Parachute Ant Fly Step-by-Step

Parachute Ant Fly Step-by-Step

“Well, let me tell you, ants are the dominant insects. They make up as much as a quarter of the biomass of all insects in the world. They are the principal predators. They’re the cemetery workers.” – E.O. Wilson

I would be remiss to begin any article on ants without reference to the great Myrmecologist, and father of Sociobiology, E.O. Wilson. An intellectual giant who built his career on a passion for ants, Wilson was a fisherman himself (at least as a child). In fact, his passion for ants may have stemmed from fishing, or rather a fishing incident that left him blinded in his right eye. Lacking stereoscopic vision as a result, he found himself drawn to the smaller things especially those he could view through a microscope. This is a Step-by-Step tutorial though, and not a biography of E.O. Wilson, so I will end this portion of the discussion with the following link. A documentary nearly two hours in length, I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about this great man.

Returning to Dr. Wilson’s quote from the perspective of the fly tyer, it should be clear that any group of organisms responsible for 1/4 of all insect biomass on the planet deserves a spot in our fly box. And, as with beetles, their terrestrial nature makes them fairly easy pickings once in the water.

With maintaining a narrow “waist” considered key to the success of any patterns, the following tutorial utilizes a parachute hackle in lieu of the more tradition hackle wrapped around the hook shank.

Tiemco TMC 100 (size 14-20) Veevus 12/0 (Black or Brown)Materials Fine Dubbing (Color to Match)
Materials Fine Dubbing (Color to Match)Materials Antron or Para Post Saddle Hackle (Dun or White)

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Parachute Ant Fly Step-by-Step Tying Instructions

Alternative ties:

Craft Foam Ant – Tied in similar sizes to the pattern above, this ant forgoes hackle (parachute or otherwise) and instead relies on a lightly dubbed underbody overlaid with 2-mm Craft Foam. Securing a thin strip of craft foam (~1.5x hook length) extending from the bend of the hook, a fine abdomen is dubbed before the craft foam is pulled forward over the dubbing and secured with thread. The foam is then pinched to the hook shank creating the same narrow waist before the process is repeated to create a head/thorax. Excess foam is trimmed at the hook eye and an optional hotspot material may be added to help track the fly in the water.

Sunken Ant – As with other terrestrials, not all ants float. To create a sunken ant consider creating a thread body and coating UV resin. The example included was tied on a #16 jig hook allowing for the addition of a tungsten bead beneath the thorax/head if you need to get deep. A single wrap of hackle was added at the waist to provide a “leggy” look. And the red ribbing effect was created by wrapping X-Small wire prior to coating with UV resin.

Proof of Concept:

While I’ve landed everything from bluegill to brook trout on the parachute ant presented, it appears none proved noteworthy enough to document in pictures. For the time being, you’ll have to take my word for it. Though I promise to update this section come spring as weather and opportunity allow.

Tight lines everyone!


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