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The Serendipity
By Skip Morris

This fly was a bit of a mystery to me for some time. With a bit of snooping, I found that most Oregon anglers were fishing it dead drift in the surface film, but then a friend told me, "It's a killer down deep in the riffles on a dropper system." I couldn't find a pattern for the Serendipity in print, but when I perused the fly-fishing catalogs I saw pictures of flies called Serendipities that varies in body, head, and wing. Then I heard that the Serendipity had come out of Blue Ribbon Flies, so I wrote a letter containing a long list of questions to Craig Mathews along with an apology for pestering him with so many questions. Craig was kind enough to answer them all, and from those answers comes the information that follows.

Ross A. Merigold introduced the Serendipity to Mathews around 1988. It is generally considered an imitation of caddis and midge larvae and pupae. It can be tied with a trimmed-hair head or the hair can be trimmed close and covered with thread for a thread head (Craig prefers the former approach), and that is the one that seems to be winning out. The Serendipity is fished both deep, and up in the surface film. ~ Skip Morris

Materials List: Serendipity

    Hook: Heavy-to-regular wire, regular length, straight or humped shank, sizes 24 to 14 (the hook shown is a Tiemco 2457).

    Thread: 8/0 or 6/0 in a color to match the body.

    Body: Z-lon, twisted. Colors include tan, gray, olive, red, and brown.

    Head and Wing: Natural gray deer hair.

Tying the Serendipity

    1. Start the thread about two-thirds up the shank. Use the pinch to tie in the Z-lon. Lift the Z-lon slightly above the shank under moderate tension, and then spiral the thread tightly down both it and the shank; continue spiraling the thread down the bend a bit.

    2. Take a few tight turns of the thread, and then spiral it back to its starting point. Twist the Z-lon tightly and wrap it up the bend and shank to the thread's starting point; continue to twist the Z-lon as you wrap it. Secure the Z-lon with thread turns, and trim the Z-lon's end.

    3. Comb a small bunch of deer hair, trim off its tips, and then tie it in atop the hook at the front of the body using a light turn. The hairs' butts should project forward. Sprial the thread forward through the trimmed hair tips; this should spin the tips around the shank. Just behind the eye, draw the tips firmly back, and then whip finish the thread and trim it.

    4. Hold the hairs' butts under light tension, slip the tips of your scissors in, and snip the hairs' butts at a slight angle as shown, the remaining stubs should be about equal in length to one-third the body's length.

    5. Using a razor blade, scissors, or both, trim the hair butts to a rounded head as shown. If necessary, trim away some of the butt hairs to leave a neat wing case over the body. Add head cement to the whip finish.

    Credits: From The Art of Tying the Nymph by Skip Morris, published by Frank Amato Publications.

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

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