I reached out to Semperfli and asked if they would supply me with a card of their yarn and Ann Kitchener of Semplerfli quickly returned with a positive reply and then it was up to the postal services of the UK and Denmark. This of course took forever… But here it is.
Let me begin by addressing the labelling: “The closest match to the original on the market”. I haven’t combed through the yarn-market to see if I could a close(r) match, so I really cannot say whether this statement is true or not, but I can give you my impressions of the yarn.
To be perfectly honest, inspecting the yarn on the card I was a bit disappointed. It looked a bit drab and not particularly close to the real thing, but of course I had to tie some flies before I could form a proper opinion. And after the first few flies, I still can’t say if the statement on the label is true, but it really is a quite close match, and certainly close enough for me to spare my remaining yards of the original and use Semperfli’s substitute instead.
Take a look at the PoD - the original is to the left, the Semperfli substitute to the right. What seems to be “missing” from the substitute are the light brown/cinnamon coloured fibers that seems to be spun into the original yarn, but the base colour is very, very close and actually gets a little closer, so to speak, when wet.
The Semperfli 477 substitute is 3-ply and thicker than the original Chadwick’s, but that’s easily solved by removing a ply. Both these flies are tied on Ahrex 561 #14, and tied exactly to Sawyer’s recipe: Double layer of copper wire and a triple layer of yarn. The one on the right with the Semperfli yarn is tied using to plys only, and the result is very close. When you remove plys from a yarn, remember to twist it up just a bit - otherwise yarns often becomes too weak. It’s a nice yarn to tie with, actually seems a bit stronger than the original.
All in all I think Semperfli got this product as close to the original as possible without investing ridiculous amounts of money in having an exact copy made (which I’m sure would be possible). So if you like to fish Killer Bugs (or want to try the fly - it really is good), then Semperfli’s “Chadwick’s 477 Substitute” is a good choice that won’t break the bank. And remember that the original went out of production even in Sawyer’s lifetime, and he himself switched over to another brand and make.
Have a great weekend!
Disclaimer: Semperfli supplied the yarn free of charge and nothing else.