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Usual SBS
Usual SBS
Fran Better's dry fly using snowshoe hare's foot
Published by peregrines
10-22-2010
Default Usual SBS

Usual
Usual - dark dun for dark bodied mayflies Isonychia etc Click the image to open in full size.
Usual - cream (natural) for light bodied mayflies Cahills, Sulphurs and Pale Morning Duns, and mid summer "White Flies" (E. leukon) Click the image to open in full size.
Usual - medium dun for medium shade mayflies like hendricksons, march browns, gray fox, and others Click the image to open in full size.
Type of fly dry fly
Originator of pattern if known Fran Betters, innovative fly tyer and fly shop owner of The Adirondack Sport Shop in Wilmington NY near the Ausable River (NY).
Tied and Submitted by peregrines
Level of tying experience needed to tie this pattern Beginner, a very simple and forgiving dry fly pattern using basic tying skills. This pattern is another in our upcoming series of Beginner Trout Fly Tying Lessons. This pattern uses just two materials: Thread and the hair from the bottom of a snowshoe hare's foot (not rabbit's foot). Even the best tied examples of this pattern are pretty scruffy looking. Even though it sits in, rather than on top of, the surface, it floats very well, and is a good pattern for fast water. (It was designed for fast water streams in the Adirondacks including the Ausable River in NY.)
Materials listed in order of tie in:
Hook Dry fly
Thread Danville's Orange 6/0. The thread color for Usuals is traditionally Orange or Red
Wing Hair from snowshoe hare’s foot
Tail Hair from snowshoe hare’s foot
Body Hair from snowshoe hare’s foot dubbed thinly on thread. Thread should be visible through dubbing.
Head Thread
Special tying notes Tie on thread build a layer of thread from front ¼ to ½ way point of shank. Select bunch of hair for wing about length of shank. Roughly even tips by hand. Tie in hair tips forward over eye of hook, and bind down butts to ½ way point of shank. Trim butts. Pull hair up right and build thread dam in front of wing to prop wing upright. Select another bunch of hair for the tail about ½ as much as wing, also about length of shank. Tie in and trim butts at midpoint of shank, directly up against butts of wing to make a smooth underbody. Dub thread with thin amount of snowshoe hare and wrap upshank to base of wing. Continue dubbing directly in front of wing to further prop up wing.
If you try and find long hair by poking around on the outside of a hare's foot you may get frustrated. Much of the hair will be short. To get at the good stuff-- the longer hair on the bottom of a snowshoe hare’s foot, split the foot between the two bones that run lengthwise down the foot. You should be able to feel the two bones with your thumb. Here i placed a screwdriver between the two bones and gave it a whack with a hammer. You may have to do this 2 or 3 times at different places to split it completely Click the image to open in full size.
Here's a closer pic of a split hare's foot (right) showing improved access to the longer hair on the bottom of the foot, next to an unsplit foot (left) Click the image to open in full size.
Orange or red thread is customarily used for the Usual. Tie on thread behind eye reserving one hook eye length behind eye of bare metal for the head, which will be the last step in the fly's construction. Build a nice even layer of thread over the front half of the hook shank to serve as thread base for the snow shoe hare wing. Click the image to open in full size.
Select a long bunch of hair from the inside of a split hare's foot-- splitting the hare's foot gives you much easier access to long hair. Click the image to open in full size.
If pinched and twisted a 1/4 turn in each direction by the thumb and index finger of each hand, this clump of snow shoe hare's hair would be about 1/2 the width of the hook gap. The length of the wing is measure to be about the the shank length of the hook. A few fibers may be la bit longer but that's OK, they can be plucked out later. (Because of the dense curly nature of this hair, the tips of this hair cannot be evened up by stacking.) Click the image to open in full size.
The wing is tied in tips extending forward over the eye at the 75% area of the shank. Working rearward, take 4-5 wraps of thread over the hair to secure it to the shank. You thread should be just forward of the midpoint of the hook shank. Click the image to open in full size.
Work your way forward with wraps of thread until you are behind the wing, then come under the shank in front of the wing. Take several tight turns of thread directly in front of the wing to build a thread dam to prop up the wing. The thread wraps must be tight directly against the front of the wing. Click the image to open in full size.
Work you way behind the wing with thread wraps and cut the butt end of the hair wing off at an angle. The cut should end at about the 25% area of the shank or directly above the hook point. Cover the butts with an even layer of thread to form a smooth "ramp". This will serve as the underlayer for a tapered dubbed body. As you can see the rear 25% of the hook shank ( to the rear of the hook point) is bare metal here. This will be covered with a layer of thread for the attachment of the tail. The butt end of the hair used for the tail will be secured and trimmed so that it joins with the butts from the wing to form a smooth tapered layer for the dubbed body. Click the image to open in full size.
Select a bunch of hair from the foot about 1/2 the thickness of the bundle used for the wing. Measure the tail one hook shank in length Click the image to open in full size.
Secure the tail to the rear of the hook shank, cover with thread wraps and trim the butt ends of the tail to form a smooth underbody with no lumps or gaps between the trimmed butts of the wing. (Sorry for the lousy pic.) Click the image to open in full size.
Pick some tufts of short fuzzy hair from the hare's foot and dub onto about an inch or so of hanging thread with a clockwise twisting motion between thumb and index finger. The dubbing should be a relatively thin layer, not a thick noodle. Click the image to open in full size.
Wrap forward with the dubbed thread to cover the body. The thread may show through in sections but that's OK. Here you can see that we've run out of dubbed thread. It's easier to reapply another inch or so of dubbing than to deal with too much dubbed thread. It's also easier to place accurate wraps with less distance between the shank and the tip of the bobbin -- another reason to use shorter lengths of dubbed thread when you can. Click the image to open in full size.
Here we're just adding another 1" or so of dubbing to the thread for the rest of the fly Click the image to open in full size.
Work your way forward with wraps of dubbed thread until you are directly behind the wing Click the image to open in full size.
From the top of the shank behind the wing, wrap over the far side and come under the shank and up in front of the wing on the near side of the hook. Take several wraps of dubbed thread directly in front of the wing. Like the thread dam we put in front of the wing, these additional wraps of dubbed thread will help prop the wing upright Click the image to open in full size.
By reserving space for the head at the outset and being careful to keep an eye width free from thread wraps remaining bare metal, we now have a space for a small, neat head. Click the image to open in full size.
After forming the head, take a 4 wrap whip finish (or two of them), cut thread and we're done. Click the image to open in full size.
Target species Trout, should work on panfish too
Fishing notes An easy to tie and durable fast water pattern that sits flush in the film and floats like a cork. Vary shades and sizes of natural and dyed snowshoe hare to imitate naturals.
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