Fly of the Month: Wayne's Speed-Tie Ant
This month’s fly is another beauty, and it’s another example of an easy-to-tie fly that catches fish year round in all types of water. No wonder that Wayne Kosloske, one of ETU’s premier anglers, calls it one of his favorites.
A year ago when ETU members selected their top dozen flies for fishing Colorado waters, the ant ranked #11 on the list of “must have” flies. Wayne notes that he likes this “Speed-Tie Ant” because it works when it seems nothing else will. It’s also easy to see.
“Use it for those selective fish on lakes or river, and dab on a little floatant,” he says. “These are the fish that are feeding right at the surface but don’t seem to be taking anything else you put out there.
“Cast this bugger out there and give it a slight twitch to make sure it is sitting upright in the water. You should be able to see the pink post. I think you’re going to love it.” And, as for those reports about ants working 12 months out of the year…. Wayne says he has pumped the stomachs of fish in the middle of winter and found ants.
“I guess ants must move around on the warm days and the fish are always looking for them,” he says. “All I know is that this thing seems to work year round.” So, tie up a few and keep them in your fly box as one of your “must have” flies.
- Hook: Dai-Riki 305 #14 or # 16 or similar dry fly hook
- Thread: Black 8/0
- Body: Black foam tubing (as of this writing, the Quill doesn’t have this in stock, but has been asked to order it) The tubing comes in sizes from 1/8” diameter up to 3/8”. Rainy’s is one brand. Choose based on how big of an ant you are going to tie and the size hook.
- Sight post: Pink Darlon (can also use Antron)
- Hackle: Any black hackle, sized for #14 to #18 hook, will do
As always, start by crimping down the barb on your hook before placing the hook in your vise. Next, secure one layer of thread from about 1/3 of the way back from the eye of the hook all the way back to just past the bend of the hook.
Take about a 1-inch piece of your tubing and bind it down with a couple of wraps at the center of your hook. Wayne used the small round tubing (1/8”) for his fly. Be sure the tubing stays on top of your hook as you secure it. Secure everything at this point with a half hitch as well.
You will see in the photos that Wayne went ahead and spread his thread out – back toward the bend and up toward the eye – to create the thorax in the first of the flies and in the second example waited to later in the tying process. Truth is, both approaches work just fine. His instructions actually call for waiting.
Next tie in a small piece of the pink Darlon for the sight post just left of the center point on the shank of your hook. Half of the Darlon should end up hanging off to one side, half to the other.
Pull the Darlon up above the hook and then make a few wraps with your thread around the base and just slightly up the Darlon to create the post. Next, use your thread to bind the Darlon back slightly toward the bend of the hook so it tilts at a 45 degree angle.
Now you can clip the excess Darlon off on top so it sits neatly on top of the hook, as in photo #3.
Next bind down the tubing to create a thorax that goes up to about 1/8” from the eye of the hook. Take the thread back to just in front of the post where you will tie in your black hackle, first trimming the feathers and the thick stem oἀ the end that’s to be tied in.
Wind the hackle from the post forward. Secure it about 1/8” back from the eye of the hook with two half hitches. Cut off the excess hackle.
Now wrap your thread forward about 1/16” while pulling slightly on the foam tubing.
Finish up by trimming the ant to proportions with scissors. Notice in the photo how the tubing is cut at a 45-degree angle to give a more rounded view from below, or as the fish would see it in the water
A dab of glue behind the head on top of the hook will help secure everything and help the fly last a little longer against all the strikes it is going to get.
Good tying, and good fishing!
Final Version (Above)
By John Haile, with thanks to Wayne Kosloske. Photos by Tim Stechert.