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Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre

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Welcome to our Fly of the Week page. Here you will find a new pattern every week and details of how to tie it. We will especially try and bring to you flies which we are finding successful on our local waters. You will notice that there are a lot more steps being included these days. We are trying to cater to tiers of all skill levels so we have to include the extra detail. Use the following menu to find previously featured flies. Enjoy! To go to previously listed Fly of the Week pages simply use the pull down menu:

Willow Grub - Antony's version    How to tie the australian willow grub (sawfly) fly pattern   


Hook: Light gauge Curved grub hook

Thread:  Green 8/0 Uni-Thread

Body: Green Foam - available Spotlight




1/ When tying this fly, hook selection is all important. We have come to the conclusion that a curved hook works best, the finer the gauge the better. All hook manufacturers make a version to suit. Once you have your hook, secure it in the vice and wrap a base of thread, stopping somewhere in line with the hook barb.

How to tie the australian willow grub (sawfly) fly pattern

2/ Take some foam and cut it to shape. Its almost boomerang shaped, the idea to represent the C shape that the grubs immediately take once they fall onto the surface of the water. The best way to do this is to cut several pieces at once. I have included some examples down below as seen against a 5c piece. Personally I like a greater curve as per the photo on the right.


How to tie the australian willow grub (sawfly) fly pattern

3/ Start tying the foam onto the hook by tying at approximately the 1/3 point of the pre-cut foam body. As you can see, I lash it to the side of the hook rather than the top, as this is the way we want it to float. Make half a dozen tight wraps in the same plane, being careful not to cut/damage the foam.



How to tie the australian willow grub (sawfly) fly pattern

4/ This is really the same step but a different view. As seen from above, the body now has a section that kicks out at an angle from the hook. This is first part of creating the illusion of a C shaped grub on the surface. Note again that we have not tied the foam on top of the hook but rather to the side.

How to tie the australian willow grub (sawfly) fly pattern
5/ Now skip wrap the thread to a point approximately 1/3-1/4 of the hook shank length back from the hook eye. This is where the next stage will be added and the fly pretty much completed.

How to tie the australian willow grub (sawfly) fly pattern

6/ Do exactly as you did in step 4 and tie the foam onto the side of the hook, so that the body sticks out at an angle to the side. Half a dozen wraps should be ample to secure it, remembering to not damage the foam in the process.

How to tie the australian willow grub (sawfly) fly pattern

7/ Once again this is another view of the same step. As seen from above, tying the body to the hook at the 1/3 and 2/3 points has created the impression that we have a curled up grub floating on the surface. Of course it isn't a perfect C, but it is as good as we can get using the materials that we are forced to use, and also when considering that an exact imitation will spin and cause presentation problems.



How to tie the australian willow grub (sawfly) fly pattern

8/ Now to finish you can simply use a couple of half hitches or whip finish but I like to do one more thing. Wrap the thread over the top of the body using a small amount of pressure to create a sort of segmented appearance. Take 2 wraps to go to the rear tie in point and a further two to make your way back to the forward tie in point. Then simply finish the fly. This step is often skipped as these extra thread wraps and come apart and a being removed from the sharp teeth of a trout.

How to tie the australian willow grub (sawfly) fly pattern
9/ The finished fly as seen from above. This is how it looks floating on the water. It is deliberately tied about 30% oversize as most fish will still take it at this size and it floats well. A small pair of scissors should be carried in case of a refusal. A small trim usually sees any picky fish come to the party.

How to tie the australian willow grub (sawfly) fly pattern

The Pattern
How to tie the australian willow grub (sawfly) fly pattern

For the past few seasons we have been playing with patterns to correctly imitate our local fall of willow grubs. This ubiquitous terrestrial has quickly become a staple food item of our trout from November to March of each season. During the process of developing this fly, there were many dead ends. We played with numerous materials and construction techniques trying countless combinations over a two year period, before finally cracking the code.

The answer lay in the foam that we were using and also the way in which it was cut and applied to the hook. Many earlier versions used this exact foam, but due to the method used in tying the fly, they mostly spun and caused damage to tippets. They also started twisting when on the water as the spinning tippet tried to straighten. How to tie the australian willow grub (sawfly) fly pattern

After much gnashing of teeth and stuffing about, the answer was found. The foam had to be cut to suit the curled shape of the grub and then simply attached to the hook. This allowed for a curved shape yet at least a third of the body in the centre section, being lashed to the hook. This solved the spinning problem. Then after a little bit of trial and error, we settled on a specific colour in the foam that worked more often than not.

This foam is not specifically aimed at the fly fishing market. As a result it comes in large quantities/colours for relatively little cost. Spotlight stores carry it and it costs about $20 for 40 Sheets. It measures 6”x9” and has an adhesive back making it also fabulous for hopper bodies and Chernobyl ants. It is made by Darice and called FOAMIES. www.darice.com

Geoff has his own version of the fly, tied completely differently, as does James. These will feature at a later date.

More information on willow grubs can be found by clicking here.

Go fishing.....





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