I am a great believer in keeping things simple when fly fishing & when fishing the dry fly most of my fish come to 4 very basic patterns; a variant of Jack Tucker’s CdC IOBO Humpy, a simple CdC Shuttlecock, Marjan Fratnick’s F Fly & a basic Elk Hair Caddis tied with no hackle.
However there are some situations where these flies are not the ideal choice so I do have some more specialised flies in my box. On some New Zealand rivers during midsummer a size 18 or 20 Willow Grub can be an essential addition to the fly box. I wouldn’t be without some big Chernobyl Ants or Foam Beetles when fishing the high alpine streams of Austria & Italy. In late April/early May I wouldn’t be without a specific Hawthorn Fly pattern.
Then there is the occasional day in late summer, in the UK & elsewhere, when flying Ants emerge on mass. Also, on my local North Yorkshire Moors streams Wood Ants are prolific in the forests that border the upper reaches of many of the streams & on breezy days they frequently fall from the overhanging branches. Trout & grayling love Ants. Maybe it is the sour taste of formic acid that they love, but what ever it is the fish can become preoccupied with them when there is a good fall of Ants.
I have 2 favourite patterns. The first is Stuart Crofts’ F Ant, an F Fly variant that has a submerged body that helps to ‘anchor’ the fly into the surface helping to resist micro-drag whilst also making it appear vulnerable to the fish.
Stuart Crofts’ F Ant
Hook: size 20 to 16 Grub
Thread: Black 8/0
Body: Bug Bonded thread with a waist of red holographic tinsel
Wing & head: Natural Mallard CdC
My second pattern is a simple Foam Ant of my own devising.
Hook: Size 24 to 20 Short Shank (Tiemco 2488)
Body: Brown 2mm thick sealed cell foam (trimmed to shape)
Hackle: Rusty Grizzle (trimmed top & bottom)
Wing: White Tiemco Aerowing or similar
This video is 1 of 94 casting tutorials explaining everything from basic set ups to master level casts
How to hold a fly rod Circles 8's & straights Remove all slack Plane of the Cast Triangle Method Stance Overhead Cast Stop & Drop Retrieving the Line High Back Cast Breaking The Wrist Shooting the line Loop Shape Slipping the Line Stroke Length The Forward Delivery The Shelf Drift Drift Versus Breaking the Wrist Creep Backslash Forwardslash Speed Ramp Body Movement
Intro to the Double Haul Tackle for the Double Haul Single Haul Double Haul Double Haul Fast Track Cast Trajectory Late Haul Hauling Grip Double Haul for Accuracy Line Trays Offset Alignment Guides Overhang
Intro to Spey Casting Switch Cast 45 Degree Single Spey Backhanded Cast 90 Degree Single Spey 90 Degree Snake Roll 45 Degree Snake Roll 90 Degree Double Spey The Running Mouse The Silent Spey 45 Degree Double Spey 45 Degree Snap T 90 Degree Snap T 45 Degree Circle Spey 90 Degree Circle Spey Body Movement Spey Cast Hauling Beating Obstructions Spey