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MartinlfFebruary 23rd, 2012, 9:12 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2880
Has anyone here actually closely observed the color and translucency of a baetis shuck? If so, what did you see?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
KonchuFebruary 23rd, 2012, 11:22 am
Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 496
a uniform light gray
PaulRobertsFebruary 23rd, 2012, 11:53 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Thanks for that. I've tied them in both gray and olive, not really knowing.
KonchuFebruary 23rd, 2012, 12:29 pm
Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 496
tends towards brownish - gray covers a lot of territory
PaulRobertsFebruary 23rd, 2012, 4:26 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
OK. Thanks, Luke.
EntomanFebruary 26th, 2012, 5:42 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Hey guys,

I seem to remember discussing this topic fairly in depth recently buried in another topic, though I don't think we got specific as far as baetids. Here's a few thoughts:

1. The exuviae of these little buggers are pretty thin due to their size, so there's not much to them. Most z-lon brush style tails work fine for March Browns and such but are usually much too bushy and course to effectively imitate the tiny baetids on smooth water. They usually turn off more fish then they fool in my experience. Half a ply or so of fine antron yarn (3 or 4 ply, like Aunt Lydia's) with the tip melted does a much better job. Save the z-lon for a few short fibers along the sides to simulate the empty legs.

2. Though the shucks appear fairly translucent to the naked eye, some baetid nymphs are pretty speckly and a fair amount of this pigment is retained in the shuck. A few wisps of mallard flank included with the shuck material addresses this.

3. You'd think clear filaments would be best, but in use the stuff is way to bright and sparkly. Pale pastels (I prefer pale ginger, but don't think it matters) are far superior. When used sparsely, these colors give the illusion of natural translucency much better. I'm not a big fan of gray for the opposite reason. It tends to disappear in the surface meniscus. I like dun hackle on virtually all my parachutes for this reason. It doesn't obscure the color of the body & wing or obscure their outlines as much. A lot of underwater observation looking up at floating flies has proven this to me.

4. In terms of actual usage, my #1 fly choice always seems to be a dry imitating either the dun or spinner, closely followed by a nymph in the top three inches of the water column. After these, I use a north country wet or a little hackled wingless wet fly to simulate the diving/drowned spinners a lot. Well down the list is the Quigley Cripple or Klinkhammer type.

5. The only "shucked" pattern I carry for baetids is a loop winged Hackle Stacker, sometimes with the shuck tied between the split tails as mentioned above. Sometimes, I'll trim out the shuck and occasionally even the wings as it has become my "go to" when both duns and spinners are on the water and I'm not sure which one they want... This happens a lot!:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
MartinlfFebruary 26th, 2012, 7:12 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2880
Thanks, Kurt. I recently found what I thought had to be a baetid shuck in an eddy and it was, as you describe, relatively translucent. I've had luck tying baetid shucks with a few fibers of olive dyed mallard, plus a bit of tan antron, or a few long cdc fibers. I sometimes gather these at the end, using a knot of tying thread and a micro dot of super glue, letting the mallard tips extend as tails. Your observations are very helpful, both in confirming my guesses, and giving me some new ideas.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
KonchuFebruary 26th, 2012, 8:40 pm
Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 496
I'm hoping to photograph some examples this spring. If I get anything appropriate, I'll share here.
GutcutterFebruary 26th, 2012, 9:47 pm
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
1. The exuviae of these little buggers are pretty thin due to their size, so there's not much to them. Most z-lon brush style tails work fine for March Browns and such but are usually much too bushy and course to effectively imitate the tiny baetids. They usually turn off more fish then they fool in my experience. Half a ply or so of fine antron yarn (3 or 4 ply, like Aunt Lydia's) with the tip melted does a much better job. Save the z-lon for a few short fibers along the sides to simulate the empty legs.
I tend to use a sparse amount of "Haretron" type dubbing for my smaller fly shucks

2. Though the shucks appear fairly translucent to the naked eye, some baetid nymphs are pretty speckly and a little of this pigment does remain in the shuck. A few wisps of mallard flank included with the shuck material addresses this.

