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Salmonfly.Net Salmon and Steelhead Fly Tying Guide  In Memory of Yuri Shumakov 

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Matukas - The Aussie Connection
Bob Frandsen

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MatukaAfter reading Bill Lovelace’s very interesting article about the Matuka I thought about  the developments of the flies made here in Australia. It may not be very well known, but according to all the evidence, it seems it was an Australian who first bound the wing to the body in the fashion now considered to be standard for Matukas.

Original MatukaThe original Matuka (Matuku) was similar to the picture to the left (Click on it to Enlarge It), with the feather only tied in at the head as is normal for streamers to this day. In 1929 a  Mr Critchley-Parker returned from a trip to New Zealand with ideas, and designed a couple of patterns for use in the Great Lake and other waters in Tasmania.

Parker's Red PerilParker's Yellow PerilThose patterns, the Red and Yellow Perils, seen to the left and right, were designed along the same lines as the original Matuka. To alleviate the problem of the wing getting tangled around the hook during casting, he got together with a well known tyer of the time, Dick Wigram who solved the problem by lashing the wing down. It has been that way ever since.

To the best of my knowledge it also seems that the first fly produced in this fashion in New Zealand was the Parsons Glory, probably their most famous Matuka and still one of the best. It appeared on the scene in the mid to late thirties.

Wigrams RobinIn the meantime Matukas really took off here in Australia with many different tyers adding their own patterns over the years. Dick Wigram, who I have already mentioned, designed a whole series of Matukas ranging from all black to his famous Robin - shown on the right.  He went a step further with the Robin.  The first section of the body was tied as a butt and the wing was tied in at this point cocking it even higher away from the hook bend.

Golden WhitebaitAnother professional tier of the era, J.M. Gillies, produced a whole series of Matukas or Longtails as they were also known.  Reg Lyne , another well known tier  marketed his own patterns which included a couple with plastic bodies.  A whole series of Whitebait patterns evolved for use in estuaries for sea trout - mainly in Tasmania but also for general use as lake flies all over the country.

I`ve selected a fair variety of patterns popular over the years in the picture below just for comparison.

Matuka Collection


Bob Frandsen

 Bob Frandsen lives in a small town near the Gippsland Lakes which are an extensive estuarine system in East Gippsland in the South/East corner of Australia in the state of Victoria. He is a regular contributor to Salmonfly.Net and is amongst other accolades, he is listed in Steve Thorntons Fy Tyers of the World. You can see Bob's Flies on Salmonfly.Net at The Flies of Bob Frandsen.

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