The R.A.B. is one of South Africa’s great dry fly patterns. Wide hackled and wispy in the wind, it’s a unique pattern which has stood the test of time, still evident by its frequent appearances in South African fishing blogs and publications.
The R.A.B. is primarily a dry fly for stream and river fishing. Its wide hackle lends it buoyancy and its long legs give it a hint of life. I do also recall, many years ago now, taking trout on a R.A.B. left to drift on the stillwaters of Swaziland and South Africa. It’s a fly that has that fish catching ‘x factor’.
Tom Sutcliffe features a great step-by-step tutorial for tying the R.A.B. on his website: Tying a perfect high-water RAB. Tom’s authentic version looks very different to commercially tied R.A.B.s sold in stores. When Tom came over to the UK last year, he kindly agreed to post a few of his RABs up to me in the Midlands. When they arrived, they looked too pretty to fish with and never quite made it into my fly box.
Instead, I sent them to Michael Scheele in New Zealand whose exquisite watercolour paintings of flies I mentioned in a post in November last year. The result: “Tom’s Red Arsed Bastards” which I’m going to have framed and put up on my wall as soon as possible.