There are many representations for the spider mudeye, which forms
the basis of the mass emergences in Lakes Jindabyne and Eucumbene but there
are fewer imitations of the larger mudeye species. The spider mudeye
patterns are a poor imitation of the larger species of mudeyes which are
commonly seen as shucks on the emergent vegetation of lakes and dams.
The Parawa Mudeye is a pattern which was developed to better match a species of mudeye that I observed at a dam near the locality of Parawa in South Australia. I have observed mudeyes of a similar size on most South Australian waters and also many lakes in Victoria. This pattern has been used with good success in many trout waters throughout Australia.
My first attempts at imitating this mudeye tended to follow some of the American patterns which looked so good that you expected them to swim on their own but fished in our local dams and rivers produced few takes; often a large nymph or a Yeti produced better results.
While experimenting with the Hare’s Ear Mudeye (developed by Ray Brown) in the Broughton River, it displayed two characteristics that I thought were important for it to be accepted by the trout.
1) When the retrieve was halted or slowed the fly hung in the water rather than sank and
2) The wing did not flare. Previously I had noted that trout following a marabou winged fly would frequently lose interest in the fly whenever the retrieve slowed sufficiently for the wing to flare.
The initial version of the pattern was constructed from the natural, darker coloured back fur from an Eastern Grey Kangaroo and sported a pair of eyes made from melted heavy monofilament; this proved better than anything else I had used.
Over a period of a couple of years I experimented with dying both natural and bleached kangaroo fur to various olive and brown shades. The natural kangaroo fur dyed with Veniard’s dark olive stood out from the rest with it being accepted by the trout more frequently. As flies with sparkle seemed to be getting all the attention in the angling press, I added a bit of Lite-Brite to the fur used to dub the abdomen and this also improved the fly. The pattern has remained unchanged for about three years and has been the downfall of many trout, so is a “go to” pattern whenever I suspect that mudeyes may be on the menu.
Hook: Partridge The Wet TWH #10
Thread: 6/0 Olive
Eyes: Burnt mono eyes, dyed black
Weight: (optional) I usually use 5-6 turns of 0.015” lead wire
Tail: Kangaroo fur, dyed dark olive
Wing: Kangaroo fur, dyed dark olive (tied in two parts to obtain abdomen profile)
Thorax: Kangaroo fur, dyed dark olive mixed with dark olive Lite-Brite
Tying the pattern
The eyes are tied about 1.5mm from the hook eye and then the lead (if required) is tied immediately behind the eyes. The thread wraps are then soaked with head cement and left to dry before continuing. As I have never observed this mudeye swimming at the surface, I use the 5-6 turns of lead to overcome the natural buoyancy of the kangaroo fur, causing the fly to swim just subsurface. Friends who use this pattern without the weight report good results in Lakes Eucumbene and Jindabyne.
The tail, of nearly a hook length, is tied in; the butts are trimmed and tied down. The first wing is tied in about a quarter of the way forward and the second wing is tied in at the mid-point of the shank. The tail and the wings are proportioned to produce the abdomen profile and it is important to maintain a sparse dressing (more slender than the natural seems to work best).
The thorax is produced by figure-eighting the dubbing around the eyes and then winding the dubbing between the wing and the eyes to produce the correct profile. A piece of Velcro is use to scuff up the thorax and then brush back the fibres to streamline the fly’s appearance. Any Lite Brite extending past the tail is broken off.
To maximize the durability of the fly, the region around the eyes is flooded with head cement. As yet I have not had one fall apart; maybe I contribute them to the bushes or bottom before they have time to disintegrate.
The picture showing the mudeye shuck and the Parawa Mudeye fly indicates the close approximation in size and profile. In use and especially after catching a fish or two, the pattern slims down a bit and fishes even better.
Fishing the fly
When the mudeyes are emerging among the emergent vegetation, the best results come from casting to sighted fish and then using a slow to medium paced short strip to gain the trout’s attention. A figure of eight retrieve doesn’t get as strong a response from the trout.
For blind prospecting around the sticks or in open water I have the best results with a figure of eight retrieve or a slow to medium paced short strip. The trout will usually take the fly confidently, often just swimming up and inhaling it and continues to swim until you detect the take or they discover it is a fake and reject it (violent takes are the exception in this situation).
During the cooler months when the mudeyes are not expected to be emerging, I will normally use a smaller imitation but still tied on a hook of similar shank length so as to maintain the correct body profile (I simply tie the tail shorter).