|  First Published: November 2011

The establishment of various canal developments along our coastlines have been a boost for anglers.

Not only have they allowed the lucky residents to have boats on the water at their back doors, they have also provided structure and habitat for a broad array of baitfish, crustaceans, cephalopods and predatory species. Luckily it is not only the residents who get to fish in many of these canals, but some of these canal developments may have limited access. This month’s pattern is a great one for flyfishers probing these waters, being somewhat of a combination pattern with attributes of shrimps, crabs and squid and will catch most canal inhabitants, plus many other species in other waters.

The Far Canal Fly is an ideal presentation for fishing around vertical structures. It can be cast close to floating pontoons and jetties then allowed to sink into the desired strike zone. When current is present, the Far Canal Fly can even be allowed to drift under the various structures where many predatory fish lurk.

The coloration of the Far Canal Fly is similar to some small squid species, crabs and shrimps that reside in these areas. This pattern does not resemble any species accurately, but it has some similar attributes. It is also similar to a Shrimple, a popular pattern for flats fishing in Australia and abroad. The Far Canal Fly has proven its worth on species such as bream, estuary cod, trevally, tarpon and mangrove jacks in the canal environment. In other waters it will tempt most things that swim, from bass and saratoga in the fresh to golden trevally and barramundi in the salt.


The materials for the Far Canal Fly are fairly limited and easy to obtain. There are also many substitutes available for material selection and colour. Any O’Shaunnessy pattern hook will suffice. At times I have even tied this pattern on long shank hooks and also on stinger patterns. Various types of chenille will suffice with variegated, crystal, super salt and estaz being some of the popular choices.

Eye size and styles can also vary with heavier eyes being used for deep water or stronger currents and lighter eyes for the calm or shallow water. The tail and winging material can be formed with various types of fur. Rabbit, fox (grey, red or arctic), possum and raccoon all work well.

Any rubber legging material can be used for the trailing feelers, but I prefer the barred effect of the silicone grizzly legs, which are basically the same as the skirting material on many spinnerbaits.


The Far Canal Fly was designed for fishing deeper water and working around vertical structures commonly found in canals. Collapsed mangrove banks can also be probed with this pattern. The pulsing and movement of the material means that the Far Canal Fly readily gets hit as it sinks.

When stripped, the materials promote plenty of movement and appeal which catalyses strikes. As it sinks, a delicate twitch on the line is all that is required to promote life to this pattern. Allowing the current to wash the Far Canal Fly under pontoons and then twitching it out with a series of short strips will excite any predator nearby. This pattern can be hopped down or along rock walls or allowed to sink adjacent to posts and pylons, allowing you to probe all areas of the water column and the most common structure where fish prowl.

(1). Place the hook securely in the vice and attach the thread with a jamb knot approximately opposite the barb. Tie in approximately six to eight strands of Krystal
lash, which are at least as long as the entire hook. Lay down a bed of thread forwards for around 5mm before attaching the eye with a series of figure-of-eight wraps. (2). Tie in the tail material at the same point as the Krystal
lash. This should be just slightly shorter than the length of the entire hook. Next, tie in the end of your chenille at this point. Whip finish then advance the thread forward until you are up to the eye of the hook. Add some vinyl cement to the thread, securing the eye of the fly.

(3). Palmer wrap the chenille forward to form the main body, ensuring to wrap all the way around both sides of the eyes, and taper the body as you reach the eye of the hook to create a shape similar to that shown. Secure the end of the chenille, whip finish and trim away the remainder.

(4). Turn the hook over in the vice and re-secure as shown. Cut a length of raccoon that is roughly twice as long as the hook. Secure this just behind the hook eye and whip finish.

(5). Cut a length of silicone grizzly leg that is at least twice as long as the entire fly. Fold this evenly around the thread then slide down to just behind the hook eye and secure at this point. Whip finish and trim away the remaining thread. Add some vinyl cement to the thread around the nose cone.

(6) The Far Canal Fly is now ready to catch a broad array of species in the canals and other waters. When you hook that first big mangrove jack you will soon realise how this pattern got its name.


HOOK:Mustad S71SS #1
THREAD:Flat-waxed nylon- fiery brown
lash- orange
EYE:Painted eye- medium tan
TAIL:Raccoon fiery brown
BODY:Super salt chenille- fiery brown
WING:Raccoon fiery brown
FINISH:Vinyl cement
Reads: 796

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