Fishing Flies

Women's Fishing
Fly Fishing with Tuckamore Lodge in Main Brook, Newfoundland & Labrador

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Articles & photos by Hans van Klinken. 

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenWhen I looked back in my diaries, I read that the first flies in my large Bondal series had already been developed more than 20 years ago. Today, the complete series of the Bondals contain 30 individual patterns. The dressings didn’t change much over the years, but the patterns themselves went through a major modification about four years ago when I also tied them on tubes. My close contact with friends like Jurij Shumakov and Bob Kenley surely had a big influence on that decision. Bob had sent me a few Blair mice, developed by his friend William Blair, to try in the Yukon in 2003. The results were amazing, because with them, I caught my biggest pike and lake trout ever. After I helped Jurij with a whole range of articles for some of his editorial works, he sent me some of his patterns in return for some further editorial work of mine. I got hooked on his wonderful tube flies immediately, and the way Jurij had tied his new generation of tube flies stimulated me enormously to experiment with tube flies again. The last time I had fished with tubes was in the 1980’s in the Norwegian rivers Orkla and Gaula, when tubes and Waddington’s went through a little reintroduction process as well.

Let’s look at some history on my Bondal series. The first prototype arose in 1988 at the River Bondal in Norway. I designed the pattern in a cabin close to the banks of the river during one of those days when you were better off staying inside due to the unbelievably bad weather conditions. Until then, I had fished the Bondal River along with a good friend for several years in a row, but sadly without any success at all. In that time we usually just fished the Bondal for one or two days only. Day tickets were hard to obtain, especially for the stretches which we were so eager to fish. In this particular year I was very lucky because I was able to get a license as soon as the heavy rain finally stopped. I was really happy because the ticket was for the sea pool, the only “fly only” stretch, and best pool of the entire river. I had been hoping for that chance for so long, and the reward was enormous. I hooked and landed four fish that day. I named the fly after the river and the silver body colour of the fish, and that is how the Bondal Silver came to life.

The Bondal Silver was the first pattern on which I caught a salmon below the surface. Until then, I only had succeed with dries in north and central Scandinavia. After my success with the Bondal Silver, I got more interested in hairwings, and my confidence started to build. Between 1989 and 1991, I did some extensive experiments with the same patterns in central Norway, basing these tests particularly on the length of the wing. My conclusions were striking. In the same period, I also started some other experiments with different beard or throat hackle material. I got the “magic touch” while I was after salmon in the estuaries of the Fosen Peninsula at Norway’s west-coast.

When I had sent a few of my latest patterns to the USA, I started to concentrate even more on hairwings. The greatest motivation for this was the conclusion my American friend Dick Lemmerman was coming to. He was really crazy about one particular pattern of my Bondal series. The Bondal Black was his absolute favourite for the Margaree River in Nova Scotia. Dick renamed the fly “The Dutchman’s Balls”. I have no idea why, but the name had already become so popular that I have to use it myself to prevent confusion. With the advent of the Bondal Black, even more hairwings evolved and the series got larger and larger, and became the inspiration for my Pulsar series as well. Today, the Bondal series includes about 15 difference patterns, which are worthwhile to try for Atlantic Salmon in Europe, Russia and eastern North-America.

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenHairwings are an easy tie, but I insist on some differences based on my personal preferences and experience. First for me, the hook must be down eyed, because I fish my flies with a lot of action and just below the surface. I firmly recommended the CS42, or “Bomber” hook from Partridge. The shape is beautiful. I believe that a down-eye hook with a special kind of turtle knot produces a more natural drift during fishing, and a superior-hooking angle. The hook has a fine wire, is very sharp and extremely durable, and the barb is small and easy to remove. Over the years, I have fished many waters in which barbed hooks were not allowed, and I didn’t find any differences whether using a barb or not. The greatest difference with my new generation of hairwings has to do with the beard (or throat) of the fly. Nowadays, I use dyed rabbit fur exclusively for all the beards on my Bondals and Pulsars. I prefer to use the soft and long hairs of a zonkerstrip, and use a considerable bunch of it at that, with very long fibres, sometimes almost reaching the hook point. I tie it in long and for a very good reason. A long beard you can easily make shorter just by pulling off some fibres between the thumb and forefinger. The fly has an unbelievable action, and definitely has a superior attraction for fish. Although many people say that traditional jungle cock eyes sometimes can be deadly, I removed them from all my fishing flies. I find no evidence that they do any good whatsoever. In order to give my flies a personal touch, I tied in a tail of teal fibres and add a few longer fibres of teal as a sheath over the wing as a kind of topping. Finally I use a more powerful technique to secure the wing because I prefer durability above appearance. This technique you will find in the tying instructions. A beautiful small head of the fly surely looks great, but do you think the fish would mind?

