Style - Ephemeroptera
(RWU Dun - Right Way Up
By L. T. Threadgold
Hook: Dry fly up-eye
(size 12 - 18)
Thread: 6/0 or 8/0 color to match natural
Tail: Betts' tailing fibers in two pairs - split
Body: Thread or very sparse synthetic dubbing
Rib (Optional): Single strand of Krystal Flash
Wing: Polypro Yarn color to match natural
Hackle: Grizzly, very stiff
With Two Wings
1. Place the appropriate
sized hook in the vise.
2. Choose an appropriate
colored thread, tie on one hook eye length behind the eye and
wind the thread rearward to slightly beyond the beginning of the
bend and then forward back to the start of the bend of the hook.
3. Using four Betts'
tailing fibers tie them in at the point where the bend starts
and split them into two pairs of fibers with approximately 90
degrees separation between the two pairs. These tail fibers are
essential features of this style of tying as they ensure the fly
alights upright consistently. If the fly tier finds his flies
with two pairs of Betts' tailing fibers do not consistently land
upright when tested or in use, then he should increase the
number of Betts' fibers to three or more on each side and again
establish a large angle between the bunches. With an increasing
number of tailing fibers the fly will descend more and more
slowly. With eight or ten tailing fibers it is unnecessary to
divide them into two bunches, descent will be measured, and the
fly will alight gently on the water. It is best to limit the
number of Betts' tailing fibers to the lowest number which
consistently gives upright landing.
4. If a rib is going to
be used, tie in the ribbing material now.
5. Either use the tying
thread to form a body if you wish it to be very slim or dub a
length of synthetic dubbing onto the thread for a more
substantial body and thorax. The dubbed thorax helps to set the
hackle and hold it in the desired position. Dub the body to the
eye of the hook, wrap the rib to the eye of the hook and tie off
both and cut off the excess.
6. Cut a short strip of
poly yarn of a color appropriate to the fly species being
copied. Avoid white that is too stark and looks unnatural.
Preferred colors are beige and gray. A piece of yarn about 1
inch long is about right and the piece should not be too thick.
The wings are placed just anterior to the middle of the body and
tied in using a figure-of-eight tying. A drop of thinned
Flexament is placed in the center to fix them to the body. Do
not use too thick a piece of poly yarn that will appear
unnatural. Let the thread hang immediately in front of the
7. Place the wings in a
8. Choose a hackle by
spreading its fibers at a right angle to the shaft and measuring
it against the hook by placing the shaft in line with the wings.
The hackle fibers should be long enough to project just beyond
the hook bend. Hackle fibers about 5 � 6 mm long are about
right for a size 16 hook, for example. Tie in the hackle
immediately in front of the wings with the butt facing towards
the eye and the hackle curvature upwards. Trim off the butt.
9. Wind the thread
halfway to the eye and leave the bobbin hanging.
10. Using hackle pliers
wind the hackle around the back of the wings, then forward under
the hook shaft, round the tying thread and back to the rear of
the wings again, so forming the front "feet".
11. Take the hackle
round the front of the base of the wings again and then
backwards underneath towards the barb, making sure the hackle
lie at an oblique angle. Repeat this two or three times,
ensuring that each turn lies behind the previous one. Two turns
should be sufficient for size 16 and 18 hooks. The last turn
should ensure the hackle fibers project beyond the hook bend.
(With larger hooks, 12 and 14, make sure the wings are tied in
halfway or only slightly in front of halfway along the hook
shank so that the hackle fibers project at least to the hook
bend. Hackle fibers about 7 - 8 mm should suffice and support
the barb above the water even if they do not project beyond the
barb itself. If this tactic does not succeed then it may be
necessary to use a longer hackle and more turns to provide more
"feet"). Bring the hackle round the front of the wing again and
let the hackle pliers hang down on the near side of the hook
shank, close to the eye.
12. Take the tying
thread round the back of the hackle and using a half-hitch tool
tie it in; repeat this three times making sure not to trap any
hackle fibers pointing forwards. The latter is best accomplished
by making sure the half-hitch tool and the tying thread are in
line with the hook length.
