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Thorax Dorothea
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Fly Tying Terms

Thorax Dorothea
Text and Photos By James Birkholm (JC)

Please, no offense but, I have been tying for a number of years and I am not as organized as a lot of the good tiers who have their flies on here. My 'tying-stuff' is in boxes alright, but over time I have lost many of the labels and information on things. My tying is perhaps a bit more like some of you 'old-timers' who haunt this place. Lots of things to tie with and only a small fraction which usually gets used. For instance, I have no idea of the name for the material that I use for the tail and wing on this fly. I have had it a long time, it works well, I like it and I have enough to tie a few thousand more. I have some other things here I do not know for sure what they are too, doesn't seem real important at the moment either.

Materials: Thorax Dorothea

    Hook:  This is a 16, about the right size seems to me.

    Thread:  I like 6/0 Uni, this is a yellowish one, I have a few of these.

    Tail:  No idea. You might try to find some imitation 'Hair' type material that is stiff enough to stick out for a tail but not too bristly.

    Body:  Your kidding, right? Thorax flies don't have one.

    Thorax:  Dubbing, yellow dyed anything, this is rabbit.

    Wing:  You got me there, same stuff as the tail, in fact it is the other end of the tail.

    Hackle:   This is cream, there are various shades of cream, suit yourself.

Tying Steps:

1. Attach the thread behind the eye and wind back to half.

2. Lay a length of the tail material on top and wrap to the rear, put a couple of turns under the tail to help hold it up and wind a figure eight thru it to splay it out to the sides.

3. Now for the wing, bring the thread back to the middle of the hook in spirals, lift up the material with your right hand and pinch a small bit of it with your left, then bring it back down to the hook forming a small loop. While holding it there, take a few turns of thread to lock it down and a few more on both sides to anchor it, then a half-hitch to hold things tight. Pull down your bobbin, prepare it for dubbing and make up a single strand about four inches long and thin. Lay turns of dubbing in front and in back of the wing to form as much of a 'ball' as possible, not a tapered 'body' shape. If there is any secret in tying this it is making the 'ball' to hold the hackle. Get this right and the rest is child's play.

4. I used a neck hackle on this but a saddle would work fine too, perhaps even better. This pattern takes a hackle feather one size larger than a regular tie. (Use a 14 size hackle on a 16 size fly). Cut the stem, strip a bit off of it and tie it in tight.

5. The first turn goes away from you, on the back side of the hook and to your left. Bring it up toward you on the left side of the ball, now up to your right and over the hook. Back on the far side and to your left again, back at you following the first turn of hackle. Now, as you bring it up and to your right, go over the hook . . .straight away from you and back under the hook toward yourself. It should now be pointing right at you from under the eye of the hook and be to the right of the ball. From there start the X pattern by crossing the hackle from the lower-front of the ball up and to your left (behind the wing now), then on the back side of the fly to your right, now under and straight toward you, back up to the left, over the hook, down to the right on the back side of the hook. . .and tie it off.

6. I know that was a bit long, but many have asked how the heck it is done. This is how I have done it for years, for me it works. Fold the hackle back with your left hand and whip the head. If you happen to catch a few of the hackles fibers, no big deal, trim them off.

How to Fish This Thing

Ephemerella dorothea For me at least, this fly seems to ride correctly and be taken by trout very gently, not smashed at like some patterns are. This allows me to use at least one size lighter tippet than one would normally, which also allows the fly to drift more freely too. All in all, this combination seems to take trout pretty well. There's probably at least a half dozen different ways of winding the hackle which will produce the desired results, work out your own method as long as you form the "X". Enjoy. ~ JC

For more on True Thorax Flies and why they work see: Flies Only.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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