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenThis is the new list updated with all Atlantic salmon patterns that I developed between 1988 and 2012. In reality, these are my best Atlantic Salmon flies either in Europe-Russia or Atlantic Canada.

No 0: Bondal Silver (original version 1988)
No 00: Bondal Black (original version 1988)
No 1: Bondal Silver (improved version 1989)
No 2: Bondal Black (improved version 1989)
No 3: Tony’s First Choice (original version 1989, renamed in 1996)
No 4: Tony’s First Choice (silver variation 1989, renamed in 1996)
No 5: Tony’s First Choice (golden variation 1989, renamed in 1996)
No 6: Clearwater Special (original version 1989, renamed in 1997)
No 7: Clearwater Special (silver variation 1989, renamed in 1997)
No 8: Where-Ya-Wannebee Special (original version 1989 and start as series, renamed in 1997)
No 9: Where-Ya-Wannebee Special (golden variation added in 1990, renamed in 1997)
No 10: Where-Ya-Wannebee Special (silver variation added in 1990, renamed in 1997)
No 11: Orange Bondal (added in 1990)
No 12: Golden Orange Bondal (golden variation added in 1990)
No 13: Stordal’s Killer (original version 1989 improved and added in 1990)
No 14: Silver Stordal’s Killer (silver variation added in 1991)
No 15: Red Bondal (added in 1991)
No 16: Green Bondal (added in 1991)
No 17: Green and Silver Bondal (added in 1991)
No 18: Yellow Green Bondal (added in 1991)
No 19: Second Change (tied in 1991, improved, added and renamed in 1997)
No 20: Last Chance (tied in 1991, improved, added and renamed in 1997)
No 21: Silver and Purple Bondal (tied in 1993, improved and added in 1999)
No 22: Brown and Rosa Bondal (1996, improved and added in 2008)
No 23: Beaver Brook special (tied 1996, improved, added and renamed in 2010)
No 24: Silver, Blue and Brown Bondal (tied in 1999, improved and added in 2010)
No 25: Grey, Black and Purple Bondal (tied in 1996, improved and added in 2010)
No 26: Green, Blue and Orange Bondal (tied and added in 2010)
No 27: Pink Bondal (tied in 1998 for BC, improved and added in 2010)
No 28: Yellow Martis (tied in 1997 improved, renamed and added in 2011)
No 29: Red and Yellow Bondal (tied in 1999 added in 2011)
No 30: Blue and Orange Bondal (tied in 2001) added in 2010)

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenNo 1: Bondal Silver
Superb fly for estuaries, sea pools and fresh running fish. Works well in bright sunny weather conditions as well.
Hook: Partridge CS 42 size 8-4
Thread: Uni-thread 8/0 black
Tag: Fine silver wire
Tail: A few fibres of mallard or teal
Butt: Blue fluorescent nylon wool or substitutes
Rib: Oval silver tinsel medium size
Body: Flat silver tinsel. Worthwhile to try is holographic mylar tinsel.
Beard: A nice bunch of rabbit fur, dyed kingfisher blue
Wing: Dyed blue squirrel tail (bottom), Fitch tail (middle), Mallard or teal fibres (top)
Head: Black

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenNo 2: Bondal Black
Excellent fly for dark rainy days. Killer on the Margaree River in Nova Scotia. Great fly for the Norwegian west coast and Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland.
Hook: Partridge CS 42 size 8-4
Thread: Uni-thread 8/0 black
Tag: Fine silver wire
Tail: A few fibres of mallard or teal
Butt: Blue fluorescent nylon wool tied much longer than normal (substitutes for all patterns: floss, Uni nylon stretch or Wapsi’s super bright dubbing)
Rib: Oval silver tinsel medium size
Body: Peacock herl or as substitute Wapsi’s Super Bright peacock dubbing
Beard: A nice bunch of rabbit fur, dyed kingfisher blue
Wing: Dyed blue squirrel tail (bottom), Fitch tail / Substitutes: black bear or natural black squirrel (middle), Mallard or teal fibres (top)
Head: Black

