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The Klinkhamer Special

Posted on 7 February 2012 by Vincent

Hans van Klinken’s Klinkhåmer Special is my go-to dryfly for faster water. I don’t think this fly needs any introduction, over the past few years it has become notorious! However, most people tie this fly the wrong way. Even most flyshops who sell this fly, sell a different fly

History of the Klinkamer Special

Let’s start with a little history first. Hans was fishing the Glomma in Norway back in 1984. They were catching good amounts of grayling on very large (#8) red tags. But he wanted to tie something different for the grayling. So he started to gut some grayling, to find out what they were feeding on. He noticed that the few grayling he gutted had eaten very large emerging caddis pupa. They had very large curved bodies. That might have been the reason why large dries were favorable.

Hans started to tie some new flies, specially designed for this situation. The main thing he wanted to imitate was the large curved body. So he took a big grub hook and tied a dry parachute style fly. The results were amazing. The grayling loved the fly. He called his new creation the L.T. Caddis.

In 1986 Hans fished a lot more places throughout Europe, and he found that the L.T. Caddis worked very well in a lot of places and for trout as well. He even caught grilse salmon with his L.T. Caddis.

The name

In 1987 he wrote an article for a Dutch flyfishing magazine. The editorial staff thought the fly needed a different name. That’s why Hans de Groot gave it the famous name “Klinkhåmer Special”. It had a little Scandinavian sound to it, and it incorporated Hans his name.

Klinkhåmer Special (image credit: <a href=

The Klinkhåmer Special as seen from underneath the water surface (image credit: www.flyfishinggazette.com)

Tying the Klinkhamer Special (the correct way)

One of the most important characteristics of this fly is the large thin curved abdomen. That’s where a lot of people go wrong. They call a tiny little fly with a tiny curved and relatively fat body a Klinkhåmer. But it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, it will probably catch fish, but it’s not the Klinkhåmer Special. It must have a relatively large, curved and thin abdomen. You should really use just as little dubbing, to only cover the hook shank. Don’t be tempted to use a lot of dubbing. If you put on too little to cover the hook shank, you can always put a little bit more on.

The other thing a lot of people do wrong is the tying off part. The trick in making a durable fly is to tie the hackle off at the base of the parachute portion. Not at the eye of the hook. If you tie the hackle off behind the eye of the hook, you have to bring the hackle from the base of the parachute to the hook-eye. Because you tie it off at the very tip of the hackle, you have a weak point. If a trout touches the tiny hackle point with (however small) teeth, or you touch it with your pliers when taking the hook out, it’ll break. You should instead tie the hackle off and complete the fly around the base of the parachute. That way you don’t expose the very tip of the hackle and keep the fragile tip away from the trout’s teeth, and therefore make your fly a lot more durable. It’s very convenient to master the whip-finish by hand. You can also use a large whip-finishing tool.

Hans uses a different tread for tying off the fly. He uses spiderweb. I use it as well in the video. But instead, for speeding up things, you can also tie the complete fly with a thin thread like an 12/0 benecchi tread or something similar. That way you don’t have to change your thread when tying off. I find the spiderweb too fragile to use it for tying the whole fly. But if you can master your thread tension really good, you can use it for the complete fly. However, don’t be tempted to tie the fly off with a thicker thread like an 8/0 of 6/0. That way you bulk up the base of the parachute too much, and it will probably not float very well.

Now, enough talking, let’s tie the fly!

Materials used

The video

More info

If you want some more information about this fly, please visit Hans’s website at: www.flyfishinggazette.com

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