A little overdramatic? Maybe, but with hot, dry summer days now extending into the fall, and streams flowing at record lows, bass and panfish are a good option when it comes to scratching a bad fly fishing itch.
This fly, called The Kintner Boy, borrows from several other patterns but has been fine-tuned for the numerous small park and farm ponds that dot the landscape here in northwestern New Jersey.
I start with a size 8 Dai-Riki #270 which may seem an odd choice. Here’s the rationale. It’s big enough so smaller fish usually don’t get hooked no matter how hard they peck at it, while larger specimens do get hooked but can’t really ingest the fly, making them much easier to release.
Begin by mashing the barb and getting the hook firmly secured in your tying vise. I like heavier 140 Denier thread, here, UTC yellow, because you can apply a lot of tension without breaking it and it doesn’t cut foam as readily as the thinner stuff.
Start your thread on the hook shank immediately behind the eye and take a few wraps rearward before snipping off the tag.
Cut a card-width segment of red chenille free and lay one end on top of the hook shank behind the eye. Take firm thread wraps rearward, binding the chenille to the top of the shank, then ending right above the hook point. Snip off the chenille, leaving a tail a hook gap in length. Burning the end of the chenille, San Juan Worm-style, makes for a tasty looking detail that can get fly studiers to finally commit.
With the little tail in place, take thread wraps forward, all the way back to the initial tie-in point.
Plain old craft foam works just fine for this pattern. I use a paper cutter to cut strips slightly larger than a hook gap in width. I like yellow, blue and red but a variety of other color combinations also work well. Pressing the hook down on the foam leaves a shallow impression which makes it easy to cut off a segment a full hook in length. That segment can then be used to cut a contrasting color the same length.
For The Kintner Boy, I feel royal blue on the bottom and yellow on the top is especially appropriate. Align the front edge of the blue segment with the front edge of the hook eye and take 3 or 4 good firm thread wraps to secure it. Angle your thread rearward over top of the fly, advancing it to about halfway between the hook eye and the point and take several firm thread wraps at that location. Advance your thread again, this time back to about the hook point and take a few more wraps. The idea is to produce 4 roughly equal segments.
Snip a single strand of your favorite rubber leg material free from the hank. To cut down on waste, I’ll fold the material in half and cut it at about its midpoint. I then fold one of these segments in half, leaving a small loop at one end. Lay the loop on top of the foam at the rear tie-in point and take thread wraps to secure it. Don’t worry if the rubber legs point straight up, we’ll take care of them in a moment. Get hold of the contrasting piece of foam and align the 2 back edges. Take a few tight thread wraps to secure the foam directly on top of the other piece of foam. Once bound down well, pull it back and advance your tying thread up to the next tie-in point. Lay the foam back down and take thread wraps to secure it there.
In an homage to Alex Kintner’s choice of swimwear, I use a small segment of red foam to make the fly even more visible. This piece of foam shouldn’t be overly large. Affix it to the back of the fly with a couple tight wraps of thread and then, once again, advance your thread forward, this time to the initial tie-in point. Lay the top foam back down and secure it with a few good wraps.
Pick up the remaining half of the rubber leg material and double it over to form a loop. Snip the loop to leave 2 equal lengths. Secure one segment, like so, leaving a long and a short piece. Do the same with the second segment. Adjust both so they’re pinned down where the 2 pieces of foam intersect. Take a few more thread wraps to ensure they won’t work free.
Pull the front edges of the foam back to expose the eye and take a few thread wraps. Follow these with a 4 or 5 turn whip finish and then finally, snip or cut your tying thread free. You should end up with something that looks like this.
Above all else - don’t be afraid to go back in the water.