Shuttlecock - Yellow Owl Variant

Rob Edmunds

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2008
Messages
3,639
Location
Midlands Reservoirs
One of my best Stillwater dries last year. Shuttlecock's have tendency to spin up the leader if used on a dropper so it's best used as a "Point fly", with a "Big Red" or "Hopper" on the dropper.

The Heavyweight hook cuts through the waters surface tension and cocks the fly, so it sits correctly and has the right profile - plus the hook wont bend out under pressure so a great pattern over the weedbeds when you need to " bully" fish a lot more.

Hook : Size 12 or 14 Fulling Mill 1530 Competition Heavyweight
Thread : Black UTC 70 Denier
Rib : Stripped Quill (Yellow) + 3 coats of clear varnish for protection
Thorax : Hares Ear
Post : Natural CDC 6 plumes

IMG-20200425-WA0013.jpg
 

Cap'n Fishy

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2008
Messages
27,360
Location
Embra
Nice tie, Rob. Do you know the story behind how we get to that being called a 'Yellow Owl', when yellow owl is an old name for the barn owl?

Col
 

Rob Edmunds

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2008
Messages
3,639
Location
Midlands Reservoirs
Cheers Col,

My knowledge of the pattern is very limited to be honest. I just know it as a Scottish dry, that was made popular on the "Lake of Menteith " about 10 - 15 ish years ago

It's a cracking pattern in England too in my experience on both small waters and reservoirs .


Other that that.....I know nothing but would be interested to hear of its origins etc....
 

Cap'n Fishy

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2008
Messages
27,360
Location
Embra
Cheers Col,

My knowledge of the pattern is very limited to be honest. I just know it as a Scottish dry, that was made popular on the "Lake of Menteith " about 10 - 15 ish years ago

It's a cracking pattern in England too in my experience on both small waters and reservoirs .


Other that that.....I know nothing but would be interested to hear of its origins etc....

It's an interesting story, which was why I asked. According to Tom Stewart's books, the original was a wet fly pattern, called the yellow owl. This is the original..



It was tied to represent an adult insect - as many wet flies were. The adult was a sedge (or possibly an aquatic moth) that hatched on Loch Leven. The original dressing used barn owl secondaries for the wings, and an old name for the barn owl was the yellow owl... hence the name of the fly. (I tied that one with tawny owl, as I do not have a pair of barn owl wings.)

Now, somewhere down through history it seems that the name transferred from the sedge/moth to a large buzzer that hatched in big numbers on Loch Leven. The buzzer became known as the yellow owl. I don't know who first tied a shuttlecock to imitate the hatching buzzer and gave it the black and yellow-striped body of the wet fly pattern, but it certainly took-off big time, such that the original wet fly is now consigned to the history books.

Col
 
Last edited:

Rob Edmunds

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2008
Messages
3,639
Location
Midlands Reservoirs
Thanks Col,

Beautiful...I really like the original "wet" version and it's nice to hear about the origins of a pattern.

I fished Leven a little ( perhaps a dozen times) in the early 2000's and never came across it, it was only on Menteith a few years later I was introduced to it.....Pity as it's a dam fine pattern.

Col on the origins of patterns......

"The Hummungus". I know it was a pattern made popular by Dave Downie, and it was Dave that introduced it to myself and Curly at Rutland way back..........but I was always under the impression that it was actually created by Jock Hodge ( I think that's his name) the guy that used to fish Leven a fair bit and had his own business selling materials and fritz..

He devised it for Leven and called it a Hummungus an account of its "Hummungus ****ing eyes"...

Any idea if that's true ?? As I like all this modern pattern history
 

3lbgrayling

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
31,578
Location
Central Scotland
Thanks Col,

Beautiful...I really like the original "wet" version and it's nice to hear about the origins of a pattern.

I fished Leven a little ( perhaps a dozen times) in the early 2000's and never came across it, it was only on Menteith a few years later I was introduced to it.....Pity as it's a dam fine pattern.

Col on the origins of patterns......

"The Hummungus". I know it was a pattern made popular by Dave Downie, and it was Dave that introduced it to myself and Curly at Rutland way back..........but I was always under the impression that it was actually created by Jock Hodge ( I think that's his name) the guy that used to fish Leven a fair bit and had his own business selling materials and fritz..

