Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Teenage Entomologist, May 29, 2014.
Tied up a new pattern of mine. Swart's Diddly Dun: #6.
I've tied up some Flex Hex flies designed by Wisconsin guide John Nebel to match the Hexagenia Limbata.
We have huge Hex hatches on a local stream and the Tomorrow River referred to in the article is in the next county. The Hex hatch for us occurs about the first week of June.
Photo of a Hexagenia Limbata Dun
The Flex Hex is the best pattern for this hatch that I have been able to find and I've tried a number of them from traditional patterns tied on straight hooks to extended body patterns tied on shorter hooks. Both have problems hooking up on all takes.
The problem is that the naturals are so huge that "stiff" patterns are often pushed out of the way on strike. Unlike the natural which folds up, the stiff tail and body of traditional patterns do not and the fly just gets pushed out of the way unless it is a perfect take.
The Flex Hex solves this problem by putting a mono to mono loop hinge in the middle of the pattern and even smaller fish can take in this pattern. It actually fold ups and offers less resistance than the natural.
When it lands, the back end of the fly can flop to one side or another. This is what normal Hexs do. I sometimes think that the fish look for this in the shape to tell a natural from a possible fly tied on a straight hook or as a straight extended body. I have seen fish pass up a straight natural and take the bent body Flex hex.
I've modified this pattern to a parachute which produces a more realistic impression on the water and which can easily be changed into a spinner by cutting off the post. The naturals have a mottled brown body with a yellow abdomen and the cross hatched brown thread on yellow mimics this.
Parachutes are best tied with one size longer hackle than the traditional hackled flies and getting hackle that is long enough for a flex hex is difficult. Modern genetic capes have longer feathers with denser hackle but the hackle length is shorter. I use my old Metz necks from the 1980s for the size 2 hackle that I use for this pattern.
So don't throw your old necks away. Modern necks are better for almost all patterns but some large flies like Flex Hexs and the Borger Blue Damsel can be tied with the longer less dense fibers of older necks.