The Diawl Bach is a hugely successful fly producing some amazing fish all over the world on a variety of methods and fisheries. As opposed to the Pheasant tail, the ‘Diawl Bach’ (pronounced Jawl Back, with a throaty ‘CH’ sound at the end, and also meaning ‘Little Devil’) is probably the second most used nymph on the fly fishing scene.
This fly can be fished on a variety of methods from forming part of a team on a buzzer cast or on a washing line technique close to the surface. The Diawl can also be a devastating fly fished between two lures on deep sinking fly lines, what usually happens is that a fish is attracted by the lure on the top dropper when pulled, but as it slows down the fish gets less interested and turns away to find something more subtle and foodlike below. A great middle dropper pattern when fishing the ‘Hang’.
The Diawl Bach imitates an emerging, hatching buzzer but can also be taken for a host of other nymphs, tied in many various guises and colours the Diawl is ideal for replicating the hatch of many other waterborn insects such as olives and mayflies.
The variations on each fly within the team can be endless as each fly serves a purpose in its chosen position: anhcor, sinker or fisher. It’s often that one fly is positioned to fish bedded in weed, or on the shore so that the flies above may be in the taking zone.
This fly is also one of the most varied flies in our boxes, tail and body colours can be changed to give a different shade, while attractors such as coloured ribs and heads can be easily added. Traditionally, cheeks or breathers are added to give that little extra something and bring more life into the fly, Jungle cock is a great feather to add for colour as is goose biot or tinsel. The fly tying drawer is your oyster!
Tying the Diawl Bach
This fly can be tied in just six simple steps.
1 – Run a length of thread down the hook to create a bed for your materials to be tied onto, and add around 6 strands of red game cock feather as a tail.
2 – Add your body and rib. The easiest way to do this is to work out what your going to be winding up the body first. The peacock herl is the body, and the wire – rib. Tie the rib in first and then lay the peacock on top. What this does is allows the body material to lay flat from the tie in point and is then secured neatly and as tight as possible by the rib.
3 – Wind the herl to the eye in touching turns. This keeps the profile of the nymph slim and uniform.
4 – Rib the body in the opposite direction to the herl. This secures the body in-case of any rips caused by fish teeth. For brighter ribs winding the opposite way also makes the colour more pronounced.
5 – Tie in the throat hackle. To get the ideal length I usually marry up the tips of the throat hackle with the tail, on top of the hook and then tie in underneath. This roughly gives the same length on both areas giving the fly a great, balanced look.
6 – Finally, whip finish or half hitch and your complete! I tie all my Diawls with a subtle thread such as black or brown, keeping the underneath drab can sometimes give your fly a somewhat longer life as when the body rips after a few fish the fly is still dark and food like, as opposed to when tying with bright coloured thread.
Written by Kieron Jenkins