I have always had a soft spot for the older fly patterns especially spiders and one dry fly in particular the Grey Duster. A very simple fly to tie but for some reason this time I tried a vairiation by tying it as a shuttle cock emerger with calf tail as the hackle.
We were fishing two lakes in Canterbury New Zealand plus a small river. The first lake holds rainbows and in the early morning was dead calm, not a ripple for the 3/4 mile length. A standard Grey duster went on as fish were rising and second cast a fish rose, was hooked, jumped 3 times and was off. The reason a commercially tied fly hook had straightened out -*!#*##! On went my own tied Grey Duster Emerger tied on a #12 Black Magic A12. Ten minutes later another hook-up, a nice 3 1/2 lb rainbow. Until midday I consistantly rose fish after fish and ended up with 4 landed to 11 rises.
The river was fished for only an hour and 5 were risen and one hooked and landed.
The next lake is renowned for it's large fish but the wind had got up and the waves were a good 2 ft crashing onto the lee shore which made for difficult fishing. However the Grey Duster floated high and dry and was easily seen until it disappeared in a slow head and tail rise. Fifteen minutes later I had a PB in the net a cracking 9lb male brown. Tea was called for and my mate and I repaired to the hut for a brew and to pack for the 2 1/2 hr drive home.
This day bought home to us both the value of the Grey duster, it accounted for all fish caught. Wooly Buggers, Damsel Nymphs, a variety of sedges etc were refused and were seen to be refused too.
So here's to the Grey Duster and A Courtney Williams whose tying I first used.
Tying as Follows:
Body: Dubbed Blue/grey rabbit under fur.
Hackle: Grizzled Cock.
Hook: #12 to 14