Hamills Killer and Killer Patterns
The gruesome sounding name of this group of fishing flies is well deserved. When fishing clear water streams and lakes they are very effective indeed. All can be fished as a smelt, bully, crayfish dragonfly and damsel nymph!
The Hamills Killer is one of a group of six New Zealand killer patterns that are all tied in a similar manner; they originate from the central North Island trout fisheries around Taupo and Rotorua and are uniquely New Zealand trout flies. The killer patterns are Hammils Killer, Mrs Simpson, Kilwell No.1, Kilwell No.2, Mallard, and Lord’s Killer.
I’ll always remember fishing a broad run on the Clyde River above Lake Dunstan with renown writer and fishing guide Dick Marquand. My size four Mrs Simpson was snatched by the biggest, fattest rainbow trout I have ever seen in my life. To begin with, I thought I had snagged a sunken tree branch. Then it started moving, and my heart was racing. Then suddenly it shot straight up out of the crystal clear bubbling water to scare the living daylights out of me. Its next trick was to come speeding straight at me. Before I could strip sufficient line to tighten up on the damn thing it tossed my Mrs Simpson out of its mouth and took off laughing, back to where it came from. That’s the closest I’ve come so far to a double-figure rainbow trout – excluding the Twizel Canals!
These flies, or more correctly lures, because they are designed to imitate small baitfish, particular bullies, are all tied in a similar fashion.
Each is first tied by starting with a tail of, usually, black squirrel tail. The underbodies are then formed by wraps of chenille, though you could use wool if you prefer it, and then feathers are tied to the side of the hook to form a plumpish bully like profile.
The Killer pattern series is reasonably easy to tie. Though they can be a bit fiddly in the smaller sizes. Perhaps one drawback is the number of feathers required to finish a Killer lure, particularly in the larger sizes. The important thing when creating killer patterns is best summed up in the word balance. Try to keep each side of the lure balanced with the same number and size of feathers.
Many anglers will tell you that the colour of the underbody makes a difference to the pattern’s effectiveness. One story I have often heard is that red bodies will attract eels. I’ve heard this several time from those serving in tackle stores! As far as I can tell you can’t actually see the chenille body on the finished lure anyway! All are tied on short shank lure hooks, size 2-8.
The Killer patterns are widely used in New Zealand. The most popular are the Hamill’s Killer and Mrs Simpson. You can purchase New Zealand trout fly Killer patterns from Flyshop.co.nz
The Killers are typically fished for smelting trout at stream and river mouths. They are also highly regarded when fished around the shorelines of New Zealand’s many lakes both for “blind prospecting” and casting in front of patrolling browns.
Hook: size 4-8. A larger size 2 makes a good harling lure.
Tail: Black Squirrel Tail Fibres. Small bunch of golden pheasant tippets. Note that I have omitted the orange pheasant tippets in the picture above which is not strictly correct, of course. However, I have caught plenty of trout on the Hamill’s Killer without them.
Body: Red or yellow chenille or wool.
Wing: Mallard dyed green. Partridge dyed green looks much better but if difficult to come by nowadays.