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Realistic Ant

Tied and originated by Jerry Schrader


Hook  -     Tiemco #102y size 19 this special hook was

               developed as a caddis fly hook. It has a wide gap

               and is down eye, 1x fine and black which helps to

               hide it in this pattern. It is available from Feather


Thread -    Danville Flymaster 6/0 black

Body -       5/32 X 1/2" cylinder Black Ethafoam

Legs -       Heavy monocord knotted for joints


Place the hook in the vise and wrap the thread to the middle

of the bend of the hook. Cut a 45-degree angle at the base

of the foam cylinder (to reduce bulk) and tie in this end to

the hook cylinder extending rearward. Now wrap the thread

forward to the middle of the straight part of the hook and bend

the cylinder of foam forward and wrap the thread over the

foam and make a few tight wraps to form the abdomen of the

ant. Wrap the thread forward a few turns under the foam

then wrap over the foam to form the thorax and head of the

ant. Wind the thread back toward the rear of the hook to the

beginning of the thorax at the first segment. Now make a pair

of legs by making two over hand knots approx 3/32 apart in a

piece of heavy monocord about 3 or 4 inches in length with the

natural curl left. Use the natural curl of the mono cord to help

form the loops for this simplest of knots. A small pair of right

angle tweezers is invaluable for this task. Do not lock the knots

too tightly as it will straighten the monocord instead of the

producing the intended right angle bend. You will end up with

a tight U of monocord with a knot at the two corners. Trim this

pair of legs to about inch and tie them in at the front of the

abdomen at the first segment. Cross tie to hold them in place

and use the tweezers to adjust the position. Wrap the thread

forward to the front segment and tie in the front pair. Bring the

pair of legs together and trim to the correct length,

approximately one body length. Don't worry if they don't sit

perfectly, it won't really matter when fishing. Knotting the legs

can be maddening, and I never do it the same twice. I like to

leave the legs a little long as I think that it increases the

bugginess of the fly.

The Realstic Ant, history

I developed this pattern from the idea that I got from one of those

little ant kits that had a block of ethafoam that was pre punched

with cylinders for making ant bodies. I found that the cylinders in

the kit were not of the correct diameter and experimented with a

rotary leather hole punch. I then obtained a block of ethafoam to

create cylinders of that are 5/32 x inches for this pattern. The

foam is available from many fly-tying sources under the name

Fly Foam. Use a ballpoint refill to push the plugs out of the block.

Pulling them stretches the foam. This fly is best fished dry, and

was developed for the gin clear water of the catch and release

stretch of the Swift River in Ma. (I use Wilson's fly float and

squeeze the ant body between my fingers to saturate the foam

with floatant.) The trout in this water have all received doctorate

degrees in fly fishing and have each been caught and released

countless times by some really expert fishermen. These trout

have been known to count the wraps on a whip finish to see if

they contained the correct number (5). When my ant is fished

as a dry, I am loath to apply the cement that will make this fly

indestructible, as the added weight affects flotation. But if you

don't mind the added weight, it also fishes well wet, and will be

accompanied by many rapid fish flashes if allowed to sink. I

have watched a brown trout follow this ant for ten yards as it

floated in the film of the Swift. While he pursued the floating

fly he examined circled around it for 300 degrees, never more

than 3 inches away. After it finally passed inspection, he

casually sipped in the fly, only to discover to his dismay, that he

had been once again duped! At the set of the hook, he exploded

on the surface peeling off many yards of line, upsetting the pool

and several other fishermen who were convinced that I must be

using bait.