Understanding Antron
By Mike Hogue

In this article I thought I'd discuss a synthetic product which has become a little confusing. Whether you are a new tyer or an old hat , I'll try to unravel the topic for you. Antron is one of the most versatile new synthetic materials fly tyers have available. The "early pioneers" of this material were Gary La Fontaine and John Betts. Because of its unique texture, size and shine, this product offers many uses of the fly tier. Antron can be dubbed,twisted, teased, used for wings, shucks , parachute posts or mixed with other products such as flash-a-bou for some really interesting bass bug tails. The problem is there or so many products on the market that many tyers are confused and have no idea what the stuff is or good for. Some of the names for the product include: Z-lon, Permatron, Darlon, Antron Body Wool, Aunt Lydia's sparkle yarn, Crinkled Z-lon and so on.

Very simply antron is a rug yarn. Millions of miles of the product have manufactured by DuPont for use in carpets. Antron can be found in many places. Often the cores of mylar piping contain the fibers. A product called Aunt Lydia's sparkle yarn is sold on small cards by the Wapsi. It is also sold in bundles at Wal-Mart for around $.85 for a very large package. Still another source is a mountain throw rugs. These are braided kitchen rugs sold at lumber yards (Mernard's ) for around $2-$3.00. By buying one of these rugs you will have miles of the stuff. The main thing to look for when buying the product is to fray the yarn and look for a sparkle texture to it. Antron is typically very slick and has a shine to it.

Antron easily accepts markers and can be colored any shade. To color Antron you must use a permanent water proof marker that has an alcohol base ink otherwise the ink will wash out when the fly is used. These markers are sold with such names as Pantone, Chartpak or Sharpies.To color some yarn simply rub the marker across the yarn. Now instead of searching for the perfect color just hit the yarn with whatever marker you like. For a wood duck type flecked wing dot some cream Antron with a brown marker and separate the fibers by pulling the ends to uneven lengths. To make a grizzly effect, use a black marker and make bands across the yarn.

Another use for Antron is in making wings. Instead of searching for the perfect kip tail simply tie in Antron and cut to any length you desire. In making a parachute Antron makes the perfect post as it can be cut to any size and can made thicker or thinner simply by adding or removing material. You can make a hi-vis wing by adding a center core of orange Antron to your post.To make wonderful spendt wings for spinners, tie the material in figure 8's across the shank of the hook. Antron can be added to CDC or deer hair wings to give them more sparkle. Tying Antron in as a tail makes for a wonderful shuck.Now lets tie a few flies.

Tying Flies With Antron

For all of you big fish kind of guys in search of brown trout, smallies or fat rainbows,this one comes from the new book "Ozark Trout Tales". Dale Fulton owner of Blue Ribbon Flies in Mountain Home , Arkansas uses this pattern for night fishing for monster browns. No doubt many experienced tyers will look at this pattern and say"Been there, done that" but you might give this one a try. This fly can be fished as a sculpin or crawdad pattern.

Blue Ribbon Flies' Gold Matuka

Hook: Mustad 9672
Thread: black 6/0 with a red collar for gills.
rib: oval gold tinsel
body: cream antron yarn twisted and wrapped
Wings: 4 gold dyed grizzly hen saddle or body feathers splayed out

Begin by tying in the rib. Next split the twisted strands of a 2 " piece of cream Aunt Lydia's sparkle yarn. Tie in one strand. Select 4 saddle hackles. Measure the length of the wing by holding the hackle up to the shank of the hook. Length of the wing should equal about 1 1/2 times the length of the hook shank. Strip 2/3 of the barbs from the bottom of two feathers and the top of the other two feathers.

Tie feathers in at head on top of the hook shank with the stripped edges pointed down such that each side splays out. Rib tinsel through the wing, tie off tinsel. Tie in one feather, form a collar. Form Head and finish by making a small red thread collar in front of the fore hackle. Variations: olive dyed grizzly or add one set of cream mottled hen feathers on the inside of the wing. Add weight or use a bead if desired.

Craig Mathews of of West Yellowstone popularized the use of z-lon throughthe adding of a z-lon tail to the compara dun. I found a very simple fly that is very effective in imitating MW caddis dries based on Mathews version of the compara dun.

Mike's Z-Caddis

Hook: Mustad 94840 sizes 14-16
Thread: 6/0 black
Tail: Uneven strands 20-30 of gold antron
or (white colored with Pantone #139T Olive gold)
Body: dark beaver or muskrat
Wing : Very dark coastal deer

Begin by cutting of 20-30 strands of brown gold antron. Pull the ends so that the tail appears to be frizzy before tying in. Dub body. Tie in a thick wing so that the edge of the hair extends to the point of the hook. Finish head and apply a drop of glue to lock down the wing.

John Betts has developed many very unique patterns using completely artifical materials. In imitating tiny tricos nothing can imitate the wings like antron does. This fly is a late summer or early fall killer when tricos are hatching. This also is a great evening bluegill fly on many lakes.If you think you're a great dry fly fisherman try, night fishing with a 2wt and this fly, it's harder than you might believe!

Bett's Trico

Hook:Mustad 98480 sizes 18-24
Note:You may wish to sub a TMC 101 or Partidge KA3.
Many anglers claim that the wider gap is better. I personally think it doesn't matter.
Tail: White Micro Fibbetts( white paint brushes)
thread:8/0 black
Body: thread
wing: white antron
Dubbing: black beaver or poly

Begin by tying in three tails. The length of the tails should be more than 5 or 6 times the length of the hook shank. Split the tails by folding them up to the eye of the hook and then folding them back toward the bend of the hook. Wrap thread forward and back several times to form a thin body. Split a strand of antron into thirds. Tie wing on top of the hook shank in figure 8 wraps. Sparsely dub around the wing and finish off by trimming wings. This same fly can be used for any type of spinner fall by changing the color of the body.


Email: Mike@eflytyer.com

For more Info Contact:

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

Phone: 607-347-4946