The Foxy AGP
Designed by Aaron Goodis
Hook: Daiichi 2546 #6-#8
Thread: MFC 6/0 or UTC 70 Hot Pink
Tail: Fluorescent or hot pink Barred Mallard Flank, two strands Pink Crystal Flash trimmed two times longer than the mallard flank tail.
Rib: Fine silver wire
Underbody: Fluorescent or hot pink tying thread or silver holographic Mylar
Body: Pink Scud Back 1/8”, V-Rib or Larva Lace.
Hackle: Fluorescent or hot Pink Saddle
Wing: Fluorescent hot pink Arctic Fox
Each year, from mid-summer through early fall, somewhere along B.C.’s coastal beaches, estuaries, rivers and streams pink salmon return to spawn, often in staggering numbers. Vancouver Island waters are blessed with a pink return of some magnitude every year. On the south coast, pinks return on the odd year. This year fly fishers will be targeting south coast rivers such as the Indian, Harrison and Fraser to try their luck for these feisty salmon that show a particular affliction for flies, particularly pink ones.
Many pink salmon patterns share one common trait, their color, pink. Although pink patterns take their share of pink salmon other colors such as white, green and blue produce too. Most of my pink patterns lean to the pink side of the color chart, either hot pink or a lighter bubble gum or shrimp pink. If possible, I blend both shades of pink into my patterns so they are prepared for varied water conditions or pink salmon preference.
Pink patterns often feature glowing bodies fuelled by bright flashy under-bodies covered with a translucent layer, a technique that works for other pattern styles too such as chironomid pupa and stonefly nymphs. Aaron Goodis’s Foxy AGP uses this body technique. A translucent body offers two benefits. First, it diminishes overt underbody materials such as holographic Mylar which may be too bright on their own. The second benefit is protection. Many of the brighter synthetic Mylar or thread materials that make excellent underbody materials are not durable. Left unprotected they are soon reduced shredded to tatters. Pink flies have to work hard, they need to be durable.
There are number of excellent translucent body material candidates to consider. Some of my favourites include Scud Back or Midge Flex, V-Rib, Larva Lace and Liquid Lace. Each year newcomers arrives on the shelves, each worthy of a try.
Scud Back and Midge Flex is a flat stretchy synthetic that can be dyed in a range of colors. It comes in two primary widths, 1/8” and ˝”. I use the 1/8” width most often. Particularly as a body material as its narrower width makes it easy to control. The ˝”size makes excellent wingcases for dragon fly and stonefly nymphs.
When tying in Scud Back or Midge Flex, trim the tie in end of the Scud Back to angled point to ease tie in. Once initially secured, pull and stretch throughout the balance of the tie in process to maintain a thin foundation. Whenever I am tying in a body material I bind it down at the head of the fly and secure it back along the shank. This practice ensures a firm tie in while keeping your underbody foundation neat and even.
V-Rib is a solid semicircular plastic cord most often sold on spools. Wound forward V-Rib forms distinct rounded segments. In order to gain the characteristic rounded appearance V-Rib must be tied in with the flat side of the material facing out. The initial wrap forward places a half turn in the V-Rib causing the flat side to seat against the shank, rounded side out.
As with Scud Back, trim the end of the V-Rib to an acute point to ease tie in and reduce bulk. V-Rib is not as stretchy as Scud Back or Midge Flex so I tend not to use this product on #12 or smaller flies. Rubbing your fingers along the V-Rib creates friction induced heat which helps stretch and reduce bulk. As with Scud Back make sure you use strong tying thread to bind V-Rib in place so it doesn’t pull out as you stretch it down the shank during tie in.
Larva Lace and Liquid Lace is a thin diameter hollow plastic tubing. Like V-Rib or Scud Back, these materials can be tied in and wrapped over a thread or Mylar underbody. The hollow nature makes Larva and Liquid more elastic than V-Rib but it doesn’t always provide the rounded finish V-Rib does. As with V-Rib and Scud Back trimming the end to a tapered point eases tie in and reduces bulk when using empty Larva or Liquid Lace tubing.
The beauty of these hollow materials-Liquid Lace in particular-is they can be filled with baby or mineral oil dispensed through a 29G or 27G syringe to provide added depth and lustre to your flies. Clamp or tie the ends of the tubing to keep the oil from leaking out. Once tied in the thread pressure on the tubing keeps the oil in place.
1) Place a de-barbed hook into the vise. Attach the tying thread just behind the hook eye. Cover the shank with tying thread. Return the tying thread to the original tie in point.
2) Tie in a shank length tail just back from the hook eye to ensure a smooth even foundation for the underbody and body materials. Wind the tying thread back to the original tie in point. Double a single strand of pink Crystal Flash around the tying thread and secure it down the hook shank to the base of the tail. rim the Crystal Flash so it extends twice the shank length past the tail.
3) Tie in the silver wire rib just behind the hook eye along the near side of the hook and secure down the shank to the base of the tail. Tie in the body material along the shank of the hook using firm thread wraps. Stretch the material as you are tying it in to reduce bulk and maintain a smooth underbody foundation.
4) Secure the Mylar in place on top of the shank at the base of the tail. Wind the Mylar forward in close touching turns to form the underbody. Tie off and trim the excess Mylar two hook eye widths back from the hook eye. For a thread underbody cover the shank from the base of the tail to the same point on the shank as for a Mylar underbody ensuring there are no gaps between the thread wraps.
5) Warm and stretch the body material as necessary and wind forward over the underbody. Adjust the tension to create a thin even body. Tie off and trim the excess at the time point as the underbody. Wind the rib forward over the body using open even wraps. Tie off and break away the excess using a pulling and twisting motion.
6) Select a saddle hackle with fibres no longer than the shank. Remove the flue from the base of the feather. Tie in the prepared hackle by the butt directly in front of the body. Wind the hackle three times tie off and trim the excess. Using your thumb and forefinger sweep and hold the hackle down and back creating a path for the wing. Secure in place with a few wraps of tying thread. Pinch the fibres to further train and flow them down the shank.
7) Even the tips of a sparse clump of fox fur by hand. Tie in the prepared fox fur in front of the hackle directly on top of the shank. The tips of the fox fur should extend back no further than the tips of the mallard flank tail. Build a neat tapered head, whip finish and apply head cement.