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Sulphur Usual Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Sulphur Usual
Standard dry-fly hook (e.g. Dai-Riki #305), size 16.
Pale yellow, 6/0.
Snowshoe-rabbit’s foot.
4 or 5 Wood-duck fibers.
Pale yellow rabbit-fur dubbing.
Tying thread.
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Video Transcript:

This sulphur, by Matt Grobert, is a modified version of a Fran Better's "Usual". It's exceptionally easy to tie and has proven itself to be absolutely deadly when the sulphurs are coming off.

Matt begins with a size 16 Dai-Riki #305 dry fly hook. Once the barb is mashed and the hook is firmly secured in his vise, Matt loads a bobbin with a spool of pale yellow 6/0 Danville.

Start your thread on the hook shank leaving a little bit of space behind the eye. Take wraps rearward to about the1/3rd point and break or snip the tag free.

Snowshoe rabbit foot is used for the fly's wing. As you can see here, the bottom of the foot has three different layers of hair - the coarse spiky guard hairs at the surface, finer kinky hairs just below and a layer of fluff at the bottom. For this pattern, you want the mid-level stuff. Begin by isolating a small clump of hair in your fingertips and then snip it off down close to the bone. Before doing anything else, flip the clump around so you're holding the bases between the thumb and index finger of your left hand. With your right hand, remove and discard most of the longer, courser guard hairs. Next, pull the fluff away to leave only the desirable fibers.

Place the clump on top of your hook shank so you end up with a wing that's approximately a hook shank in length. Secure it with several tight turns of tying thread. Once secured, snip the butt ends off at an angle and then take thread wraps to cover them up and create a nicely tapered underbody.

Although the original pattern called for shoeshow rabbit guard hairs for the tail, Matt prefers wood duck. He simply strips 4 or 5 fibers from the stem and then ties them in to form a tail about a hook shank in length. Once the tail is secured, you can snip the butts off close.

For the body of the fly, Matt likes pale yellow rabbit fur. Dub a nice thin tapered noodle onto your tying thread and then begin taking wraps so the dubbing starts right at the base of the tail. Keep wrapping forward so it ends just behind the wing. Then take a few wraps of bare tying thread in front of the wing.

Make a second, slightly smaller dubbing noodle on your tying thread. With the dubbing starting just behind the eye, take wraps with the noodle to form a dam that will hold the wing upright. Drop a single wrap behind the wing so it's propped up in both front and back and then use the remaining dubbed thread to form a neat thorax in front of the wing.

You can then make a 5 or 6 turn whip finish and snip or cut your tying thread free. This fly floats remarkably well and can get even the pickiest of fish to take notice.