Tying the Avatar Fly

Avatar is not just a movie, it’s the new fly pattern invented by Rim Chung (inventor of the famed RS2).  Actually Rim did not get the name for his fly from the movie, as the movie came out after the fly.  The name Avatar came from  the third definition in the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (which Rim has read daily since his immigration to the U.S.) and which defines Avatar as:   “A variant phase or version of a continuing basic entity.”

The Avatar is very comparable to the RS2.  It could be productively used as the upper fly of a two fly system.     The bottom fly is usually an RS2, but under certain conditions, such as during Winter, another Avatar is used typically in small sizes in our two-fly rigs.

The Avatar is similar to the RS2 in many ways.  Rim has been experimenting with this fly as both the lead and/or point fly in his two-fly rig for about two years now and ties it in several different colors and sizes (similar to the RS2) to match a variety of aquatic bugs, from midges to mayflies.  It also has the advantage of being easier to tie in smaller sizes, as tying in the tails is omitted.

Materials used for tying Avatar flies:

  1. • Hook: Tiemco 2488 or 200R.
  2. • Tail: none.
  3. • Unithread 8/0 in various colors.
  4. • Dubbing: Natural beaver fur in various colors on the skin, not cut up and mixed.  Longer fibers preferred. (Note: Rim uses no dubbing wax.   Instead, he uses a bit of saliva while applying the dubbing).
  5. • Wing: Web of saddle hackle feathers in dark dun color (the fluff at the base of the stem of a saddle hackle).

Rim Chung Ties the Avatar Fly Video:


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7 Replies to “Tying the Avatar Fly”

  1. As far as I can see, the Avatar is just an RS2 without any tails. Am I correct? If so, what is the reason for omitting the tails?

    1. The Avatar is tied on the Tiemco 2488 hook (which is a curved bodied hook), whereas the RS2 is tied on the Tiemco 101 hook (and is straight). You are correct that the Avatar also omits the split tails found on the RS2. Rim is tying the Avatar in sizes 26-32 (whereas most of the RS2s he fishes are in 18-26, though he has tied them down to 32 for specific applications such as the small insects found on the San Juan River). In experimenting with these tiny flies, he found that the tails were simply not necessary in these smaller sizes, which probably resemble midge and mayfly larvae most of the time for trout.

      The RS2 is an established and elegant fly, whereas the Avatar is plainer in its appearance and is just coming into its own. As some of you may know, Rim always experiments with anything new from rods, to hooks, dubbing colors and even new materials.

      Why two flies nearly the same?

      Rim is a minimalist. If you have ever tried to tie RS2’s in tiny sizes (ex. 24, 26, and 28). A simpler, yet just as effective of design makes life easier. I can certainly confirm that the Avatar is extremely effective. We fish two fly rigs and I always use an Avatar or an RS2 as one of the two flies I fish, and have done so for nearly the past 20 years.

  2. Are the RS2 and other Rim Chung flies effective on eastern freestone rivers or is their usefullness mainly seen on western tailwaters and spring creeks?

    1. The RS2 and Avatar certainly work on Eastern freestone rivers, as they work anywhere that mayflies and midges are present. They also replicate caddisflies in the larger sizes, so yes they work on any trout waters. Rim used to fish around New York and Pennsylvania with his flies, with very good success, and has used them in Canada and Alaska. I just returned from Arkansas/ Missouri where the RS2 worked very well and numerous anglers were asking what fly I was using. Near the end of my trip I stopped in a couple of local shops and they were nearly sold out of the few sizes and colors that they carried in Umpqua tied RS2s, which are not nearly as effective as the way Rim ties them, but can can productive and they certainly are quick to tie. The RS2 also works well across the pond, where they have been used in France and England. I had great success in France with a size 20 gray RS2 on both zebra trout as well as greyling.

      1. Thanks for the information. I guess I was concerned that the small sizes that he ties would not represent the larger flies here. March Brown, Grey Fox. Hendricksons etc. But I gather that it is simply a matter of tying in sizes 12, 14 and 16 with appropriate colors.
        In other words it is the design more than anything else that matters. What do you think about this analysis? Dave Grow

      2. I asked Rim this question one time. He thought having the correct size to represent the prevalent insect (which may be the one hatching, but works even if there is no hatch as there are always nymphs in the water), was the primary consideration (so yes, if your stream has larger sizes, go for that, but I be surprised if the same nymphs were always that large if you seined the water, I suspect that is just the adult size you see hatching. The second consideration was matching the color (Rim can be fanatical about this, even taking insects home to later blend dubbing colors to match, but let’s say 6 colors (cream, tan, gray, brown, olive bicolor, and charcoal) will cover most waters. Then, it is about the semblance of the pattern, which the RS2 just happens to cover well (and adds action with segementation, the fibers of the wing, the fibers of the tail), and it is also about the presentation (light lines, light tippet, proper casting, fishing where the fish are at, etc.), which could be even more important than the fly selection. If you do 10% of all of these right, you probably don’t catch any fish. If you do 95% of these right, you probably catch most of the available fish.

  3. Thanks for the prompt reply. The answer was what I expected. As far as size is concerned I feel the adult size is proper since that is what we use for the emerger patterns commonly used. Dave Grow

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