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Beadhead Micro Mayfly

There are those times when only tiny flies will trigger strikes. Looking at these tiny imitations, one naturally wonders how in the world a fish can see them; how, even if they can see them, could they believe that it is worth the effort to eat such a small critter; and, even if they do see one and decide to eat your imitation, how can such a hook sink into a larger fish�s jaw and then not straighten out when the chips are down in the fight.

I have learned my lessons in this regard. Fish do indeed, at times, respond to tiny flies and yes, you can land larger fish although hooking them takes a bit more patience and finesse in striking once the strike is detected. I have found it helpful to set the hook in a gentle manner, using a pull on the line and a simultaneous downstream movement of the rod tip. Sometimes you can actually feel a small hook scraping across the inside of a fish�s mouth--especially larger fish. So, be patient and concentrate on "hitting" the strike with less vigor, and get used to pulling on the line at the same time; your hooking percentage with small bugs should increase with such techniques.

The selected fly is a Mike Mercer creation, according to the literature. Tying small requires a steady hand and slow movements, so here we go.



Hook:                Mustad 3906 or other standard nymph hook, # 16, 18

Head:                Small copper bead

Thread:             Chartreuse 6/0 or 8/0

Tail:                  Olive pheasant tail, 3 fibers, splayed

Abdomen:          Stripped peacock quill (olive)

Wing case:         Pearl flashabou over turkey

Legs:                  Olive pheasant tail

Thorax & collar:  Olive superfine dubbing


1. Place bead on hook, and cover hook shank with thread. To help hold the bead in place, wind on 3 or 4 wraps of .020 lead, and push it into the bead. The thread will hold all in place.

2. Tail is 3 fibers of olive PT, splayed so that one is in middle, one is out to each side. Tie in just above back end of barb.

3. Take one peacock herl, and using a soft eraser, strip off the herl from the quill. Take an indelible olive marker and "dye" it olive. Tie it in at the same place as the tail, and wind it forward all the way to the bead. Tie it off and bring thread back to about 1/3 of shank behind eye.

4. Here tie in a single piece of pearl flashabou, with the end facing to rear; next tie in a piece of turkey quill about 1/8" in width, also facing backwards.

5. Dub an olive thorax using fine dubbing.

6. Pull the turkey over the top, and tie off behind the bead. Then do the same with the flashabou.

7. Form short legs with a couple of fibers of pheasant tail, just behind bead.

8. Apply an olive dubbing collar, and whip finish.

9. If you feel real fancy, tie up a bunch and then mix up some epoxy and place a drop of it on top of the wing case. Not necessary and the fish could give a rip, but cute.

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Copyright 1998 by Granite Bay Flycasters unless otherwise noted.