Ace of Spades Matuka Fly

Fly fisherman Dave Collyer devised the Ace of Spades Matuka Streamer. It is a great fish producing fly pattern that has receive a great amount of praise in the Fly Fishing press.

Ace of Spades Matuka streamer Fly pattern


MAT5 Ace of Spades Matuka Streamer Hook Size 8   - Quantity: 

Dave Collyer was looking to solve the problem of the feather wing of the black streamers he was using twisting around the hook points when being fished. He had used some Matuka flies and was impressed but believed they could be improved upon. He over laid the main black wing with a dark bronzed mallard overwing, which he found for some reason made the fly more effective. I think it helped make the Ace of Spades Matuka body profile more like a small fish.

I have found that during the early part of the season the Ace of Spades Matuka is best fished deep and retrieved slowly with a pause to enliven the hackle wing and suggest life like movement. I have used this fly successfully to imitate a leech whilst fishing on a sunken line with a rig of three flies, when the fish are feeding near the bottom in lakes or reservoirs. The New Zealand Mauri's call the Bittern bird a Matuka. The fly was originally constructed using this birds feathers hence it was given the name "Matuka". It first came to notice just after World War Two but gained global popularity in the mid 1970's. The name is now used to a denote a style of fly tying where a feather is tied to the top of the hook shank by a few turns of ribbing to produce a top wing and tail that move when retrieved through the water. This simple idea is genius. The movement suggests to a hungry trout that the artificial fly is alive and edible. The fly pattern is also used to imitate the dorsal fin of small juvenile fish as well as aquatic subsurface insects.

Matuka flies are mainly used for trout fly fishing trips but they are a good smallmouth bass fly. These fish like to feed on Sculpins. A Matuka fished on a sinking line can imitate the feeding habits of a the bottom hugging Sculpin minnow that likes to live near large stones for protection from hungry predators. I fish for smallmouth bass by wading into a river just above a riffle. I cast across and slightly downstream. I then wait until the the fly has reached the bottom and then imitate a sculpin swimming along the bottom by retrieving six inches of line every five seconds. During the pause the fly sinks to the bottom just like the natural fish looking for something to eat. The strip suggest the sculpin has been spooked or is just moving to a new location to feed. Before moving location I normally try six casts to the same area, making each new cast about four feet longer than the last cast. If I still have not had any luck I move about three yards further down stream and start again. This way you will be exposing your fly to nearly all of the smallmouth bass in front of you.

There are two things that work in the fly fisher’s favor when fishing streams and rivers in flood in the spring. The first is that because there is so much fast moving water around the fish are not spooked by wading fly fishers. The second is that the fish are on the feed again after winter. In the early part of the season you have to select a fly which will make a trout think it is worth spending the energy to attack it. It is still very cold. Try to work out where the trout are holding up. Trout turn to eating small minnows when the water is in flood as it is hard for them to detect insects to eat. If the water is discolored tie on a dark colored streamer to lure the trout to an attack. There are a number of streamers you could try ranging from black zonkers, woolly buggers, matukas to black ghosts. Try sheltered area of the river first. Look for pockets of water that are not moving as fast as the main body of water. That is the best place to go hunting fish.

Normally I try the traditional down and across presentation when fishing with streamer lures. In flood conditions I like to try and imitate the minnow swimming upwards, pausing and going to the bottom again. I do this by using the tip of my fly rod and lifting the fly up about one meter (one yard) and then down on a streamer lure cast up stream. It looks like an easy meal to the hungry full size trout. When you get a strike you know about it and instantly get a set hook as the fish is biting on a rising hook on a tight line. In larger rivers I wade downstream slowly and fish down and across. I use a slow six inch retrieves on a fly line with a moderately fast sinking tip with a rate of about three to four inches a second. Remember always take care fishing water in flood. Wear proper wading boots and a life vest. There are too many fatalities each year. Don’t become the next statistic.

Craig here is a fly fishing tip for your other customers. I fish many highland lochs. Lakes and reservoirs that have a pronounced peaty stain. This reduced visibility means that I choose large dark streamers that produce a strong silhouette that trout can easily see. Olive green, brown or gray flies are harder for the trout to locate as they tend to blend into the natural colour of the water. This is why I like to use an Ace of Spades Matuka streamer. I find the tail feather and wing add natural movement in the water and help imitate a small fish swimming.

I use a floating line as the majority of the fishing is done in the margins over shallow water which is the preferred habitat of young fish. The floating line gives control and prevents the Ace of Spades streamer from dragging on the bottom. In this dark sometimes cloudy water a reduced slower retrieve gives the brown or rainbow trout more time to see the fly. Upland waters take longer to warm up than those lower down in the valley. In the beginning of the season this can make the fish lethargic and will not respond to a faster retrieve. The slow retrieve also makes for more confident takes as the trout can take the fly without having to snatch at it.

Remember to stop start your retrieve. If you watch a shoal of young juvenile fish you will observe that they move in a darting motion. This is what you want to replicate. When you stop your retrieve your Matuka changes direction and moves downward. When you start your retrieve again your fly darts back upwards again just like a real small fish. - John Burns

Cracking fly l got my first ever trout on this at Heatheryford trout fishery - Scott Smith

Ace of Spades Matuka streamer Fly pattern

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