Saturday, April 12, 2014

How to Tie the Tom Thumb

Original Versions of the Tom Thumb Flies
The Tom Thumb fly was developed in England in the 1940’s and eventually came to Canada and the United States. In the early 1960’s I bought the original pattern from a fly shop in Merritt, B.C. It worked very well on many lakes, especially Knouff, Little Knouff and Badger.

At some point in time another version was tied that displayed the front deer hair in a vertical position. On the original Tom Thumb the deer hair was spun all the way around the front of the hook. Steve Raymond’s book, Kamloops, shows another variation that is also effective.

All of these flies are effective, but from my experience, the full front hackle floats the fly better and has been more productive. It is a versatile pattern that has proven to be successful for trout, bass and other species. Below are the instructions for the Merritt, B.C. pattern.

Hook: Mustad 9671 or 9672, size 6-12
Thread: Black 3/0 Monocord
Tail, Body and Hackle: Deer hair

Step 1. Tie in a deer hair tail.

Step 2. Depending on the hook size, cut a clump of deer hair about one and a half inches to two inches long. Stack them until the butts are even, comb out the fluff and tightly tie in the butt ends about 3/16 inch behind the hook eye.

Step 3. Using your thumb and two fingers, pull all of the deer hair backwards to where the tail is tied in and tie it off. Return the tying thread to the front of the hook. Next, separate the body deer hair from the tail and bring it forward to the eye, spreading the hair around the hook 360 degrees. Tie it off securely.

Step 4. Pull the flared hair back to an upright position so that it flares out 360 degrees. Tie off and cement the head and it’s ready to fish. 

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