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Half Pint Midge Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Half Pint Midge
Scud/emerger hook(here, a Lightning Strike SE1), sizes 18-20
Nickel tungsten bead, 5/64-inch
Black, 8/0 or 70-denier
Tail/wing buds:
Pearl Krystal Flash, midge size
Silver wire, small
Black Superfine dubbing or Zelon
Head cement
Bodkin, plunger-style pliers
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Video Transcript:

This awesome looking little midge pattern is called the Half Pint. It originated at Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, Montana. I view it as an easy-to-tie, enhanced Zebra Midge.

For a hook, I’m going to use a Lightning Strike SE1 in size 18. Although not essential, plunger-style hackle pliers make handling small hooks like this much easier. I’ll pair the hook with a 5/64” tungsten bead in a nickel color. The tungsten really helps the Half Pint to sink super quick.

After picking up one of the beads with my bodkin, I’ll remove the bodkin and place the point of the hook into the small hole, then work the bead up onto the hook shank. I then get the assembly firmly secured in the jaws of my tying vise.

For thread, I’ve loaded a bobbin with a spool of black UTC 70 Denier. Get your thread started on the hook shank at the back edge of the bead and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.

Midge-sized pearl Krystal flash is used for both the tail and the wing buds. And yes, the midge size on the right is significantly finer than the regular Krystal flash on the left. Snip three full length strands free from the hank and fold them in half to form six. You can snip the formed loop if you like. Lay the strands on top of the hook shank and secure them with a pinch wrap. While keeping the material on top of the hook shank, use wraps of tying thread to secure it well down into the hook bend, then return your tying thread forward to about the hook point. Reach in with your tying scissors and snip the rear flash off to form a short tail approximately half a hook gap in length.

Small sized silver Ultra wire is used to rib and segment the fly, a 4” length will make numerous flies. Place one end of the wire up into the bead on the near side of the hook and start taking thread wraps to secure it. Allow thread torque to push the wire to the far side of the hook then use your tying thread to build up just the slightest taper that increases in thickness toward the bead. Resist the urge to build up the body too much. Get hold of the silver wire and start making open spiral wraps with it over top of the tapered body, 5 or 6 turns usually looks pretty good. At the back edge of the bead, use your tying thread to anchor the wire then helicopter to break the excess off close.

I’m going to use black Super fine dubbing for the thorax of the fly. I believe the guys at Blue Ribbon use black Zelon. Whatever material you choose, use it to build up a short, thin dubbing noodle on your tying thread. Be careful, it’s very easy to over-dub here. Once you have the noodle established, start taking wraps with it, first behind the Krystal flash then in front of it and behind the bead. The dubbing will help to pin the Krystal flash back at a pleasing angle. You can then do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish, seat the knot well and snip or cut your tying thread free.

Carefully trim the Krystal flash wings so they extend about halfway down the abdomen of the fly and angle slightly rearward. It’s a good idea on this pattern to pick up your head cement and apply just the smallest of drops to the thread wraps behind the bead. Once this sinks in and dries, there’s no chance the thread wraps will come unraveled.

I really like the simplicity, elegance and functionality of the Half Pint. It now has a permanent place in my midge box.