Basic Fly Patterns 2

by Mike Hughes

Glo Bugs

August 27th, 2009

bretts-trout The Glo Bugs article below is the fourth in the series by Mike Hughes.

Already several Fishing Clubs are reproducing them in club newsletters for their members.  Indeed, we also notice Andrew Christmas’ TRM Pool Reports being reproduced in fly fishing newsletters as well.

Officially, all copyright belongs to TRM who are always delighted to receive donations – cheques should be made out to “The Advocates”…

Unofficially TRM are delighted the content is newsworthy enough to be reproduced.  At least it confirms TRM are on the right track providing up to date fishy information that is appreciated.  So you do not have to worry about any corporate legal copyright BS – just help yourselves…

brett-latimer-at-bridge Mike asked me to find a photo of a trout hooked on a glo bug to accompany his article but I could not find one in the TRM library. Shane had a good image of what I am sure must have been a Tongariro trout judging by the condition and size (regardless of what he claims) caught on a glo bug, so I wondered if he would notice if we stole it?  But he might be tempted to join other sickos making threats to TRM about abuses of copyright law.  So we resisted the temptation.

Instead Boof guided me down to the bridge where I found three TRM inmates slogging it out.  The gusty wind (west, 9 m/s) today made it very uncomfortable and even dangerous.  I had given up in the exposed Braids where I found Mike revelling in the conditions.  He had all the Braids entirely to himself and had released about 20 by the time I left him.

Back at the Bridge regular TRM inmate, Brett Latimer from Upper Hutt, (photo above left) made it look so easy when he hooked up on his third cast about 20 feet (6 m) from the LHS beach below the bridge.  I was delighted to discover he was not using a single glo bug but a whole cluster of them – they looked more like an omelette.

I wonder if that is legal?  If it isn’t then that isn’t his name either.

Now, finally we get to Mike’s fourth article:

Hi Guys,

This week another “must have”  the Glo-Bug. Now I must admit that when I first came to New Zealand I had never heard of ” Glow Bugs ” and thought that they must be some sort of exotic Kiwi invention that somehow illuminated themselves under water.


So I visited a tackle shop to try and track some down. After a good look around the shop and not finding any of these deadly bugs I was beginning to think that they were so deadly that they sold them under the counter….it was only after I asked to be shown some that I realized they were simply what we called in the UK….Egg Flies. Most of my fly-fishing in the last couple of years before I emigrated was on UK stillwaters….mainly because the cost of a day on a good river was pretty expensive. Nearly all UK Stillwater fisheries are stocked with sterile female Rainbows so that all their energy can be concentrated into growth and the current British record Rainbow stands at 33 lb 4oz…..don’t get too excited….personally I’d rather catch a 3 lb fresh run wild trout on the Tongariro than one of these artificially bred monsters. In fact many fisheries will buy in one of these huge trout to boost their fishery “record.” But I digress….what I was getting at.. was the fact that because the fish are sterile the Egg-Fly had a limited use in the UK.


Of course it’s a very different story here in New Zealand and there are days when it would be pointless using any thing other than a Glo-Bug. This “fly” has been around for years and was probably imported from America where they were used to catch Steelhead and Brown trout who were feeding on Salmon eggs in the spawning season. There are endless combinations of colors and you could quite easily fill several fly boxes with the things but if I had too limit it to a few to start off with it would be….Orange…Red…and Champagne. As a general rule the first two when the water is carrying a little color because Orange and Red are “strong” colors and show up well in murky water and Champagne when the river is running clear. There is a train of thought that as the spawning season continues the older eggs in the system begin to milk out and many anglers advocate the use of lighter colored patterns to ” match the hatch ” I would be interested to hear from any fisho’s out there who have experienced this.


One other thing with this fly is that it is probably one of the easiest to learn to tie and once you have mastered one of several methods you can churn out dozens of them in quite a short time. My only advice as far as fishing them is {  Andrew has mentioned it several times } you must use a heavier bomb than normal….remember you are trying to sink a material that a lot of anglers use to make their indicators. If you are in any doubt about this… pick a day when the water is clear and cast one out on a ” normal ” bomb… I bet you will have wasted at least two-thirds of your drift before the Glo-Bug gets anywhere near the bottom…. which over a days fishing is an awful lot of lost opportunity.

Tight Lines



September 3rd, 2009

Now the last in the series by Mike Hughes:

Hi Guy’s


Well ….we come to the last of our flies …the Cicada.

The Cicada season is relatively short lived but is well worth a mention… occurring around February but this can vary slightly.

New Zealand is world famous for it’s Cicada hatch and there are anglers who will visit Aotearoa just to fish for trout at this time.

According to the reference books there are around forty species native to New Zealand and they vary in size from one to two inches long….so quite a meal for any hungry trout…especially the big Browns which are also in the river at that time.


When they are in full song the noise along the river banks can literally be deafening. Only the males “sing” mainly to attract females { Andrew and I have tried this…and it doesn’t bloody work} They have the loudest “song” of all the tropical singing insects….over 120 db at close range and the trees and bushes can be covered with them during a good hatch. Interestingly they spend most of their lives underground.

The female deposits her eggs into plant tissue above ground using a sword-like appendage called an ovipositor……I’ll resist the temptation to again mention AC at this point. After sometime the cream-colored nymphs hatch from the eggs and fall to the ground where they begin to burrow down….sometimes to a depth of over 40 cms. Here they will feed on plant roots and as they grow  will usually go through five moults …these are called instars.


It’s not certain but it’s thought that they remain underground for up to five years. When the nymph reaches maturity it burrows upwards where it waits for suitable conditions and under cover of darkness climbs a tree or bush to go through the final moult.

Just like some other flying insects the skin splits and the soft emerging insect will hang there waiting for the body and wings to harden enabling flight…then they leave to mate and lay eggs before they die….normally after a few weeks.


During this time trout can become totally pre-occupied on the insect and will feed on little else.  There are plenty of commercial patterns available { see pic of some of last years weird and wonderful creations}  If you  haven’t fished a dry-fly before this can be an excellent time to learn….there is no need for the finesse of stalking wary trout on an English Chalk Stream during a Cicada hatch.   At times it can be a positive advantage to “plop” the fly onto the surface and if the water is clear and you are casting to sighted fish you will quite often see the fish turn from quite some distance away to come and engulf the fly.

However not always and I remember a frustrating period during last years hatch when both AC and myself kept missing fish no matter what we did…we tried hitting them straight away….standing there doing the ole ” God save the Queen” bit…..not striking at all….the only thing that worked was to recite ” Mike can’t cast to save his life ” and we went on to hook dozens of big Browns………..yeah right.

Anyway that concludes this little series and  we hope it has been of help to someone out there…..look forward to seeing you on the river sometime……

Tight Lines