Fly Tying Legend Russell Anderson

Russell Anderson has been fishing for over thirty years. It's quite a standard opening for most #manicmates but Russell is anything but standard. He's a guide, he's an expert fly tier, and bloody good bloke too.

Russell was taught fishing by his older brothers at the tender age of nine and he was catching fish right from the start. He didn't mess about and the next day tied his own fly - which helped him catch his next fish. 

He's been tying for a long time and is part of the many talented tiers that contribute to the comprehensive Manic Fly Collection. The collection has gathered patterns from all around the world to cater to the myriad of fishing applications there are.

The two Manic Flies associated with Russell are pretty easy to work out which ones they are - Russell's Spider and Russell's Creeper.

 Russell's Creeper

Russell's Creeper

Over the years, Russell's fly fishing skills have been sought out by many folks to be guided throughout the country, but Russell's favourite river is the Rangitikei. There's always plenty of issues surrounding access to such quality water, but asking permission is the best way to do it. Russell is very lucky to guide through a lot of privately owned water and maintaining good relationships with the owners has always been key. 

Russell says you just can't beat stalking and sight fishing for browns. Where he fishes, there are lots of them, but they require plenty of stealth and loads of skill to land them. He's a big fan of stalking browns in water that is slow, still and smooth – hence the design that went in to the Russell's Spider.

Russell's Spider

Russell's Spider

The long wobbly legs, with the floating foam body, allow the fly to land and spread out. The white post of foam on the top gives you a great visual aide to be able to keep an eye on the fly. Russell wanted to make it as real as possible to give the fish time to look at it and realise that it's going to make a mean feed!

But before you even worry about tying one of Russell's creations on, Russell's top tip is take the time to learn how to cast. Take time to learn on land and practice. Like most guides, he's always quick to point out that it pays to be honest with your guide as to your level of skill. Don’t worry about not being any good enough, the right guide will teach you. Avoid any quides that think they are the bees knees or yell at you when you miss a cast. You don't need that sort of chap on your shoulder and it wont make an enjoyable day out.

If you are keen to get a day or two with Russell Anderson, then head to and you can book him via Bruce Bates.