Diawl Bach, is Welsh for ‘little devil’. This all round nymph attractor pattern can be fished in a variety of ways and it is gives good results in rough water as well as calm. It is suggestive of all sorts of aquatic insect life especially the midge.
DIAWL BACH NYMPH FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 10 12 14 16 18 20 - $US each
In Britain and some areas of Northern Europe the Diawl Bach Nymph has become one of the most popular stillwater flies of recent times. This is quite an acclaim for such a drab, non-descript fly. The secret to this fly’s success is its sparse, nymph like profile making it a fly for all seasons and waters. In North America the Prince's Nymph is King in Britain it is the small welsh little devil the Diawl Bach.
There is a mystery over who originally created this excellent fly. Was it Jimmy Evans at Chew in 1950, Glyn Isaac of Pembrokeshire or Albert Horne from Cardiff in South Wales? Used on the river Chew, it then gained favor on the competition circuit when it became an essential team component of any cast; its ability to look like an edible, natural food item on a cast of attractors often made it the taking fly once a trout's interest had been aroused by the more gaudy lures. Such is the confidence in the Diawl Bach that many anglers always start fishing - particularly from a boat - with one on their casts; if it takes a fish, then a second one may also go on; teams of three are commonplace.
The great thing about a Diawl Bach is that it can be fished on any line, from high floater to ultra-fast sinker, from just under the surface to very deep. Fish it up and 'on the hang' on a fast sinker or fish it slowly on floater, just as you would a team of Buzzers. The pattern is proven amongst competition fishers and has won many a match. British fly fishing competition match fishermen use many combinations of nymphs and streamers, the most common perhaps being a Diawl Bach, suspended between two boobies or having a single booby on the point of the leader and using the Diawl Back on a ‘washing line rig’. The chasing trout are lured by the booby, but when the retrieved is stopped and the flies left to hang in the water, fish will often turn and take the nymph.
It can also be fished anywhere on the cast; I put one on the point, as this is the most effective position, but you will often find fly fishermen using it on either the top or middle dropper as well. The cast must be balanced. If you are fishing a Diawl Bach on the point make sure that your flies above it are not too heavy or too big in proportion with your tail fly or you will get the dreaded tangles. The heavier fly on the point helps to get the flies down straight in the water as well as aiding turnover in the cast. I find it helpful to present a cast in a straight line. If the flies land in a heap they can often tangle and rarely fish well. Should this happen, in the breeze for example, then a long pull to straighten the leader can be tried.
In deep water I use a floating line and a fast sinking Fluorocarbon type of leader material which is nearly invisible under the water. Sometimes the flies end up under the fish so I fish with a buoyant pattern like a Booby Nymph on the point to suspend the remaining flies higher in the water. I count the nymphs down for about 20 seconds before starting the retrieve. If I hit the bottom I do not immediately pull the line in and recast. If you are fishing more than one fly those still on the dropper are still available to tempt the trout. In these situations I just carry on retrieving slowly. In clear water I use leaders up to 18 foot long with thee flies spread about 6 foot apart. If they are too close together the trout may become suspicious.
like to use a plummet to gauge the depth of the water. Do not buy one. Make one out of a lead weight and a marked line. Once I know how deep the water is I adjust the leader accordingly so that the point fly settles in the correct depth on every cast. If the trout start taking the droppers then this indicates that the fish are moving up away from the bottom to feed. Simply decrease the length of your leader so all you flies are fishing at the correct depth. If when you are casting the one of the buzzers are intercepted before the point fly has reached its correct depth then this will indicate that the fish have changed the depth at which they are fishing again (normally because of a change in water temperature or the weather). It is time to adjust the length of the leader to catch the fish feeding nearer the surface.
We fish for steelheads that run up from Lake Ontario into various tributaries. These are spectacular fish that average 7-12 lbs. These steelhead runs are now larger than those on the Pacific coast. Various classic nymphs like Gold Ribbed Hares Ear and Pheasant tail nymphs are your standard flies. One of the most effective is the Welsh Diawl Bach (little Devil) Nymph. One of my fishing mates is Welsh. He discovered one year when the fishing got to be a little tough that a small standard Diawl Bach was just the fly needed to get them back on the bite. fished in the slower deeper pools on a light tippet can induce savage strikes. I guess that is why it is called the little devil. Tight Lines, Joe Forte, Ottawa, Canada
I like to fish the Ravensthorpe Reservoir in Northamptonshire. When the trout are feeding on midge buzzers and olives the flies I find that work using the bung technique are Diawl Bachs, pheasant tail nymphs GRHE and epoxy buzzers. Chris Little, Northants