Charlie Craven’s Jujubee Midge is a pattern developed with western tail waters in mind. But, here in the East it’s become a go-to fly for many anglers when trout decide to get fussy. I’ve had particular success with it during the winter months.
Here I’m going to tie one on a Dai-Riki #305 dry fly hook in a size 22. Curved emerger hooks also work well. As always, plunger-style hackle pliers make handling small hooks a breeze. Gently mashing the hook barb helps tremendously when it comes to removing the hook from the fish’s mouth, resulting in an expeditious release.
For the first few tying steps, load a bobbin with white or fluorescent white thread, here UTC 70 Denier. The idea is to coat the hook shank with a thin layer of white so the materials placed over it show up better. Start your thread on the hook shank leaving some space behind the eye and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.
The body of the fly is formed with 3 strands of Super hair, which comes in a huge variety of colors and is most often used for tying large saltwater patterns. I want this fly to look similar to a Zebra Midge so I snip 2 strands of black free from the hank and then a single strand of white. After getting hold of all 3 strands, snip the butts off square. Lay them against the near side of the hook and take a couple of thread wraps to lightly bind them down. If you need to, pull rearward under the wraps to shorten the butts. Continue taking nice, smooth, even thread wraps rearward to the start of the bend. Then wrap forward, once again making uniform wraps without building up a lot of bulk. End with your tying thread about 1/3 of the way down the shank from the back edge of the eye.
Get hold of the Super hair strands and begin making touching wraps forward up the hook shank. The first turn is always the most difficult. You should end up with an evenly segmented body, like this. When you reach your tying thread, make 2 or 3 wraps to secure the Super hair. You can then use your tying scissors to snip the excess off close. Hackle pliers work great for keeping the excess fibers together and aligned so they won’t get spread out and lost on your tying bench. With the group held intact, it can be used to make numerous flies.
At this point, you want to switch over to black thread to complete the fly. So, do a 3 or 4 turn whip finish and snip or cut your tying thread free. Load a bobbin with a spool of black thread, here UTC 70 Denier. Start the black thread over top of the white thread whip finish and take a few wraps rearward before snipping off the tag.
For the wing case and legs, Charlie uses a material called Fluoro Fibre from Umpqua. It’s about the same stuff as Sparkle Organza, a material I use quite often, so that’s what I’m going to go with. For this fly, I’ve chosen white. It’s a simple matter to pull a dozen or so fibers from one edge of the sheet. As you can see, they have a lot of sparkle to them, yet are fine enough to represent the legs or wing buds of a midge. Prior to tie-in, snip one end of the Organza fiber clump off square. Lay the fibers against the near side of the hook and take thread wraps to carry them to the top. Pull them underneath the wraps to shorten the butts. Take thread wraps to build up a small football-shaped thorax then pull the fibers forward, out over the hook eye and bind them down with 2 turns of tying thread. Separate the strands into 2 roughly equal clumps and pull one of them back down the far side of the hook. Take a thread wrap or 2 to secure it there, then do the same with the clump on the near side. Once you have both clumps angled rearward, do a 3 or 4 turn whip finish to build up a small head on the fly. With that’s done, you can snip or cut your tying thread free.
Pull both clumps of fibers back and slightly up and reach in with your tying scissors, and using the back edge of the wing case as a guide, snip the fibers off at the correct length. Once again, you can use plunger-style hackle pliers to hold the clump of excess fibers together for use on another fly.
Try Jujubee Midges in different color combinations. Two strands of red with one strand of black has worked well for me in the past. Another great thing about the pattern is it can be tied all the way down to about a 26 with relative ease.