13. Trim off the hackle
and if you wish add some more thread to the head using the
half-hitch tool. Cut the thread.
14. Trim off the hackle
fibers above the horizontal so as to reveal the body color. This
is relatively easy if the wing is left in the gallows tool but
moved backwards, forwards and sideways with the finger as
necessary. This is not an essential step but one I prefer.
15. Trim the wings to
length depending on the size of hook; anything between 0.5 cm
and 1 cm is usually about right. This is best done while the
wings are still held in the gallows tool. Place a spot of
thinned Flexament between and round the wings to ensure they
stay apart and the hackle is locked in. Round off the tips of
the wings. Larger wings need stiffening with thinned Flexament
over the basal region of each wing and all wings should be
stiffened by being stroked between the thumb and forefinger on
which a drop of thinned Flexament has been spread. Before the
glue sets, the wings should be combed with a needle to spread
their tips and make them less dense.
16. Place a spot of head
cement on the head.
17. Treat the fly with a
liquid silicone floatant and allow to dry.
18. When viewed from
below the hackle should form a series of radiating spokes. Any
hackle fibers projecting directly downward should be removed.
The fly should sit firmly on the tying bench, level or with the
head slightly tilted downwards and the hook point should be
clear of the surface. From the front or back the fly should sit
level; if not either spread the hackle fibers or remove the
offending ones. On the water the fly should sit more or less
level with the hook clear of the surface.
With One Wing
1. Follow steps 1 to 4
of the dun with two wings.
2. Only one wing can be
used, since when at rest on the water the dun's wings are often
virtually together and from certain angles may appear as a
single structure. Form a wing by cutting a length of poly yarn
of the appropriate color for the species of dun being imitated,
then tie in the yarn starting a little way behind the eye and
continue winding the thread backwards to just before halfway, so
forming a thorax.
3. Tie in a hackle
immediately in front of the wing with the butt facing along the
length of the hook towards the eye, and the hackle curvature
upwards. Trim off the butt.
4. Wind the thread
halfway to the eye and leave the bobbin hanging.
5. Hold the wing taut
and upright in a gallows tool.
6. Wind the hackle as in
steps 11 to 15 of the dun with two wings pattern.
7. Cut the wing to
between 0.5 - 1 cm depending on the size of the hook. Shape the
tip of the wing to give a rounded outline and place a drop of
thinned Flexament round the base of the wing to lick in the
8. Follow steps 17 to 19
in the instructions for the dun with two wings.
This pattern is tied as
for the dun with two wings except for two essential differences,
1. Take the thread about
a third of the way round the bend of the hook and tie in a thin
strand of green poly yarn. Form a small egg ball with the green
yarn. Tie off and trim. An alternative is to use yellow or
mother-of-pearl Krystal Flash to form the egg ball.
2. When tying in the
wings place them slightly forwards of the normal position for
the dun pattern, or leave the wings in their usual position but
use a hackle shorter than normal, i.e. one which does not extend
beyond the hook bend. Reverse the normal winding sequence, that
is wind the hackle as described for the dun but form the front
"legs" with two turns underneath to the front and only one
underneath to the rear. These methods should result in the bend
of the hook dipping into the water, where the trout should see
the abdomen and egg ball. Check that the fly does sit "tail
down" by placing it on the water after treating the hackles to
float but not the egg ball. If the fly does not sit tail down,
move the wings slightly further forward in the next tying.
1. Hook size 12 to 18
depending on species to be imitated, 12 - 14 for large flies
such as green drakes or march brown, 16 - 18 for small to medium
flies such as BWO's.
2. Place the hook in the
3. Use a color of thread
appropriate to the species being imitated and wind it down the
shank and part way round the bend. Return the thread to the end
of the shank, and tie in two or three Betts' tailing fibers. The
balancing properties of the tails are not so important in this
pattern, since it does not matter which way up the spinner
lands, though this will normally be hook point down. Make sure
the tails are wide apart and in line with the shank of the hook,
so that they will lie on the water surface when cast.
