Footprint Dun – The Summer Saviour step – by – step tying guide.

I’m getting the hang of the step by step sequences, but my photography still needs sharpening up, but bear with me, a new one is in the post, and a photographic enthusiast is coming to visit.  Tie a dozen of these, in a couple of different colour hues.  If you are reasonably competent tyer, and don’t have a problem tying them on 16’s, do another half dozen or so on 18’s, if you go larger than 16’s, then the weight of the hook compromises the ability of the legs to support them, – I’ve seen them tied on a #26 !  When you’re confident with tying this fly, try a couple of colour and material variations, maybe a stripped peacock herl abdomen, a touch of Hares mask fur for thorax.  If you’re an experienced tyer,  instead of the usual Uni Thread, try tying them with Danville Spider web, its less bulky and I feel easier to manage, and for the head when you finish the body, mark it with a black or dark brown permanent marker and whip finish to form the head. 

Below is a picture of the basic materials; I’ve used a Kamasan B170 #16 hook, and for the purposes of this set of pictures, Uni 6/0 Tan tying thread.   For the Abdomen and Thorax, in this example I’ve used    Fly Rite Fine Dubbing.   Select the colours that suit your locality, in this instance, I’ve used No29 Western Olive. The tails, and the supporting legs are bristles from a fairly cheap paintbrush.


Begin a normal whipped thread base at the eye, stop after approx 3mm, and tie in one inch of Poly Yarn by the tip. This will become the loop wing in a couple of moments 


Having secured the first part of the yarn, lightly, pinch it lightly with finger and thumb, using a dubbing needle or similar, lift the yarn to form a wing loop, whilst still holding the yarn, then tie the rear part of the now formed wing loop down onto the shank so it appears as in the picture.

Secure the rear of the loop, not too tight at first, hold it with the first few turns, then tighten it by pulling tying thread upwards which should prevent yarn spinning on the hook shank.  Keep hold of it between thumb and forefinger until its well secured.  Snip the waste off at an angle and cover it with thread.

For the legs and tails, and for tails on other flies as well,  I use the bristles from a cheap paint brush that I picked up from B&Q,  I can’t discern any difference in the bristles compared to the more expensive microfibbets, you can select alternative colours from black through to a light olive ! – three for a £1 when I bought them !

 Tie in just two of the fibres on the opposite side of the hook, don’t try to do four at a time, its quite difficult to fix them to the shank.  Measure the approximate length of hook shank, and match it for the tail filament length on the finished fly, it doesn’t matter if you get it wrong, whilst its only held with a couple of wraps, you can pull them through the wraps to get them the length that you want them.   

 Now tie in the second pair of fibres, measuring and adjusting their length to match the opposite side.  Tie and tighten the threads, remembering to put a loop of the thread under the tail fibres to make them slightly cock upwards.  Once you have them secure, pushing a thumbnail under them, towards the eye will make them lift and seperate nicely.   If you have any problems, use a dubbing needle to seperate them, and pass a seperating thread in a figure of eight which should do the trick.  Some tyers prefer at this stage to put a tiny dab of glue or varnish on the seperated filaments to keep them in an exact position.  

Using your chosen dubbing colour, dub on a sparse, and slim short length and begin wrapping around the shank, start very sparse at the end of the abdomen, overlapping each time to increase thickness of abdomen as you wind on.  BEFORE you go too far, pull the outer bristle from each side backwards, to form the rear legs.  Tighten the dubbing, and wrap around,  binding each leg filament to the hook shank, and then between the shank and the leg, and it should cock out nicely at an angle from the hook.  Wind on more dubbing, and just before the wing post, repeat the splaying and tying of the fibres in reverse, to create front legs.

This is how it should be looking at this stage.  Once you’ve got the front legs splayed as the rear pair, finish dubbing wrap, ensuring that the wingpost is properly covered and tapering down sharply.   About 2mm from the eye of the hook, whip on a neat small head. 


 These are a few I tied this morning, you will notice that one or two of them have the alternative hares mask thorax dubbed onto them, with a stripped Peacock Herl abdomen.  

Here’s a closer picture for you to see, – maybe to the purist they’re not OE’s pattern, but the significant feature is that they land upright on the water, their feet causing dimpling and refraction of light, whilst the tail provides extra stability.  They are very easy to see, and provoke fish to take them when they’ve refused other flies.   See my comments on the earlier posting below re when I use this fly to rescue what might otherwise be a blank day.


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