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Trico Poly Wing Spinner
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Trico Poly Wing Spinner
By Skip Morris

Tiny flies are today a solid part of fly fishing. Where once the single-minded feeding of trout on minuscule mayflies, midges, or caddisflies meant that it was time to break for lunch - or even quit for the day - many anglers now consider this a time of exacting and exciting sport.

It is to the benefit of the tier that tiny flies allow less inspection from trout than do larger flies and therefore can be, and usually are, simple in design and construction.

Here are a few general points regarding the tying of tiny flies that will help make this a pleasant task. First, a vise with fine jaws (many vises can accept several jaws) offers good tying access on tiny hooks. Second, scale down your materials in both size and quantity - use short-fibered peacock herl for tiny flies, and add only three to (at most) eight turns of hackle to a dry fly of size 20 or smaller, and use almost no dubbing at all. Third, consider some kind of magnifier . . .as this can make tying tiny much easier and more pleasant, even for those with good eyesight. Fourth, although there are special threads for tying tiny, the best I have found for tiny flies, providing you use as few turns of it as possible, is 8/0. Finally, although special tools are made for tying tiny flies, I've never found much value in them beyond the matter of vise jaws, though some tiers like tiny tools for tiny flies. My point is that tiny tools are optional, so you can start tying tiny with the tools you have.

Beginning each year in mid to late summer, many slow-moving trout streams across America play host to huge hatching-mating movements of tiny Tricorythodes, a mayfly of various species, some of which are so small that imitations must be tied on size 28 hooks. [or 32's.] That "tricos," as they are nicknamed, are usually tiny is appropriate, because everything about them is unusual - the male trico's tails are outlandishly long, tricos have no hind wings like most mayflies, and the wings they do have are, of all things, whitish - whitish!

Tricos hatch in the morning or around midday. Sometimes the dun is important, in which case any mayfly dun pattern with dark-brown body and light hackle, light tail and, if you want them, wings, will do fine. But I usually find a preponderance of spinners, and these I imitate with the Trico Poly Wing Spinner.

Materials: Trico Poly Wing Spinner

    Hook:  Midge or standard dry fly, sizes 26 to 20 (shown is a Dai-Riki 310).

    Thread:  Brown 8/0.

    Tail:  White or ginger hackle fibers.

    Abdomen:   Olive dubbing.

    Wing:   White poly yarn.

    Thorax:   Brown dubbing.

Tying Steps:

1. Strip, measure, and tie in a bunch of hackle fibers as a split tail. (This pattern imitates the female trico, so tails should be of standard length.)

2. Dub a tapered abdomen up two-thirds of the shank. Using the pinch, tie in a bunch of poly yarn. Pull the yarn out to the sides of the thorax and crisscross the thread around the yarn at its tie-in point.

3. Add more crisscrossed thread turns around the wings' base with brown-dubbed thread. Add some dubbing in front of the wing, and create a thread head.

4. Raise and trim the wings as one. Add head cement.

Fishing Tips

The practical matter of getting a hook firmly embedded into a trout's mouth becomes more complicated when that hook is tiny. Vince Marinaro advised bending the point slightly to one side to widen the gap - I've tried it, help helps. Ring-eyed hooks are popular for tiny flies; I'm still experimenting in this area. In The Versatile Fly Tyer, Dick Talleur points out that quality hackles have stiff, dense fibers that can impede the penetration of tiny hooks. To cure this he started "trimming Vs out of the bottom" of his tiny fly hackle collars. Finally, the points of your tiny hooks must be sharp.

Credits: From The Art of Tying the Dry Fly by Skip Morris, Published by Frank Amato Publications. We appreciate use permission.

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

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