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EP Adams Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: EP Adams
Black-nickel tactical dry-fly hook (here, a Fulling Mill 5050), size 16.
Tan Veevus, 16/0.
Brown and grizzly hackle fibers, mixed.
EP Trigger Point Fibers, Western Caddis Grey ME.
Adams gray Beaver Dubbing.
Brown and grizzly hackle.
Head cement.
Whip finish, fine-tipped bodkin.
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Video Transcript:

The EP Adams is pretty much your standard Catskill-style Adams with the exception of the wings. Rather than using the usual grizzly hackle tip wings, I've replaced them with EP Trigger Point fibers to increase tying speed and durability, to a certain extent. I also really like the shimmery translucency of the Trigger Point fibers, in terms of representing natural mayfly wings.

As with a regular Adams, just about any dry fly hook will work, but if I had only one size I could use, it absolutely would be a 16, here, a Fulling Mill 5050. Begin by getting the hook firmly secured in the jaws of your tying vise.

For thread, tan Veevus 16/0 is a good choice as it's super thin and quite strong. The color also blends in well with the body of the fly. Get the thread started on the hook shank at about its midpoint. After taking a few touching wraps rearward, snip off the excess tag. Continue taking wraps rearward until your thread hangs just past the hook point.

For the tail of the fly, it's nearly impossible to beat a mix of brown and grizzly hackle. I guess if you had Cree you could use that, but to me, it's still not as good as brown and griz. The best feathers for tailing material are usually found on the outside edge of the cape. You're looking for long, stiff, straight fibers. A single feather will make numerous flies. Choose one from the brown cape and a similar one from the grizzly. Strip off any of the lower, webby fibers from the stem, then gently preen down fibers on either side of the stem so they're perpendicular to it. Squeeze the tips of the pulled-down fibers together, doing your best to keep them aligned. Then, pull the stem away from the fibers. If the butts are still in alignment, the tips should be as well.

Place the fibers on top of the hook shank, don't worry about measuring. Take two thread wraps to loosely secure the fibers. Now, repeat the fiber collection process with the other feather. Align these fiber tips with those already lashed to the shank, then unwind the two thread wraps. This is an easy way to produce a brown and grizzly tail where the tips are evenly aligned. Next, measure to form a tail a full hook in length then transfer that measurement rearward to the start of the bend. Use a pinch wrap to begin binding the fibers to the top of the shank, all the way back to the start of the bend. Then trim the excess butt ends off close and cover them with thread wraps. The tail should now look something like this.

EP Trigger Point fibers are used for the wing of the fly, and come in about a gigillion colors. These are called Western Caddis Grey and I'm not really sure what the “ME” stands for, possibly me? Maine? or maybe medium. I don't know. Anyway, snip a small clump of strands free from the hank. If I had to estimate, I'd say around 20 of them. While holding one end in the fingertips of your left hand, begin securing the fibers to the top of the hook shank, about 2 eye-lengths behind the back edge of the hook eye. Maintain your grip on the fibers as you take tight thread wraps rearward, then back to the initial tie-in point. Lift the butt ends of the fibers up and snip them off at a shallow angle.

Now the fun part - lift the forward-pointing portion of the fibers up and take a few wraps in front of them. Give the fibers a good clockwise twist, as if you're looking down on them, then fold them over leaving an inch-long, furled wing post. Take thread wraps to anchor the folded-over material at the base of the post, snip the excess off and take thread wraps to lightly cover up the butts. Continue taking thread wraps rearward until your thread hangs at about the hook point.

Adam's Grey Beaver dubbing is used to create the body of the fly. Pull just a small clump free from the packet and use it to create a slender, 2” long noodle on your tying thread. Do your best to keep it nice and thin. Start taking wraps with the noodle so the dubbing begins right at the base of the tail. Then wrap forward to create the body of the fly, going all the way up to the hook eye then coming back, to leave bare thread about an eye-length back from the wing post, like so.

Hackle feathers from the same brown and grizzly capes are used to hackle the fly. A hackle gauge really helps to make sure the fibers are of the correct length - here, size 16. It's a good idea to measure before plucking the feather free from the skin. Repeat the measuring procedure and pluck a feather from the second cape. Strip off the lower webby fibers from both sides of the stem, on both feathers. Then, with the shiny side of both feathers facing you, align the stems and the lower ends of the fibers.

Strip off about an 1/8” of fibers from the top side of both stems, then trim the stems off to a 1/4” or so in length. Lay the bare stems of both feathers together against the near side of the hook, and trim the stems again if necessary, so they don't extend beyond the hook eye. Anchor the bare stems to the near side of the hook, both behind and in front of the wing post, with tight thread wraps. End with your tying thread at the point where you initially tied down the stems, and leave it there.

Get hold of both hackle feathers and begin making touching wraps with them behind your tying thread. Lifting up on the thread will help to keep the two feathers sandwiched close together. I usually do 2 wraps behind the wing post and two or three in front. At the back edge of the hook eye, anchor the hackle tips with tight wraps of tying thread then reach in with the very tips of your tying scissors and snip the excess off close. I'm sure you can do a better job than I did here.

Pick up your whip finish tool and use it to do a 5 or 6 turn, back to front whip finish, seat the knot really well and snip or cut your tying thread free. Pull up on the furled wing post and snip it off just proud of the hackle tips, then give the fibers a little fluff. A drop of head cement, here Sally Hansen Hard as Nails, applied to the bare thread wraps behind the eye, will ensure they don't come unraveled. It's always a good idea to use a fine-tipped bodkin to make sure the eye is free of adhesive. Although not essential, I do like to spread the EP fiber wing out into a small fan, to make it a bit more visible to the trout.

And that's the Catskill-style EP Adams. Even though it doesn't represent a specific mayfly species, it sort of looks like many different ones in general. Geometry is important on Catskill-style dries so they land and ride correctly on the water's surface. On a hard, flat surface the front hackle and the tail should hold the bottom of the hook just off the surface, as you see here.