Stu’s Superior Flies

Despite what Jon Clewlow said about me in FlyLife #80, I do tie flies other than gum beetles — but not very often. So I do rely heavily on gifts, donations, scams and purchases to keep my fly boxes primed for action. But who would send me a weird surprise package including a deerhair imitation of Shaun the Sheep and a Kiwi bird fly complete with quill beak and pipecleaner legs? Stu Tripney, of course.

Stu’s flies are about as far removed from Wyatt’s emergers and Sloane’s fur flies as you could possibly imagine. Rather than drab and subtle, many of his creations spout attitude, visibility and bling. Googly eyes, foam-sandwich bodies, sparkle dubbing and hi-vis wings are common ingredients in his trigger-loaded patterns. Check out his massive Swamp Frog and Bionic Mouse, and the heavyweight Gorilla Stonefly which really does look like a gorilla.

But beneath the mad, the fab and the completely rad, Stu boasts a worldwide reputation for creating flies that do catch fish (well maybe not the Kiwi or the Sheep) whether in salt or fresh water. People rave about them, and he’s a well respected South Island guide and tutor, so his flies must do the business. Right? Stu really does care about the quality and performance of every one of his flies.

Delving deeper into the lolly bag I uncovered Hot Rod Mayflies, Deadly Ants, Hoppers and Spinners, Skinny Damsels and High Riding Cowboys — all perfected over many years, fishing far and wide, and constantly tweaked and refined as new materials have come to hand.

Stu’s Wee Taddy and Floating Mudeye also caught my eye, for Tasmanian lake fishing. Profile, colour, buoyancy, visibility and mobility are key ingredients  in all his flies. And I’m sure he must have designed those Bionic Hi-Vis Gum Beetles just for my benefit. How about a few more in different sizes and colours please Stu?