Bare, bones and New Zealand Style

No, it is not some kind of Kiwi sex position it is in fact a way of fishing, or at least using a dropper, let me explain…
Last week I headed down to the Kelvin with Alex, he is fishing quite a lot with the New Zealand method and doing rather well I must say. For those not in the know what you do is take a nice bushy dry fly (I use a parachute), say a size 14, then tie a short dropper onto the BEND of the hook, approx 18inches long, and add a nymph, for example, a size 12 or 14 Hares Ear or Pheasant Tail.
bishops mill
Anyway, the Kelvin is now down to bare bones, the fish are very sluggish, there seems to be some fly life around but all in all it has been slow for me. I would be interested in hearing how other fishers are getting on?


  1. chris · July 30, 2006

    Do you or your mate catch them on the floating fly or the one hanging down. Sounds interesting. What knot do you use on the join at the hook bend?

  2. George · July 30, 2006

    Hey Alistair,

    Very interesting to know that I’m not the only one drying up in the fish steaks .. but kinda wondering why your not answering my email these days ?
    DO I SMELL ?? I mean, apart from my DAY GLO socks .. is there something else that I’ve said or worn that might have offended ?? hopefully not :o)

    I’ve been having a wee go at tying off some droppers to my main leader and making a ” hare’s ear ” of it .. did you like that wee joke ?
    No kidding aside, I’ve recently got pretty fed up with the lures on the resvr … now looking at wet’s and the dry when conditions allow.

    Got ti run .. laters Dude

  3. TC · July 30, 2006

    Ahh, the “Dry and dropper.” Or the “Hopper dropper.” A staple here on the Upper Sac. I use it from time to time because I’m an unbelivable snot about nymphing (about the third time I lose a rig after two casts I need to go to my Happy Place for a few moments).

    It offers the style of a dry with the warm-weather effectivness of a nymph. I tend to use a copper john fly as the dropper because it sinks quickly without weight.

    The heat has been unusually high here in Northern California for weeks now (90-100 degrees farenheight during the day) but fortunately, the Sac’s water supply is a bottom draw dam, so the water remains cool.

    The fishing hasn’t been great, but it hasn’t disappeared either…

    Good luck in the heat.

  4. Alex · July 30, 2006


    When fishing NZ style, the fish will take either fly, but will usually take the nymph. I tie the dropper on to the bend of the dry with a half blood knot.

    Hope this helps


  5. Jim Burns · July 30, 2006

    Have used this method and have had very good catches with this style of fishing. As you something bushy, I use a black spider then tie a goldheaded starling and peacock spider 14 under the dry fly.The starling and peacock has accouned for most of the better fish I’ve taken this season.As you say the kelvin is well down but the other night I caught 3 nice size trout of about 9 to 12 inches long and was well pleased as I did not expect to catch anything due to the water level.One other thing did you last season post that you either damage or lost your digital camera. If it was that you lost it then I found one in the river at Halfpenny bridge. The things you find in the river even a sevred deers leg poor Bamby.
    Bye for now.

  6. Murdock · July 30, 2006

    Some of the tailrace guides in these parts will fish as many as two or three nymphs as droppers under a large dry fly. I don’t see how they can possibly cast that sort of rig but most are fishing from boats so I guess that makes it easier. I have found that fishing a dropper(1)under a dry can work well when fish are shy of typical strike indicators / bobbers.

  7. robbi · July 30, 2006

    hi all,

    could some one please give me details and / or pictures of the new zealand style, and answer some questions, ie: how come the barb on the top fly doesnt cut the line on the dropper ? if a barbless hook is used, what stops the dropper coming of the hook ?

    I’m itching to use this method but need some guidance and reasurance …. please help…..nervous of Northern Ireland !

  8. Alistair · July 30, 2006

    I will do some photos in the new year…

Comments are closed.