Fly and Photos by Loren Williams

Never assume you know it all! I have been fishing and tying beetles for decades and I tended to think I had the aspects figured out and simplified. Well, during the 2007 World Youth Fly-Fishing Championships I was proven wrong (again!) by Team USA's Pat Brennan (18) of Jackson, WY.

I looked at his beetles and slobbered over how round the bodies were, dead-nuts profiles for our prolific Japanese Beetles that the trout tend to commit suicide over. A quick study over his shoulder showed me that I had stubbornly, and errantly, assumed that I could not use a WIDE slip of foam when tying the bug.

With Pat's skills in my memory I set to work modifying my pattern to use this newfound knowledge. The result is below and this pattern was killer during the competition for the summer beetle eating trout of Central Pennsylvania!


Hook: Standard Dry Fly Hook #12-#18
Black 3 mm Fly Foam
Pearl Krystal Flash

Click photos to enlarge!

Place the barbless hook firmly in the vise.

Start your jam knot behind the eye and run the thread to the bend. Coat the thread with superglue.

Cut a slip of 3 mm foam equal to 2-times the hook gap.

Trim an end to a point equal in length to abotu 1/2 the shank length.

Bind the foam to the top of the shank starting at the rear edge of the point, so that the faom slip is full-width at the rear of the fly. This method, coupled with the glue, will ensure that the foam does not spin. Use plenty of tight thread wraps until the foam is solidly locked to the top of the hook. Move the thread to the 1/4 shank position.

Fold (do not pull) the foam forward and press it down with your thumb.

Pinch the foam around the shank at the tie-in location.

Secure the foam using several tight thread wraps until the foam is securely seated.

Gently pull the excess foam forward until it is a bit stretched then clip if off with a straight cut to form a "head."

Obtain 3 strands of pearl Krystal Flash

Hold the three strands together over the "waist" and slightly on top of the fly.

Seat the strands into the waist aloowing the thread to pull them into the correct position on the side of the fly.

Clips the excess.

Repeat on the nearside with the remaining Krystal Flash.

Take a few security wraps around the waist.

Whip finish. Cement the wraps on the underside.

A completed Black Foam Beetle!