Paul Bowen’s “Usk Devil”

Paul Bowen’s Usk Devil. (Diawl Wysg)

Paul (former Chairman of C&DAS) was asked to tie this fly for the “Trout & Salmon” magazine August 2005.


The article written is as follows:-

Paul Bowen, chairman of the Crickhowell & District Angling Society reveals how this pattern evolved on the middle reaches of the River Usk during the late ’80s and early ’90s.

Paul says: “I was being asked by local anglers to tie salmon & sea trout flies for them that were slightly different from the norm but still kept the killing colour combinations and trigger points of the standard patterns.

Black & Orange have always been good colours to incorporate into any Usk salmon fly and a silver body is good for low water just about anywhere. Many fishermen feel that the addition of jungle cock cheeks add a certain “X-Factor” to any salmon or sea-trout fly. Peacock sword feathers add an attractive sparkle, sheen and action to the fly,as in the Alexandria. The finished article, after a bit of trial & error, was the Diawl Wysg or Usk Devil. “It was named by the late John Samuel, who for years was the keeper on the Dan-y-Parc beat on the Usk. The fly has been a killing pattern there for the past ten years or so, and has accounted for large catches of grilse and quite a few decent salmon (up to 20lb) on beats in the middle and upper sections of the Usk catchment, especially in the summer and autumn months. It has also proved to be extremely useful on the Findhorn, Spey & Tweed and on Irish & Welsh rivers. At least a dozen salmon of more than 30lb have been landed on this pattern on Norwegian and Kola Peninsula rivers, and at least eight double figure sea trout from Welsh rivers. “Diawl Wysg fishes best in medium to low flows. The fly is most productive when used in conjuction with floating, intermediate or sink tip lines.The standard dressing works well in streamy water and in the necks and tails of pools. But in deeper, slower flows a fly tied with a wing of either Artic Fox fur or Marabou is usually more productive and the extra mobility provided by these types of winging material can be a distinct advantage”. Paul adds: “The pattern fishes extremely well when connected to the leader with a loop knot.”

The Recipe for tying:-

Hook: sizes 8 to 14. Thread: Black. Tag: Glo Brite floss, shade no.7 (orange). Rib: Oval silver. A variant is tied with an oval gold rib. Hackle: Orange hen or “webby” orange cock (tied either as a beard hackle or fully wound). Wing: Four strands of Silver Crystal Hair (or similar material) overlaid with orange squirrel tail and black squirrel tail (or Artic Fox fur or Marabou). Topping: Peacock Sword feathers (about four to six strands)

Cheeks: Jungle Cock (small).