CTF Reel Logo Casts and Drifts
Monthly Newsletter of the Central Texas Flyfishers August, 2001 Vol. 7 No. 8
Calendar | Officers | Guides of Texas' Excellent Adventure | Fly Swap | Around the Next Bend
Fly Tying Feature | Back Issues | Home
Tuesday, August 14, 2001
CTF Meeting at Lion's Club Pavilion, City Park in San Marcos, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday August 25 - Sunday August 26, 2001
Monthly Outing (Lower Mountain Fork River, OK)

Tuesday, August 28, 2001
Fourth Tuesday Fly Tying, Tickle-Blagg Veterinary Clinic, San Marcos, 7:00 P.M.


President: Terry Blackwell
Vice President: Joel Chavez
Conservation: Billy Wofford
Outings: Kevin Duren & Johnny Quiroz
Secretary: Kim Heaston
Treasurer: Bob Blagg

Clip Art from Dave Whitlock

The Guides of Texas and Their Excellent Adventure

Our favorites, Marcus and Johnny were featured in Mike Leggett's Sports: Outdoors article in the August 5th edition Austin American-Statesman. Mike contrasted the attitudes and language of the young guides against traditional expectations while comparing their fishing expertise to those same expec-tations. As usual Marcus and Johnny and their easy grace charmed Mike like they have charmed us for these past two years.

Mike stated that he had reservations but that, once on the river, there was the common bond of fishing and the camaraderie that it brings. Kudos to the Dynamic Duo! You have taught that the love of the sport transcends age and tradition and you have taught me another reason why I fish.

If you want to read the article that Mike Leggett wrote go to http://www.austin360.com/statesman/editions/sunday/sports_19.html.

Another Fly Swap

Randy Edwards has invited us to join in another fly swap. As we have said before, a fly swap is where several people agree to tie a patter of their choice for the other members of the swap. You send off your offering and receive one of each pattern that the other members have tied. It's a great way to meet other fly fishers and to try new patterns.

Randy decided to have a theme with this swap. Tie any pattern you want as long as it is based on rabbit Zonker Strips. Mine is going to be the fly fisher's answer to the purple plastic worm. I don't know the cut-off for joining the swap but you can ask Randy using the club's on-line forum or contacting him at grayling13@yahoo.com. Keep yourself posted on the results by checking the on-line forum.

Clip Art from Dave Whitlock

Around the Next Bend

The summer of 2001 has meant many things to each of us, leaving with us memories forever etched into our minds. For some it has been a time of reflection about the past, and contemplation about things yet to be.

I write this on the eve of my departure to explore a part of Northern California that I had only passed through long ago. I have the privilege of going with a number of my friends, and I hope to witness the joys of both their exploration and camaraderie. I almost hate to think that fly fishing isn't the top priority on this journey. I've come to accept that our beloved tradition is a wonderful excuse to see pretty parts of the country, to where I would not otherwise venture. There are a few exceptions that are quickly overlooked when the fishing is good.

A recent wandering took me back to Denton, Texas, where I had attended graduate school more than ten years ago. I was somewhat surprised to see the I35-W corridor developed nearly all the way from Fort Worth to the merger with I35-E. Urban sprawl isn't a four-letter word but might as well be, in my dictionary, and is definitely not to be confused with "progress."

I'm also looking forward to our upcoming club trip to Beaver's Bend Resort Park in Southeastern Oklahoma. It will be an opportunity to catch some quality trout, without getting on a plane or driving 16 hours to do so. I wonder if we don't over plan this trip if more people will go? Our impromptu outings are a lot of fun, as well and are often well attended. Someone is always in the mood to fishing (check the message boards on the website) and is often looking for someone to tag along.

I hope that your memories, both past and future, give you the encouragement to explore around the next bend.

Michael Brown

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Clip Art from Dave Whitlock


Ants - Our Most Abundant Terrestrial Insect

Comments by Jim Abbs

While ants are not an aquatic insect, they appear to have a special place in the diet of many fish, including brook, brown and rainbow trout as well as all kinds of panfish. When ants are super-abundant, such as when a bunch of flying ants get blowed into the water during a hatch in the fall, fish seem to eat nothing else. Even when no fish are rising, small ant imitations (sizes 18-22) are very often deadly, even in very clear and smooth water. The intriguing question is why. Edward R. Hewitt tried to figure this mystery out by tasting the ants himself. He found them tart, and suggested that ants offered a savory pleasure to the trout--- like a dill pickle. But there are probably more basic reasons for the effectiveness of ant patterns, especially late in the season.

First, ants are especially abundant late in the summer, a fact that August picnic goers know well. Secondly, mayflies are less common as summer goes on, and there is some research indicating that for some lakes, terrestrials make up over 50% (and up to 80%) of a fish's diet during August and September. None other than Ernest Schwiebert argues that ants, because of their incredible numbers and constant presence, are the commonest insects available to trout. Third, like spinach and broccoli for my kids, ants are good for the fish! Biologists in California tested the food value of various insects and found that ants are pretty nutritious for their size. For example, it takes almost 10 midge pupa or over a dozen caddisfly larva to equal the calories in one ant. Finally, once an ant falls into the water, it is pretty much at the mercy of the fish… it does not float well on the top of the water and certainly does not have the ability to swim away.

Interestingly, the many ant patterns are not dry flies, but rather ride within the surface film---being neither wet nor dry.

This means that ant patterns must be carefully designed and tied to be effective. The other challenge with ant patterns is that there are an estimated 3,000 different species of ants, varying from the size 8-10 carpenter ants to the 22-24 minute black ants. They also vary in color from red to reddish brown to black of course, and some are even two colors like red and black or red and brown (see table for variations in color and size).

There are three basic ant ties: (1) the so-called ant wet fly, that is fished subsurface, particularly effective in fast and/or deep water, (2) the "suspended" ant, with a fur body that is somewhat more buoyant than the wet ant so that the fly rides within the surface film... definitely not on top, and (3) the flying ant, to imitate the fall hatches that excite even the avid mayfly angler, which rides low in the water.

Hook: Mustad 94840 or 94833 sizes 8-24
Thread: 6/0 black
Thorax: (1) wet ant: Wrapped and lacquered thread, (2) suspended ant: Dubbed fur, (3) winged ant: dubbed fur or poly. Note that deer hair (folded back and tied down) has also been used in ant patterns by Chauncy Lively and Paul Calcaterra, with legs from deer hair fibers that have been picked out.
Head: Same segment as thorax. Some tiers recommend creating a separate segment for the head (yielding two segments in front of the waist) in flies size 14 or larger.
Abdomen (also called the gaster): Same material as the thorax, but segmented from the thorax by a very thin waist.
Hackle: Dry fly hackle to match body color (see table below for eight color/size variations)
Wings: (Only for flying ant) Hackle tips or a bunch of white poly, tied behind the thorax and pointing toward the rear.


  1. Create the abdomen (gaster) with layers of tying thread (for the wet ant) or dubbed fur or poly (for the suspended or winged ant). With the wet ant abdomen, apply tying cement until the abdomen is smooth and shiny.

  2. Tie in the wings (for the flying ant) and hackle (sparse dry fly style) for all three patterns.

  3. Wind hackle around waist and trim the bottom so the fly rides down in the water.

  4. Form the thorax in the same way as the abdomen with a separate segment for the head, if the fly is size 14 or larger. Apply tying cement until the thorax is smooth and shiny

  5. Whip finish head, cement and go fishing.








Dark Dun




Dark Dun




Dark Dun




Rusty Brown







Reddish Brown

Dark Brown



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