Viking Lars | Saturday, 28 August 2021

No, that’s really not a spelling mistake. I became curious about the history of the flies we call ‘matukas’ and it turns out that they are named after the Maori name for a bittern, ‘matuku’. How and when the name changed I haven’t been able to find out, but I’ll just, for the sake of convenience (and the fact that matuku/bittern are now protected and no longer used) continue to call them matukas.

They are apparently as old as the late 19th/early 20th century and thus coincide with the introduction of trout to Tasmania, New Zealand and Australia. They are also, apparently, a Maori style of flies. They arrived in Europe at the latest in the 1930s, when they appeared in Hardy’s catalogues.

Simple, beautiful, elegant, durable and effective flies. I used to fish them quite a lot, yet they drifted out of the fly boxes some years ago, as flies do. I felt like tying a few and dove into the history and they found their way back in the fly boxes, mainly for Scandinavian saltwater.

The tying style helps prevent the tail/hackles wrapping around the hook, though this will still happen. A longer hook shank reduces the length of tail (for a given total length of fly), so I prefer streamer hooks. I tend to use them when I use a fast retrieve - they just are very suited for this.

Simple, yet a little bit tricky to tie when securing the wing to the shank with the rib. I use a thin monofilament to prevent spreading the fibres too much (just aesthetics). On a matuka even a single trapped fibre makes the whole fly too disorderly for me, not that it makes any difference whatsoever.

I used to fish them for brown trout in the rivers as well and they might get a comeback here too.

Tie a few, try a few - they’re well worth it.

Have a great weekend!


The fly in the PoD:
Thread: White Uni 8/0.
Hook: Ahrex HS 118 Classic Streamer, #4.
Body: Uni pearl tinsel.
Rib: Thin monofilament.
Wing/tail: Silver badger cock hackle.
Throat: Orange cock hackle fibres.
Eyes: Pro Sportfisher Gen3 sysnthetic jungle cock.
Head: Black Uni 8/0.