I just booked tickets back to New York for the end of April to visit family, friends, and of course do some fishing. I'm hoping the weather will cooperate and I see some Hendrickson Mayflies. Odds are low, but regardless it has fueled me to start tying dry flies again.
This season I'm approaching the Hendrickson hatch a bit differently (and hatch matching in general). Reviewing photos, log books, and memories it's easy to see that fishing these selective trout can always be improved, and after your perfect drift has been refused, it's clear that your fly could be better. So now I'm trying something completely new (to me at least), the extended body.
Extended body mayflies have always intrigued me, but I never felt the need to tie them, mostly because of the additional tying time. However, this year the positive aspects of extended bodies finally got to me... You can create a more life like pattern, that has a smaller (better hidden) hook, that is lighter! Basically, it'll float longer, catch more selective fish, and the small hook is good for healthy C&R. That's a triple win.
I sat down at the bench last night and whipped up a few bodies, along with the beginnings of my new and improved hendrickson flies, follow along if you'd like....
First the extended body.
|Thin slice of craft foam poked onto a needle.|
|Loosely and carefully start thread around foam, not the bare needle.|
|Start to tie down the foam, thinking about the taper of a natural mayfly.|
|Keep the taper in mind, but also keep in mind you have to take this whole thing off the needle, so don't go nuts with too much pressure.|
|Add tails of your choice.|
|Tie on a biot or you could dub the body (just remember to keep it sparse). If you use a biot slap a bit of superglue underneath (keep the glue away from the butt end however, so you can tie in the body easier later.)|
|Finish up with with a whip finish.|
|Carefully remove body from the needle. I found pinching the whole body and a giving it a slight twist will help you pull it off. Just be careful here you don't poke the needle into your finger.|
There it is. You can change body colors, or external body materials however you'd like to match your hatch! Keep in mind they sell extended bodies now that are pretty much awesome, so if you are rich or on a time crunch just buy some.
Now onto my new and improved high viz rusty spinner.
|Add the extended body. This is tied to a #14 short shank curved.|
|Add a hackle.|
|Add a strip of white foam.|
|Wing material of your choice. I like medallion sheeting or organza. Pictured is organza.|
|Dub and hackle the thorax. Keep hackle turns at a minimum, these are legs not the floatation device.|
|Fold over high viz foam, and whip finish.|
|Cut wings to shape. You can color the sides of the foam to better match the hatch here. I usually color most of the foam, but a bit of white on top for visibility (see pic at very top).|
|Under side view one. I trim the hackle off the bottom of the fly to keep it flush floating and looking like legs.|
|Underside view two.|
Thanks for following along. Make sure you try something new at the vise, it will help you fall in love with tying again, and who knows it could help you catch that big one that keeps giving you refusals. Good luck to you, and your upcoming hatch matching season!