| Search and Sight Fishing
Frank Sawyer occupies a unique place in fly fishing history. He is,
in my opinion one of the greatest nymph fishermen of all time. He
used no bobber, yarn indicator or any other device, which would set
depth and support the nymph. Nor did he nip a split shot to
the leader, he relied solely on the built in ballast of his artificials
to achieve depth. To detect takes he greased up his leader
to within a yard or so of the nymph. This floating part of the leader
was his only strike indicator when he search fished. For
us lesser mortals the greased up minicon or braided sleeve does a
However Frank Sawyer is probably more famed for his sight
fishing. This technique calls upon eyesight to a far greater
degree than merely detecting the slight movement of his greased
up leader. It requires a skill, which he said - "surpasses
the high art of dry fly".
If Frank Sawyer was an expert and intuitive nymph fisher he was
no less an expert at the vice. It is the construction of Sawyers
Nymphs which makes them totally unique in fly tying - he used no
tying thread whatsoever, using instead fine copper transformer wire.
This wire serves four functions, ballast, foundation shape, under
colour, and tying medium. To this only one other material was added
long herls from tail or quill feathers or in the case of
The Killer Bug a short length of sock darning wool - pure genius.
In this video we start by search fishing for trout and grayling
on a stretch of the Upper Avon which Frank Sawyer keepered. We then
go to the crystal clear waters of the Lambourn sight fishing for
trout and grayling using his famous Pheasant Tail Nymph.