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Chadwick's No. 477

by John Evans
(San Antonio, TX)

A Nice Red Breast Sunfish and a Sawyer's Killer Bug Tied with Chadwick's No. 477 Yarn

A Nice Red Breast Sunfish and a Sawyer's Killer Bug Tied with Chadwick's No. 477 Yarn

Several holidays ago, my wife purchased 30 feet of the original Chadwick’s No. 477 yarn, which Frank Sawyer used to tie his Killer Bug. This grayish, pinkish yarn hasn’t been produced since the 1960’s, and remaining supplies have dwindled. I won’t tell you how much Robin paid for the gift; let’s just say that it was substantial for a piece of string! I appreciated the seller sending along an interesting bit of provenance and letter of authenticity with the Chadwick’s.

It’s almost impossible to find the original stuff anymore; and, even if you do, the price is often prohibitive. I’m hoarding the few feet I have left, and every once in a while I’ll tie up a Sawyer’s Killer Bug.

The original pattern is tied without thread. Frank Sawyer, an English riverkeeper (1906-1980), used “red fuse wire” to weight the nymph and tie off the yarn at the back of the hook. His method was simple and effective. I typically use a size 12 Kamasan B175 “heavy traditional trout hook” and small copper wire to tie my version.

The nymph works well, especially on my panfish in South Central Texas. No, there’s nothing magic in the yarn . . . it catches about as many fish as my other good fly-tying yarns. Sawyer’s Killer Bug does have several things going for it. The thin Chadwick’s No. 477 yarn gives the fly a nice segmented look, and the slim profile and added weight help it get down to the fish. Plus, the color, when wet, is natural and wormy-looking. These advantages help me fish Frank Sawyer’s design with confidence.

To me, the real magic is knowing that you can catch fish on a bit of yarn, wire, and hook. Any good style of Killer Bug coupled with a fine Japanese tenkara rod is a recipe for fun.

Comments for Chadwick's No. 477

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Mar 17, 2020
by: Elwood

How about a photo of your Killer Bug?

Mar 18, 2020
Nice Stuff!
by: Les Albjerg

John - I bought some from England a couple of years ago, and it was certified genuine. I haven't tied any flies with it yet. I didn't get near as much as you did. I'm thinking now would be a good time.

One nice thing about our sport is it is most often a solitary one. Dealing with health issues all day in the hospital, makes me think a little alone time with a Chadwick No. 477 killer bug might be good therapy.

Mar 18, 2020
by: Elwood

So do I need to go to another site to see a pic of the Killer

Mar 18, 2020
The pic is there
by: Chris Stewart

Elwood, the photo of the fly is there. Perhaps you need to refresh your browser.

Mar 18, 2020
Hospital Visits and Fishing
by: John Evans

As you know, I can well sympathize with you. Les and I spend a lot of time visiting hospitals. These last few days have been unique. I went fishing the other morning and life seemed more normal once I returned. I didn't see but one other person all morning long. A fly, a fish, and some quiet time . . . hard to beat.

Mar 29, 2020
Not in PA
by: Wishing Mike

It's not a solitary sport in Pennsylvania! On the first day of trout season all the morons will be lined up elbow to elbow, waist deep in sewage streams that aren't as wide as a small tenkara rod, trying to catch farm raised invasive species introduced by the wise state government.

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.

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