The Evil Olive borrows elements from two of my favorite flies - Higa’s SOS and the W-D 40. Whether it’s a baetis imitation or simply an attractor pattern, I can’t really say, I just know it works.
For a hook, a Dai-Riki #125 in size 18 is a good choice. Plunger-style hackle pliers make handling hooks this size much easier. The first step is to mash the hook barb. You can use needle-nosed pliers or the jaws of most tying vises.
Just a little bit of weight goes a long way with smaller flies, and a 5/64” black bead complements the hook particularly well. A popsicle stick with a magnetic strip makes bead retrieval and handling a snap. Insert the hook point into the small hole of the bead and allow it to slip around the hook bend. You can then get the hook firmly secured in your tying vise.
For thread, 70 Denier light olive looks good. Secure the thread to the hook shank immediately behind the bead and take wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.
For a rib, I’m going to use small sized gold Ultra wire, a 6” length is enough to make multiple flies. Secure one end of the wire to the top of the hook shank behind the bead and take thread wraps rearward, allowing thread torque to carry the wire to the far side of the hook. Take wraps all the way down deep into the bend.
Barred mallard flank dyed wood duck is used to form both the tail of the fly and it’s wing case. Strip the fuzzy, webby off-colored fibers free from the lower part of the stem. You can then separate out an ample clump of fibers and, while keeping their tips aligned, strip them free from the stem. Lay the clump at the tying thread location and take 2 thread wraps to lightly secure it. Pull the fibers forward shortening the tail to about a hook gap in length. Ideally, you want the fibers to stay on top of the hook shank. Keep taking thread wraps forward, binding the fibers down as you go. Wrap all the way up to behind the bead while keeping the fibers centered on top of the hook shank. With this done, take thread wraps to build up a slight taper at the thorax and then wrap all the way down to the base of the tail. Give your bobbin a counterclockwise spin to uncord the thread and flatten it out. Use this to smoothly cover the body of the fly.
With your thread back near the bead, get hold of the wire and begin making open spiral wraps up the hook shank to segment the fly. When you reach your tying thread, use it to bind down the wire and then helicopter to break the wire off close. Once again, relocate your thread to just behind the hook point. Pull the butts of the mallard fibers back and bind them down. You can take a few wraps forward over the thorax and then back to bind them down further.
Olive colored SLF prism dubbing is used to build up the fly’s thorax. You don’t need much, only a little wisp pulled from the packet or dispenser. Dub a very thin 1 1/2” long noodle on your tying thread. Then begin taking adjacent wraps with the noodle to build up the thorax behind the bead.
For legs, snip 2 strands of pearl krystal flash free from the hank. Lay one end of them over top of the hook shank, just behind the bead and take 2 diagonal cross wraps, each way, to secure the flash. You can then pull the flash rearward, and take a few more thread wraps to further coax it in that direction.
With the legs in place, pull the mallard forward, out over the eye of the fly, to create the wing case and take 2 or 3 thread wraps to pin down the fibers. Pull the krystal flash rearward and, using the back edge of the hook as a guide, snip the flash off to form 4 little legs that angle outward. Lift the mallard fibers up and carefully snip them off close to the bead. Don’t worry if they extend a little beyond the thread wraps and out onto the bead.
Do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish and snip or cut your tying thread free.
To enhance the wing case, I’m going to use a new product called Bondic that’s cured with UV light. Having everything in one neat little package is really handy. Apply a single drop over top of the mallard fibers. It should sink down into them and the thread wraps just a little. Use your bodkin to coax the material out to the top of the bead. Once you’re satisfied with how it looks, use the built-in UV torch to cure and harden the material. 3 or 4 seconds are all that’s needed to make it hard and non-sticky to the touch.
And that’s about all there is to it. I like how the mallard fibers get magnified and how the thorax looks like it’s about to bust open. I think this fly is really going to go places, like a race car, or a kayak.