Published On: Thu, Dec 21st, 2017

Hamills Killer Trout Fly with John Hey

Tail: black squirrel tail and some patterns have a few strands of golden pheasant tippets.

Tail: black squirrel tail and some patterns have a few strands of golden pheasant tippets.

Hamills Killer is a “must have” Trout Fly for fishing in New Zealand 

Tying the Hamills Killer pattern. Winter is a good time to spend at the fly bench and replenish our stocks of flies that we have either: lost, given away to our mates, broken the barbs off during a poor backcast and blamed it on the hook or the salesman for selling poor quality flies.

The Hamill’s Killer is tied to imitate the bully and is normally tied in sizes 2 to 8. Once I tied a few smaller size 10 versions at the request of a customer. Several years back I remember having a few extra of these in a film canister while travelling on a trip to a golf tournament. I put them in my vest as I took the scenic route through Tekapo and stopped off at Lake MacGregor. It was mid-morning by the time we arrived and the surface of the lake was like glass. I could see a few trout were rising just out of range.

A wool body is less bulky than chenille.

A wool body is less bulky than chenille.

I decided to fish a floating line with a long leader and being early December I tied on one of the size 10 Hamills. In this size, it is tied to represent the dragonfly nymph.

A slight breeze began to ripple the water just enough to hide the splash of the line from a long cast. There was a rise from a fish close to the outlet stream. With a well-judged cast, I let it sink, then after two short pulls, I let it sink again, another pull, then back, a lift of the rod and the nice feeling of a shaking rainbow. After a short battle, back he went for another day.

After tying in the first set of side feather add more wool followed by a second set of side feathers. See also Trout Killer Patterns for more tying instructions for the Hamills Killer.

After tying in the first set of side feather add more wool followed by a second set of side feathers. See also Trout Killer Patterns for more tying instructions for the Hamills Killer.

The Hamills Killer is tied in a similar style to Mrs Simpson. It has side feathers of Grey partridge died green. But you will find that in a lot of shops the feathers are mallard breast feathers died green. Tight Lines had brought in some pheasant skins in that were dyed green and with the natural colours already in the feathers, this gives great markings for any adventurous fly tyer. There is a plenty of unusable feathers in the packets so buy a couple.

Sit down at your table and strip off the unwanted feathers so you have a bag of good usable feathers ready for tying. Body colours are normally red, yellow or green in the size 10. I would use yellow and it can be wool or chenille. Again for the small patterns, wool is not so bulky.

Hamills Killer - mallard version (left) and the dyed partridge feather version (right).

Hamills Killer – mallard version (left) and the dyed partridge feather version (right).

The tail is tied of black squirrel tail and in some patterns have a few strands of golden pheasant tippets.

It’s not a difficult pattern to tie but it’s a must in your fly box. If you want to vary your pattern and give it a bit more life, get some olive grizzly marabou feathers, and by tying in a smaller tail than normal, then a body and a wing of this marabou you’ll find it has a great pulsating action when pulled through slow water. Tie small clumps on each side and on top from the tail to the head.

I used this fly tied by a fishing mate in Lake Georgina – a lake I don’t normally fish – and caught a nice brown trout, so try these in some of our smaller lakes like Selfe, Sarah and Monk, these lakes can be quite difficult at times. So let’s get those fly boxes full and before you know it a new season will be here.

kea New Zealand protected bird original hamills killer photograph

A woman named Mona Carter, who worked in a Christchurch tackle store in the 1930s, tied and sold this pattern with feathers from the native kea. The fly was called a Mrs Simpson (Kea). The kea is now a protected species and its feathers cannot be sold or used for flies, not even if you find a dead specimen.

Hamills Killer dyed with mallard breast feathers dyed green.

Hamills Killer dyed with mallard breast feathers dyed green.

About the Author

- Fishingmag.co.nz website editor.