Learn some useful fly fishing tips by making a fur-bodied ant fly.
Tags:How to make a Fur-Bodied Ant Fly,dry fly,fishing,fly fishing,fly fishing lessons,fly fishing tutorials,flybox,fur-bodied ant fly
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I am going to tie an ant to this point and it is one of the flies that's really quite simple to tie. It's actually one of the more simple flies that I know. There are different ways to tying ants but this is the easiest one and I still think it's one of the most effective patterns that I have used in terms of terrestrials. Ants are actually land insects, they are not aquatic insects. We have all seen them quite a few times of sure running on the sidewalk. The same ants that we see are the ones that I am going to imitate on this fly. The ant can be used, of course, to imitate an ant, and that is that when ants get blown off into the water, they get eaten by the fish, but they also can be used to imitate other insect as well, very effective during midge hatches; sometimes you can use an ant when other things are actually in the water but they seem to respond to ants because ants are supposedly quite tasty to the fish, almost have -- I've heard like an apple kind of a flavor to them because of a specific acid in their body, that is very flavorful for the fish.
I am tying about a size 14 here, and that is a pretty large fly. I used to about a size 18, I mean when I'm using ant. But they can be tied all the way down to size 28, and I have fished many times with flies of 22 range, that are quite effective for especially fish that are being a little bit picky. So I am starting out my thread, I'm wrapping it towards the center of the hook, holding the thread back and moving back towards the back using black thread. I am tying the ant, I am going to go back actually a little further than they normally would do with the dry fly, because there is no tail in this fly. So I am starting pretty far back. The materials that I am going use for this fly are actually going to be -- right here, you can see I am using both brown and black daubing and a brown hackle.
So I am going to start up and putting in an abdomen, a brown, and the reason I am doing this is because of the fact that a lot of times if you look at the larger ants, they do have a dual tone to them, they have both a brown and a black section to them. Some of the ants that you'll find out in the fields or around trout streams are of that way, and in the wooded areas, you often find the ants that have a brown appearance to them. But it also is kind of a nice subtle difference between these patterns; some of the more popular patterns are all black. It gives them more variety, sometimes you can set these flies apart from other insects, makes them a little more appealing. Sometimes I found that there actually are very pretty -- pretty nice flies live, like the two color ants. And you can certainly tie these in all brown, you can tie them in all black, quite often, when you get into the smaller sizes, it is affected to tie them in more of a cinnamon color as well, kind of imitate the small cinnamon colored ants.
But ants and most colors that I have used are actually still effective because the silhouette is very important. You can see I've developed a pretty good size abdomen, a pretty chunky abdomen. The big thing with this now, I want to make sure, is that I keep this section here thin and open, I don't want to get it crowded, I want my two balls that I am going to form here to touch. I take my brown hackle. I am going to use brown, you could use black. It is okay that I have even used a dun in between there, and it works okay but I like a little bit lighter color, because it really helps to keep those two balls separate. The hackle is not really doing anything much more than just giving a slide appearance of legs and also aiding in floatation on an ant.
Okay, wrapped it up, be careful not to get too much of a bump going on here, and getting a -- using a little bit of a thicker diameter threads. I was having some trouble earlier with thread breaking, so I switch to a larger thread, and it is okay for the size 14 hook, but I am having a little trouble maintaining a nice clean thread body. Okay, here we go, you got to watch that. I was using an 8-OT earlier, and it actually was pretty nice for the appearance of a nice thin silky body but I was breaking my thread quite a bit so I switched. Here I go. Oops! I am going to, breaking my hackle. Keeping it well advanced of that, the first cluster of daubing which forms the abdomen. I can also -- I'm also using -- I'm going to wrap that again, it's catching on that bump, maybe I'm going on there. It's not letting that hackle wrap nicely. It is causing it to turn in itself a little bit, so I'm going to start it again. Here we go.
Oops! One of the biggest frustration in fly-tying is that hackle tip breaking off, when you are wrapping a hackle. There we go. Turning and pass that large lump of 6-OT thread. Okay, just a few turns, not too many at all, we can do this -- you don't want to get it to be a big bushy hackle. It is not the effect that we are looking for an ant. Even if I was tying this with all black, I would probably still use the brown. Certainly you can work with the black but it just gives a little bit better silhouette. I'm going to tie that down a little more, move up to my next position where the heads are going to be put in.
An ant does have three sections to its body, but I'm only going to tie them into two because if you try to put the third one in it, it gets to be too bunched up and you will lose that silhouette we are looking for. Ants can be used pretty much any time of the year, they are traditionally fished in the later part of the summer, during the typically terrestrial period, when you see that there is a lot more activity of these insects and more wind which blows them onto the water. It's very effective for bank sipping fish, but they are also great during times when you are not sure what you are doing. If you start up the day and you know the fishes are actively on the surface, but you are not quite sure what you should be using, I often put an ant on this to begin things.
When I see a fish is dimpling, which means that it's not rising, on this flashy rise, it's a real sipping kind of rise, even if I don't know what's happening, nine out of ten times, I am going to grab an ant, because it's a very non-threatening insect, it sits right in the surface film, and it's a very unmistakable silhouette to fish in right away, and it is what is that they like them. They love the taste of ants, and I have heard many stories of people actually being confused about what insects they are trying to match, or having hard time in getting fish that takes specific insects, and they just put ant on and I have done this myself too. Put an ant on, and no worries.
The ants just right away, sets those fish at ease as it seems like -- and they often just explode to grab this fly. Okay, get that work out of there. This little ant is causing more problems than it's worth. There we go. We are going to finish. I'm going to submit that head. If I used to have a lot of ants, I tend to tie just -- I hold a huge stock of them before the season starts, so I've got a lot of them in different sizes, and it's also nice to have brighter colors, as some blacks, some all brown.
Now the last thing I want to do is I'm going to clip off the bottom. I am going to take this out of the vise. I'll show you how to do this and hope that I don't confuse the camera angle too much; I am going to drop them on the floor. I will get it on one second here. What I am going to do in this situation is I want to show myself a good clean silhouette. So, I am going to turn so that I can see it now. And we'll do it by grabbing the hackle on the top like this. I'll grab the hackle. And then, I can look at it, and I can see that I am going to be cutting it flush with the hook. So, I, kind of, lay it on that hook point, and I cut through it now.
You can also go in a little bit tighter. It's okay to do that, to get right in there and cut that off, but I want it to be cut off, so that it's flushed on the bottom. The reason is because the ant needs to sit right in the surface film. I still want to get this a little bit more. I'm going to check it again. Make sure that they cut off on the bottom. Put it back again, so you can see it. Alright, one more little cut right there, as one of these is not cut off already. Okay, and there is the ant. Tie a bunch of these out, it's one of those flies that's very much like the Adams in the sense that it really is one you should not go on a stream without because you will understand as soon as you start fishing, that they are really versatile, and very effective when the fish are looking for small things in the surface film. Cutting it off in the bottom is very important, so you can get that fly to sit right there in the surface.