I'd like to tie some ants for next season and have some questions. Late last summer when I started flyfishing, I bought two and had very good luck with them during mid-day in very slow pools on a small IA stream. I had an ant with wings and it noticeably outperformed the non-winged ant. Perhaps nothing to do with the wings at all. Maybe it just rode higher in the water?
Anyway, do you guys tie ants on nymph or dry fly hooks? And if I try to tie wings, should I attempt them right after the hackle legs are applied mid-body? I am using thread for the ant body as dubbing is just losing the round lines that make it an ant.
You could give the gorilla glue ant a try if you aren't fond of applying floatant constantly.. Stuff floats like a cork. The instructions in the video start at around the 1:10 mark. But make sure that if you're going to do this, you have the dries white/faster gorilla glue.
I tie mine on a dry fly hook, but with the way this stuff floats, you could tie them on 2x heavy hooks and they'd still probably float well. I've only ever seen the wings tied on on the back side of the hackle. I believe the reason for this is that the wings on a natural usually stick out from the back of the body a little bit. If you try to bring the wings over the top of the hackle, the wings won't lay as flat as the naturals do. But that's just my $.02.
Thanks guys. Slowly sinking ants is my goal. But it sure wouldn't hurt to attempt a few floaters. Rising trout seems to be is a pretty rare event on this stream but it sure wouldn't hurt to be prepared.
Ok, you might want to try some Clear Cure Goo ants. Silver posted one of his awhile back, that got me to thinking about doing up some, I'll see if I can't find a photo. In the meantime I also found another nice looking ant pattern:
My ants fall generally fall into two categories- foam bodies, and fur/dubbing bodies. I'll tie the high-riding foam patterns on heavy nymph hooks, and the dubbed bodies on standard or light-wire hooks. When tying winged ants, I'll typically dub (or tie in) the abdomen, then the wings, then the hackle legs.
All terrestrials drown and yet very few fly fishers use sunken terrestrials. I fish more sunken ants that floating ants.
Since most fly fishers use floating ant patterns, trout are not used to sunken ant patterns. I fish them as a dropper off of a dry hopper or beetle pattern. They will take them readily just like they take sunken hoppers or beetles.
"Terrestrial insects are not designed to float," said George Kesel, who owned Missoula's Four Rivers Fly Shop until it closed this spring. "When they hit the water, unless the surface film catches them, they go straight through. Whereas caddis and stoneflies and mayflies, they've all evolved to float......
And Kesel has another unique - at least to me - suggestion. He likes to fish grasshoppers, as well as ants and beetles, beneath the surface, like a nymph….
"Buy a grasshopper without a post, without any strike indicators to it," he said. "Make sure it's a low floater, coat it with something to make it sink and then fish it just like you would a nymph."
"In truth, trout probably eat more sunken crickets and grasshoppers than they do floating ones..... Over the years I have had similar experiences on other rivers and have many times converted the fishless floating grasshopper and cricket patterns to deadly sinking patterns by letting them get soggy." See Pg 3 of the article below.