Sunday, 30 October 2011

Tom's Red Arsed Bastards

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.


  1. Hi e.m.b., thanks for commenting. Trout would agree with you - they love 'em!

  2. Fabulous painting Justin.

    Have you tried this pattern here?

  3. Chris - according to Tom's website, his son bagged a few trout with RABs on the River Test last year. With the flies now immortalised in print, I'm going to pop them in my box and try them out on the streams of Wales next season!

  4. Hi Justin. You cannot go wrong with a RAB wherever you are. Beautiful paintings as well.I have an empty frame if you are looking to store them somewhere.:-)