Tying Video – PA Ant

I had the opportunity throughout most of the 2000’s to fish a number of streams in central Pennsylvania.  Some larger streams and even some very small mountain streams that had Brown Trout, Rainbow trout and some small Brook trout in them.  Although I was able to fish during a number of hatches most of the fishing I did was during the “non-hatch” season and that meant that any dry fly fishing was mostly done with terrestrial flies.  This lead me on a search for a small ant pattern that would float well, was easy to tie and very visible.  I liked the Chernobyl Ant but it was a bit to large for my needs.  Yes, I know, I could have tied it smaller but I needed an ant pattern that could get down to a size 18 hook.  Through some experimentation along the lines of the Chernobyl ant I came up with a quick ant pattern that would float well, was easy to tie and could be seen easily from 40 or 50 feet away.  It is essentially a variation of the Chernobyl ant but I call it the PA Ant.

I have tied the PA Ant all the way down to a size 20 hook although I tie them mostly in size 12 through 18.  It is one of the quickest and easiest flies I have ever tied and in no time a person can have a dozen of these in their box.  It is also very easy to change up and have various colors and configurations for many different occasions.  The simplest change is to tie them with different “indicator” foam.  The second layer of foam is for the fisherman and not the fish.  It is an indicator for you so that you can see the fly in low light or shade when it is a good distance from you.  You can also add some deer hair, calves tail hair or synthetic hair to the top of the fly to make it more of a flying ant and even more visible.  Plus, you can change the black foam to some other color and even change the rubber legs to silicone legs to add more flash or action to the fly.

Tying the fly is very easy and it is a great fly for a beginning fly tier to take on as it builds basic skills and you can have a bunch of flies tied in no time.  The foam is usually cut so that the black foam is the same width as the gap of the hook.  I like the indicator foam to be about 1/2 to 2/3 the gap of the hook.  When I tie this fly I usually am tying four or five dozen.  To make the cutting of the foam a little easier and more consistent I use a paper cutter.  The kind that is used on craft paper or fabric.  The sheets of foam set on the cutter very nicely and in no time I have a bunch of strips of foam that are all the same width and ready to cut into pieces for the flies.

All in all, the PA Ant is a fun pattern to tie and fish.  I do not get back to those wonderful trout streams like I used to but the PA Ant has proved it’s worth on many other streams.  It also works well on stillwater and is a great fly for panfish on a lazy summer evening.

I published a video on YouTube on tying the PA Ant as well as a Step by Step article this time.  If you would rather purchase some PA Ants than tie your own, or perhaps you want one in your hand while you learn them, you can purchase some PA Ants here at Dressed Irons (while supplies last).  

As always, if you have any questions about this fly (or any other) you can leave a comment on Dressed Irons or any of the videos I have produced and I will help in anyway I can.   Enjoy!

Remember…..  It’s Fly tying…..  If you’re not having fun, You’re Doin’ It Wrong.

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