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International Federation of Fly Fishers Fly of the Month February, 2014
Written and Photographed By: Kit Seaton
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The Fly of the Month is a vehicle for highlighting the talented tiers around us. I know so many talented tiers and I never expected to turn the spotlight on myself. As I was reviewing the video of this months guest tier, I had a startling realization. The video was incomplete. So, I am going to take this opportunity to show you one of the flies that I developed for the Stillwater River of Montana.
This weeks fly is the Tang. If you have heard of this fly, I would be surprised. It is not available in fly shops or on line. One of the great things about tying flies, is that you can make something that no one else will be fishing with. The reason that I developed this fly was to add color into the common Pheasant Tail Nymph. Red and hot orange have always been popular colors on the Stillwater River. So, the first color I experimented with was hot orange. When people started to ask me what I was fishing with, I had no name for the fly. A friend, Doug Haacke, named the fly for me. Since the original was hot orange, he suggest Tang after the orange flavored drink made popular as the drink of astronauts.
This is one of the simplest flies that you will ever tie, but it is extremely productive. It only has three ingredients. The version that I am tying today is a Baetis imitation.
Hook – 14 nymph hook
Thread/Body – 6/0 Cream
Tail/Back/Legs – Pheasant Tail Fibers
Rib – SM Gold Wire
Make a thread base from an index point one eyes length behind the eye to the bend of the hook and back up to the index point. I do not mind making several passes to build up the body since the body is mostly comprised of thread.
Tie the wire in on the near side of the hook and lash down the length of the hook all the way to the bend and return the thread once again to the index point.
Cut 6-8 long peasant tail fibers doing your best to keep the tips aligned. Tie the fibers along the hook shank so the ends form a tail the ¾ the length as the hook shank. Leave the excess hanging over the eye of the hook.
Fold back the pheasant tail fibers and cover then with thread finishing back up at the head of the fly. You may ask why I go to such effort to build up the body when you could simple dub with a fine dubbing. I have used dubbing and when dubbed, I do not catch as many fish.
Fold the barbules back over the body again being mindful to keep them on top of the fly and tie them in.
Wrap the wire forward, tie it in, and trim off the excess.
Fold the fibers back and form a ball of thread that goes back one third of the shank.
Fold the pheasant tail fibers over the top of the ball to form the wing case and anchor the fibers behind the eye.
Fold the remaining ends back. Divide the fibers and maneuver the fibers to opposite sides of the fly, so that you get an equal number of fibers on each side. Pull the fibers down and back and build a head, whip finish, and cut your thread.
This is the guest tyer's version of this fly and it may differ from the creator's or other versions and variations.
This fly can be tied in many colors and on different shaped hooks. Tied thin in red on a scud hook without legs makes a great chironomid pattern. My favorite pattern is gray with a silver rib and midge flash in place of the pheasant tail on a size 14 hopper hook. I call this version the Crystal Tang.
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