Shelf liner ant
NOTE: Modified 2/19 based on experience tying the fly.
I saw a great fly at the West Denver TU Fly Tying show last weekend. It is a very realistic looking ant. It is a novel pattern that starts with a sheet of Easy Liner Select Grip nubby rubber shelf lining bought at Walmart. ($5 for several lifetimes' supply.) They sell it in brown and black colors.
He was using was using very fine nylon bristles from an old whisk broom as legs. I could not find any brush bristles that worked for me, so I'm substituting rubber Centipede Legs in the mini size. I'm also tying in only 4 legs as it is easier and I figure trout can't count.
#14 1X long hook or #12.
3 nubs from the shelf liner
3 nylon bristles or mini Centipede Legs
If you look closely at the shelf liner sheet, you will see that each nub is attached in two places in one direction and two places in the other direction. Cut off a strip one nub wide so that the two piece connections are in front and back of each strip.
Trim off any connections on the side of the strip very close to the nub. Then pull (not cut) the nubs off one at a time. Save the ones that have two "tags" at each end. (They will look like a slightly-flattened ball that was molded around a capital H.)
Thread wrap the hook.
Take a nub with two fibers sticking out of both ends.
Tie the first nub in at the bend, tying in the front fibers first, advance your thread, then fold the nub forward over the hook and tie in the other set of nub-tags.
Lean the second nub up against the first nub and tie in its forward fibers as close to the first nub as possible. (The closer you tie it in, the more realistic the fly will look.) Then fold this nub forward and tie on the tag fibers there.
Tie the front fibers of the third segment in.
Place the legs over the hook and tie in, as you would a wing, to create the legs on either side of the hook.
Whip finish the thread behind the eye.
Put Zap A Gap on the top of the hook behind the eye, then fold the third nub over and press it down to attach it with the Zap A Gap. The Forward nubs will then look like antennas.
(Note: I've discovered that you can also just tie in the front tags on the front segment with a whip finish and it still looks good, just without antennas.)
Trim the legs to the desired length.
The shelf lining rubber looks much more glossy and natural than a standard foam. Getting the body segments very close together makes the body look marvelously realistic. The fly floats in the film, much like a real ant. It is an easy and fast tie once you do a couple of them.
Another neat fly I saw was a foam beetle tied with a fly tying product called Loco Foam. (Google it.) This foam is black on one side, but a shiny metallic bright color on the other. Tied on correctly, the top of the beetle is easy to see on the water, while all the fish sees is a standard black beetle.
Last edited by oldfrat; 02-19-2012 at 10:29 PM.
Reason: Experience tying the fly