The Ramblings of a Fly Fisherman

Extended Body - Deer Hair

After working to improve many of my tying techniques this summer, I decided to try creating some extended body patterns, a challenge that I had not yet faced.  There are really three basic materials that are used extensively by most tyers to create this look; foam, deer hair, and dubbing.  After researching various patterns that incorporate this technique and consulting with a few other tyers, I decided to start with deer hair as this material lends itself well to larger mayfly recipes. 

One of the most common deer hair extended bodied patterns that I have run across is the Paradrake.  Below is my third attempt.  This fly was moderately challenging as I initially had a difficult time determining the right amount of deer hair to use to create a proportionate body. 

After tying a few of these, I decided to incorporate another technique that I had been reading about that introduced the use of a needle and would require the construction of the fly to be done in the reverse order.  I liked this adaptation as it created a more delicate representation which could more aptly be applied to various mayfly species.
Using a needle to create the body was easy.  Just remember to coat the needle in dubbing wax as this will allow you to remove the form once the construction is complete.
Modified Paradrake

Ant Patterns

I stayed home sick today, but it didn’t take too long, once my head started to clear, to get inspired to visit the tying bench and spin up a few bugs that were missing from my fly box.  Ants are a pattern that I probably do not fish enough.  In the past, I have found them difficult to track on the surface and I have never been in a situation where these appeared to be the patterns that the trout were specifically targeting.  However, after talking to a few friends over the last year, I have come to realize that this is a must have pattern for any fly fisherman.  Many reports have indicated that trout will often take ant patterns during the late summer months even in the middle of prevalent mayfly hatches.  The key to getting consistent strikes on an ant pattern is going to be size.  Keep a few different sizes and colors in order to vary the presentation. You will want to vary that presentation when you see a trout take interest, but turn away at the last second.  Ant patterns will likely fish better near stream edges unless you are using a flying ant pattern.  This variation will do well anywhere that trout may reside, even in high mountain lakes.   In order to improve the visibility of an ant pattern, tie it with a post similar to a Parachute Adams; just keep the post small in order to avoid disrupting the profile.

 Below is a flying ant that I tied today.  I used a yellow CDC feather for the wing in order to add some additional buoyancy, and because I have actually not seen one tied with this feather before.