It’s Trico time in the Northeast which means small flies, delicate tippets and early mornings. Here, author, fly tier and blogger Matt Grobert is going to tie a Trico Parachute that floats well and doesn’t require superhuman vision to be seen on the water’s surface.
For a hook, a TMC 100 size 20 is a good place to start but you can tie these in 22’s or even 24’s if your eyesight allows.
Matt’s loaded a bobbin with a spool of black 6/0 Danville. Leaving an extra long tag, start your thread 1/2 way down the hook shank and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag. Don’t discard the tag. Leave your thread at about the hook point.
Dark dun microfibbets are used for the tail. Snip 2 free from the clump and then trim the fibers to half their length, keeping the tips. While holding the tips, lay the butts against the near side of the hook and take thread wraps so thread torque carries them to the top of the hook shank where they're bound down. Locate that snipped off tag of thread and fold it around the hook bend. Pull the formed loop up between the 2 tails to splay them, then take thread wraps to hold the loop in place and permanently split the tails. Snip the excess thread loop off close, leaving your tails at about a 90 degree angle to each other.
Give your bobbin a counterclockwise spin to uncord and flatten the thread. This will allow you to take very thin wraps to create a smooth, svelte abdomen. Leave your thread approximately 1/3 of the way down the hook shank from the eye.
Matt uses white EP Trigger Fibers for the wing post, because they’re very fine, float well and have a nice shimmer to them. A small clump about 1 1/2” long is all that’s needed. Work the fibers up underneath your tying thread so they rest at a diagonal, on top of the hook shank. Take cross wraps with your tying thread to secure them perpendicular to the hook shank. Pull both ends of the fibers to vertical and begin making wraps of tying thread first up then down to post the wing. Try to keep thread wraps to a minimum.
For hackle, select a single appropriately sized light dun feather and pluck it free from the skin. Break or snip the lower webby part of the feather off and then pull down and strip away fibers to leave about 1/8” of bare stem. Lay the stem against the near side of the hook so its butt comes to just behind the eye. Take thread wraps to secure the stem, first to the hook and then up the post. Once the hackle feather is oriented vertically, work your tying thread back down to the base of the post.
Black Australian Possum is used to form the thorax of the fly. Pull a small amount from the packet or dispenser, and then dub a short, very thin noodle on your tying thread. Take wraps with the noodle to create a somewhat plump little thorax, just like the naturals have.
Get hold of the hackle feather by its tip. Consider yourself lucky if you have super cool hackle pliers like Matt's. Take counterclockwise touching wraps down the post, 3 or 4 is usually plenty. To secure the hackle, bring your tying thread around the hackle tip and then back over top of the hook shank, behind the eye. Apply tension to the thread in order to bring the hackle stem in line on top of the hook shank. Doing this allows you to pull the hackle fibers back and take securing wraps without pushing fibers out in all directions. You can then reach in with the very tips of your tying scissors and snip the hackle tip off at an angle. Do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish, trying not to trap hackle fibers in the process. With the whip finish complete, snip or cut your tying thread free.
Pull any errant hackle fibers down into the correct position and then, finally, snip the EP Fibers off to form a neat little fanned wing post.
Although they’re rather small, Trico Parachutes really aren’t too difficult to tie. Getting your leader and tippet right in order to get a good drag-free drift, well, that’s an entirely different story.