Sunday, 15 February 2009

Tying the Rusty Spinner

This pattern imitates the imago (adult) form of a number of mayfly species, many of these bugs end up a rusty reddish brown color in the final phase of their lifecycle. This particular one is tied on a TMC 100 dry fly hook in size 16. The thread is 6/0 unithread in Rusty Brown, the tails are light dun microfibbets, the wing is an off-white poly yarn and the dubbing is superfine dubbing in mahogany brown.

1. Wrap the hook with thread to form a base and then tie in the tails. To get them to stand up, build up a small bump of thread under then and then cinch them down. To separate them, tie them in with a figure eight, going between them and alternating wraps over them. These tails are a bit linger than the body, maybe too long, but it is a feature that it may not hurt to exaggerate a wee bit.

2. Tie in the wing material about 2/3 of the way up body, also using a figure eight wrap.

3. Using a bit of dubbing wax, spin a tiny pinch of dubbing on the tying thread.

4. Wrap a tapered body (this one is a bit uneven) and then whip finish the head. Trim the wings to length bu pulling them straight up and giving them a bit of a haircut. The wings on this one may be a bit too long but can be trimmed later or even stream side

This is a very useful pattern that should be in every flybox. One afternoon,  around mother's day 1991, I was fishing Cairn's pool on the Beaver Kill during an astoundingly prolific caddis hatch. Fish rising everywhere and I could not hook up at all, and neither could any of the other five or six fishermen standing the river to my left and right, upstream and down. There are some really large trout in that pool who, when bothered by the likes of me, feed in the main current which runs in a channel along the far bank. That's just about out of my casting range. Anyway, there were so many caddis moving upstream in the air that, at one point, I had a sensation of vertigo from the wall of right to left upstream movement in front of of me. I was balancing on a rock chest deep in the pool trying to cast to the the far bank without letting the water in over the top of my waders. I was, one at a time, trying every caddis pattern I had in my box. It was dusk and the frustration was palpable. Searching the box for an untried pattern, I looked down at the water not more than a foot below my nose and saw a Hendrickson spinner floating by. I stopped fishing and looked closer and sure enough, there was a steady stream of spent spinners floating by, nearly invisible with their transparent wings lying flat on the water. I pulled out a rusty spinner from my box and dropped on in the water next to a natural. I was stunned, I could hardly tell them apart. I tied one on and, with less than a half hour of light left, I caught three nice trout. The guy downstream from me, only about 20 yards away rather casually asked me what I was using. I was happy enough about figuring out the real hatch I happily told him and even gave him a fly when it turned out he did not have one in his box. This is a fundamental fly that should be in every flybox. It is a good imitation of the spinners of many species of mayflies.

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