Opinions wanted: Foam flies

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by David Holmes, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. A fly fisherman husband can be hard to shop for. When my wife got me the book "Tying Foam Flies" by Morris I'm pretty sure she was just trying to get me something she knew I didn't already have.

    I've never cast a foam fly, much less tied one. They seem a little ugly to me.

    Are foam flies *the new black*? The hot new thing? A passing fancy? Or a tool to whip out at the right opportunity?
  2. I use foam in most of my trout flies, but I try to not over do it. I believe that it is here to stay, like some materials foam can be use in many way beside a huge hunk of floating fly. I use it as a thorax because after a light sanding it collects air bubbles and it gives dries a little more float. Some of the hopper and ant patterns I see I think going a little to far but thats fine as long as you have confidence in what your using. Foam is one of those thing that borders in fly tying but I think when dressed properly and and fished right it is a definite tool to use.

    here is a example of how I use foam:
  3. Using foam flies is another great thing to add to your box. A Chernobyl Ant is arguably one of the best terrestrial patterns out there and one that I try not to be without on a trout stream in the summer. I have also seen some great hopper bugs that were made of foam.

    Like all different techniques, it's just something that after you play around with you can find interesting ways to add to your own creations. It may not be the end all, be all, but it is something that can make great flies that are effective on the water.

  4. I wouldn't say they're new. I've seen them for quite a few years. I just think like most things, they're hitting mainstream. Was a bit more quiet.

    I've seen some pretty cool things with foam. Have seem on floating flies (like wogs) a layer of thin foam for the back to add as "floatation". So that way you didn't have to retire a fly for a bit that had soaked up too much water and wasn't releasing water on the cast.

    If you do get into tying with foam. Go to the craft stores. You can buy similar stuff at a fraction of the cost. In multiple colors too.
  5. I like that idea. Do you glue it on or tie it on?
  6. You tie it in actually. You do the marabou tail like normal. Then tie in the back piece of foam (cut to size already). Then spin the deer hair body and trim to size. Once you're done trimming pull the foam forward and cinch down with thread. Do a couple half hitches and call it quits.
  7. There is a mouse like pattern, called the "Life Jacket", that is a combination of hair stacked on a hook, hanging off of the sides, a little trailing, and a foam back folded over the shank from back to front, folded standing front, so it has an integral front collar to plow the wake, very effective.

    I like the foam flies. Sometimes they dont last, but that's a good thing in my book, means Im catching!
  8. You asked for opinions. Here's mine, plus some other stuff thrown in for good measure.
    We all have our self-prescribed parameters and hopefully we apply them only to ourselves. Clearly, you are intrigued by the possibilities of foam. So have at it, any way you see fit and have fun with it. Tie em, fish em, decorate your tree with them. In fact, if you take a fat gummy minnow, one of the ones with lots of glitter mixed in and you position it just right, in front of a colored christmas tree light you can create... oh, never mind.

    Currently I see foam flies for fishing as just one step away from jelly worms, gummy minnows and jelly eggs.

    There is really nothing new about foam flies. They were around when I was a kid learning to fish forty some years ago. The foam was a little different, more like rubber with air bubbles. They had foam bodies and/or rubber legs, some had feathers or hair glued or tyed on them. So if it's a passing fancy it sure is taking a long time to pass.

    For now, I have a full pallet with just feathers and fur (natural and synthetic), but who knows maybe some day I will look at those things and say, “Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if I took one of those and...”

  9. I got schooled by one of skip Morris's big orange foam stones. I was fishing with a guy on very much my home water, we were doing O.K. with the standard patterns I fish for this hatch and this guy puts on this big orange foam abortion thing from the book you are talking about. It made my patern look sick, it was getting hit 10 or 12 to 1.
  10. I've been told that chernyobals can be deadly on some desert lakes for rising big trout out of the depths. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to give this a try on the eastside of the mountains since I heard the news.

    BTW, anyone have a recipe for that Lifejacket fly?
  11. Every one of my hopper patterns is tied using foam. Also, foam ant patterns are deadly as well as beetles. Rainys make an ultra thin foam that makes good nymph and small dry back. Check out www.montanafly.com for some good foam tricks and patterns. It is also a good choice for summer bass and panfish. Good luck1
  12. For tying a floating fly, using a bouyant material like foam is just good sense. My objection to many foam flies is aesthetic: a piece of cut foam is a little rectangle, while insects are naturally rounded, tubular. Just tying in a slab of foam produces something that looks like Robofly. All that's needed is a little extra work with the scissors, rounding the contours.
  13. Thank God. Yours seem to be getting a bit narrow. First you won't lash a hunk of rabbit hide to a hook. Now you'll only use foam for holiday decorations. :rofl:

    What's next? Just mashed potatoes for dinner every night? :beer2:

  14. We can't very well have the entire forum filled with folks ready to jump on the latest shiny new bandwagon can we? That would make for a pretty boring community.

