Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tying Tutorial: A Better Beetle

For reasons I can't explain, I didn't fish beetle patterns much until the last few years.  During the summer on small streams, trout really seem to respond well to a juicy little beetle drifted over them.  The original deer hair beetle is a good fly, but I couldn't resist changing a couple of minor aspects of it to attempt to improve its buoyancy and visibility.  Here's a SBS on how I am tying this pattern, which again produced really well on my latest summer trip to the WV mountains.

Hook - standard dry fly hook, size 16
Thread - 6/0 black
Shellback - black deer body hair
Underbody - black 3mm foam strip
Belly - peacock herl
Legs - Senyo's Shaggy Dub, black
Indicator - orange 3mm foam chunk

Start the thread onto the hook and advance it about 2 hook eyes behind the eye.

Clean a small clump of deer body hair, trim the tips off, and tie them in snugly by the tips working back to the hook bend.

Starting in front of the deer hair tie in point, tie in a small strip of black 3mm foam and advance the thread back to the bend.

Tie in two peacock herls and wrap them forward to the start of the foam to form the belly of the fly.

Fold the foam over the herl, tie it down, and trim the excess off as close as possible.

Pull the deer hair butts over the foam and tightly tie them down.  I like to advance the thread to right behind the hook eye and throw in a half hitch to be sure nothing moves.

Next I add the Shaggy Dub legs.  Take three strands of the material, fold them over the thread, and tie them in to the side of the bug.  Repeat this process on each side.  They'll be long and wild looking, but we will trim those soon.

Cut a small chunk of 3mm orange foam to form the indicator.  I make this a little larger than intended so it's easier to tie in, then I trim it smaller after the fact.  Trim the legs to the desired length, whip finish, and trim the indicator foam smaller (if desired). 

I think what makes this so effective on trout is the profile they see from below.  The foam underbody adds extra floatation and also helps produce the bulbous, wide body profile the fish see from below.  The Shaggy Dub legs also add a cool touch of realism and they subtly move very well in the water.

This is a pretty fast tie, so it won't take much time to crank out several of these.  It floats pretty well, has a great profile, and that little chunk of orange foam makes it much easier to spot on the water.  Don't underestimate the power of the beetle!

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