Oliver Edwards Hatches Interview
by Samuel Fava

1)   Who or what has inspired your style of tying?

No one person inspired my tying style. Nature became my inspiration, I have always strived to get close to the natural without going into the realm of close copy. I believe my tying style (particularly for nymphs and other subsurface forms) is called super-impressionistic. I do though have two favorite fly tiers they both flow and have the ability to infuse any fly they tie with that eat me appeal. They are Dave Whitlock, USA and Veli Autti Finland.

2)   Who has been your biggest influence in fly tying?

I am entirely self-taught, nature is my (and has always been) influence. It helps if you become an amateur entomologist. Ive always been interested in aquatic insects.

3)   Are there any planned projects for the future (DVDs and or books)?

Yes, Ive just finished filming for the next series of DVDs. There will be three, and we hope to have them ready for the Christmas sale time. Another book? Well I have played about now for many years and have about nine or ten subjects completed. However I keep leaking one or two to your Fly Tyer magazine. I may eventually get down to it and complete it but the drawings are a pain in the ass!

4)   One of my favorite flies of yours is the Mohican Mayfly, how did you come up with such a unique way to tie such a fly?

The Mohican Mayfly gradually evolved. I knew I wanted a long slender abdomen, and I knew that foam would be a perfect material, but the folded piece around a needle was a base inspiration. Same with the Mohican wing originally it had a coned wing, then I realized that I could blade the wing by taking the foam body tags up each side of the wing at its base. It was several years in its development.

5)   What is the one tying material that has influenced your tying over the last 5 years and made your tying both easier and successful in what you were trying to imitate?

Not five years, more like twenty years Flexibody. The Dutch product basically 0.008 thick translucent coloured vinyl sheeting. This material was a quantum leap in my nymph designs and effectiveness. Waspis Thin Skin is okay but not thick enough. Also the original Flexibody had many correct colours and shades (olives, tans, etc.).

6)   How would you rate the Czech nymph method of deepwater nymphing and what has been your most productive nymph pattern for this style of fishing. Also would it work on brown trout as well as grayling?

Some people may be misunderstanding the Czech Nymphing style it is not essentially a deep water technique (depends on what you call deep water of course). It can and is used in quite shallow water, very effectively, provided there is a good rapid flow with lots of features rocks, boulders, old logs, weedbeds, etc. Ideally I like a depth of mid calf to upper thigh riffles, pocket water, pool necks, and tail outs. It is not effective in slow water for obvious reasons like your nymph bottoms out and gets hung up!

I do not have a most productive Czech nymph, I have a box with maybe 150 Czech nymphs in many shades, mostly natural colours work well. However we have found that some un-natural colours work well particularly in coloured water pink is one such colour its all a question of visibility if the river is like soup.

Yes they are equally effective for trout (brown or bows) as they are for grayling.

7)   Where is your favorite place to fish, why and with what flies?

Favourite place? This is not all that easy. I love me home waters in the Yorkshire Dales primarily the rivers Wharfe and Ure both freestones. I also think the Madison and Snake in the U.S. are fantastic. For the past three years Ive been invited to fish the Laxa in the North of Iceland. This is without doubt the best Brown trout Ive ever experienced with many fish over 3 lbs. and going all the way to 7,8, even 10 pounds but usually 2 to 6lbs. on a dry fly it is quite incredible. They are all stream bred and rip line off the reel like a bonefish. The scenery is also quite incredible and empty except for the birds and a few sheep. Iceland has probably the best fly-fishing on the planet or at least one of the best anyway!!!

With what flies? Well that question can only be answered with copies of whatever theyre rising for or feeding on subsurface. I dont have a favourite fly, or favourite flies. It all depends on what hatching and falling.

8)   What is your opinion on the "realistic" side of fly tying?

They look great in frames, and good to watch a real exponent constructing them. However it all depends on what you call realistic there are various grades. I tie a stonefly nymph which looks superficially like a real stone nymph! Bill Logan ties a stone nymph, which looks exactly like a stone nymph, complete with mouthparts. Ill do mine at a show and probably will take 45 minutes. Bill Logans will take probably 200 hours. Mine are super impressionistic, Bills are exact replicas. Its all a question of degrees, but no one I know of can beat Bill Logans  when it comes to exact copy, and there price reflects it. Exact copies do not in my opinion, play any part in practical streamside fishing.

9)   How do you think tying will evolve in the next 5 years?

Havent thought about it maybe it will go more towards the realism, and shows are an influence of course. New materials will come out of course, these will spawn new techniques and new patterns. Im quite happy with what I do.

10)  If you had only 6 flies to use what would they be?

This is a tough one just six flies??? Okay here we go. (in no particular order)

1)   Black klinkhammer

2)   Water Bloa #14

3)   Baetis Nymph #16 (from Masterclass)

4)   Olive Paradun #16 & #18

5)   Grey Shrimp #12 (from Masterclass)

6)   Waggy Tail Sculpin 2 - 3 long (soon to be seen on the latest DVD)

I would also like to add 3 reserves please!

1)   Heptagenid Nymph #14 (from Masterclass)

2)   Stewarts Black Spider #18

3)   Black Wooly Bugger #4 long shank

11)  What are some of the most common mistakes made by tiers?

Here is my list:

  Getting proportions wrong

  Huge heads/ tying off/ and head crowding

  Having little idea what the natural looks like

  Using to thick tying thread

  Using to many thread wraps for each stage

  Tying loose (afraid of breaking thread) You should always tie at the maximum thread strain

  Tying dry flies which have little chance of sitting correctly


12)  With all the different techniques for tying a fly what are the 3(or 4) "constants" that a tier should always strive for?

  Understanding what the natural youre copying looks like, and how it behaves.

  Be aware of proportions

  Tie very tightly

  Watch those wraps dont whack on six when three will be adequate

  Practice small neat heads with correct whip finish

Basically the same as the last question.

13)  Has your "journey" been rewarding? How so?

Yes the journey has been fantastic, even more so since I was downsized. 15 years ago when I turned fully pro (not a pro tyer you understand, I mean pro in the sence of being professionally involved in all aspects of fly fishing- except pro tying) So, courses, classes, shows, demos, guiding, articles, writing and of course lots of great travel, meeting some of the best people on the planet!


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