Tutorial: Uncle's Favorite Ant

In April 2019, I was honored to be the feature tyer for the Freestone Fly Company monthly tying subscription and this pattern is helped sell out the entire month on their end. I know this is a tutorial blog post but I just wanted to mention how amazing this subscription service is...please take a moment to check it out (click here!).

This pattern was then featured by Hook&Vice (check it out!) and gained further momentum and popularity. I'm now very happy to permanently post this tutorial on my site for all to enjoy! Please let me know your thoughts - 

The emergence of the Black Ant in the Spring typically means that it’s officially dry fly season. As these terrestrial critters make their way out of the ground and take to the skies, the fish can’t help but begin rise to feast on those bugs who took a wrong turn and ended up floating on top of the local rivers and lakes. The Uncle’s Favorite Ant is a small pattern that packs a huge punch by combining the floating features of foam and dry hackle into a profile that fish can’t seem to resist. These can be tied up in only a few minutes and can be used all dry fly season long.

Material List:

  • Hook: Favorite dry fly hook – size 16
  • Thread: Semperfli Nano Silk 12/0 – Black
  • Foam: 2mm Thin Fly Foam (black)
  • Dubbing: Black Hare’s Ear Blend or Fine and Dry
  • Legs/Wing: Ginger dry hackle

Begin your thread behind the eye and build a good thread base all the way to barb of the hook. Bring the thread back to the eye.

Cut a piece of foam that’s 1/8” wide by about 1 ½” long or, if you’re feeling crazy, one gap length by three shank lengths. Tie in your foam behind the eye of the hook and secure with tight wraps all the way back to the barb.

Build up a dubbing ball over towards the eye of the hook. Shoot to cover the back half or two thirds of the shank.

Pull the rear piece of the foam over dubbing ball and secure with a couple of right wraps. Repeat the process on the front section, starting from the eye and working your way toward the middle. Pull the foam tight to give the body sections some shape but be sure not to pull hard enough to tear it.

Add a few more wraps of thread and flatten out a section for the hackle. This section should be about the size of the hook eye. Tie in your hackle feather on a 45-degree angle with the shiny side facing the bend.

Wrap your hackle forward. Shoot for at least four good wraps and secure with your thread. Trim the excess hackle feather and skip your thread to the eye in front of the foam. Whip finish a couple of times and cut off your thread. Apply your cement on the underside of the front section to protect the thread.

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