He devised it for Leven and called it a Hummungus an account of its "Hummungus ****ing eyes"...

Any idea if that's true ?? As I like all this modern pattern history
True.
And another leven fly that has been developed for other waters is the Curly bum buzzer
Tying an Olive Adult Midge (Wet Fly) with Davie McPhail Davie McPhail Davie McPhail • 26K views 5 months ago


Jim
 
Last edited:

Cap'n Fishy

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2008
Messages
27,360
Location
Embra
Thanks Col,

Beautiful...I really like the original "wet" version and it's nice to hear about the origins of a pattern.

I fished Leven a little ( perhaps a dozen times) in the early 2000's and never came across it, it was only on Menteith a few years later I was introduced to it.....Pity as it's a dam fine pattern.

Col on the origins of patterns......

"The Hummungus". I know it was a pattern made popular by Dave Downie, and it was Dave that introduced it to myself and Curly at Rutland way back..........but I was always under the impression that it was actually created by Jock Hodge ( I think that's his name) the guy that used to fish Leven a fair bit and had his own business selling materials and fritz..

He devised it for Leven and called it a Hummungus an account of its "Hummungus ****ing eyes"...

Any idea if that's true ?? As I like all this modern pattern history

Not certain about the Humungous, Rob, but that sounds about right. Think there is a Leven connection to it?

Col
 

sightbob

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2009
Messages
618
Hi All , talking of history of flies can anyone verify if the Cruncher started life as the Ardleigh nymph?
Rob thats one of the best looking versions of the Yellow Owl
I've seen to date. John
 

Rob Edmunds

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2008
Messages
3,639
Location
Midlands Reservoirs
I thought the original plain cruncher was a Paul Canning pattern from when he fished for the "Weald of Kent" team...back in the late 80 's.

Not heard of the Ardleigh nymph ?
 

Scotty Mitchell

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 25, 2020
Messages
768
Location
The Kingdom of Fife
Buzzer Bob showed me it when he used to fish Lindores. I always understood it to be his pattern.
When I was first shown a Humungus, it was credited to Jock Hodge, I’m sure it was some time before it was made “famous” through Dave Downies success with it.
I don’t think Dave ever claimed the pattern and would still credit Jock.
 

Wee Jimmy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2007
Messages
8,878
Location
Fife
Is that Buzzer Bob Fitzpatrick ?? ......if so that's a blast from the past.😁

I remember fishing with him on Grafham and Rutland many years ago along with Peter Batchelor in a match or two.👍.....
That’s the very man Rob, I’ve not seen him for many years now.We used to bump into him every July when he would live out of hi camper for a couple weeks in the loch Leven car park...😉
 

Cap'n Fishy

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 29, 2008
Messages
27,360
Location
Embra
I thought the original plain cruncher was a Paul Canning pattern from when he fished for the "Weald of Kent" team...back in the late 80 's.

Not heard of the Ardleigh nymph ?

Speaking of blasts from the past, I fished with Paul Canning in the final of the B&H comp late 1980s. It was on Rutland Water in the 2nd of 2 sessions. We had a flat-calmer and Paul took us up the north arm to look for risers. He started catching on dry fly. I wasn't a dry fly fisher up until that point, but I had been told about how it was the new thing down there, and I should tie up some fiery brown Bob's Bits for it. So, I had them... tied on B175s! 🤪 And I put them up and fished them on 6 lb Mastermono, which makes 6 lb Maxima look a bit frail! 🤪 But I caught fish on them, and we had a great day together. That was me hooked on stillwater dry fly from that day to this.

That year the in-fly was the mini peach doll. One of our team had 9 fish over the 2 days, and all 9 of them were on the peach doll.

Col
 

philm

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2009
Messages
1,843
Location
nottinghamshire
I thought the original plain cruncher was a Paul Canning pattern from when he fished for the "Weald of Kent" team...back in the late 80 's.

Not heard of the Ardleigh nymph ?
I -along with many others- was tying and fishing pheasant tails with peacock thoraxes and furnace hackles in the early 80's. They differed from the cruncher only in that the tail was formed from the pt tips and the pt butts formed a wing case.
 

