By Mike Hogue

Like the logo above? The font is called Kashmir and is a rip-off from a Led Zeppelin album. Gee must be showing my age. We won't talk about the empty packs of Rogaine that people leave me at work....Yeap , I have a real job. I think the font is cool. If you're really nice to me and you're a MAC user I'll e-mail you a StuffIt! file of the font. ( Sorry Wintel folks........I 'm not sure if this one works with yours). On to the fly tying.........

Realistic ants aren't a problem if you take your time. In this article I'll show you a very easy ant. I make a ton of these in size 18 and every once in awhile I'll catch a nice fish. Some folks really struggle making small flies which is a shame. For some odd reason some tyers seem to think that just because the fly is small you need to shrink everything down. While it is true that you need to shrink the proportion of the fly, it doesn't mean that you need to use tiny bits of material. What it does mean is that you use thinner or widths of materials that are smaller. In other words, longer lengths of material give you something to grab and work with. A couple of other tips: slow down and make less wraps. 20 wraps of thread will make a size 20 look like it was tied with nylon ski rope. The key word is sparse.


Hook: Mustad 94840 size 16-20

Thread: 8/0 or smaller (I'm expecting some 14/0 thread shortly) Black or Brown

Legs: 2x-4x Maxima ( I use Maxima 'cause it's Brown ) or Tippet material colored with Black or Brown marker. Experiment with the mono as some diameters are different.

Body: Fun Foam, Black or Brown

John Betts' Legging/Winging Technique

To tie this fly I am indebted to John Betts for showing me this super slick technique for making wings out of z-lon for tricos and tying legs. This is very easy once you get the hang of it and is a whole lot easier to show someone than describe it. I'll do my best to show you how to do this. Practice this a few times on your own before you bomb with e-mail asking do I flip this right or left? I think you'll get the hang of it. Here goes........

Cut off about 1 1/2 inches of monofilament. Make an overhand loop with the mono crossing over the top.

With your other hand make a loop that crosses over the top back toward the center. The two sections should touch each other in the middle. This is your legs set which you will tie in the center of the fly. So instead of tying 3 legs in you can now tie in one using a single strand.

For wings make four loops instead of two. For the ant we'll be wingless. But you can try this with z-lon on some trico spinners. Practice this a few times and I think you'll find it's a time saver. You can adjust the lengths by yanking on one of the tag ends.

Making the Fly

Cut a 1" long piece of fun foam by 1/8" wide. Use a razor blade and a straight edge to get a nice clean strip.

Put the foam on top of the hook.

Tie in your thread and wrap foam. The foam will crunch down as you wrap it.

Move your thread to the center of the hook and tie in the leg clump. Make the loop as above, hold down with one hand and make the wraps with the other. If just can't get it, clip off three lengths of mono and warp with figure 8's.

Move thread back, and make one hump by pulling the foam forward and making a few wraps.You may have to move the legs about a bit to work the thread.

Pull the foam over the legs and wrap foam to make the middle hump. 3 legs should be on each side of the foam. (Sorry the graphic was very hard to draw and is a little off.)

Make another hump of foam and wrap.


Cut off the foam, form the head and clip the loops of the mono. To make the legs realistic, bend the mono with a hemostat or pliers. My friend Larry Young uses a butane lighter and makes tiny little beads on the ends. I don't think the fish care about this very much. The profile of the legs and the body is a key to better success with this fly.

This really is a very simple fly if you give it a try. Basically, just crank down the foam and make some humps. Try making the rear hump a bit bigger than the other two. Maybe make this bigger when you start in say a 14. A few practice flies are always good for the bluegills......



For more Info Contact:

Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068

Phone: 607-347-4946