Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning novelist & outdoors writer. He has also penned a fishing handbook and a hunting handbook. He is currently working on a bowhunting book.

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May 01, 2018

Tying a Thread-Body Wet-Fly Ant Pattern

by Bob Banfelder

Last month [April 1st and 2nd ~ Part Two and Three] we left off tying both wet- and dry-fly winged ant patterns on a Mustad-Octopus Beak 1/0 hook utilizing foam bodies for both saltwater and freshwater applications. In a moment, we are going to tie a wingless wet-fly ant pattern while employing thread in lieu of foam, using smaller size hooks for fresh water. But first, allow me to offer a guideline for the former, which should prove helpful in tying foam ant patterns on Mustad-Octopus Beak 1/0, #1, and #2 hooks.

The Mustad-Octopus Beak 1/0 hook weighs in at 7.6 grains. The hook lends itself well to angling in salt water. Although the body of the winged-ant artificial is primarily constructed of 3/8th-inch-wide 2 mm-thick foam, the weight of the hook in addition to the fly-tying materials will take the artificial slowly down into the water column. If I want the imitation tied as a dry-fly pattern, I simply add a second strip of 3/8th-inch-wide 2 mm-thick foam atop the first strip. The guideline for smaller #1 and #2 hooks is to use ¼" wide, 2 mm-thick foam.

GUIDELINE


1/0 hook weighs 7.6 grains ~ 1 strip of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished ant is 10.6 grains.

1/0 hook weighs 7.6 grains ~ 2 strips of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished ant is 12 .8 grains.

#1 hook weighs 3.4 grains ~ 1 strip of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished ant is 4.6 grains.

#1 hook weighs 3.4 grains ~ 2 strips of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished ant is 5.8 grains.

#2 hook weighs 2.8 grains ~ 1 strip of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished ant is 3.6 grains.

#2 hook weighs 2.8 grains ~ 2 strips of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished ant is 5.2 grains.

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Let's now tie a thread-body wet-fly ant pattern. A brief mention of the two threads specified below; they are strong and can be wound flat or attenuated. Flatter threads may be spun clockwise with your bobbin for tighter, thinner profiles.
For a clear illustration, we'll begin with a #12 hook. Here are the materials needed:

Hook: Mustad-Viking Hook #12 ~ bronzed
Thread for Body: Danville's Flat Waxed Nylon or Orvis 741Q – (spools in red and black colors)
Legs: Deer Hair ~ dyed black from bucktail
Head Cement: 2-part 5-minute epoxy

Step 1: Start at the back of the hook shank with red thread hanging perpendicular to the barb. Begin by forming the shape of half a tiny football. Tie off with a half hitch and cut thread.





Step 2: Switch over to black thread and complete the football shape, forming the abdomen.



Step 3: Wrap the thread forward, directly behind the eye of the hook then back again, leaving but a fractional gap in front of the abdomen to form the thorax.



Step 4: At this juncture, build up the thread to form a second football shape (all black). Tie off with a couple of half hitches and cut the thread.

Step 5: Lightly epoxy the entire body (abdomen, thorax, head); allow to thoroughly dry.



Step 6: Retie the black thread in front of the second football shape. With two loose wraps, tie in the butt ends of several wisps of deer hair atop the hook shank, tips facing upward. Continue wrapping the thread up to the eye of the hook then back again. With your bodkin, separate the hair along both sides of the body, gently pushing downward to form legs.



Step 7: Wrap the thread forward again, building and shaping the head directly behind the eye of the hook. Whip finish and cut the thread.

Step 8: Trim the legs evenly on both sides within the gap of the hook.

Step 9: Apply epoxy around the head wraps, being careful not to touch the legs.



Tip: Use 1" of .020 lead wire in the middle of the hook shank after laying down a thread base for a faster sink rate. This will send the fly quickly down into the water column. As you move from #10, #12, to #14, reduce the number of lead wire wraps by two turns.

Good to go.

