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That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.

Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet.

A genuine question was asked on social media the other day… why don’t I name or at least write out the full names of my flies (instead of just their initials)? Surely this would help sell more flies?

The honest answer is I’ve never given much thought to names. The initials are just that, initials, not abbreviations or fancy/clever acronyms. They are mostly mnemonics to help me in my tying and very much a case of say (or tie) what you see.

A few have been named by others. I’m forever grateful to David Burton/Phishtitz for naming the Shaggy UV Mayfly (SUVM) which describes it perfectly and with no mystery. More tricky to decipher would be the LDS as named by Yvette Austin… this is a fly that was tied very specifically for a river we both fish (a lot). Catching a beautiful brown trout on what I think was the second cast of the day and other species of fish (as well as more trout) as the day went on, I offered Yvette the chance to name the fly and so the Lucky Diverse Spider was born.

I guess only two of my patterns have actual proper names or are known more by their names rather than their initials. The Shaggy Olive is obvious (it’s Shaggy and it’s Olive) but more tricky to work out is the Gypsy Queen.

The tale behind the GQ involves a meeting in Robjents, chatting to a young lad about fly tying and reservoir fishing, hangovers and the phrase “pink and green should never be seen, except on the shoulders of a gypsy queen”. So, when I was looking for an early season Caddis/Grannom type pattern that would imitate not only the egg sac but also the insect warming up, that little pink and green ditty popped in my head and the Gypsy Queen was born.

But, does properly naming a fly make it better? Honestly, I don’t think so. Would the YPT sell more if it was called the Cornish Pasty or the West Country Woo-hah (as it very nearly was), maybe for novelty value perhaps? I’m far more interested in the flies themselves, how they float on the water or sit in the film, how I imagine they look as prey items and most importantly that they actually catch fish. That’s what makes (and sells) a successful fly in my opinion. N

Nigel Nunn Flies
All images © Nigel Nunn Flies

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