Smethurst’s Under-Feather Midge

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I know it’s not a Caddis pattern but I needed a break the other day and was searching youtube for the usual fly fishing distraction when I came across a video from Frank Smethurst. He ties a midge pattern that peaked my interest. This thing has it all, it looks buggy as hell, it’s easy to tie, I’ve got all the materials and it has me pumped for the frozen tundra and midge season that’s coming soon. I love the use of the under-feather and it had me looking my hackle stash over for other varieties of under-feather, some of the smaller pheasant tail feathers around the rump contain excellent under-feather for this use. Most of your capes are going to have some of this under-feather on the larger hackle feathers. This is the only and best use I’ve seen for this material to date, the down side you ask? I’m now going to have a hard time tossing those “useless” feathers after I’ve used the palatable hackle, I’m sure in a few years I’ll have a box brimming with nothing but the butt ends of hackle feathers, a testament to my obsession. I hate waste and this fly is a great “waste material” fly. I looked through my waste pile of  material trimmings and found enough spare materials off the bat to tie a half dozen.

Under-Feather Midge [singlepic id=2067 w=260 h=180 float=right]
  • Hook: #18-22 1X Short Scud Hook
  • Thread: Red 70 Denier UTC
  • Body: Stripped Peacock Herl
  • Wings: Pearl Krystal Flash
  • Thorax: Under-Feather

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Another anti-waste aspect of this fly is the stripped peacock herl. After reading a post from Switter’sB a year or so ago I’ve used only the herl on left side of my peacock quills for the fullness leaving several quills with the right side fully intact, now I have a good reason to strip those lengths of herl down to form quill bodies. I know there are chemical methods to strip the fibers off the quill but I’m not one to jump to chemicals if I don’t have too. A bit of my time and fingernails did just fine stripping the quills clean. I should also note that I used Zap-A-Gap to coat the herl body ensuring longevity. Always wanting to try my own variations I also fooled around with two colors of goose biot bodies, I love the look of a biot body. Check the video out, I enjoyed it.

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5 Comments:

  1. Great looking pattern but I need more direction on how to dub the under-feather. Also, I tied some up using red or black thread and 0.5mm plastic tubing over the thread. They looked realistic enough to get swatted!

  2. Very nice ties!

  3. Hello, could anyone tie Tom Helgeson’s favorite fly the blue butt with the recipe. Happy Holidays!

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