My design began using a standard dry-fly hook to cut
down on the weight. Although deer hair seemed to be
a natural choice for the shellback, I didn't like what
it offered in regards to durability. Successful as it
was that day, the Tom Thumb didn't last through many
fish. I opted for closed-cell foam. Besides black
closed-cell foam cut into 1/8" strips was much more
like-like and durable. The Water Floatman would also
serve double duty as a submersible fly. For the body
I wanted a material that aided flotation and offered
the glimmer associated with water boatman. Remembering
Brian Chan's success, I opted for Crystal Chenille in
silver, pearlescent or light brown. A prominent pair
of Super Floss legs rounded out the pattern.
Hook: Mustad,Signature R 30 standard dry fly hook #4 - #10.
Thread: Black 6/0 or 8/0.
Shellback: Black sheet foam cut into 1/8" strip.
Body: Silver, pearlescent or light brown Crystal Chenille.
Legs: Brown or olive Super Floss.
Instructions - Water Floatman:
1. Cover the hook shank with tying thread. Tie in
length of black sheet foam cut into a 1/8" strip.
2. At the rear of the hook tie in a length of Crystal
3. Between 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up the hook figure-eight
in a length of Super floss. don't be concerned with the length,
as it will be trimmed later.
4. Wind the Crystal Chenille forward to the hook eye
in and around the Super Floss legs forming a squat body.
Tie off the trim the excess chenille.
5. Pull the foam strip across the top of the fly forming
the shellback. Don't pull too tight as this defeats the
flotation properties of the foam. Trim the excess material.
6. Build a neat head, whip-finish and apply head cement.
Trim the legs so each one is about shank length. Better
to fall on the side of too long than short. Slightly
longer legs give better action than short stubby ones.
How to Fish the Water Floatman
Cast into the paths of surface dining trout, the Water
Floatman has met and exceeded expectations. Left dead
drift or stripped and twitched across the surface, the
Floatman mimics the stunned dance of the fallen boatman.
But the Water Floatman's usefulness does not end at the
surface. The Water Floatman has the versatility to take
its charms to deeper reaches. Another popular method
for fishing boatman and back-swimmer patterns involves
the use of a full-sinking line. Despite their reliance
of surface air these insects often cascade into deeper
waters. Using a floating pattern such as a Water Floatman
and a full-sinking line imitates the U-shaped route the
boatman takes as it is pulled beneath the surface by the
sinking line and stripped upwards to the surface. Even
in the shallows over weedy terrain the buoyant traits of
the Water Floatman keep it clear of the weed tops as I
scuttle and bump it along using an intermediate or
Stillwater line. The Water Floatman is perhaps my most
versatile and durable boatman or backswimmer imitation. ~ PR
Credits: From Fly Patterns for Stillwaters,
by Philip Rowley, published by Frank Amato Publications.
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