I like to use 3-5 wood duck fibers mixed in and extending just beyond the shuck

3. You'd think clear filaments would be best, but in use the stuff is way to bright and sparkly. Pale pastels (I prefer pale ginger, but don't think it matters) are far superior. When used sparsely, these colors give the illusion of natural translucency much better. I'm not a big fan of gray for the opposite reason. It tends to disappear in the surface meniscus. I like dun hackle on virtually all my parachutes for this reason. It doesn't obscure the color of the body & wing or obscure their outlines as much. A lot of underwater observation looking up at floating flies has proven this to me.

My shuck color of choice is basically a shade or two lighter than the "mature" nymph. I use a rabbit/antron blend (for the small olives, it is just a wisp of brownish grey dubbing).

4. In terms of actual usage, my #1 fly choice always seems to be a dry imitating either the dun or spinner, closely followed by a nymph in the top three inches of the water column. After these, I use a north country wet or a little hackled wingless wet fly to simulate the diving/drowned spinners a lot. Well down the list is the Quigley Cripple or klinkhammer type.

My #1 choice is a sparkle dun (cdc if in 18 and smaller). Often, I will trail a nymph (sometimes floating, sometimes an inch or so deep). As the hatch progresses, I usually will switch to a hackle stacker.

5. The only "shucked" pattern I carry for baetids is a loop winged Hackle Stacker, sometimes with the shuck tied between the split tails as mentioned above. As often as not though, I'll trim out the shuck and occasionally even the wings as it has become my "go to" when both duns and spinners are on the water

Interesting. Something new to tie.

and I'm not sure which one they want... This happens a lot!:)

and when there are duns of one fly with spinners of another bug...
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
EntomanFebruary 26th, 2012, 10:28 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
You're welcome, Louis. Yeah, the knotted & tied shuck is a beautiful solution, but man is it a lot of work. Not easy work, either! Especially with the sparse tiny shucks.

Another hatch where I use a pattern with this kind of shuck a lot is with the stillwater dwelling Callibaetis. It's a very important hatch out here. Sometimes the fish can really dial in on the emergers in the surface film, and the shucks are the faintly speckled kind. Besides the cripple, the hackle stacker tied the way I mentioned really does the job. I melt the yarn with a lighter (not too close or you end up w/ a little dark brown dot at the end) and then tie it in to length. Over the top, I'll tie in six mallard flank barbules - half shuck length, half tail length. Viewed from below, the shuck mutes the speckling and retains the desired translucence very well. Then I tie a few z-lon fibers on the sides to simulate legs and finish the rest of the fly normally. It's really fast and easy and by far the best shuck imitation I've been able to come up with. The only problem with fur & feathers is you can't melt them for that nice taper and they're too opaque. BTW - The heavily specked wings of the Callibaetis calls for a wing that shows this, so I usually use teal on this pattern. Loop wings on the little baetids for any type but the calmest of waters may not be necessary but I still use them as there unfolding wings can look to have dark spots as well. I also often add outrigger tails in case I want to trim out the shuck (see reasons given in the post above) and usually use dubbing for the thorax.

Here's a couple of photos of the fly to illustrate what I'm talking about. Callibaetis a stouter bug than Baetis, but the concept is the same. I couldn't get a ventral, but the dorsal illustrates the point.

Hackle Stacker Loop-wing Emergent #16 (Callibaetis)





Materials list (in order of application)

Hook - TMC 100 #14 - #18
Thread - UNI 8/0 tan (gray in version #2)
Husk - 1/2 ply tan Aunt Lydia antron yarn, melted at tip
Over-husk - sparse mallard flank, two lengths (teal flank in version #2)
Husk legs - matching Z-lon
Abdomen - stripped grizzly quill (dyed Dk. dun grizzly in version #2)
Hackle - grizzly saddle (Dyed Dk. dun grizzly in version #2)
Wings - mallard flank (teal flank in version #2)
Thorax - tan foam, marked w/gray (gray foam, marked with black in version #2)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRobertsFebruary 27th, 2012, 11:51 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Very nice, Kurt. Elegant.
MartinlfFebruary 27th, 2012, 2:22 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2880
the knotted & tied shuck is a beautiful solution, but man is it a lot of work. Not easy work, either! Especially with the sparse tiny shucks.


Yes it is. The easiest way I know is to tie the knot at the head of the shuck, then slip it down to the target spot, apply the super glue, then pull the knot fully tight again (it loosens some when I slide it down). One thing I like about doing this is that the fragile mallard or wood duck is then incorporated into the more resilient antron shuck, protecting it some. Gonzo just uses a bit of glue, but I have had luck with CDC shucks, and trying to glue them without a knot of tying thread is just asking for trouble.

