Originally created by Frank Lord of Rotorua, and known as the Tarawera Killer. It was later tied commercially by Kilwell Sports in Rotorua, and its name changed to Kilwell No.1
Perhaps surprisingly the Kilwell No.1 is highly regarded as a night fly as well as a day pattern. It must surely be mistaken by trout for a cockabully at any hour!
Killer patterns, though great fish takers are generally regarded as being difficult to tie. By and large, that is true. You may need to use three or four pairs of side feathers to get the lure to look right. According to Keith Draper in New Zealand Trout Flies – Traditional and Modern, partridge feathers are hard to come by.
Draper also mentions Jimmy Heighway, who would tie this particular fly on small size 10 or 12 hooks using golden pheasant tippets for the tail, and the smallest partridge feathers for the sides. He would fish this tiny wet fly on a floating, or slow sinking, line in the Tukituki River, and its small feeder streams, with great success.
Materials for the Kilwell No.1
Hook: Size 2-8 lure hook.
Tail: Black squirrel
Body: Red or yellow chenille (originally wool was used). Like the Hamills Killer, many anglers will advise that a yellow body is used on bright sunny days and a red body on overcast days and at night.
Side feathers: Brown partridge with a strip down the centre. The feathers are tied in pairs, one on each side taking care to align the strip down the centre.
Kilwell Sports has for generations been New Zealand’s leading importer, manufacturer, and distributor of fishing tackle. Many visiting fly anglers to New Zealand have taken home a “top-of-the-range” Kilwell fly rod as a memento of their trip. Kilwell has produced their own rod blanks at their factory in Rotorua for decades, and rods made by them are regarded as among the best made anywhere!