Effective Flies – The Rodney

Craig likes the Rodney as an all-season pattern, particularly for our mayfly lakes from Fyans to Penstock.

In my competition fishing and as a guide, I’m always on the lookout for robust, quick-to-tie, versatile flies which grab the fish’s attention. The Rodney capably ticks all these boxes.

The Rodney works especially well on fertile, shallow mayfly lakes, both in Tasmania and on the mainland. In particular, it’s very effective when there’s a little colour in the water. Last season, Woods Lake was more coloured than previous years and the Rodney worked well from October right through until the end of the season. Lakes such as Penstock Lagoon, Four Springs, Bronte Lagoon, Arthurs Lake, Lake Fyans and Lake Wendouree are all waters where the trout respond well to the Rodney.

One of many nice fish caught on the Rodney during season 2018/19.

Being weighted, I always fish the Rodney on the point. This helps to anchor your cast on windy days whilst dibbling you flies at the end of the retrieve. As such an adaptable pattern, I can use the Rodney when fishing a range of different methods; including as part of a team of nymphs, or with traditional wet flies, or static under an indicator or ‘bung’ fly.

Some great combinations incorporating the Rodney are:

  • Nymphing team: point fly – the Rodney; middle fly – Claret Flashback Nymph; bob fly – Claret Soft Hackle Nymph.
  • Wet fly team: point fly – the Rodney; middle fly – blue Zulu; bob fly – Claret Dabbler.
  • Under a dry: point fly – the Rodney; middle fly – stick caddis; top dry fly – Shuttlecock Emerger.


Hook – Hanak H260BL, size 12-14

Bead – Copper Fluoro Orange 2.5mm or 3mm (cone style, not slotted).

Thread – Black 0/8

Tail – Black cock hackle.

Rib – Fine Fuchsia tinsel or fine silver wire.

Dubbing – Black possum or similar fur.

Tying instructions

I tie this fly in two sizes, using a 3mm bead on a size 12 hook, and a 2.5mm bead on a size 14 hook. I prefer copper beads over tungsten for this fly, as tungsten beads tend to be a bit heavy; plus copper has the added advantage of being cheaper!

  1. Tie in approximately ten black cock fibres, two-thirds the length of the hook shank.
  2. Tie in your ribbing. I like the fine tinsel; however silver wire is a good alternative.
  3. Make a smooth underbody, as unwanted lumps and bumps can impact on the look of the finished fly.
  4. Tightly dub on a thin, tapered body, then wind the rib through in the opposite direction.
  5. Finally, dub in a collar and put in a couple of whip-finishes behind the bead, using wax to ensure the fly doesn’t come apart.

Being a simple fly to tie, it doesn’t take long to fill your fly box – a good thing, as once you have tried the Rodney, I’m sure you’ll use it often.