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Bill's Simple Tarantula

Small Tarantula-like spiders live around the edges of ponds which have grassy banks. Those that somehow find themselves on the water are instantly gobbled up by panfish and bass. Some of these spiders have large egg sacks of a creamy yellowish color, contrasting against their brownish, somewhat hairy body. this pattern seeks to imitate these spiders with materials different from the usual panfish spider patterns, which normally use rubber legs. Instead, knotted pheasant tail fibers, which have a hair look, serve as the legs.


Hook Tiemco 200R, Daiichi 1270. An alternate would be a Mustad 33906, which is a specially configured popper hook. Sizes 8-16

Thread Brown 6/0 or 8/0

Body medium brown closed cell foam, such as Spirit River, Inc.'s "SRI Fly Foam"

Legs Pheasant center tail feather fibers, knotted to form a joint

Egg Sac (optional) Ball of cream fur dubbing ( beaver or synthetic)

Eyes (optional) High quality gloss enamel paint (red, black or both)


The following instructions are for a size 10 hook. The proportions need to be adjusted for different sizes. The color can be varied, but from my observations these small Tarantulas are almost always brownish.

1. Place hook in vise and cover hook with tread.

2. Cut a piece of foam one inch long and approximately 3/8 inch wide.

3. Place a few drops "superglue" such as "insta-Cure" on one half of the piece of foam, and fold it in half, thereby gluing it into a single, smaller piece. Be sure to keep glue off of fingers. It should set within a minute. It is best to doa dozen or so of these at one time.

4. Once it is dry, it should be carefully trimmed to a rough heart shape.

5. With a pair of tweezers, hold the shaped body over a cool flame to round the edges. Sanding also works, but tends to leave the foam rough.

6. Using a sharp razor blade, make an incision in the body from approximately its middle to the front. this slit will be where the hook is inserted. Great care should be taken to slit only half way through the body.

7. Place a few drops of superglue in the slit and place the body onto the hook, adjust it so the eye sticks out and the hook is slipped into the pre-cut slit. Set this aside and allow to dry for at least an hour, while working on the others.

8. For the legs, select long fibers from a pheasant center tail. Use approximately 6 to 8 fibers, and tie an overhand knot in the middle of the section. This will take some practice and patience. It is essentially the same method used to make hopper legs.

9. Placing the now - dry body back into the vise, separate and create a joint between the thorax and abdomen areas with tight wraps of thread. The thorax area should be slightly smaller, so that the abdomen looks nice and round and fat.

10. Use four of the knotted pheasant tail sections to form the legs. To do the front legs, simply tie one side in at the joint at 45 degree angle with the tips to the outside and pointing forward; then tie in the other side the same way. Repeat the process for the rear legs pointing rearward, which can be made slightly longer if desired. Once all of the legs are attached, each of the joints should be given a drop of superglue.

11. Whip finish in the joint area and apply a drop of superglue.

12. since some of the these spiders have egg sacs, the tier may wish to dub in a ball of cream colored dubbing just beneath the abdomen on a few of the flies, just for variety.

13. If eyes are desired, simply place a drop of high quality gloss red or black ( or a combination of those colors) enamel on each side of the thorax area near the hook eye.

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Copyright 1998 by Granite Bay Flycasters unless otherwise noted.