By Ian Mckenzie
(Flies photographed by Colin Spicer) 

We fly fishers are all guilty of carrying too many fly boxes, bursting at the seams, with huge quantities of patterns for every possible situation when in reality we probably only use a handful on a regular basis.  The subject of this piece, The Diawl Bach’ literally translated as ‘Little Devil’ has proven itself a reliable fish taker on all kinds of waters and should be one of your standbys.

On small still waters, fished as a single fly, retrieved very slowly on a floating line with a 12-18ft leader, I am confident you will not be disappointed. Just remember, this pattern is not an underwater express but a general food pattern that fish expect to be able to sip without having to chase it first. Fish it static, let it dead drift round if you have a suitable side wind, or retrieve very, very slowly.

On the large reservoirs it works well as part of a ‘team’ either fished ‘ Washing Line’ style with a ‘Booby’ on the point, Diawl Bachs on the droppers, or as part of a general nymph/buzzer cast. On many outings I have fished three, of various weights and sizes of hook, allowing me to search the water. Some days the fish come to the heavy point fly, on others it’s the top dropper, which produces most takes.



Hooks: For deep fishing: Tiemco 2457, Scorpion Heavy Grub 31165 or Drennan Traditional Wet, sizes 8 – 12.  Good all rounders: Kamasan B175 or Scorpion Competition H/Weight 31530, sizes 10 – 14. For shallow fishing: Kamasan B170 or Scorpion All Purpose Medium 31550, sizes 10 – 14.

Tying Thread: claret, black or brown 8/0.

Tail: red/brown cock hackle fibres.
Body: bronze peacock herl.
Rib: finest copper, gold or silver wire.

Hackle: red/brown cock hackle fibres.

Tying instructions

  1. Select your hook and mount in the vice. Run tying thread, in touching turns from behind the eye to a point just past the hook point.
  2. Catch in the tail fibres with a couple of turns of thread, followed by the rib and a single peacock herl tied under the hook shank.
  3. Continue tying in all materials along the hook shank stopping the thread just behind the eye.
  4. Apply a thin coat of varnish to the shank and wrap the peacock herl, in touching turns, towards the eye, and tie down.
  5. Wrap evenly spaced turns of wire, in an opposite direction to that which you wrapped the herl and tie off behind the eye.
  6. Invert the hook and tie in a small beard hackle of cock hackle fibres as used for the tail.
  7. Make a neat head and varnish.


The following are some of the more popular variations.

1. As above but tied on a heavyweight hook.


2. As above but with a fluo red thread head.


3. As above but with a fluo red thread head and small jungle cock cheeks. Also you could try with a wing case of orange Mirror Flash.


4. As above but substitute the wire rib with either red, green or gold medium holographic tinsel.