I always have a few of these flies in my box as they come in handy on those days when you have no idea what to try next. It is a very simple variation of that grand old favourite of the trout fisher the Wickhams Fancy. I love the original in all it’s different forms but mainly as either a tiny dry fly (anything bigger than a size 16 is a monster), or as a middle fly on a traditional cast for rainbows. I lost count of the number of ‘bows I netted on a size 12 Wickhams many moons ago!
But back to the Bumper. It hails from the North East of Scotland I believe and it did sterling work for me on the rivers Dee and Ythan. It was never responsible for big baskets of trout nor indeed can I recall landing any particular monsters on this fly. It’s ability to produce the odd ‘normal’ sized fish is what makes it useful. I like it on the bob and enjoy stripping it back to me at a fair old lick. It is a poor imitation of anything natural so it pays not to give the trout time to look at it too closely. Here is the tying:
Hook: wetfly, size 10 (I have tried other sizes but none seem to work as well as a standard shank 10)
Silk: brown or black
Tail: a bunch of red game cock hackle fibres, reasonably long
Rib: Fine gold wire
body: flat gold tinsel
Body hackle: red game cock, slightly long in fibre
Head hackle: Bright blue soft cock hackle, 4 or 5 turns
As a slight variation I sometimes use a long fibred grizzle hackle dyed bright blue at the head.
Here are a few I tied up this week:
I will experiment with a version for salmon next season. I think that adding a wing of squirrel hair and a blue muddler head this could be a useful pattern for Lough Beltra in a good wave.
So there you have it, a great fly to have when you are scratching your head and muttering oaths under your breath, Tie on a Bumper and pull it in at a good clip. It will give the trout toothache!