s Reference (1999) called it a searching pattern as it didn’t resemble any specific insect. Early in the 20th century, Theodore Gordon once was of the opinion that the Royal Coachman resembled some form of flying ant, while in the 1950s, Preston Jennings, a noted fly tier and angler thought the Royal Coachman resembled a species of mayfly – I’m afraid I can’t see it.
Al Troth’s Elk Hair Caddis was for decades, the standard by which all caddis fly patterns have been judged. Although he had been tying it for some time, it first came to the fly-fishing public’s attention in a 1978 article in Fly Tyer .
The Kaufmann Stimulator was created by master fly tyer Randall Kaufmann. It is designed to ride neatly on the surface of the water and to imitate stoneflies and grasshoppers.
Combining elements from each of these without any premeditated intention to do so, this little dry fly was born. I recall using it for the first time, probably 15 years ago, on the tiny northern Drakensberg Mahai stream where anything more than a 1wt rod is a handicap – a beautiful freestone stream with inviting pocket water and a decent head of pretty, wild rainbows. My fly doesn’t imitate any particular insect that the 3 flies that make up its origins are claimed to do, but is rather just a non-descript generic bug – for want of a better name, I called it the “Mahai Bug”.
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