As easy to tie as a shoelace, the F-Fly is one of the deadliest dry-flies ever invented. Dry-flies that relied on the frondlike plumes plucked from around a duck’s preen gland for their incredible lightness and buoyancy have been used by Swiss anglers for many years, but it is to Slovenia’s Marjan Fratnik that fly-fishers the world over owe a vote of thanks.
In 1983, and inspired by a fly sent him by innovative Swiss fly-fisher Jules Rindlisbacher, Marjan developed his own much simplified version for fishing the ice-cold alpine rivers and chalkstreams that provide some of the finest brown trout and grayling fishing to be found anywhere in the world.
The original F-Fly had no body or hackle and was nothing more than a pinch of fibres plucked from a CDC plume and bound to a hook. Those tied on hooks smaller than a size 18 used only a single plume, those up to a size 14 had two and anything bigger used three plumes.
Match the size to the hatching insect, be it of olives, sedges or in a fall of terrestrials of any colour and the F-Fly can be used with complete confidence.
Marjan added a very sparsely dubbed grey body and later versions have bodies formed from hare’s ear and fine dubbings of every kind and colour, but whether they are any more successful that the original spartanly dressed F-Fly is doubtful.
Hook Size 10-20
Thread To match body colour
Body Fine dubbings in grey, black, olive, brown, tan and hare’s ear
Wing Natural CDC fibres
1. Catch in the thread and run it in touching turns to a point just opposite the barb. Secure in the ribbing tinsel.
2. Secure the slim bunch of herls which will be used to form the body.
3. Bind down the tinsel and the butt ends of the herls.
4. Start to wind the body with touching turns of the herls.
5. Complete the body, secure the herls and rib the body in evenly spaced turns.
6. Trim off the unwanted body herls.
7. Offer up the natural brown CDC plumes.
8. With the tips extending just past the bend, tie in the CDC fibres on top of the hook. If the wing is too long, either remove it and start again or nip off the ends with your fingernails.
9. Remove the waste CDC feathers. Form a small head and cast off with a whip finish.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
Whether the water is small or large, running or still, the F-Fly can be fished with total confidence. Just alter the size of the artificial to roughly match the hatch.
W H E N
From March onwards, when fish start to feed in earnest on the surface. A size 14 version with a pale olive body and a light wing is especially good. Trout feeding on black gnats, hawthorns and all manner of terrestrials will respond to an F-Fly with a darkbrown or black body.
H O W
Fish it singly. On a stillwater, the F-Fly should be cast into the path of a moving fish and left to its own devices. On a river allow it to drift without any vestige of drag.
T Y I N G T I P
Avoid a square and unnatural end to the wing by trimming any stray CDC fibres with your fingernails and not with scissors.