    Just say no to foam, jelly eggs and gummy minnows. Oh ya, and rubber legs too.

    P.S. You are treading on some very thin ice there, questioning the virtues of mashed potatoes :) The variations of the basic mashed spud are almost without limit. Much like feathers and fur.

    Mister Mashed Potato
  15. This coming summer when you hike into an alpine lake and want to know if there are any fish in it, forget the copper johns, or parachute adams, or price nymphs, just tie on a small chernobyl ant and cast it out and let it dead drift in the wind. A little chop is extra nice. If you haven't caught anything in 5 or 10 minutes, pack up and move to another lake, the one you are at is barren.

  16. A 'small' Chernobyl ant? What's that, about a size 8? Your typical Chernobyl ant is about 2 inches long, only marginally smaller than the stunted trout in many Alpine lakes:-D

    Seriously, despite MMP's (Mister Mashed Potatoes) protests, I think one of the main virtues of foam flies is that they float practically forever. I fish Club Sandwiches in Idaho occasionally. The fly will float all day long, if I can only manage not to lose it.

  17. He asked for opinions right? Ok,here goes;

    I have played around with foam since the late 80's--(ever since "the McMurray Ant " hit The Fly Tyer Magazine in 88 or 89 I think.

    Anyway-yes I have caught fish on the Chernobyl and oher rendtions and foam is certainly great for small and large "floating ants".I know for a fact that about 1000 different foam "Skwalas" were in vogue last spring.Foam bodied hopper patterns certainly float nice. Yep, I agree with all that.Yes indeed,I have about a cabinet drawer full of foam sheets bought for a fraction of the price found in our sports usual "haunts".

    Why is the drawer full?. Weel (sp intended)I believe, after years mind you of certainly unscientific data collection,that feathers,fur and hair will outfish foam.And when it comes to ants it's tough to beat a thread body ,or heaven forbid a glass bead body ant.yes sinking! How many ants do you see actually floating? for more than a few feet.Ok ,take the 12 incher if you want off the top but the 20 inch brute is on the bottom and will take the sinking ant and not the floater. I guess that is a fishermans choice,but I would rather catch the larger trout.

    I could go on but I have had a beverage or two and its time to rest.

    thats my take on it.Especially on our western rivers and in NoCal.(theres a difference).

  18. Kent,

    One late fall morning I stopped into the Worley Bugger in E-Burg on the way to the Yak. Danny always had coffee on and some old stale donuts around plus there is no lock on the restroom (impressive wader collection in there!) so I shoot the breeze and buy 30 bucks worth of flies I don't need and that's a great start to a low season day wading the canyon. Well this day the grab bag jar on the counter next to the register has plastic ziplocks with about 100 chernobyl ants for like 5 bucks canadian so I buy a bag. One of those was a little green and tan and black number with variegated legs that must have come from like a shop project or something (no offense Andy). It's maybe 3/4" long if that. Somehow it made its way onto one of my CF cards and I threw it into my pack on a late summer day hike to the Rampart Lakes. My bride, the dog, and I went in the "backdoor" that day (that doesn't sound good does it, you hardcore hikers know what I'm talking about) and after lunch and a nap I had an hour or so to fish. Had no problem fooling the young and stupid with a drifted prince. Pretty soon you know who is saying "We got to think about packing up". Yeah, just a few more minutes... sugar pie. I'd seen grasshoppers in the meadow around the lakes and thought "lets try something unconventional, where's that chernobyl ant". Cast out, drift in the wind on a gentle chop, the cutts were on it like a Great White on an Aussie surfer. Tried it in every alpine lake since with the same results.

    I've renamed it the Russian Express Ant... I don't leave home without it!

  19. I use Craft Foam to tie the bodies of my Stimulators. I simply cut a strip to the appropriate width, tie it in and wrap it forward like a dubbed body. I find that they float well and in my limited experience on the Little D, Satsop, and Nisqually the cutthroat really go for them. Here are a couple of pictures.

  20. Geez, Warren, those are pretty nice.

    Just say maybe to foam

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