PA Ant Step by Step

Written by Ian Anderson

 

Background

The PA Ant was developed many years ago to fill the need for a quick and effective ant pattern for fishing the spring creeks in central Pennsylvania.  Many years ago I had the opportunity to spend some summer hours chasing Browns, Rainbow and Brookies on some of these small mountain streams and needed a simple ant pattern.  I liked the look and presentation of the Chernobyl Ant but not the size.   I needed something that I could tie on a small size 18 hook if needed.  So, I started experimenting and came up with a simple scaled down version of a Chernobyl Ant that worked perfectly.  I call it the PA (for Pennsylvania) Ant.  It is a very simple pattern that can be tied up fairly quickly and works very well.  Many a trout fell to this little fly on a warm summer evening floating this down under a bush, tree or overhang.  There is nothing to the pattern and if you are a beginning fly tier this would be a great summer terrestrial pattern to tie up.  I have not tested it but I image it would be a great panfish fly and tied in some #6 or #8 sizes could be good for bass as well.

I have detailed step by step instructions below for tying the PA Ant Nymph.  In some regards the high resolution images might help answer questions as to how to tie this fly.  I also have a detailed video on the tying the PA Ant Nymph (see below).  I recommend you watch the video first and refer back to it because there is some information that is in the video that is not included in this article.  At the same time, there is some information included in this article that is not in the video.  Just remember, it is fly tying, it is supposed to be fun and learning new flies and techniques, while confusing as you are learning, can be quite fun and rewarding.

If you have any questions about the article or the video, do not hesitate to leave me a comment here or on YouTube (the video) and I will be glad to help clear anything up.

 Materials

Hook: Mustad 9671 or 3906b or TMC 5262, #12 – #18
Thread: Danvile A Monocord or any 210 denier thread, black
Body: 2mm closed cell foam, Black and Orange
Legs: Round Rubber Legs, Medium, black

 

Instructions

1)  Place the hook in the vise.  You can de-barb the hook if you like. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
2)  Attach the thread about one eye length behind the eye of the hook. Advance the thread down the hook shank to just before the barb.  Then move the thread forward to just behind the point of the hook. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
3)  Place the Orange foam (indicator foam) on top of the Black foam and place them on top of the hook shank.  You will want to have the foam evenly spaced along the hook shank.  That is to say you should have the same amount of foam hanging off the front of the fly as the back of the fly.  Apply three wraps of thread around the foam and the hook shank and then pull down on the thread to cinch the foam to the hook shank.  Add five or six more wraps, tight wraps, to secure the foam on the hook.

Note:  The strip of black foam is cut to be the width of the gap of the hook.  The orange (indicator) foam is cut to be about 1/2 to 2/3 the width of the gap of the hook.  I cut both of then about 1/2 shank length too long off the front and back of the hook so they can be trimmed later.

PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
4)  Separate four medium round rubber legs in black and cut them to 1″ lengths.  Take two of the legs and tie them on top of the foam where you attached the foam to the hook with three snug thread wraps, not too tight.. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
5)  Fold the two pieces of foam back and expose the hook shank.  Advance your thread up the hook shank under the two pieces of foam. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
6)  Advance your thread to within one eye length of the eye of the hook. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
7)  Before placing the foam back on to the hook shank, place a thin layer of Zap-A-Gap (superglue) on the thread wraps on the top of the hook shank.  This will help hold the fly together. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
8)  Tie in the two pieces of foam at the front of the hook just as you did at the back of the hook. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
9)  Tie in the two remaining 1″ pieces of black round rubber legs in the front of the fly as you did in the back of the fly. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
10)  Fold back both pieces of foam to expose the eye of the hook.  Wrap your tying thread just behind the eye of the hook about four or five times.  Place a four turn whip finish just behind the eye of the hook and cut away the thread. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
11)  The fly is almost complete.  A little trimming, placement of the legs and some head cement and you will be done. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
12)  Trim the black foam off the front of the hook leaving about an eye length of foam sticking out in front of the hook. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
13)  Trim the black foam off the back of the hook leaving about an eye length of foam sticking out of the back of the hook. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
14)  Trim the orange foam over the front of the hook so that it is shorter then the black foam. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
15)  Trim the orange foam over the back of the hook so that it is shorter then the black foam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
16)  The orange (indicator) foam should be narrower and shorter then the black foam. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
17)  Slide each of the sets of rubber legs out to the sides of the fly so that they are perpendicular to the body of the fly. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
18)  Here is another angle of the legs in their final position.

 

 

 

 

 

PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
19)  Apply a small amount of head cement to the thread wraps at the back of the fly to help protect them. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
20)  Apply a small amount of head cement to the thread wraps at the Front of the fly to help protect them. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step
21)  The fly is done. PA Foam Ant - Step by Step

If you prefer, there is a video on tying this fly.  I recommend you watch the video even if you prefer the step-by-step directions as the video can clarify some of the steps.

Feel free to leave a comment or question below.  If you would like, you can purchase some PA Ants here (while supplies last).  I have them in three colors.

Always Remember…It’s Fly Tying… If You’re Not Having Fun, You’re Doin’ it Wrong!