Saturday, 17 February 2018 06:32

By Gordon van der Spuy.

Last year saw the kick off of the inaugural South African Fly Tyer of the Year. The competition was won by Philip Meyer who tied a really solid selection of flies. The defining feature of all of his creations is that they seem to break the proverbial mould. His use of materials is at times unconventional, yet strikingly effective and clever. He is a thinking tyer. This is a quality we try to promote and encourage. Philip won a voucher from Stream X and a J Vice, and then received a beautiful floating trophy created by talented local sculptor, Chris Bladen.

The 2018 competition takes on a different format in that there are evenmore prizes up for grabs and more opportunities for people to win these prizes. We’ve also decided on renaming the competition. It is now titled The SA Fly Tying Open. The competition aims to promote excellence in fly tying in South Africa and will run every year.


The 2018 SA Fly Tying Open is open to South African citizens only (except the judges of course). Professional tyers and guides are also welcome to enter. If you think you’re a hot tyer then this is the competition for you!


There are 3 categories:

1.   Advanced/Senior  (The winner of this category is crowned SA Fly Tyer of the Year)


2.  Junior  (Open to anyone younger than 18)


3.   Best Lady Tyer of the Year  (A category exclusive to the ladies)



   A. You can only enter one category.

The ladies and juniors are welcome to enter the advanced category, but then forfeit being able to enter for the categories specifically dedicated to them. We in fact encourage this.

    B. Entrants need to tie the entire list of flies required for the specific category being entered. We need three flies per type. Consistency, functionality, creativity and technique are very important.


Requirements for various categories are:



1. Deerhair grunter prawn imitation. (We’re looking for something that is creative but something that is totally fishable at the same time.)

Click in images to enlarge them

Prawn whole family


2. A Traditional wet fly. (We’re looking for a traditional quill-winged wet, like a March Brown. You can tie any pattern as long as it’s a quill-winged pattern. Balance and proportion are very important.)

Silver Invicta


3. A Para-RAB. (We’re looking for a Para-RAB pattern that you can put your own twist on, but essentially we’re looking for good tying technique. It must be tied on a #18 hook.)


4. A Largie fly. (We’re looking for a baitfish pattern that’ll work for largemouth yellowfish.)


5. A hopper pattern.(We’re looking for a fishable hopper.)

IMG 20180204 161603

Each fly type required in this category will have a prize attached to it, so againit is possible to win a great prize without having to win the entire competition. You have to tie all five fly types.


Junior Fly Tyer of the Year:

You need to tie three near identical flies of each type.


The flies required include:

1)   A Damsel fly nymph (We’re looking for something that is highly fishable yet still creative.)


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2)   A traditional soft hackle (We’re looking for a traditional soft hackle pattern tied in the old style, Do some research.)


CDC Partridge


3)   A CDC mayfly dry. (We’re looking for something that is simple and efficient to tie yet effective.)


Lady Tyer of the year:

You need to tie three near identical flies of each type.

The flies required include:


1)   A damsel fly nymph. (We’re looking for something that is highly fishable yet creative at the same time.)


2)   A parachute dry fly or emerger. (We’re looking for good technique here. We need to see that you can  effectively tie parachute flies.)


The judges for the 2018 Competition are:

1)   MC Coetzer 

2)   Murray Peddar

3)   Gordon van der Spuy


Prizes include:

Advanced Category

1) A 5 day hosted fly-fishing trip for 1 person to the Karoolskraal fishing camp on the Breede River. Sponsored by Fly Dot Fish(Advanced category for best Deer hair prawn.)

2) A Solarez hamper sponsored by FLYZ INC (Advanced category for best Hopper).

3) A R2000 Dr Slick tying tool voucher From STEALTH(Advanced category for best Para-RAB.)

4) A fully guided and catered trip for two to the Gkhui Gkhui River Lodge on the banks of the Orange River sponsored by “Gkhui Gkhui River Lodge” and “The Fly Guides” ( Advanced category for best Largie fly.)

5) A R1500 tying material voucher sponsored by STREAM X. (Advanced category for best Traditional wet fly.)

The overall winner of this category will also take home the Floating Trophy and be crowned ‘SA Fly Tyer of the Year”


Junior Tyer of the year

1)   A Dan vise sponsored by STEALTH  for the best Damsel fly nymph.

2)   A R1500 tying voucher from XPLORERfor the best soft hackle.

3)   A Renzetti tool kit  from Flyz Inc for the best CDC mayfly dry fly.


Ladies Category

1) A R3500 tying material voucher sponsored by XPLORER. (Ladies       category for best damsel fly nymph.)

2) A signed copy of “South African Fishing Flies” sponsored by Peter Brigg and Ed Herbst and a dubbing twister sponsored by J Vice (Ladies category for best parachute dry or emerger.)


Entries will be judged on:

1)   Technique.

2)   Balance and proportion.

3)   Use of materials. (Creativity.)

4)   Functionality. (These flies need to be functional.)

5)   Consistency.


Entries must be sent to:

Gordon van der Spuy

1 Silversands, 2 Ulex Road

 Gordon’s Bay                                       


Please package entries in such a way that the flies don’t get damaged.


The closing date for entries is 31 May 2018. No extensions will be given. Please include your cell phone number and your email address with your entry as well as a written explanation of how you went about tying your flies and how you fish them. The winners will be announced at “The South African Fly Fishing and Fly tying Expo 2018”.


Gordon van der Spuy 

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