Bi-Visible BSPs

The simple BSP (Bog Standard Parachute) can be adapted in numerous ways to fullfill a wide variety of needs, covering a plethora of upwinged insects in a variety of sizes as well as many midges.

Recently I had some clients with me on the river who were rushing off home to catch a spot of the rugby, which left me with something of a dilemma, should I return home as well or maybe catch a couple of hours of fishing and miss the Super 15?

In the end with a bit of careful planning I managed to get in some much needed personal angling time and still make it to the pub closest to the river to catch the kick off. Of course that had the minor disadvantage of having to limit my alcohol consumption during the game and to stick to light lager during a thrilling match when normally I might have partied a little harder with the Stormers win but you can’t have everything..

Anyway, the morning was tough, low water and few fish on the move, those that were were exceptionally spooky and we did all the normal stuff like remove watches and fish thin tippet and all of those little adjustments that one can make when the going is tricky. All to pretty much no avail, sure the clients raised a fish or two but they were missed, striking being the one part of fly fishing that one can’t practice.

So then early afternoon saw me on the stream in very tough conditions and with an hour or two to myself. I don’t fish when I guide and hadn’t had anything like enough angling time of late, well out of practice for sure so I was looking forward to a bit of time casting for my own account as it were.

The fish came on a little here and there, there were a few rises and in the occasional pool numbers of fish rose energetically to Choroterpes spinners egg laying over the water.

The conditions were perfect with a light upstream breeze and I fished a very long twenty odd foot leader down to 7X and a size 18 dark BSP (Bog Standard Parachute) pattern. That worked pretty well although when the breeze failed to ruffle the surface of those pools the takes dried up.

I had met up with Riaan at the top of my beat and the beginning of his, apparently he had set off late and was fishing very slowly and we discussed tactics. He like me was fishing a dark fly on a long fine leader and suggested that he thought that the fish were getting wary of the white wings on the paracute posts of the BSP style flies. I have certainly had this with bright posts designed to make spotting the pattern simpler and no doubt over time the fish may well shy away from the white as well. In fact I had already moved over to gray posts on a number of my patterns.

In the end I finished with eleven fish in the net and perhaps half a dozen missed due to mistimed strikes or even the fish coming short (could be those posts again, putting them off at the last moment).

However with the BSP style of tying variations are very simple to achieve and I have found that by tying in the posts in two parts one can gain beautiful bi-colour wings that are more in harmony with the naturals without having to give up entirely on visibility. Common combinations are a small hot wing in front of a more toned down main wing. Bi-visible wings of black and white which aid visibility in bright reflective light and evenings and pure black wings which show exceptionally well in the silver shimmer of the late afternoons.

BSPs enjoy a number of features which I think can be advantageous compared to more standard commercial ties.
The whip finish is unobtrusive and done with a super glue whip around the base of the post, this adds to both the durability of the fly and means that there is no whipping about the eye of the fly which frequently leads to difficulty in threading the tippet.

Whipping around the base of the post reduces bulk, keeps the eye clear of thread and improves durability.

The thread only body on most of the patterns provides for super slim profile, particularly useful on tiny dries.

Slim abdomens are features of the BSP design, although of course you can fatten them up if you wish to.

I thought that I would share a few variations of tying the BSP’s, sure the standard is a thread body and a white or gray wing of poly-yarn combined with suitable hackle colours. Other variations can be easily achieved though. Quill bodies can be used with ease although on these patterns I add a small amount of dubbing at the thorax to cover the butts of the quill. Thorax colours can be changed with a pinch of dubbing, bi-visible wings can be simply manufactured from different colours of post material, usually poly yarn and you can even dub the abdomen if you feel so moved. Plus use of two hackles allows subtle variations of colour as with the Adams BSP shown so really one can cover pretty much any upwinged fly and a number of midges as well with these simple variations.

The real joy to me of this style is that they are not only pretty simple, even the more complicated ones, but they remain slim and sparse, far more so than commercial patterns and from my perspective that makes them real winners when the fish have seen it all  before.

Adams BSP, featuring banded wing post and two hackles of ginger and grizzle. A simple and still slim version of the classic mayfly pattern.

Bi-visible wings, the latest variation providing subtle colouration and still better visibility.

Blue Winged Olive BSP with dubbed thorax.

Choroterpes BSP, A good imitation but tricky to see under some light conditions.

The Bi-Colour "hot wing" makes for better visibility without spooking too many fish.

Olive variation with fluoro' yellow bi-visible hot wing.


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2 Responses to “Bi-Visible BSPs”

  1. sharland East Says:

    Thanks Tim – Like the BSP Adams & Choroterpes BSP (hot wing). Always great to have a little colour on hand.JIC – Just In Case!

  2. Fly Tying: Egg Sacs (Female Dun or Spinner?) « SwittersB & Fly Fishing Says:

    […] Hooks: Size 14, dry fly hook; thread 14/0 black Sheer; tail is microfibbets; abdomen/thorax is Nature’s Spirit dyed/bleached peacock herls; hackle ginger dry fly quality; wing post is white antron yarn. (Here is a very nice post re slender parachutes and variations..nice S-B-S at The Fishing Gene)  […]

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