The Super Pupa
Published Jul 21st 2013
With such a name a fly has to be good. And it is. The Super Pupa is a killer pattern! Different, simple to tie and very efficient.
Preben Torp Jacobsen - all of them grand old men in Scandinavian fly fishing as is Bergquist himself.
They spent some time studying hatching caddis, and Bergquist started developing a swimming caddis pupa that was supposed to imitate the pupae making their way towards the bank to hatch.
It took some years for the fly to find its final shape. In the beginning the imitations featured all the traits of the natural like wing buds and naturally positioned legs, but during the early 80's it took the much simpler form that it has now.
The final version of the fly has one main purpose: to imitate the impression that the pupa leaves in the water. It also has the colors of the natural, but its main strength is its very special shape. The shape of the fly doesn't immediately resemble any caddis pupa or any other natural for that matter, but its trimmed hackle and overall shape makes it leave an impression that the fish like. The hackle selected for the fly is typically larger than it would be for a similar dry fly with a full hackle. Bergquist himself recommends a hackle for one hook size larger than you are tying. I usually go for a hackle with barbs about 1.5-2 times the hook gap.
Bergquist simply named the fly "Floating Caddis Pupa", but a friend of his - Bengt Öste - tried it and realized its potential and dubbed it Superpuppan (sometimes spelled Superpubban) in Swedish - The Super Pupa. That has been the name of the fly ever since.
The story of the origin of the fly is told by Lennart Bergquist himself on the Swedish site Rackelhanan (in Swedish).It's a very popular fly in Sweden and Denmark in particular, but has also found its way to the rest of Scandinavia as well as the UK. But apart from that the fly isn't found in many fly boxes, which is a pity when you consider its efficiency, how common caddis are and how easy and simple the fly is to tie.
The Super Pupa
|Year of origin||1977|
|Target species||Brook trout|
Rainbow trout (landlocked)
|Hook||Down eye fine wire dry fly size 12-20 (Like Mustad 94833)|
|Hackle||Dark dun (grey) alternatively brown or grizzly|
|Abdomen||Golden yellow dry fly dubbing (or color to match the natural)|
|Thorax||Dull brown dry fly dubbing (or color to match the natural)|
Fishing the Super Pupa
The fly can be fished dry as any floating fly. It's a good floater thanks to the two rows of long hackle fibers. It lands perfectly 99% of the time, and treated with some floatant and dried off using an amadou patch or dry shake it can keep on floating for a long fishing session.
You can strip the fly to create a wake. It is after all an imitation of a swimming, hatching caddis pupa. The pupae will drift with the current, but make their way towards the bank, and fish can often be lined up close to the bank when such a hatch is going on. Bergquist notes that this particular swimming behavior isn't that well known and that it's rarely imitated, and he has also described some fine fishing where the Super Pupa was just dead drifted.
The fly is also known to work well as an attractor when no hatches are going on, and grayling in particular seem to be easily tempted by a Super Pupa passing over them.
My own personal successes with the Super Pupa has been on grayling waters where these beautiful fish seem to be willing to rise from quite deep water to engage with a dead drifted Super Pupa.