Illawarra Flyfishers Club

Couta Mudeye


Photos and Text by Steve Chatterton

Hook Long shank size 6-12
Thread Black
Tag Purple marabou or purple Polar Fleece
Ribbing Fine silver wire
Underbody Wool
Overbody Peacock herl
Legs Lower hackles of a Pheasant feather
Wings Tips of Pheasant feathers or dyed Wood Duck feather or Swam Hen feathers

Family Aeshnidae, genus Hemianax or otherwise known as the Couta Mudeye, is a popular fish bait throughout Australia. Most fly fishers will have one or more flies that they use to represent Mudeyes and these include Craig's Night-time, Tiehape Tickler and Mick's Mudeye. An alternative tie for the Couta Mudeye is set out below. It incorporates many of the features of the flies mentioned above and utilises two of my favourite fly tying materials, Peacock herl and Pheasant feathers. Peacock herl is used to advantage in a lot of flies and imparts a natural sparkle. Pheasant feathers such as those used in Mrs Simpson and Hammel's Killer range in colour from browns through greens and blues and with careful selection you can match the colour of the natural Mud Eye. If you don't have Pheasant feathers then dyed Wood Duck feathers or Swamp Hen feathers can also be used. The other point of difference with this fly is that the tag is purple in colour rather than red. Red is one of the first colours of the spectrum to be lost as light fails whereas purple is one of the last.

Tying Instructions

1a) Starting at the eye wind the thread in touching turns to the bend of the hook.

b) Tie in a small bunch of marabou or Polar Fleece and trim as a short tag extending just beyond the bend of the hook.

c) Take the thread three quarters of the way along the hook shank and tie in a length of wool. I find that wherever a fly recipe requires the use of a length of wool that it is nearly always better if you strip a couple of ply from six or eight ply wool and lay down a couple of layers rather than using the full piece of wool. 

2a) Now wind the wool toward the bend of the hook and then back to the three quarter point building up an under-body which is slightly plumper in the middle that at each end. 

b) Take the thread back to the bend of the hook and tie in a length of fine silver wire and 3 or 4 Peacock herls. 

3a) Twist the herl around the thread to form a rope and then wind the herl rope in touching turns to the three quarter point covering the under-body. Tie the herl off and trim the loose ends.

b) Pick up the silver wire and wind it to the three quarter point forming 4 or 5 ribs. Tie the silver wire off and trim the loose end. 

4a) Select two matching Pheasant feathers.

b) Cut a small bunch of fibres from just above the fluffy fibres at the base of the feather. The bunch should be about half a match stick in thickness

c) Tie these fibres on the side of the hook just in front of the three quarter way point with the tips trailing backwards so as to partially obscure the barb of the hook.

d) Repeat this process on the other side of the hook. 

5a) Now take one of the selected Pheasant feathers and strip all of the fibres off the quill except for those at the tip of the feather. The unstripped section should be about as long as the hook shank.

b) Tie the stripped feather on top of the hook with the feather tips terminating above the end of the tag.

c) Repeat the above two steps with the second feather. 
6a) Tie in two or three strands of Peacock herl at the three quarter point.

b) Twist the herl around the thread to form a rope and then wind the herl rope in overlapping turns to the eye of the hook forming a plump head. Tie the herl off and trim the loose ends.

c) Whip finish the thread and lock it down with a touch of varnish