For the majority of our outdoor adventures we could do without ants. But for those who fish the ant gains a few notches on the respect meter. With so many species and such prolific hatches it is important to have a couple ant imitations in your fly box. And tossing a weighted ant is simply deadly. It's a great fly for kids to tie and fish for an instant connection between fish and the bugs they eat. These flies can take some punishment and will put fish in the net. Have some fun with the endless color options and thanks for tying along!
Hook: Mustad Streamer R73-9671 size 14
Threads: UniThread Red 8/0 and Doc Blue 8/0
Wires: Ultra Wire Red and Blue both small
Legs: Whiting Farms Bronze Rooster Saddle Hackle Black
Resin: Loon UV Clear Fly Finish Thin
Step 1: Place your hook in the vise and begin the red thread near the rear half of the hook shank. It may seem odd that we're using a streamer hook to tie essentially a nymph, but the extra hook gap will provide the hook setting capability we need without being oversized for the bug. Once you feel comfortable with the proportions you can adjust the hook to better accommodate your style.
Step 2: Tie in two 4" sections of the red wire. Why two? Good question. In my opinion it is much easier to get tight wire bodies when using multiple wires. It probably has more to do with tiny flaws being mashed together, but it has always worked better for me. The other reason is to better match the width of the hook shank. Even with a thread underbody it would be more difficult to keep the shape uniform with one wire underneath. What we want to keep in our mind's eye is the gap in the middle of our ant. If you can picture this butt of the ant as occupying one third of the total fly length, the middle gap would be just shy of one third and the head/thorax the remainder. Once the wires are tied down the proportions will try to creep inward. That is why we begin with a 1/3 gap mentally pictured.
Step 3: To achieve the proper taper for our underbody we are going to wrap our thread all the way back and forward one full time. On each repetition of this sequence you simply wrap one less wrap from the end as your previous pass. After 6-7 times of this you will have a little pill shaped underbody. We do not need a ton of shape here. Subtle is the most we are looking for. After we wrap the wires and add resin the shape will reveal itself.
Step 4: Carefully wrap the wires in touching wraps up the length of the underbody. Don't get discouraged if the wraps aren't perfect. The resin will help fill in some gaps and the fish do not care one bit. Carefully tie off your wires, neatly trim and cover with just a few thread wraps. Whip finish and cut the thread.
Step 5: Now we will add two very thin layers of Loon Thin UV resin. Be sure to fully cure with your UV torch after each layer.
Step 6: Now begin the blue thread on the hook shank.
Step 7: For our feather we want the fibers to be slightly longer than the hook gap distance. As you look at the top, or convex side (the side that looks nice), carefully remove the fibers from the right side of the quill. We only need a few fibers to get some attention. Tie in your feather with a small gap between the tie down of the red wire.
Step 8: Now wrap the feather 1.5 to 2 times and catch it with your thread. Trim the excess feather and wrap down the trimmed quill end.
Step 9: Now we will tie in two 4" pieces of our blue wire. This is not tied all the way back to the feather so there will be a definite space in the middle abdomen for our best chance at fooling some fish.
Step 10: Once again we will build a thread underbody for our wire, but this one will be slightly smaller than our rear underbody.
Step 11: Wrap your wires forward in touching wraps, tie down, trim the wires, cover with thread wraps and add two whip finishes. Cut your thread.
Step 12: Add two more very thin layers of Loon resin, curing after each application, and you now have a sinking ant that will provide you many a tight line. Be sure to try different colors and sizes and share with us any variations you tie! Thanks for tying!