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Joe's Drowning Ant
By Joe J. Warren
Excerpt from Tying Glass Bead Flies

Most ant patterns are tied for a surface presentation, although they don't necessarily have to be at the surface for trout to strike. Joe's Drowning Ant is a sinking pattern and once it hits the water and makes its descent in a tumbling stream, even the wildest brookie can't resist it.

Small mountain streams and meadows with nameless cascading beaver ponds are where I find solitude and a chance to have the trout all to myself. Perched on a fallen bleached-out fir tree that reaches into the muck of a tea-collored beaver pond, I quietly loft a short cast next to a fallen timber. The fly sinks a few inches, then from out of nowhere a scrappy eight-inch brook trout latches onto the sinking ant.

I developed this fly in 1995 as a stealthy terrestrial pattern for small turbulent creeks. Its use expanded to beaver ponds where I used the "what the heck, let's see if it works" approach. The fish snarfed it up! In addition to brook trout, rainbows have taken it too. Joe's Drowning Ant illustrates how you can combine different sized beads to create a tapered effect in conjunction with an off-colored bead to accentuate the fly and create a winning pattern. ~ Joe

Materials List: Joe's Drowning Ant

    Hook: Daiichi 1530, sizes 10-12.

    Thread: Black 6/0.

    Body: Black bead, medium; two black beads, small; and one black bead, medium.

    Butt(optional): Scarlet (sl) bead, small.

    Legs: Black neck hackle.

Tying Joe's Drowning Ant

1. Slide a medium size bead, two small beads, another medium bead followed by a scarlet bead for the butt onto the hook and place it in the vise. Tie in thread in between the two small beads.

2. Advance the thread underneath the beads to the back of the last bead, over and around the shank several times. Bring the thread forward with two wraps between each bead until you are between the two small beads again. Use your finger to hold the beads in place as you wrap the thread.

3. Tie in a small neck hackle for the legs and advance the thread forward slightly. Wrap the hackle several times and secure with the thread. Trim excess hackle.

4. Advance thread forward to the eye of the hook wrapping a couple of turns between the small and medium beads. Whip finish thread to complete.

Credits: Joe's Drowning Ant is one of many great patterns using beads from Joe J. Warren's excellent book, Tying Glass Bead Flies. Published by Frank Amato Publications, ISBN: 1-57188-107-7.

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

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