Rob Edmunds

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2008
Messages
3,639
Location
Midlands Reservoirs
I don't doubt it for one second Phil.....but Paul Canning is recognised by many as the father of the Cruncher - which if we are being honest is really only a Pheasant tail nymph with a hackle ( Frank Sawyer perhaps could have a good claim on that basis 😁)

As we all know lots of patterns are " heavily influenced " or in some cases totally the brainchild of others that never get the credit or recognition they deserve. So there's always been difficulty - debate establishing who actually created patterns.

I guess lots of anglers were creating simular things at the same time to meet a need. Some kept it totally secret others didn't, others were perhaps better known or fishing high profile matches so got more recognition & credit especially if they had a good result or two, once the pattern is associated with them the rest is history.

An example is " Al Owen's Buzzer" this is just nothing more than a stripped quill buzzer with Sunburst biot cheeks. A lot of anglers had been using the same pattern for years, and Al had no input into the creation of the fly. However he started selling ones he tied, and it became known locally on Rutland as "Al Owen's Buzzer"...the " Woofta" is another example it's just a Cats Whisker Booby with pink eyes nothing more...

But I honestly believe a good name for a fly is also essential if you want it to go mainstream hence "Nemo" "Tequila Blob" although I named these so my team mates knew what I was using in matches and other competitors didn't.

Nemo was originally called " A red holographic diawl - cruncher cross" but if you shouted that everyone would know......"Tequila" was much better than yellow and orange blob

I also tried to get the stupidest name for a fly in Fulling Mills Catalogue.....my best effort was " The Purple Helmet" which is just a pink booby with purple eyes....but that's my childish side
 

philm

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2009
Messages
1,843
Location
nottinghamshire
I don't doubt it for one second Phil.....but Paul Canning is recognised by many as the father of the Cruncher - which if we are being honest is really only a Pheasant tail nymph with a hackle ( Frank Sawyer perhaps could have a good claim on that basis 😁)

As we all know lots of patterns are " heavily influenced " or in some cases totally the brainchild of others that never get the credit or recognition they deserve. So there's always been difficulty - debate establishing who actually created patterns.

I guess lots of anglers were creating simular things at the same time to meet a need. Some kept it totally secret others didn't, others were perhaps better known or fishing high profile matches so got more recognition & credit especially if they had a good result or two, once the pattern is associated with them the rest is history.

An example is " Al Owen's Buzzer" this is just nothing more than a stripped quill buzzer with Sunburst biot cheeks. A lot of anglers had been using the same pattern for years, and Al had no input into the creation of the fly. However he started selling ones he tied, and it became known locally on Rutland as "Al Owen's Buzzer"...the " Woofta" is another example it's just a Cats Whisker Booby with pink eyes nothing more...

But I honestly believe a good name for a fly is also essential if you want it to go mainstream hence "Nemo" "Tequila Blob" although I named these so my team mates knew what I was using in matches and other competitors didn't.

Nemo was originally called " A red holographic diawl - cruncher cross" but if you shouted that everyone would know......"Tequila" was much better than yellow and orange blob

I also tried to get the stupidest name for a fly in Fulling Mills Catalogue.....my best effort was " The Purple Helmet" which is just a pink booby with purple eyes....but that's my childish side
Rob
Nothing I disagree with there. I can’t think of too many truly innovative patterns over the last few years, but flies and techniques continue to evolve. My own boxes are full of unnamed variations of variations but nothing particularly original. Thank goodness the competition scene has an incentive to give variations a name otherwise nearly all my fish would be caught on hare’s ears, pheasant tails, buzzers, lures and dries when Nemos, crunchers, tequilas, midas ect. sound far sexier (not sure about purple helmet though!).
Phil
 

roadrunner1000

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 13, 2012
Messages
447
Location
Kent
I remember being told that Paul Canning's nickname was 'Secret Squirrel' due to the way that he held his hands when tying on a new fly and trying to hide it from his boat partner......
 

Rob Edmunds

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2008
Messages
3,639
Location
Midlands Reservoirs
The "Midas" is one pattern I genuinely cant stand - I think it looks, ugly and rubbish and much prefer a Big Red, Hopper or Shuttlecock .......

Yes I have them in my box in a range of sizes and colours but I can't remember ever actually catching a fish on one..or when I last used one

A lot of guys on the circuit swear by them, especially the northern lads.....

Screenshot_20201021-222126_Twitter~2.jpg
 
Top