I always find it encouraging when other tyers come up with solutions similar to the ones I devise. Makes me think I might be doing something right after all. Thanks to all who have posted on this topic.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
JOHNWFebruary 27th, 2012, 4:07 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Louis,
I have gone to 2-3 strands of mayfly brown z-lon and an equal number of fibres from a wood duck flank for my tails on baetis "emergers". Relatively quick to tie and lasts longer than my fly is knotted to my tippet.
I can't say I carry a wide variety of baetis patterns typically just some parachutes and an RS2 type emerger are all I need for this hatch.
JW
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
EntomanFebruary 27th, 2012, 11:19 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Tony -

I tend to use a sparse amount of "Haretron" type dubbing for my smaller fly shucks

That sounds like a great idea for the tiny ones. How small do you use them?

My #1 choice is a sparkle dun...

When you say Sparkle Dun are you talking about the original? They disappointed me years ago for anything smaller than a #12 until I started to use z-lon in place of the deer hair.

...and when there are duns of one fly with spinners of another bug...

Ah, yes. My favorite... This fall, one of the spots I hit at least once a week was incredibly consistent with two species of Olive Quills (#16 & #18), a tiny Sulfur Quill (#20), and sparser hatches of two different Mahogany Duns (#14 & #16)! Even got bushwacked by a green Pale Morning Dun one afternoon (I love the double oxymoron with that one). Kept me on my toes!!:):)

The Baetis are the funny ones though with their pulse activity. I run into more guys flogging away fruitlessly with spinners because they see fish rising (taking nymphs) with spinners in the air (just beginning to swarm) and no duns on the water. They just assume that's what they're supposed to do. Then the duns happen... But by the time they notice and tie on a new fly it's already petering out. So, after a fish or two, they start to struggle again and try a nymph... As the spinner fall begins! About the time the spinner fall finishes they switch to a spinner pattern just as the nymphs are starting over again. The circle is complete... The dummies! Good thing I've never done that... :):)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
LastchanceFebruary 29th, 2012, 9:49 am
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
the knotted & tied shuck is a beautiful solution, but man is it a lot of work. Not easy work, either! Especially with the sparse tiny shucks.


Yes it is. The easiest way I know is to tie the knot at the head of the shuck, then slip it down to the target spot, apply the super glue, then pull the knot fully tight again (it loosens some when I slide it down). One thing I like about doing this is that the fragile mallard or wood duck is then incorporated into the more resilient antron shuck, protecting it some. Gonzo just uses a bit of glue, but I have had luck with CDC shucks, and trying to glue them without a knot of tying thread is just asking for trouble.

I always find it encouraging when other tyers come up with solutions similar to the ones I devise. Makes me think I might be doing something right after all. Thanks to all who have posted on this topic.


Louis, Hi! I hope all is well. What if you tied on some z-long, melted it a bit with a lighter, and then add a few strands of mallard.
Bruce
MartinlfFebruary 29th, 2012, 8:43 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2880
That would work, as Kurt illustrates. And when I said "Yes it is" I meant, yes it is a lot of work. I just realized that may have been unclear.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
LastchanceMarch 1st, 2012, 9:10 am
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Hey Louis. Do you think my idea for a shuck has any merit? Melt the Z-Lon and then add some Woodduck fibers etc. for segmentation?

Also, why would you need to knot the shuck, anyway?
MartinlfMarch 1st, 2012, 4:59 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2880
Ah, as someone recently noted to me, Z-lon doesn't melt like antron. I have some fine antron dubbing I prefer, and I knot it at the end to simulate the shape of the nymph. I'll show you later this month on SC.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GutcutterMarch 4th, 2012, 10:03 am
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
When you say Sparkle Dun are you talking about the original? They disappointed me years ago for anything smaller than a #12 until I started to use z-lon in place of the deer hair.


No, not anything close to the original. I consider this to be a very bastardized version of a sparkle dun. I tie a dozen or so of any mayfly 18 and smaller like this, and have picked up some "snooty" risers that hadn't responded to anything else that I tried
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
PaulRobertsMarch 4th, 2012, 10:24 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Ooooo...I like that one. Esp for flat water.
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