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Red and Black Midge Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Red and Black Midge
3X-long Natural Bend hook (here a Dai-Riki #270), sizes 20-24
Crystal pearl glass bead, midge size
Black, 8/0 or 70 denier
Red Stretch Tubing, micro size
Black thread
Sally Hansen Hard-As-Nails
Plunger-style hackle pliers
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Video Transcript:

This fly is called the Red & Black Midge. It’s ridiculously easy to tie, looks really cool and works incredibly well.

It starts with a Dai-Riki #125 in size 20. Although not terribly small, plunger-style hackle pliers make hook handling much easier. With this style hook, the barb needn’t be mashed in order to fit the bead on but I like to do it anyway. It’s hard to go wrong with a midge-sized crystal pearl glass bead. After getting the hook firmly secured in the jaws of your tying vise, make sure the bead is located right up behind the eye.

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

The body of the fly is composed almost entirely of micro-sized red stretch tubing. A 6-8” length is enough to make numerous flies. Give your bobbin a good counterclockwise spin and then place one end of the stretch tubing on top of the hook shank right behind the bead. Your thread should want to jump rearward to catch just the very end. Take a couple of tight thread wraps to firmly anchor the stretch tubing.

With the tubing secured, stretch it rearward and begin making open spiral wraps with your tying thread down the hook shank. You want the red tubing to show through. When you get a little ways down into the bend, continue making open spiral wraps with the thread back up the hook shank to behind the bead.

Now, pull the stretch tubing taught, and begin making wraps with it well down into the hook bend and then back over top of those wraps and up the hook shank. The result should be a body that’s almost solid red at the rear, is a mix of red with some black under wraps showing through in the middle, and then almost entirely black underneath up by the bead. It’s an incredibly natural looking effect. When you reach the bead, use your tying thread to secure the tubing with a few tight turns. You can then stretch and snip the excess tubing off close.

Take a few more wraps to build up a solid black thread collar behind the bead and then do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish to secure your tying thread. Once you have the knot seated well, snip or cut your tying thread free.

I do like to apply a drop of head cement or, in this case, Hard As Nails, to the thread wraps behind the bead to absolutely ensure nothing comes unraveled. This also helps to kind of blend the bead into the body.

The Red & Black works just great, but don’t be afraid to try other colors of thread, bead and stretch tubing as well. But then, I don’t know what you’d call the fly.