Illawarra Flyfishers Club

Monster Ant

Text and Photos by Andrew Susani

Hook #4 Standard Wet Fly Hook or Stinger pattern (Gamakatsu B10S pictured)
Thread 3/0 (any colour)
Body & Head Medium density closed cell foam (eg. mouse pad foam)
Legs Thin rubber legs
Colouring Nail polish

I first saw this neat pattern in Jay "Fishy" Fullum's creative fly tying column in an edition of Fly Tyer magazine. He used it on trout in rivers as a general searching pattern, and sometimes as an outrageously sized ant when many of their smaller, flying versions were on the menu. I saw it's great potential as a bass fly, and so far it has been a good producer. It has a really "buggy" shape and the epoxy makes the body glisten nicely like a real ant abdomen. It can be used as a really subtle surface fly too, and might even fool a trout or two into thinking it was a mudeye skimming through the surface. All in all, a really good fly.

Tying Procedure

1. First you need to prepare some foam tubing - this can either be bought in various sizes and colours under the Rainy's brand, but if you want to make it yourself, as I do, old foam mouse pads are a good place to start. Just use a sharp pair of scissors to cut a strip off the side, then trim it into a cylindrical shape with a diameter about as thick as the average mouse pad (~ 6-8mm). Don't worry about making the cut edges smooth - the epoxy will fix that later.
2. Cut the end of the tubing at about 45 degrees so it is easy to tie down onto the hook. 
3. Start the thread at the eye of the hook and lay a bed of thread down to about halfway along the shank. Tie in the butt section of foam so that it points forwards, over the eye of the hook. Take the thread to where you want to make the segmentation between head and abdomen.
4. Pull the foam tubing back over and tie it down using 3 or 4 good tight thread wraps. The segmentation should be about 2-3mm wide so you can tie the legs down there later. Whip finish the thread there, but don't varnish it. Trim the abdomen to the desired length and round the end off using sharp scissors.
5. Take a few loose wraps over the abdomen so it is lightly held down onto the hook shank. Tie off the thread at the segmentation.
6. Mix up a batch of 5 minute epoxy - if you are learning to tie this fly, you might want to epoxy the abdomen and head separately until you get used to tying this pattern. Apply the epoxy but be sure that the coat is only thick enough to cover the foam and to hide any bumps from your foam trimming. If the epoxy is too thick, it will sag and the fly will look strange. A good tip is to mix the epoxy and then let it sit for one or two minutes so it is not so runny when you apply it.

Also, when you apply the epoxy, try not to get any in the segmentation.

7. The epoxy should smoothen everything out over the ant's body, and give it a nice shiny finish.
8. Take a good nail polish and paint the epoxy if you like - black and brown are good colours, but can be a bit hard to see from a distance, so it may be a good idea to paint a white or yellow stripe down the ant's back to improve the visibility.
9. Once nail polish has dried, tie the thread in at the segmentation, take three rubber legs and tie them in on top of the hook shank using figure 8 wraps. Tie the thread off, varnish the thread wraps, and the fly is done.