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Realistic Mayfly
By Xavier "Carp Crazy" Molina
Puebla, Mexico

I started tying realistic flies just a few months ago after I visited Dale Beamish's site and since then I have learned a lot from him and from Paul Whilock's book, the techniques shown here were not developed by me they were developed by Paul Whilock. I just wanted to say thank you to two of the tiers I admire most: Dale, Paul this is my way to say thank you.

Materials, Realistic Mayfly:

    Hook: Standard dry fly any brand is good size to match the size of your insect.

    Thread: 17/0.

    Underbody: micro ultra chenille natural tan.

    Abdomen and thorax: Tan raffia.

    Legs: Japanese legs.

    Anthenae: Microfibetts.

    Wings: Hatchmasters printed wings.

    Eyes: Colored 5 minute epoxy.

    Tail: Microfibetts.

Method, Realistic Mayfly:

    Step 1

      1. Select the desired size dry fly hook, cover it with 17/0 thread and trim the eye.

      Step 2

      2. Cut two pieces of stainless steel wire, the size of the abdomen plus the thorax, and attach them on the sides leaving enough room for the head.

      Step 3

      3. Turn hook in the vise and cover neatly all the wire, making sure the wire pieces are exactly side by side so it won't deform the final shape of the body.

      Step 4

      4. Now tie in the 3 tails, two to the sides and one on top of the wire, and then start building up the under body using micro chenille, make sure not to use too much or your fly will look fat and also burn the point of the chenille pieces to get a tapered finish.

      Step 5

      5. Now print a 1:1 scale image of a mayfly, so you can compare your underbody's shape and get the right proportions.

      Step 6

      6. Turn the hook again on the vise and continue to build the thorax area underbody with chenille, once you are done, cover completely with thread leaving no bumps because this will be visible on the finished fly, once you are satisfied with the look, apply a light coat of varnish or CA glue.

      Step 7

      7. Turn the hook once more and do the same thread covering and then apply varnish or CA glue.

      Step 8

      8. Cut a 2x10 mm raffia strip and tie it down where the tails begin, use as few turns as you can to attach materials.

      Step 9

      9. Wrap the point of the abdomen with this raffia strip to create the first segment of the abdomen, and color it using alcohol based (permanent) markers.

      Step 10

      10. Now you have to cut a 15x8 mm raffia strip, this will be the second abdominal segment.

      Step 11

      11. Tie the raffia around the underbody, making sure it covers all of it using as few wraps as you can.

      Step 12

      12. Moisten the raffia, pull it as if it was a glove over the underbody and tie it down at the approximate length here the next segment will begin, again use few thread wraps.

      Step 13

      13. Continue building all of the abdominal segments using this method.

      Step 14

      14. Cut another 2x10mm raffia strip and tie it down where the abdominal segments finish.

      Step 15

      15. Moisten the raffia and wrap it covering all thread and making a smooth connection with the thorax area.

      Step 16

      16. Color the abdomen with the alcohol based markers.

      Step 17

      17. Coat the entire fly with varnish or CA glue and let it dry.

      Step 18

      18. While you wait for the fly to dry, you can start coloring and trimming the wings.

      Step 19

      19. Once the fly is dry, tie in the legs, trying to place them according to your 1:1 drawing, remember to use few thread turns.

      Step 20

      20. Now cut and tie a 4x10mm and a 2x15mm raffia strips and wrap the 2mm strip covering the space between the rear and middle legs.

      Step 21

      21. Fold the 4mm strip to cover the top of your fly, and tie it down where the middle legs start.

      Step 22

      22. Now color this section using markers and coat it with varnish.

      Step 23

      23. Now tie the first set of wings taking care to place them according to your drawing.

      Step 24

      24. Cut a 2x10mm raffia strip and tie it where the first set of wings was tied, and after moistening it wrap to cover the tie in point of your wings and advance it to the mid point between the middle and front legs and there you tie your second set of wings.

      Step 25

      25. Using another 2mm raffia strip cover the tying point of the second wings and also wrap it around the legs.

      Step 26

      26. Color this section and varnish it.

      Step 27

      27. Now using the same method used to form the underbody, build the head, remembering to burn the tips of the chenille, cover it perfectly with thread and varnish it.

      Step 28

      28. Tie the antenna making sure they are placed symmetrically, when you are satisfied with the location use a drop of CA glue on stem so they won't move, and then tie another 2x15 mm raffia strip.

      Step 29

      29. Cover the head completely with the raffia strip, color it, varnish it and when completely dry apply two drops of 5 minute epoxy tinted black and let it dry, when completely dry, varnish it again.

      Step 30

      30. Bend the legs accordingly to your drawing, fix any coloring details and viola it's done.

      Hope you enjoy tying this fly. ~ Xavier Molina

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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