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Foam Cricket Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Foam Cricket
Standard dry-fly hook (e.g. Dai-Riki #300), sizes 10-14.
Black 2mm Craft Foam, 1/8-inch strip.
Black, 6/0 or 70 denier.
Adhesive 1:
Rubber legs (here, Wapsi Barred Round Rubber legs).
Deer hair.
Bright egg yarn.
Adhesive 2:
Head Cement.
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Video Transcript:

This small cricket pattern is, for all intents and purposes, a scaled down version of Charlie Craven's "Charlie Boy Hopper". It's yet another really good late summer, early fall pattern here in the northeast.

The body is formed from strips of black 2 millimeter craft foam. I've used a paper cutter to cut them into 1/8 inch widths.

For a hook, I like a Dai-Riki #300 in a size 12. About an inch and a half back from one end of a foam strip, pierce the hook right through the center of the strip. Then insert the hook into your vise and pull the strip back to the hook bend and out of the way.

For thread, black 70 Denier Ultra thread works well but you can also go up to 140 Denier if you'd like. Start your thread on the hook shank leaving some space behind the eye and take wraps rearward before snipping off the tag. Continue to take thread wraps all the way back to the start of the hook bend. Pull the long end of the foam up underneath the hook shank and, right at the eye, make a hole in the middle of the foam with your bodkin. Then insert the hook eye through that hole. It should look something like this.

Using just the smallest amount of Zap-a-gap, lightly coat the foam and the hook shank. Go up about 1/4 of an inch on either end of the foam. Then fold the foam over like so and give it a good squeeze. You'll most likely have some adhesive ooze out which looks a little funky but it certainly won't hurt the fly's performance.

Take two solid wraps of tying thread to anchor the foam at the hook bend and then take a diagonal wrap on top of the foam 1/4 of the way up the hook shank. Take two more wraps to compress and segment the foam. Do another diagonal up to the 1/2 way point and again take wraps to form an additional segment. Another diagonal wrap should get you to the 3/4 point where you take a few wraps to form the head of the cricket. Then make a cross wrap back over top of the foam to the midway point on the shank.

Pick up the back end of the foam then reach in with good sharp scissors and trim it off at an angle to form the butt end of the cricket.

I like to keep the legs real simple. Snip a single strand of your favorite rubber leg material free from the hank. Fold the piece in half and secure it on the near side of the hook. With a cross wrap over the top, advance your thread forward one segment and take a wrap. Next, pull the rubber legs forward and anchor them with a couple of wraps. You can then snip the loop at the midway point to form 2 roughly equal rubber leg segments. Drag the top segment around to the far side of the hook.

Snip the rear legs off so they extend just a bit beyond the back of the fly then snip the front legs off so they extend just beyond the hook eye. From the top it should look something like this.

For the wing, natural deer hair will work fine but here I'm going to use some that's been dyed a medium grey. Snip a small clump free from the hide and then strip the fuzzes and shorts free from the butts. Give the clump a good stacking and then remove it from the stacker being careful to keep the tips aligned. Measure the hair to form a wing that's about as long as the body. While keeping that measurement, snip the butts off square. Tie in the clump with the butts extending just forward of the tying thread and take a couple nice tight wraps to flare the butts and secure the hair.

You can finish the fly like this if you'd like but I've found a siter made from brightly colored egg yarn to be a really welcome addition. Cut about an inch long piece and then split that segment in two. Place the yarn on top of the wing and secure it with a couple of tight wraps. Whip finish the fly being careful not to trap egg yarn or rubber legs in the process. End with your thread on the underside of the fly before cutting or snipping it off close.

Lift the yarn to vertical and, with a sharp pair of scissors, trim it off fairly close to form a nice, neat little siter. Head cement applied to the wraps forming the front two segments will help with the fly's durability.

Although this is one of the simplest cricket-hopper patterns there is, I happen to think it's one of the best.