While I was meddling around this afternoon, trying to come up with some more small terrestrial surface patterns for autumn grayling, it occured to me that very few of my patterns are made up completely of synthetic materials. Send me into any fly tying shop and I'll mostly head straight past the ranks of flashy fritz, chenille and foam products and make towards the drab looking corner of the shop where all the really good stuff hides. I love the subtle markings and colour shades of natural and dyed fur and feather: hare, seal, squirrel, mallard, hen and rooster are what get my creative juices flowing. And I'm not alone - a glance around the clientele of the BFFI this coming weekend will reveal dozens of like minded anglers lovingly frottering Nigel Thompson's dyed grizzle hen necks and stroking Steve Cooper's coastal deer hair; bending capes and examining barb density and stiffness; holding dyed saddles aloft to get a feel for the light-transmitted colours.
Man made materials do have their uses of course (where would tyers of klinks and emergers be without the ubiquitous TMC aero-dry wing for example?). It's just that I tend to apply them sparingly to my flies to add a touch of flash or sparkle to an otherwise drab pattern. The beetles I tied today are an exception. In keeping with my recent spurt of autumn grayling-oriented tyings, I dug out some interesting bits and bats to see if I could come up with a small irridescent number. The resulting pattern below consists of three synthetic materials: microbrite chenille underbody, loco foam back and a tiny pinch of prismatic SLF at the thorax. The loco foam in particular is a nice product - thin sheet foam with a metallic finish applied to one surface. Of course the fish won't see much of this nice shiny back when the beetle is sitting in the surface film, but as far as the angler is concerned, it looks pretty cool.....and sometimes, that's enough to justify the tying!
Hook: Partridge SLD #18,20
Thread: 14/0 green
Underbody: rusty brown microbrite (extra fine)
Back: Metz loco foam in tiger beetle green
Thorax: a few strands of prismatic SLF in peacock