Al Campbell, Field Editor

March 8th, 2004

Too Simple Extended Body Bunny Mayfly (TSEBM)

Al Campbell

I really enjoy working on complex and realistic looking flies, but when I'm tying to fill my fly box with flies that work and don't take a long time to tie, I usually tie something simple that does the trick. Productive flies don't have to be complex to catch fish. In fact, sometimes it works better to use a simple, impressionistic fly when you're trying to fool Mr. Fins.

When mayflies are emerging, they must float a long time on the surface before their wings get dry enough for flight. In fact, sometimes the time it takes from the moment they begin to emerge until they are capable of flight can be measured in hours. During this time, they are easily picked off by hungry fish looking to fill their stomachs with extra protein. That is one main reason so many flies are tied to imitate mayflies. Caddisflies, stoneflies and midges aren't on the surface very long, so fish rarely get to eat those bugs at their leisure, but mayflies provide some leisurely dining.

This mayfly pattern uses dyed light dun snowshoe hare foot hair for floatation. The coarse hairs on the bottom of the feet of a snowshoe hare float as good or maybe better than CDC, but unlike CDC, snowshoe hare can be treated with your favorite floatant without matting it down and ruining the floatation effects. When I tie bunny flies (that's what I call flies tied with snowshoe hare foot fibers), I usually pre-treat them with RainX to help them shed water and float better. That's why I often use snowshoe hare instead of CDC on emergent flies. However, if you have CDC and no snowshoe hare, use the CDC on this pattern and you'll do just fine. The extended body looks more like a real mayfly than a standard dry fly does (in my opinion).

Too Simple Extended Body Bunny Mayfly

List of materials:

  • Hook - Any curved, caddis style hook. I'm using a size 18 Mustad chemically sharpened hook.

  • Tail - Same as body.

  • Body - Micro ultra chenille. I'm using golden tan here, but you can use any color to match the insect you want to imitate.

  • Legs - None.

  • Thread - 6/0 tan (or colored to match the body).

  • Wing - The hairs off the foot of a snowshoe hare, in this case dyed light dun.

Tying steps:

    1. Place the hook in the vise so that the eye is fairly high. Start the thread close to the hook eye.

    2. Secure the micro ultra chenille to the hook letting the chenille extend to about twice the hook shank before you trim it. If you want, you can carefully melt the tip of the chenille with a lighter, but be sure not to let the flame touch the chenille. Ultra chenille burns fast.

    3. Clip a small clump of hairs from the bottom of a snowshoe hare's foot, remove the short under-fur; then tie the hair to the top of the hook so that the tips of the hair extend to about the tip of the chenille body.

    4. Trim the hairs that extend over the hook eye.

    5. Build a head, whip finish and cement the head. I use a metal hackle guard and a lighter to singe the hairs back from around the hook eye, but sometimes I still have hair blocking the hook eye. For that, I use a needle heated until it is red hot, then push it through the eye of the hook to melt the hairs back out of the way. I don't get too careful about looks since this fly is designed purely to catch fish, not fishermen.

Scroll back up to the top of the page. Does this fly look close enough to the real thing to fool a fish? If you can't decide, compare an Adams to the real thing and then decide. If you want a fly that will catch fish, but is real easy to tie, you might want to tie up a few of these simple flies. I doubt the fish will complain about the fact that you didn't spend a lot of time tying them. ~ AC

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