Sunday, January 20, 2013

Top Flies of 2012 - the Usual

So here it is; the last of the top flies of 2012 and as promised it is from Fran Betters.  The fly has an unusual name.  Apparently as the story goes, Fran was experimenting with snowshoe rabbit, common in the Adirondacks in winter, and tied a half dozen.  They sat in his shop for a while until Bill Phillips came by and bought the whole lot.  Apparently Bill was known to fish the fly everywhere he went and whenever anyone asked him what fly he was using he simply replied "the usual."

The fly is made entirely from the fur of the foot of the snowshoe rabbit which has a water repellent quality to it.  The dubbing formed from the fur is translucent allowing the color of the thread to  color to the body of the fly.  This past season, I had some excellent evenings fishing this fly when the sulfurs starting appearing from just before dusk into the dark.  I still remember one evening in particular, casting the fly out into the darkness and listening and feeling the takes of  large rainbows rolling on the fly.

This fly has everything I love about a good fly, an impressionistic profile and simple construction.  All it takes is a snowshoe rabbit foot and some thread.  I tie this fly on #14 and #16 short shanked hooks.  The shorter hook keeps the fly small but provides the wider gap of a size larger hook.  I tie this fly with fire orange thread and  primrose yellow.  Fish it on the dead drift as any other dry or tug it under at the end of a drift and retrieve it, both are effective ways to fish this fly.  I definitely recommend having  some of these in your box come summer and when your buddies ask you what you are catching fish on you can reply "the usual."

Mustad R48 size 14 or size 16
Fire orange thread
Natural or cream snowshoe rabbit fur (tail, body, and wing)

16 comments:

  1. Ha. What a messy looking pattern. Amazing what works sometimes huh? Keep the Fran patterns coming..... I tried buying a book of his patterns this weekend, but no way was I spending 125. I can't afford that.

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    1. Swamp Yankee - try going to http://www.ausablewulff.com. You may still be able to get the pattern guide for $25.

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  2. Mark
    Very unusual pattern, I can see where the body would need to be super repellant to continually produce action from the fibers of the fly. I like this pattern because it is a pattern you don't see everyday, such as the Padams, midges, or hares. Have you thought of experimenting and adding s strand of black or brown? This statement by you typifies why most of us love fly fishing--- "I still remember one evening in particular, casting the fly out into the darkness and listening and feeling the takes of large rainbows rolling on the fly."-----We all dream of this kind of action with your favorite pattern--great post enjoyed!!

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    1. Bill - thanks for your comments. I think there is a lot of room for experimenting with this pattern. You can get various shades of snowshoe rabbit foot and you can experiment with various color threads and dubbing (keeping the tail and wing snowshoe rabbit). Have fun with it

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  3. Nice tie.
    Frans rustic patterns, they're the usual for me.

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    1. Brk Trt - thought you might like this one. Think I've got Fran's Picket Finn figured out - stay tuned

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  4. One of my favorite all time flies...I always have some in my fly box. Nice post.

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    1. Kiwi - thanks, I've carried them for a couple of years but this year I really saw the value !

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  5. Two rows in my dry fly box of this pattern should say something about it's effectiveness.

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    1. Todd - that says its loud and clear. Curious what variations you find work best for you

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  6. Color variations are simple. Cream, Black (body),Burnt Orange (body), and Brown/Dun blend body. I use cream for the wing and tail on all the variations. Don't overlook this pattern in a size 18.

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    1. Thanks Todd - some helpful info there. Fran also tied it with the orange possum dubbed body as well.

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  7. Love it - such a "buggy" fly. I love that about Betters flies! Cant wait to see more of your "research" on Fran's flies!

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    1. Thanks Will, hope the next post doesn't disappoint

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  8. Great blog, I love fly pattern ideas.

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    1. Kevin - thanks and welcome to the blog

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