Bob Banfelder
www.robertbanfelder.com

Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association

Recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Who's Who in America


Several of My Award-Winning Crime Fiction Novels Incorporate The Great Outdoors

Top to Bottom:
Fiction:


The Richard Geist Three-Book Series ~ Trilogy

Dicky, Richard, and I. A story of madness in the making. A curious mix of a mother's care and cruelty concerning her young son, Dicky Geist, and the precocious boy's metamorphosis into that of a multiple murderer.

The Signing. An account of a clandestine murderous cult monikered the Inner Circle of Friends, led by Richard Geist. Geist and cult members are hellbent on creating chaos and bringing about the eventual collapse of our government.

The Triumvirate. A tale of Neo-Nazism. Three most powerful men covertly control governments around the globe. Fifty-year-old secrets begin to surface referencing Hitler's progeny, the Manhattan Project, and Nazi gold in this mystery within a mystery. It is the genesis of the Fourth Reich.

The Justin Barnes Four-Book Series ~ Tetralogy

The Author. A prolific serial killer is the author and architect of a covert operation whose job it is to place government operatives within the ranks of worldwide extremist groups. Justin Barnes, a street savvy Afro-American maverick, searches unrelentingly for the madman who viciously murdered Justin's female cousin.

The Teacher. Justin Barnes, working clandestinely with Suffolk County homicide detectives on Long Island, is assigned to help track down Malcolm Columba's associate, serial killer Professor Clarence Emery. The pair had worked in concert, and Justin is out to stop Emery before he strikes again. A terrifying tale of evil and what it takes to stop it in its tracks.

Knots. Kalvin Matheson, an out-of-work insurance salesman obsessed with immortality and hero worship regarding two notorious serial killers, follows in the footsteps of his two diabolical pals, but with a subtle signature twist, utilizing intricate knots.

The Good Samaritans. In this final four-part series, Justin Barnes, once again, assists Suffolk County homicide detectives as part of a covert operation in tracking down Sep Cramer, a politically well-connected, ruthless serial killer.

**********


Trace Evidence. Inspired by the Robert Shulman Serial Killer Trial in Riverhead, N.Y., Robert Banfelder spent every day for 15 months as a spectator to obtain fodder for this novel.

**********

Battered. Based on a true story of an abused woman who murdered her husband, Robert Banfelder communicated with abused women, one of whom spent 15 years in prison for her crime.

Nonfiction:

The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water. A concise yet comprehensive angling and on-the-water activities handbook covering spin, bait, fly-fishing, fly tying, clamming, crabbing, kayaking, canoeing, seafood recipes and much more. For novice through experienced anglers. Endorsed by Left Kreh and Angelo Peluso. [black & white photos]

The North American Hunting Smart Handbook: Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game. A concise yet comprehensive small and big game hunting handbook covering guns and bows. Includes upland bird hunting, land management, whitetail tactics and much more. Special bonus feature includes stories of big game hunting in Africa and Australia by seasoned hunters. [color photos]

The Essential Guide to Writing Well and Getting Published. A must-have guide for both novice and veteran writers. This handbook includes tips on how to make money and gain rewards from outdoors writings. Color-coded lessons for easy comprehension.

April 01, 2018

Tying a Winged Ant for Absolute Angling Success ~ Part Two: Deadly Wet-Fly Foam Recipe

by Bob Banfelder

Picking up from where we left off last month, here are the materials you will need to tie a deadly winged wet-fly foam ant:

Hook: Mustad-Octopus Beak 1/0
Thread: Danville's Flat Waxed Nylon ~ black
Body: 2 mm-thick foam strip ~ 3/8" wide ~ cinnamon or dark brown (6" length is easier with which to work). I'll show the finished fly in both colors.
Underbody: Peacock Herl
Legs: Deer Hair ~ dyed black from bucktail or natural deer hair from the belly. I'll show the finished fly in both leg materials.
Wings: Pair of Lady Amherst Pheasant tippet feathers [left and a right, approximately 10 mm wide]
Head Cement: Hard-as-Hull or 2-part 5-minute epoxy

Note: Sheets of 2 mm foam to form the body of the fly are readily found in four popular colors that produce well in both salt and fresh water: cinnamon, dark brown, gray, and black. I picked up 12" x 18" sheets at Michaels craft store in Riverhead, New York. You can find many materials used for fly tying in craft stores at a fraction of the price found in specialty fly shops.

