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Parachute Humpy Ant
By Scott Sanchez

Environmental conditions affect terrestrial insect populations and their availability to trout. Good western hopper populations are the standard most years, but during wet springs the hopper larvae may rot, and their numbers are significantly lower. This elevates the importance of smaller terrestrials. While other anglers bemoan the disappointing hopper fishing, you can laugh as you're catching fish on ants. Mating swarms of fly ants are another good situration for trout and angler. These are hard to predict, but if you catch one, you'll see some exceptionally large fish feeding on top.

For years, Humpies were a mainstay pattern on the Snake River. I think much of their success was due to their terrestrial-like profile. Compared to standard ant and beetle patterns, they are easy to see and float like a cork.

For the Parachute Humpy Ant, I borrowed its namesake's hump for profile and floation, and added a parachute hackle. The butt ends of the hump form a base for the parachute hackle and then become the center segment of the ant body. This fly isn't a revolutionary new pattern, but my version of a foam ant catches fish.

This fly can be tied with black, brown, or red foam, or by combining these colors. As on standard Humpies, you can use different colors of thread for the underbody. I like to use a black body with a brown hackle. The flies size 14 or larger with 2mm foam; new thinner foams are suitable for smaller flies. For the flying ant, tie in a sparse wing of pearl flash or clear Antron.

Materials List: Parachute Humpy Ant

    Hook: Dai-Riki 320 standard dry fly, sizes 10 to 18. (On small flies the Dai-Riki 125 emerger hook works well.)

    Thread: Black 6/0 or 8/0. Flat shiny threads such as Wapsi 70 or Danville Flymaster make the prettiest underbodies.

    Body: Black foam.

    Indicator: Fluorescent Antron.

    Hackle: Grizzly dyed brown.

Tying the Parachute Humpy Ant

    1. Cut a strip of foam that is about as wide as the gap of the hook.

    2. Cement the hook shank with super glue and start your thread. Tie down the center of the foam on the top of the hook shank.

    3. Fold the foam at the rear of the hook and make an extended body that reaches back two thirds of the shank length. Tie it off. Bind down the foam with thread up to mid-shank. Trim the butts so they are even in height with the body.

    4. Fold the front foam over to make a head. The head should be about one third of the shank in length. Secure it with thread and then bind it down with thread until it butts against the other foam strip. Trim the butts even with the abdomen foam.

    5. Round off the ends of the foam butt and head with your scissors to make them look more realistic.

    6. With a finger, push down in the center of the foam strips. Then take a strand of colored Antron, put your thread around it in the middle, and pull it down in between the foam strips. Secure the Antron with thread.

    7. Trim the indicator to as long as the gap of the hook.

    8. Tie in a hackle along the side of the foam strips. The easiest way to do this is to set the butt of the hackle against the foam and hold in place with the thumb of your left hand. Next push down on the rear foam strip and indicator with your left index finger to open them up. Run your thread over the hackle stem and through the center of the foam strips.

    9. Wrap the hackle around the base of the foam strips and tie it off. You will need to slightly "weave" the hackle around the head and abdomen foam.

    10. Pull your thread up under the body and around the hook eye, and then whip-finish.

    11. The finished fly. ~ Scott Sanchez

Credits: The Parachute Humpy Ant is just one of the many excellent creative flies in the new book, The New Generation of Trout Flies by Scott Sanchez, published by Wild River Press. You can order a hardbound, spiral edition ($39.95)directly from their website.

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

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