Apart from the DDD, the RAB is South Africa’s most loved dry fly. It was invented by Tony Biggs around the 70’s or 80’s and has taken countless fish on the Cape Streams over the years. Now, the concept of the fly is by no means new as people have been tying ‘skater’ dries since the 1900’s, the key difference with the RAB is the hackle is tied over most of the body, not just as a collar. This allows for a more gentle presentation and keeps the fly above the water making it more buoyant.
Various hackles are used for this fly as well as Squirrel tail and the distinct red thread. Today there are other versions such as the Para RAB, tied incredibly well by Gordon van der Spuy. Both patterns have their merits, but you’re still probably wondering, “what is it?” and that’s open to suggestion. It is by no means an imitative pattern, although it might bring a spider or Crain fly to mind, but you need to understand that this pattern has a specific purpose. Its designed to ride high, you can fish it in turbulent water, and you can skate it. Either way, it will forever remain ‘proudly South African’, so hats off to ya Tony and Tom. You’re both legends!