Cheap Atlantics

Cheap Atlantic, lesson two, .43 cents

.43 Cents

.43 cents is another free style full featherwing Atlantic Salmon fly that is also tied with common and inexpensive materials. I called the pattern .43 cents because the most costly of the components is the hook. Again, if you don't have all of the materials I will be using, feel free to substitute with materials you have or can find easily.

Since I have already given you my way and thoughts on selecting the wing, hook and other parts in the first of the cheap Atlantic lessons (March Brown, Dressed to Kill), I won't go through everything here.

Let's jump in and start this pattern.

.43 cents
By Ronn Lucas, Sr.

    Hook:  Partridge Bartleet CS10/1.

    Thread:  Black.

    Tag:  Copper UNI-Wire, Red UNI-Floss, veiled with small neck feathers from a California Quail set vertically.

    Tail:  Ground Hog or other similar hair.

    Butt:  Peacock herl.

    Body:  Rear black UNI-Floss ribbed with silver oval UNI-Tinsel flanking red UNI-Floss, veiled with red hackle tips, body joint of black Ostrich, red UNI-Floss, ribbed with silver UNI-Tinsel flanking black UNI-Floss.

    Beard:  Green Wing Teal feathers set vertically. Note this could also be considered a body veil by the way I have used it.

    Wing:   Guinea Fowl.

    Cheeks:  Dyed red GP tippets, Teal breast feathers.

    Topping:  Golden Pheasant.

    Horns:  Ringneck Pheasant tail.

    Head:   Black.

1. With the wing selected, start to determine its length and shape.

2. Selecting a tail and topping. While this combination looks pretty good as wings go. I ultimately decided not to go with the GP tail and full topping. The reason being the feathers have a nice edge that is not made up of married tips. It has a "wispy" look to it that I like and did not want to hide.

3. Tie in and apply the copper wire portion of the tag. Wire is a nice look for tinsel and, I suspect just about every Tyer has some in his/her materials stash. It is one material that my pliers will have little effect on though so, some planning as to where the ends go is advisable.

4. Apply the floss part of the tag.

5. Select a pinch of hair for the tail. I have used Ground Hog that was given to me by my friend Ed Gallop. You could use Fox, Squirrel tail, Wolf, and any number of other hairs. I did not stack the hair much since I like a fairly uneven look. I also left some of the underfur in which gives the base of the tail a slight glistening appearance and a tan color.

6. Tie in the hair with three or four very tight flat turns of thread with what I call the EHC Wing Bundle Technique.

This technique for tying in a wing or other material keeps the material from rolling around the hook. What you are doing is making a bundle of the material and, tying it in as a single unit. The trick to doing it successfully is twofold. First, all of what the illustration shows is done with a "soft loop." That is, no tension on the thread at all until the thread comes around the hook the second time. At this point, you are holding the hair tightly with the left hand close to the hook and with the right hand begin to slowly pull up to the point that the bundle begins to compress. Come around once more with tighter thread tension to compress the bundle even tighter. By the third turn, you should have maximum compression that is vital. These turns of thread need to be made side by side going forward from the first soft loop. If at any point you make a turn of thread behind that loop, the hair will try hard to spin around the hook. With your three or four turns done, tie in the tag veil taking the same number of tight, flat, close turns back to just short of the first turn.

7. Attach the herl.

8. Apply the butt and secure with two very tight turns. Trim the hair butts as close to the butt as possible.

9. Using solid hair for a tail will result in a bit of a bump in that area where it was trimmed. Build the area up a bit with thread.

10. Attach the ribbing as shown.

11. Advance the thread in flat, close turns binding the ribs along the back side of the hook to the point of the body joint. Apply the floss body. Note: if we used a light-colored floss here, it is likely that there would be a noticeable irregularity back at the butt where the hair was trimmed. Using a dark color, in this case, black floss, the bump will not be as noticeable if is at all visible.

12. Apply the rib as shown. Start with the first oval tinsel that comes directly on the bottom. Next wrap the other oval tinsel leaving an even space between for the floss which is done last.

13. Flatten the top and bottom of the body and tie in the veiling. You will find that flattening the feather shafts with pliers to be useful. Also, rather than strip the bottom end of the feathers, trim them with scissors. The stubble helps hold the feathers in place. You want the veils to lay parallel with the body and close to it as well. You can see here that the bottom veil is just right while the top one sticks up a bit. I left it this way because I know that the wing will press it down exactly where I want it to end up. Also, the slight pressure the veil will exert on the wing will help hold the wing in place as well. The edge of the wing resting in a dense butt or joint also helps hold the wing position.

14. Apply the body joint and trim the waste as close as possible. Of course, you have been trying to have as much of your waste ends end up distributed around the back side of the hook as we have been tying haven't you!

15. Set the wing in place just to check everything. We can now see the pattern taking on its final look. Still at this point I have no idea how it will end up other than a hunch based on this view.

16. Temporarily set wing and select the Teal throat to see if the fly and materials are "working."

17. Apply the front of the body as the rear but with the new color scheme.

18. Attach the Teal throat.

19. Attach the wing.

20. Potential cheek.

21. Potential cheek.

22. Attach the cheek. Set the first two feathers (dyed red GP tippets in this case) first. I usually do the one on the near side first and then the far side. You may have to flatten the stem and twist it with your pliers to get the feathers to press against the wing. Then set the second feathers (Wigeon breast in this case) in the same way as the first.

23. Attach the topping. In this case I am using a short GP topping on the wing's leading edge only.

24. Attach the horns. Lay the horn where you want it and take two separated turns of thread to secure each side. The separated turns will securely hold them in place.

25. The finished fly.

As always, I am happy to answer any questions you might have about these patterns. You can reach me at or 503-654-0466.

Also, I will be happy to accept any flies you would like to tie and send to me for inclusion in this series. I will need the fly, it's recipe, any pattern info and, a short personal bio. I will try to include every fly we get in the appropriate section. The only limitation is that the patterns used must be for Salmon and/or Steelhead. This includes the display flies too.

Happy Trails! ~ Ronn Lucas, Sr.

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