Fly Patterns - The Triple Double

                  The Triple Double



The Triple Double.  The Triple Double stole the show for me recently on the Green River in Utah. The first day found me wade fishing from the trail along the upper section (called the “A” section) just below Flaming Gorge dam. Since this was my first trip to this beautiful desert canyon stream, I didn’t know what to expect beyond what I’d been told by friends who’d been there in the past. I’d been told that the water is clear and that the fish count is huge. I quickly learned that both of those comments were understated. Standing on a high spot on the trail, I saw so many fish—all large—working both on and beneath the surface that I had to pinch myself to be sure I hadn’t died and gone to heaven. I’d tied hundreds of the flies suggested by well-meaning friends, and was anxious to begin fooling some of those shadowy beasts. Well, the fish aren’t so easily fooled—they’ve seen thousands of flies flung at them from both shore and boats, and they are wary. Suffice it to say that I fished hard all day and ended up with around ten fish—a mix of rainbows, browns, and cutthroats all on tiny nymphs save one caught on a small dry fly.


The next day I fished with guide James Boehm. As we left the put-in, I asked for his thoughts on how we’d be fishing that day. His response: we’ll stick to dry flies until it’s absolutely clear that we have to go to nymphs. I was delighted—albeit a bit skeptical, given my experience from the previous day. I watched as he rigged my rod with two dries—the topmost being a white-posted black ant with a #16 Triple Double at the point. The T-D was small and goofy-looking but I figured James knew what he was doing. We fished it all day and spanked ‘em. We talked—and laughed—over lunch about the odd little fella and kept coming back to the same point—it just works, Lord knows why. It looks a lot like the old fore-‘n-aft Renegade pattern, but features a third hackle in the middle. On the third day I again fished from the trail, this time from the bottom up three miles. The T-D worked again, although not as well as it had from the boat.


So I thought it would be fun to share the T-D and feature it in this column. I suggest that you tie this bug in small sizes for those rare days during winter when dries have a chance, and perhaps in larger sizes (up to #14) for the spring on both streams and lakes.


I’ll be tying this fly at the November meeting, so if you have any questions you can resolve them there.


Tying Instructions

We'll tie a #14:

1. Smash the hook barb unless you are using a barbless hook. Cover the hook shank with thread.


2. Just above the back of the barb tie on a #16 grizzly hackle. Wrap the grizzly hackle at that point. Two or three wraps will suffice.

3. Dub the rear third of the shank in the shape of an ant abdomen, just in front of the rear hackle.

4. Tie on the middle hackle (size 14) just ahead of the abdomen, and wrap it at that point. Again two or three wraps will be sufficient.

5. Just ahead of the middle hackle, dub the thorax. It should be a tiny bit smaller than the abdomen, as in the case of an ant pattern.

6. Tie in the front hackle (size 12) in front of the thorax and wrap it there, using two or three wraps.


7. Form a small thread head and whip finish.





Tying Tips

1. Use only high-quality dry fly hackle. I prefer the long, uniform saddle hackles because you can get a lot of flies from a single one. Don’t attempt this fly with inferior hackle—it will be a frustrating experience.

2. Keep it sparse. I think the success of this fly is tied to its exceptionally sparse appearance, which allows the inner body to show through.

3. Clip the bottom of the hackle even with the hook point for better floatation.


Green River Guides jokingly call this critter a “no see-um” because its neutral colors and appearance make it hard to see on the water even with polarized lenses. That’s why my guide James placed an “indicator” dry fly above the T-D. Leave about 24” between the flies and keep them separated on the water by lifting your rod when necessary to pull them apart. I discovered that using a large indicator dry fly such as a hopper did not produce as well. The reason? The bigger fly tended to dominate and pull the T-D around and make it drag. A small indicator fly won’t do that.




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