The Mustad-Octopus Beak 1/0 hook lends itself well to angling in the suds. Although the body of the fly is primarily constructed of foam, the weight of the hook (7.6 grains), in addition to the fly-tying materials, will steadily take the artificial down into the water column. If I want to create a dry-fly version, I simply add a second strip atop the first; more on that pattern later (tomorrow Part Three). In a step-by-step recipe, we'll be tying a wet-fly winged-ant pattern. Ready?

Step 1: Wrap a thread base starting behind the eye of the hook to a point almost halfway around the bend. Come back up with the thread to the top of the bend, thread perpendicular to the hook's barb.

Step 2: Tie in the foam strip at the top of the bend, foam strip facing toward the rear of the hook. Wrap foam down securely to this mid-point section in the bend.


One strip of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam.


Foam wrapped to halfway point along bend of hook.

Step 3: Tie in a strand of peacock herl then wrap thread forward to the top of the bend. Wrap peacock herl to this point, being very careful not to apply to much tension or the delicate strand will break. Lock in the strand with secure thread wraps and trim.

Step 4: Bring the foam forward, just over the section of peacock herl. Wrap foam down securely. Cut off excess foam and secure with several tight wraps. Tie off. We have created the ant's abdomen. [The ant's external body is separated into three main parts: head, thorax, and abdomen.]


Peacock herl forming underbelly.

Step 5: Now, we need a separate piece of foam to form the head of the ant. Tie in the second strip ¼" behind the eye of the hook (material facing rearward), wrapping while covering the foam securely as before to a point where it practically joins the first foam strip. Bring the thread behind the strip and continue wrapping to form a 1/16th" gap.

Step 6: Within the gap, tie in one wing on one side of the body (two loose wraps then tighten); tie in the second wing on the other side of the body [both wings facing inboard and upright]; trim stems. Bring thread forward of the foam.


Segmented bodies of foam.

Step 7: Next, take a small bunch of deer hair (little less than the thickness of a wooden matchstick), placing it directly in front of the foam strip (tips facing upward; i.e., butt ends down). Tie in and wrap the hairs securely atop the hook shank. Separate the deer hair evenly with your dubbing needle (bodkin). Gently pull the foam strip forward between the hair to a point 1/8th" behind the eye of the hook, wrap securely then trim excess foam. Secure with several tight, contiguous wraps, working the thread to a point directly behind the eye of the hook.


Attaching legs and forming the head of the ant.

Step 8: Gently bend and push down the two sections of deer hair along each side of the body to form the legs. Cut the hair evenly at a length equal to the distance between hook shank and point.


Deadly Foam-Bodied Wet-Fly Winged Ant Pattern (natural deer hair from belly to form legs).

Step 9: Apply a dot of Hard-as-Hull head cement or a two-part 5-minute epoxy to the thread head.


Front view of the winged cinnamon wet-fly foam ant (dyed deer hair from bucktail to form legs). Last month's Part I showed profile and underbody.

Note: Selecting the softer deer hair from its belly, rather than from the tail (bucktail), will allow you to pinch and crush the hollow hairs to form claw-like legs of the insect. If you wish to present a more authentic representation referencing the anatomy of an ant, underscoring six legs and two antennas, have at it. I don't believe it makes a difference as the predator fish is simply looking at a satisfying snack/meal and is not that selective me thinks. I exaggerate the number of legs so as to lend attention to the artificial. Occasionally, I do the same regarding antennae.

Tomorrow I'll cover a dry-fly recipe for the deadly winged ant.

Stay tuned.


Bob Banfelder
www.robertbanfelder.com

Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association

Recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Who's Who in America


Several of My Crime Fiction Novels Incorporate The Great Outdoors

Top to Bottom:
Fiction:

The Richard Geist Trilogy


Dicky, Richard, and I
The Signing
The Triumvirate

The Justin Barnes Four-Book Series

The Author
The Teacher
Knots
The Good Samaritans

Trace Evidence

Battered


Nonfiction:

The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water

The North American Hunting Smart Handbook: Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game

The Essential Guide to Writing Well and Getting Published