Former Fly Fishing Team USA member Chris Lee of North Carolina came up with the Turbo Midge several years ago, and it has become a favorite of competitive anglers especially in the winter. Here, US Youth Fly Fishing Team member and Pennsylvania fisherman Doug Freemann is going to tie one on a size 16 Umpqua C400BL barbless jig hook.
Doug begins by placing a 2.5 mm faceted silver tungsten bead onto the hook, small hole first, and then slides the bead right up to behind the hook eye.
After getting the assembly firmly secured in his tying vise, he loads a bobbin with a spool of black UTC 70 Denier tying thread. Start your thread on the hook shank immediately behind the bead and take wraps rearward, past the hook point, before snipping or breaking off the tag.
Extra small silver Ultra wire is one of 2 materials used to rib and segment the fly. A 4-5” length will make multiple flies. Lay the wire against the near side of the hook and pull rearward, so its end extends right up to the back edge of the bead. Then, take a few thread wraps to secure it back to the start of the hook bend.
Pearl-colored Sulky sliver metallic is used for the second ribbing material. Once again, 4-5” will make numerous flies. Repeat the same tie-in procedure with the Sulky as you did with the silver wire. With touching wraps, advance your tying thread, first all the way up to behind the bead then use it to produce a slightly tapered, smooth underbody for the fly. Try not to build up too much bulk while doing this. End with your tying thread right at the back edge of the bead.
Get hold of the Sulky and start making open spiral wraps up the shank to segment the body. When you reach the bead, secure the material with a few tight wraps of tying thread and snip the excess off close.
Now, do the same with the silver wire, trying to get it to land right in the middle of the black open spaces between the Sulky. At the head, secure the wire with wraps of tying thread then helicopter to break it off close. When you’re done, do a 4-5 turn whip finish and snip or cut your tying thread free.
Apply a small amount of UV cure material to the body of the fly and use your bodkin to move it around in order to accentuate the tapered shape. When you’re satisfied with the look, give the fly a healthy shot of UV light to cure it. In just a few seconds it should be completely hardened and non-tacky to the touch.
Reattach your thread behind the bead and after a few wraps, snip he excess tag end off close. Black synthetic peacock dubbing is used to form the collar of the fly. With it, create a short, slender dubbing noodle on your tying thread and then take wraps with the noodle to build up the collar.
When you’re done, do a 4-5 turn whip finish and snip or cut your tying thread free. You can use your fingers or a dubbing brush to pick the material out a bit and give it a more lifelike appearance.
And that’s Chris Lee’s Turbo Midge, tied here by Doug Freemann. It’s hard to argue the effectiveness of patterns like this one that have proven themselves over years of international competition.