the accident

the accident

t.z. | Friday, 23 February 2018

oooops ... tying at night with a few friends and a bottle of red is a recipe for interesting flies. Again I’ll have to talk about the mystical Griffith’s Gnat, or palmer mygg (fly) as they call it here in Norway. The term “palmered” describes a technique where the hackle is wound in open turns on to the whole hook-shank and not only behind the eye.

While tying “gnats” I got a bit sidetracked and for some odd reason just twisted all the materials together. I formed a „rope“ with the thread, herl and hackle and wound this onto the hook. The result was impressive and I tie them this way ever since. This was many many years ago. I was rather impressed of my subconscious self when I looked at the result. I later found out that other fly tiers tie this fly in the same way.

Watching Oliver Edwards amazing series of fly tying DVD's I found out that he was tying the pattern in the exact same way. How the hell did he manage to steal „MY TRICK“? However, there were others long before, who described this technique. You can read how W.C. Stewart used it for the black, red and dun spider patterns he mainly fished.

“What remains to be done is the most critical part of the whole operation; still holding the hook between the forefinger and thumb of your left hand, take the thread, lay it along the centre of the inside of the feather, and with the forefinger and thumb of your right hand twirl them round together till the feather is rolled round the thread; and in this state wrap it round the hook, taking care that a sufficient number of the fibres stick out to represent the legs; to effect this it will sometimes be necessary to raise the fibres with a needle during the operation. Having carried the feather and thread down to where you commenced, wrap the silk three or four times round the end of the feather, and if there is any left cut it off, and finish with a succession of hitch knots, or the common whip fastening. If the legs of the spider when dressed are too long, there is no remedy for it; cutting injures rather than improves them. This is a very rough and simple mode of dressing a spider, and does not make it so neat as if the feather were[…]”

Excerpt From: Stewart, W. C. (William C.). “The practical angler : or, The art of trout-fishing, more particularly applied to clear water.” - published 1857

He obviously did not have a fly tying vice, but that didn't stop him either. Here's how I do the Griffith's Gnat. It is the first fly I teach at my classes courses. You should see how proud a beginner is, after having managed to produce such small fly. The design is very robust and it catches a lot of fish.

I was and am still proud that I somehow connected with what seems to be some sort of old wisdom. However, it is still new to many and some tiers actually feel almost insulted when they see how easy life can be. I have a included a small video on how to tie the Griffith's Gnat dirty harry style.

I tie them with whatever hackle colour. Maybe their name changes then? No idea ... the finned ones mistake this artifical for something edible. it seesm to scream FOOD to them in big letters.

One mans 18 is another mans 24. I fish them in size 16 mostly. Black hackle works very well on stillwaters here. At some point I've added a strand of tinsel, but don't do that so often any more. 

Many years ago I'd tied an order for client who ordered 90 (sizes 20, 18 and 14) of them. Those flies I tied with a greyish / silver Whiting hackle. The customer was a rather wealthy bloke with very classy, old scholl manners. His writing sounded like being from another century. He met me at a fishing show in Munich and inspected my Griffith's with a magnifying glass. He loved the fact that the hackle seems to be pointing forwards in a way. For him this was very important. He was shopping gear for a spring trip to Slovenia fishing grayling and he had very good access as he fished with some higher rank politicians and business people. He told me that he was a good friend of the late Mr. Pitznbaur, the fisherman accounted for having "inveted" the tippet ring, at least in south Germany these are called Pitznbaur-Ringerl.

The chap got so excited about the quality and catchiness of the the fly that he felt the needed to call me from Slovenia. Back in the day a cellphone wasn't very common and a mobile connection from such a remote place was really expensive. Good for his wallet that he couldn't reach me. The phone bill would have been rather big. Anyway, he wrote me an email later. 

Lieber Herr Züllich,

ihre Fliegen sind ausgezeichnet. Am Morgen des 7. Mai habe ich mit Ihrer mittelgroßen Gnat
18 Äschen gefangen. Besonders zu erwähnen, dass ich mit EINER Fliege etwa 8 oder 9 Fische
fing, ohne dass sie auch nur den geringsten Verschleiß aufwies!

Habe Sie dann vom Fluss aus anrufen wollen, konnte Sie aber nicht erreichen.
Am Nachmittag und abends mit dem größeren Muster noch mal etwa 25 Äschen und 3 Forellen.
Jetzt fahre ich wieder hin und bin 2 Tage an der Sava Bohijnka bei Bled und dann ab dem 16.
am Unec. Da ist die Äsche dann frei und ich kann mir jeden Abend eine Portion servieren lassen.
Vormittags bin ich immer auf dem Golfplatz von Bled und spiele eine Runde.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen und Petri Heil

Dear Mr. Züllich,
your flies are excellent. On the morning of May 7 I caught 18 grayling with your medium-sized gnat 
Especially to mention that with only one fly I had about 8 or 9 fish without showing even the slightest wear!
Tried to call you from the river, but could not reach you.

In the afternoon and evening with the larger pattern brought in about 25 grayling and 3 trout. I'm going back and I'm heading out again and will stay 2 days on the Sava Bohijnka at Bled and then from the 16. at the Unec. There the grayling is free and I can have a serving every evening.

In the morning I am always on the golf course of Bled and play a round.
Sincerely and tight lines


The video below is in very hi-speed to keep it under the one minute instagram limit for video. I find these hi-speed vids interesteing for various reasons. It's amazing how much information can be communicated in such a short period and it allows for watching the process several times in a very short amount of time. Subconcious learning is something I like very much. I personally have a hard time following long explanations, but learn very quick by just watching a process in real time. The videos in the iBook are very close to real time, and are around 3 minutes in average. On top they feature undertext. 

The shown fly is part in the free sample of the book, but be aware of the "extra speed" due to the instgram time limit.


A post shared by T Z 2 - O S L O (@tz2oslo) on Jan 13, 2018 at 4:51am PST

(c) t.z. - 2018


Written by 
Thomas Züllich, or - “t.z.” as most call him - is a German flyfisher & flytier living in Norway. His flydressing is based on old traditions as well as very modern and innovative methods of creating flies. 

Thomas is the author of "Fly Tying - Modern Classics for Trout and Grayling which is availbale on iTunes -