New Zealand fly fishing patterns-The Common bully

There are many bully species to be found in New Zealand waterways .The common bully is more often seen than the other species and can be found in a large range of habitats ranging from estuaries and rivers near the coast, and in many of our South Island lakes where they are an important food source for trout . In rivers, they mainly inhabit still or slow-flowing waters and thus are probably one of the most likely bullies to be seen.They live along the shallow stony edges of our rivers and lakes hiding among the rocks and weed beds.Trout can often be seen darting around in the shallows pursuing them.

After many years stalking trout along the edges of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea I have found the best approach is to ambush them.Once I have sighted a fish I will cast my lightly weighted bully pattern into the path of the fish allowing it slowly sink onto or near the bottom , once I think the fish is close enough I retrieve the fly with quick 15-20cm strips then a pause then another few strips followed by another pause ,thus bringing the fly to life and imitating the natural's that dart about the shallows.Sometimes fish will pounce on the fly immediately with no questions asked, other times fish will chase it but wont commit , they will nose it and even mouth it just to see if it is the real deal only to then turn away and keep on their beat.This style of fishing is very visual and can be lots of fun.

The rig is fairly simple I mainly use a weight forward floating line, longish leader of around 10ft with 3-5 ft of heavier level fluorocarbon tippet in the 6-8lb range tied on .As for patterns I tend to keep it pretty simple, and have several patterns that I have devised over the past few seasons that work extremely well when fish are feeding on common bullies.Hook sizes range from #6 - #12 as for colors mainly browns, blacks and olives seem to cover all the bases.