Three Dollar Dip is the nickname given to a variation of a Serendipity that works well on the Madison River in Montana, including the Three Dollar Bridge area.
Here, author, fly tier and blogger Matt Grobert is going to tie one on a size 16 Dai-Riki #135. Matt uses his bodkin to get hold of a 3/32” gold bead. He slips the bead over the hook point, small hole first, and then secures the assembly in the jaws of his tying vise.
Matt loads a bobbin with a spool of brown 6/0 Danville, the color number is 47. Start your thread on the hook shank behind the bead and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.
Fine gold wire is used for the rib, a 6” segment will make multiple flies. Secure the wire to the hook shank with wraps of tying thread. Continue these wraps well down into the hook bend. Reverse direction and work your way back up the hook shank making touching wraps to create a nice, smooth body. When you reach the bead, start wrapping back down again to about the 2/3rds point on the shank. Then go all the way back to the bead. Repeat the process, this time going 1/3rd of the way back. The idea is to create a tapered body that’s thickest up by the bead.
Once you’re satisfied with the body shape, get hold of the gold wire and begin making open spiral wraps over top of the thread. This will segment the body and add just a bit more shine and weight to the fly. When you reach the bead, secure the wire with a few tight turns of tying thread and then helicopter to break it off close.
To form a little wing bud, Matt uses bleached elk hair. Snip twenty or so hairs free from the hide, do keep the amount small. Strip out the fuzzies and shorts from the butt ends and, with the butts pointing forward, lay the clump on top of the hook shank, behind the bead. Take 2 loose thread wraps to encircle the clump and, while pinching, pull down on your tying thread which will seat the hair on top of the hook shank. To make sure the clump doesn’t spin, pull a few of the butt fibers rearward at a time and take a wrap down between them. End with your tying thread at the back edge of the bead.
Pick up your whip finish tool and do a narrow 4-5 turn whip finish, again, right behind the bead, and snip or cut your tying thread free.
Generally separate the butts from the tips and snip the butt ends off close. Then, reach in with your tying scissors and snip the tips off so they extend about halfway down the hook shank.
The Three Dollar Dip is a nice, easy pattern that can represent a whole slew of aquatic insect species and yes, it works well nearly everywhere, including at the Madison’s Three Dollar Bridge.