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turbineblade 01-03-2013 10:44 AM

Griffith Gnat - foam underbody possible?

I'm working through Craven's fly tying book in order -- which he suggests for beginners. The 1st pattern is the brassie, and I'm getting better at it the more I tie.

Another simple pattern looks like the G-gnat. I've not fished many dry flies and was wondering if one could tie a very small strip of black foam under the peacock herl to avoid having to use floatant..? Anyone done this?

I know that the brassie and black beauty can imitate midge nymphs, so I figured I'd learn the adult as well.


itchmesir 01-03-2013 11:11 AM

Re: Griffith Gnat - foam underbody possible?
Check out "Eric's Midge" on Charliesflyboxinc.. it's a foam back midge pattern..

brookfieldangler 01-03-2013 11:21 AM

Re: Griffith Gnat - foam underbody possible?
I think the trick to doing that would be to NOT compress the foam as much as possible.

Once that foam is compressed, all buoyancy is lost.

flytire 01-03-2013 11:24 AM

Re: Griffith Gnat - foam underbody possible?
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kglissmeyer1 01-03-2013 11:44 AM

Re: Griffith Gnat - foam underbody possible?
Try this: I like to use electronics packing foam in about a 1/16th inch thickness. You could wrap this on the hook and over wrap with the herl. As stated earlier don't compress the foam too much as you will lose buoyancy. Good luck and let us know how it works.


Guest1 01-03-2013 01:29 PM

Re: Griffith Gnat - foam underbody possible?
Another option is to do an underbody of gorilla glue. Mix a drop of water with a drop of glue and stir it up. Apply it to the hook and rotate it till it sets up. Go very light because it swells a lot. It also floats like a cork. I have done hard body ants, beetles, little white spinners, ect. with it that you can't sink

ted4887 01-03-2013 02:31 PM

Re: Griffith Gnat - foam underbody possible?
I really like that idea Dan. Maybe I'll give that a try tonight when I sit down at the vise.

silver creek 01-03-2013 03:50 PM

Re: Griffith Gnat - foam underbody possible?
Geez guys. Foam for a Griffth's Gnat? Sacrilege!:o

I'm going to disagree until someone does a side by side test. I think the peacock herl underbody is a key ingredient of a Griffith's Gnat. There are only two elements to this fly other than the hook and thread, and both are necessary. Adding foam is unnecessary.

On another BB, there was a question by a beginner fly tyer about material substitutions. I listed a few times like jungle c*ck eyes, cdc fibers, seal or polar bear fur, etc that one should try to use when called for in a pattern. These materials have special properties that cannot be duplicated by other materials or synthetics.

I placed peacock herl into that category. Peacock herl has a special sheen and reflectivity that I think is unique, and I think it is one of the reasons that the Griffith's Gnat works so well. I don't think a foam can duplicate the spicky appearance of the fibers or the sheen of natural peacock herl.

Foam cannot duplicate the reflectivity of Peacock Herl.

Foam cannot duplicate the "buggy" shaggy nature of the herl body.

The Griffith's Gnat simulates the clustering of mating adult midges with multiple bodies at odd angles and the hackles simulating the legs and wings of the cluster touching the surface.

This is what we are tying to imitate:

So we can catch this:

Note in the photos above that some of the midges are UNDER the film. The beauty of a Griffith's Gnat is that you can make it sit lower in the film by cutting off the bottom fibers flush withe the hook. This is a trick that I use when they wont take the standard higher floating pattern. Trout are dumb but they know that a ball of midges can't fly off and the ball of midges partially submerged is easy pickings.

Guest1 01-03-2013 04:05 PM

Re: Griffith Gnat - foam underbody possible?
Experiment a couple of times in a piece of wire or something first. It really got away from me the first time I tried it. Essentially swelled up so bad It closed the gap. I dremeled it flat on the bottom and saved it but it expands more than you would think. The ants I make are really awsome. Color the two little body parts with magic marker and they look very real. One last tip, mix it on something plastic.

flytire 01-04-2013 09:08 AM

Re: Griffith Gnat - foam underbody possible?
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