Each season it seems that some rather unusal fly makes its way to the top of my boxes. This season ( 2007) I have been experimenting with several new flies I made over the winter and of course the one that I had the least expectations for being a great fly is my hot go to fly this year.
Several months ago I had been rereading sections of Fran Betters' fly tying guide and he mentions one pattern that I decided to try. This is a parachute.......it seemed to be nothing special, just another dry fly. I made a few and was quite surprised by its success. First cast out, I tossed it into a pool and 15-20 trout attacked it. Simply amazing. I thought well maybe this was just a fluke so I tried it again......same thing. I went fishing one evening and caught 30 trout and missed around 20 other takes on you guessed, the same Betters' parachute. Even more recently, I was fishing some dead fall trees, tossed it up in some fishy water and nailed a hefty 14" brown. Walking back to my truck, I picked up another large fish in still another dead fall tree.
For those out of the loop, or from other parts of the country/planet, North Country to most New Yorkers means, Adirondacks. For a fair number of UK folks and soft hackle types when you say North Country they think of this as mecca for soft hackle flies ( this is an area in England ).Even more confusing is that there is an Ausable in Michigan and one in New York. Here we say Ahsable, there in Michigan the ausssssable. In any case, Fran Betters is from New York and is a fly tyer, rod builder and author based near the West Branch of the Ausable. He is also creator of the Ausable Wulff, the Ausable Bomber, the Usual, The Haystack and several other really great trout patterns. This one I don't think has a grand title, it is just a parachute.
For many years, I have tied parachutes and I have always preferred to use sparkle antron yarn. My favorite is cream as it isn't a super brite flourescent color and it is easier to see than just white. My theory is that the cream is a bit less harsh and not as likely to spook the fish..... it must be so because I have caught so many fishing using this over the years. Also if you fish with polaroids the sparkle cream is easy to see in low light.
In any case, I substitued my usual sparkle yarn for the kip tail mentioned in the pattern and found to work very well. For hackle......you are going to like this........ I use a varigated dun cape that I got from Charlie Collins a bit ago. This is one of the freaky colored capes and I picked this one out of a stack of only 10-15 so I can't imagine this is a very popular color. I also used some dun cree I got from him as well. I should think that a medium dun or even just grizzly or cree would work, as it is unlikely you are going to be able to locate any of these shades of hackle any time soon.
So here goes and if you are not paying attention you will miss out on a fantastic pattern.
Betters' Other Parachute:
Hook: Mustad 94840 size 12-16
Hackle: Barred Dun Variant or Medium Dun, Light Cree or Grizzly dyed dun would be fine also
Body: Natural Golden Australian Oppossum
Thread: Yellow or Yellow Olive.
Para Post: Cream antron
1) This is a pretty basic pattern. Start thread and wind back to a point above the hook point.
2) Cut and clean a bunch of
woodchuck guard hair. I like to use about 7-10 fibers. I take the fur, comb
and put it in a hair stacker to even the ends. Tie in the tail = to the
3) Next I cut one stranded bunch of antron and fold it over. I tie the bunch facing the tail ( not the eye) and clip off the bundle at 45 degrees. Make 3-4 turns around the post in a circle to bind the post together.
4) I wind back and forth up the hook shank to level out the bundle and move the thread back to a point above the hook point. I start to dub the thread and I wrap the dubbing counter clock wise on the hook. As I wrap the thread forward, the dubbing binds into itself, making the body very durable. The body is almost impossible to take apart with this method.
5)Wind dubbed thread up to post. Tie in hackle by tying stem across the hook shank.
6) When I wind parachute hackle, I make successive locks by tugging a bit on the hackle as I turn. Make a turn, on the back of the hackle tug down, turn forward, tug down. This makes each successive turn, locked in with the completed para wing almost impossible to remove.
7) Tug hard on the wrapped hackle, raise the front wraps and tie off. I add a bit of dubbing to the head and finish. It helps to balance the fly better by making the parachute post in the middle or front 1/3/ of the hook shank. If you crowd the eye you won't have enough room to make the head.
8) Clip the hackle off and make several wrap back to post. Take a small pinch of dubbing and make a few wraps to cover thread.
9) Whip finish head and cut off tag of thread.
10 ) I add a drop of Griffin thin head cemment to the center of the post and let it dry overnight. After it is dry I crush the antron post a bit to soften it up. Then the fly is ready to fish.
There you go. I think the more critical part is the color. The light golden color is a dead wringer for Hendricksons, March Browns, some light caddis that are hatching now. I am going to make this one in the standard red brown Australian Oppossum for fun to see what happens. Betters lists muskrat which some might call an Adams.
Ausable Parachute Kit: For those looking for the material for this one, I have a kit of the all the stuff you need. Includes: Cream Antron, Select Woodchuck Patch, Golden Australian Opossum, Medium Dun Hebert Pro Grade Cape and a pack of R50 Mustad Hooks, size 12. $30.00
Fran Betters Fly Tying Pattern Guide: Contains loads of valuable stuff. Has info on how to tie the Usual, Haystack, Mini Muddler, Ausable Wulff, Mini Muddler and more. $25.00