Tuck Beetle

Chris Riser, riser@email.unc.edu


Hook: Standard Dry Fly
Thread: Black #6/0
Body: Peacock Herl
Shellback: Black Closed-Cell Foam
Legs: Black Kyrstal Flash

Tying Instructions:

1. Tie in thread just behind hook eye. Wrap back to bend. Tie in 3-4 strands and a piece of black #3/0 thread. Wrap tying thread back up to behind the eye. Twist the herl and thread together to make a rope. Wrap herl rope forward to about 1 1/2 eye widths behind the eye. Secure with thread and wrap thread back over body to bend. Wrap herl rope back to bend and secure with thread. Clip excess herl.

2.Tie in a narrow strip (about 1/8" wide and 5/16" long for a #16) of black foam. Tie in the strip on one end with the long end pointing back at the vise. Secure well with thread and wrap the thread back over the herl body up to the wrap off point behind the eye. Pull the foam forward and secure at the wrap off point with several wraps of thread. Don't wrap so tightly that you cut through the foam. Leave thread hanging and prepare the legs.

3. Cut a single strand of Krystal Flash in half. Take one half and fold it in half and in half again. Place the center of this folded bunch on the thread collar you have created at the foam tie-down point. Tie in the Krystal Flash with figure-eight wraps. Whip finish. Cut the Krystal Flash to length of about one body length and you will have created four legs on each side-you can cut two off to get the standard six if you like.

4. Pull somewhat tightly (not too much or the foam may tear) on the remaining piece of foam sticking up from under the thread collar and pull it up and toward the hook eye. Using a single-edged razor blade, carefully slice down and cut off the excess foam in front of the collar to form a head. Varnish the collar wraps.


Try this fly when there's no hatch on. It's worked especially well for me in the summer. It rides on top for a while, then in the film, and sometimes sinks to a foot or so, but that's OK, because that's what real beetles do. I usually use it as a searching pattern and cast it upstream and across, so I can keep its drift as drag-free as possible while maintaining as tight a line as possible to detect strikes once it drops below the film.