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenNo 3: Tony’s First Choice
My best all-round Atlantic Salmon fly for Scandinavia and Atlantic Canada. A real killer in the Grey River and many other rivers in Newfoundland.
Hook: Partridge CS 42 size 8-4
Thread: Uni-thread 8/0 black
Tag: Fine silver wire
Tail: A few fibres of mallard or teal
Butt: Yellow fluorescent dept ray nylon wool, tied much longer than normal
Rib: Oval silver tinsel medium size
Body: Peacock herl
Beard: A nice bunch of rabbit fur, dyed hot orange
Wing: Dyed blue squirrel tail (bottom), Fitch tail (middle), Mallard or teal fibres (top)
Head: Black

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenNo 6: Clearwater Special
Superb fly to use in most of the Newfoundland river systems. Also excellent for the Miriamichi and tributaries. Most useful and effective after rain has colored the water.
Hook: Partridge CS 42 size 8-4
Thread: Uni-thread 8/0 black
Tag: Fine silver wire
Tail: A few fibres of mallard or teal
Butt: Yellow fluorescent dept ray nylon wool, tied much longer than normal
Rib: Oval silver tinsel medium size
Body: Peacock herl
Beard: A nice bunch of rabbit fur, dyed fluorescent green
Wing: Dyed green squirrel tail (bottom), Fitch tail (middle), Mallard or teal fibres (top)
Head: Black

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenNo 9: Where-Ya-Wannebee Special (golden variation)
Most successful salmon fly during the 1997 season in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Hook: Partridge CS 42 size 8-4
Thread: Uni-thread 8/0 black
Tag: Fine gold wire
Tail: A few fibres of teal dyed yellow
Butt: Yellow fluorescent stretch nylon tied much longer than normal
Rib: Oval gold tinsel medium size
Body: Golden holographic mylar tinsel
Beard: A nice bunch of rabbit fur, dyed fluorescent yellow
Wing: Dyed yellow squirrel tail (bottom), Fitch tail (middle), Teal fibres dyed yellow (top)
Head: Black

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenNo 8: Where-Ya-Wannebee Special (original version)
Killer in most rivers of western Newfoundland. Named after the lodge from where we organized our fishing trips. Superb fly for waters with a high concentration of tannic acid.
Hook: Partridge CS 42 size 8-4
Thread: Uni-thread 8/0 black
Tag: Fine gold wire
Tail: A few fibres of mallard or teal
Butt: Yellow fluorescent stretch nylon tied much longer than normal
Rib: Oval gold tinsel medium size
Body: Peacock herl
Beard: A nice bunch of rabbit fur, dyed fluorescent yellow
Wing: Dyed yellow squirrel tail (bottom), Fitch tail (middle), Mallard or teal fibres (top)
Head: Black

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenNo 11: Orange Bondal
Very good fly for waters with a high concentration of tannic acid.
Hook: Partridge CS 42 size 8-4
Thread: Uni-thread 8/0 black
Tag: Fine gold wire
Tail: A few fibres of mallard or teal
Butt: Orange fluorescent nylon wool tied much longer than normal
Rib: Oval gold tinsel medium size
Body: Peacock herl
Beard: A nice bunch of rabbit fur, dyed fluorescent orange
Wing: Dyed orange squirrel tail (bottom), Fitch tail (middle), Mallard or teal fibres (top)
Head: Black

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenNo 12: Golden Orange Bondal
Very good fly for waters with a high concentration of tannic acid.
Hook: Partridge CS 42 size 8-4
Thread: Uni-thread 8/0 black
Tag: Fine gold wire
Tail: A few fibres of mallard or teal
Butt: Orange fluorescent nylon wool tied much longer than normal
Rib: Oval gold tinsel medium size
Body: Golden holographic mylar tinsel
Beard: A nice bunch of rabbit fur, dyed fluorescent orange
Wing: Dyed orange squirrel tail (bottom), Fitch tail (middle), Mallard or teal fibres (top)
Head: Black