4. Tie in Benecchi
dubbing of the appropriate color. At this point there are two
possible patterns, those with a body and thorax of a single
color (mono-color body) and those with a light-colored body and
a dark thorax (bicolor body). The reason for the bicolor body is
that many of the smaller species, but not all, have a thorax
that is darker than the abdomen. Others have a virtually uniform
body color, usually yellowish or whitish. In my experience both
bicolor and mono-color forms seem to work equally well. Poly
yarn can be used as an alternative for the body.
5. Take the thread back
from the eye a short distance and tie in poly yarn wings using a
figure-of-eight tying. White yarn is appropriate for spinners
since most spinner wings are translucent. Take the thread to the
eye, form a head and tie off.
6. Place a drop of
thinned Flexament on the center of the wing tying and spread a
little up each wing with a needle. This strengthens the roots of
the wings but be sure to confine the glue to the wing base.
7. Trim the wings so
that each is about the same length as the body but be sure that
they are not so long as to catch in the hook bend. Round the
ends and spread the fibers by combing with a needle; the wings
should be semi-translucent. Stiffen the wings by stroking them
with thinned Flexament spread between finger and thumb but make
sure the fibers do not bunch together again; if they do, then
comb them again before the glue dries. A correct light signal
will not occur unless the wings are separated into thin fibers,
so combing is very important for the success of this patter.
8. Treat with floatant.
When placed on the water the spinner should lie with the tails,
wings and body on or slightly in, the surface film. Legs to not
seem necessary in my experience, though doubtless trout see
these in the natural. Perhaps the reason that the absence of the
dark lines of the legs is not missed by the trout is because of
the characteristic large sparkling cross the pattern produces.
However, if the fisherman requires them, then a hackle can be
tied in after the wings. Tie in the hackle in front of the wing,
and take it in a figure-of-eight pattern round the wings. Tie
off and trim away all hackle fibers except those projecting
Testing the Fly:
The procedure below
applies to both the dun with two wings and with one.
1. Drop the fly from
about 4-5 feet above a carpet. It should float down with the
wing(s) uppermost. It may rotate a little but provided the
rotation is slow, it does not seem to matter when actually
casting at the waterside. The fly should bounce on the carpet
and stay upright. The single wing pattern does not land upright
as consistently as the two-winged variety if both have the same
number of Betts' tailing fibers. Consequently, it may prove
necessary to increase the number of tails with the single wing
variety. If either pattern repeatedly lands on its side or
upside down, this may be due to any one or more of the following
A/ The wing(s) is
(are) too long.
B/ If the wing(s)
seem of the right length, then move the tails further apart
and re-glue. As stated previously, these tails act as
balancers and also "push" the fly upright if it lands
sideways. Increase the number of tail fibers in subsequent
tying if necessary.
C/ Some hackle
fibers are projecting vertically downwards. Remove them.
2. Place the fly on the
water surface in a glass bowl. It should ride high but slightly
head down and the hook point should be clear of the surface.
Look at the fly from below and it should show the starburst
footprint but no hackles should project through the surface
film. If the fly persistently sits on settles down with the hook
point below the water level, then the wing is too near the eye.
Winding a hackle round a wing too far forward results in the
radiating hackles not projecting backwards enough to support the
hook point above the water. The propensity for hackles wound
round wings close to the eye leading to barbs below the water,
can be used to advantage in tying patterns to represent
Tips on using
After a catch the fly
should be dried with amidou and then treated with floatant or
drying powder. If the fly does not continue to land upright
after the first few casts then return it to the fly box for
further liquid floatant treatment at home and replace it with a
The colors I use for dun
bodies are yellow, orange, red, buff (olive), gray or insect
green. Combinations of colors are also useful, the first
mentioned of the following pairs being at the tail, red/gray,
black/yellow, black/white, yellow/orange, green/yellow and
red/green. Though some of these combinations do not occur in
nature, the reason for choosing such combinations rests entirely
on the known ability of trout to be aware of contrasts and their
sensitivity to certain colors.
by Bruce E. Harang ©
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