Lance Taylor developed the "Cardiff Special" back in 1996 for fishing at its namesake water body "Cardiff Pond", just north of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The pattern was only shared with a few close angling friends and members of the Northern Lights Fly Tyers and Fishers, and the fly proved to be highly effective at producing trout and perch on more water bodies than just Cardiff Pond.
The original inspiration for this fly pattern came from Roy Ramdeen’s pattern the "Brandon's Fancy" (named after his son). Lance had some struggles tying the fly like Roy’s version with the seed bead eyes more complicated time-consuming pattern. Lance made some adjustments to the fly and took some liberties with the color scheme as well, veering away from Roy’s more somber brown tones.
After field-testing the pattern and making some minor tweaks, the fly had become one of Lance’s goto flies and had served well over the years. He states that the fly had never failed to produce a fish for him and he had “yet to be skunked whenever I have used it. I've spent many enjoyable evenings on local pothole lakes catching fish when nobody else was getting a bite.”
I’ve made a couple minor changes to Lance’s original, adding a little more density in the legs and a small collar behind the bead, but overall the fly is much the same. Lance has also tied this with some variation in the dubbing using Diamond Dubbing for the body and thorax as well as a flashback version that he has found to be effective.
Cardiff Special nymph fly pattern recipe (Lance Taylor)
Hook: #3906B, Size 10-14.
Head: Gold bead to fit. I use the plastic ones, copper or black tungsten bead will work too.
Thread: Uni-Olive #8/0.
Tail: Bright Yellow Died Mallard Feathers.
Ribbing: 1 Strand of Crystal Flash Clear
Body: Rabbit Fur, Blue Wing Olive. Great Canadian Dubbing Co. (RD-116).
Wing Case: Natural Yellow Mallard. A shade lighter than the tail.
Thorax: Dark Olive Seal Fur.
Legs: Yellow dyed mallard (same as tail) -- 3 to 4 fibers each side of the body.