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenNo 13: Stordals Killer
Good fly for dark days, high water and late evening. Named after the Stordals River in Norway where this pattern tempts most fish during a certain day in the 1989 season. First successl in Atlantic Canada in 1999.
Hook: Partridge CS 42 size 8-4
Thread: Uni-thread 8/0 black
Tag: Fine silver wire
Tail: A few fibres of mallard or teal
Butt: Red fluorescent wool tied much longer than normal
Rib: Oval silver tinsel medium size
Body: Peacock herl
Beard: A nice bunch of rabbit fur, dyed fluorescent blue
Wing: Dyed blue squirrel tail (bottom), Fitch tail (middle), Mallard or teal fibres (top)
Head: Black

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenNo 16: Green Bondal
Works well during rain showers.
Hook: Partridge CS 42 size 8-4
Thread: Uni-thread 8/0 yellow
Tag: Fine silver wire
Tail: A few fibres of mallard or teal
Butt: Green fluorescent stretch nylon tied much longer than normal
Rib: Oval silver tinsel medium size
Body: Flat silver tinsel
Beard: A nice bunch of dyed fluorescent green rabbit (same colour as tag)
Wing: Dyed yellow squirrel tail (bottom), Dyed green squirrel tail (middle), Mallard or teal fibres (top)
Head: Yellow

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenNo 18: Yellow Green Bondal
Another slightly different version that works well during rain showers.
Hook: Partridge CS 42 size 8-4
Thread: Uni-thread 8/0 yellow
Tag: Fine silver wire
Tail: A few fibres of mallard or teal
Butt: Yellow fluorescent stretch nylon tied much longer than normal
Rib: Oval silver tinsel medium size
Body: Flat silver tinsel
Beard: A nice bunch of rabbit fur mixed from dyed fluorescent yellow and green
Wing: Dyed yellow squirrel tail (bottom), Dyed green squirrel tail (middle), Mallard or teal fibres (top)
Head: Yellow

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenNo 19: Bondal’s Second Change
Excellent fly to offer you a second chance after you rolled a fish.
Hook: Partridge CS 42 size 8-4
Thread: Uni-thread 8/0 yellow
Tag: Fine gold wire
Tail: A few fibres of teal
Butt: Yellow fluorescent stretch nylon tied much longer than normal
Rib: Oval gold tinsel medium size
Body: Peacock herl
Beard: A nice bunch of rabbit fur natural black colour
Wing: Crystal flash or Angel hair mixed colours (bottom), Fitch tail (middle), Mallard or teal fibres (top)
Head: Black

Photo courtesy of Hans van KlinkenStep 1: Put on tying thread and tie in a piece of round tinsel or wire.

Photo courtesy of Hans van Klinken

Step 2: The way I prefer is to secure the wire on the hook shank and wrap a few windings towards the bend. Then I wrap it back so that there is a double layer. Tie in the tail of teal fibres in front of the tag. Take a piece of fluorescent nylon or floss and secure it on the hook shank.

Photo courtesy of Hans van Klinken

Step 3: Make a nice long butt. Using up to 5 windings is no problem. Tie in the tinsel for the rib and 3 or 4 long peacock herls for body.

Photo courtesy of Hans van Klinken

Step 4: Make a nice body from peacock and secure the ribbing with opposite windings. Tie in a long bunch of soft rabbit fur as beard or throat. The traditional way to make the wing is to build it up. The squirrel tail fibres are added first, than the fitch tail and finely the mallard fibres over all.

For my fishing flies, I use a different technique to secure the wing. The reason for this is very simple. Just take some hairwings from somebody’s fly box and give a strong pull at the wing.

In many cases you will separate the wing from the fly. The other reason is that over time the lacquer dries out and loosens the holding.

To make the wing more durable I use following technique: I tie in the wing at the bottom of the fibres on the thickest part. The top of the wing must be pointed in the opposite direction of the hook eye. I tie it in very strongly, and than pull the wing backwards.

Finally I tie off the wing as strongly as possible. The head will be a little bigger, but you will never lose the wing anymore. Secure well and tie off.

Photo courtesy of Hans van Klinken

Step 5: The completed fly.

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