Steps tied by Rainy Riding at the Salt Lake Fly Tackle Retail show, 1998. Thanks Rainy!
Photos by Jim Birkholm, text by Al Campbell.
Hook: Tiemco 2487, Eagle Claw L055, Daiichi 1130, Mustad 80250BR.
Thread: 6/0 pale yellow.
Body: Rainy's Small Float Foam (yellow).
Eyes: Rainy's Bug Eyes.
Color: Brown waterproof marker.
Glue: Super glue or Zap-a-Gap. (Caution: Super glue and Zap-a-Gap will quickly bond skin and fingers. Use extreme caution when using this type of glue.)
1. Wrap a thread undercoat on the hook.
2. Whip finish thread and cut.
3. Cut off a 2 1/2 inch (size12 hook), or 2 inch (size14 hook) piece of small float foam.
4. Cut the foam in half lengthwise.(Fig.2 & 3)
5. Taper one end of the foam with scissors.(Fig.4)
6. Split the other end of the foam into 3 pieces 1/2 inch long.(Fig.5)
7. Remove the outside pieces of foam.(Fig.6)
8. Snip a tiny wedge out of the remaining center piece of foam so the outside curve is shorter than the center.
9. Lay the foam (rounded side down) on the table and grab the tapered end with needle nose tweezers.(Fig.8)
10. Apply a thin coat of super glue to the foam from the tapered end to the thin strip on the other end. Leave a little room without glue for the tweezers so you don't glue them to the foam.
11. Roll the tapered end of the foam with the tweezers to the thin strip on the other end. Hold in place with tweezers until dry.(Fig.9, 10, & 11)
12. Select a single strand of Rainy's Bug Eyes and cut one end to a sharp point. Note angle in Fig.12.
13. Poke a hole through the side of the small strip of foam with a needle. (Fig.13)
14. Push the bug eye strand through the needle hole. Put a small drop of super glue on the bug eye strand and pull it through the foam until it is centered. Allow to dry. (Fig.14)
15. Grab the tapered end of the small piece of foam with needle nose tweezers, apply super glue to the foam and roll the foam to the main body with the tweezers. Hold in place with the tweezers until the glue sets. (Fig.15)
16. Your snail should now look like this.(Fig. 16)
17. Melt the ends of the bug eye strand back to form little balls on the stems of the bug eye strand. These simulate the eyes of the snail. (Fig. 17 & 18)
18. Fold the eyes forward and up slightly. Let the glue set for a few minutes before the next step.
19. Split the bottom of the snail open with a razor blade. Use caution so you don't cut your fingers.(Fig.19)
20. Spread the foam open slightly with your fingers.(Fig.20)
21. Apply super glue to the thread on the hook and slip the snail body over the hook. Hold in place until the glue sets.(Fig.21)
22. Your snail should now look like this.(Fig.22)
23. Let the snail set for a couple of hours so the glue can cure. Once the glue is cured, color the outside of the foam with a brown, waterproof maker to the desired shade.
24. Your finished snail should look like this one.(Fig.23)
If you've ever had the opportunity to fish a lake that was full of snails, you know how frustrating it can be. You can empty your fly box at the fish and never get a look. Conventional flies just don't work in this situation. And, up to now, there hasn't been much available in the category of snail flies. Well, that has changed.
Rainy Riding, the owner of Rainy's Flies and Supplies, has developed a snail pattern that looks good enough to eat. That is, of course, if you're a fish. Composed of Rainy's float foam and Rainy's bug eyes, this is the best looking snail imitation I've seen in my years of fly fishing. You could try to weight it, but it probably fishes best with a split shot or lead putty on the leader or with a sinking line.
Trout grow to monster proportions when feeding on a diet of snails. I've watched trout cruise the weed beds hunting snails while I threw everything at them without as much as a sideways glance. At the time, I would have considered mortgaging the house for a fly like this one.
Tie up a few and stuff them in your fly box. You never know when you'll be on a lake that's loaded with snails and big, hungry trout. On second thought, you'd better tie up a bunch, I'd hate to see you mortgage the house in a moment of weakness.
I'm always happy to answer your questions, feel free to email me. ~ Al Campbell
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