2019 Christmas Fly Swap

I’m not an expert fly tyer but I tie well enough to catch fish.  I don’t think I’ve ever bought a fly in a fly shop, even in my earliest days in the hobby.  I got introduced to fly fishing back in 2002 when I took a basic fly tying course at a local public library.  That course gave me some basic skills that got me through those early years of inconsistently catching fish on the fly.

Several years ago I took a refresher tying course presented by the Berks Fly Tyers in Berks County, PA.  They meet twice a month for two hours and group members lead guided tying sessions. I’ve learned quite a bit during the intervening years and I’ve taken part in their annual tradition of swapping flies for Christmas.  Participants sign up, choose a pattern to tie and then tie enough of that pattern to trade with about 15 other people.  In return you get one fly from each of the other tyers.

For 2019 I decided to tie George Daniel‘s Deep Sunken Ant.  It’s a simple fly that should take no more than 2-minutes to tie.  Anyone who knows me and the flies I use know that I am a BIG fan of simple patterns.  Needless complexity, in my opinion, provides little more than satisfying the fisherman and not the fish.

For this fly I used a Tiemco TMC 3769 nymph hook, size 14.  I slid on a black tungsten bead and built up a thread dam to keep the bead in place.

Deep Sunken Ant thread dam

Then I ran a thread base to the barb of the hook.


The abdomen of the Deep Sunken Ant is black SLF Squirrel Dubbing.  It is placed on the hook in a figure-8 pattern that will create a very nice ball.

Work your thread to the middle of the body and add some Perfect Rubber Silicone Legs.  If you don’t have the Perfect Rubber brand, just use whatever you have.  Anything that wiggles will drive fish crazy.  Using a pinch wrap the legs should be attached to the top of the hook and then spread perpendicular to the shank by using a figure-8 wrap. Trim the legs to length.

Bring your thread back up to the bead, build a smooth taper to the bead and whip finish.  Cut your thread and you’re almost finished.  George Daniel calls for black UV but I think any UV will work just fine.  I used clear Loon UV Thin to cover up the thread dam and the top of the bead.  After curing with the UV light for a few seconds, your Deep Sunken Ant is complete.

I fish this in a tandem Euro rig and as the dropper on a dry-dropper setup in late summer.  It is a simple yet effective fly pattern – what more could you ask for?




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