Montana, Slim & Sparkly - step-by-step

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Montana, Slim & Sparkly

Hook: Dai-Riki 270, #8-12
Thread: Gudebrod 8/0, black
Tail: Fox tail, black
Body: Antron yarn - roped, black
Wingcase: 2 strands of Antron yarn, black
Thorax: Ice Dub, hot orange
Hackle: Hen, black


(Full-size pictures on click.)

Step 1
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 1

Mount a hook in the vise. This is a Dai-Riki 270 Natural Bend hook, a hook type that's often used for stonefly nymphs. A regular streamer hook can also be used.


Step 2
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 2

Tie in the thread and cover the shank to the hook bend. On a hook like this (without an actual "start" of the bend), use the barb as a guide.


Step 3
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 3

Cut a bunch of hair from fox tail and clean out the longer guard hairs. Put them aside... or in the waste bag. They are of no interest now. What we're interested in are the softer hairs. Tie in a tail, but don't trim the waste just yet.

TIP: These fox tail hairs are also a very good substitute for Marabou on bugger flies. They are soft enough to make the the fly alive in the water but they still don't tangle up in the hook bend. (They are also much more durable.)


Step 4
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 4

Tie down the surplus to about 2/3 of the fly's total body length.


Step 5
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 5

Cut the waste end and return with the thread to the back of the hook. Tight and touching wraps now, to create an even and compact underbody.


Step 6
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 6

First synthetic material... antron yarn. Looks a little bit like poly yarn, but the difference is that the filaments are triangular. This causes it to reflect light much better. We like sparkly...


Step 7
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 7

Tie in the antron yarn and see to it that the waste end is long enough to cover at least 2/3 of the fly's total body length.


Step 8
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 8

Tie down the waste end to 2/3 of the body length with tight and touching wraps, again to ensure a compact and even underbody. Cut the waste and let the bobbin rest for a while.


Step 9
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 9

Stretch the antron yarn and twist it quite hard. It's supposed to be like a round rope and compact enough to keep that shape while it's wrapped onto the hook.


Step 10
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 10

Wrap the antron rope forward to the thorax starting point. Make a loose thread wrap around it and then tighten the thread at the same time as you let the antron rope "relax" and collapse under the thread. This will give a neater tie-off. Secure with another few wraps and cut the waste.


Step 11
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 11

Cut another two pieces of Antron yarn for the wingcase. Flatten them out and untangle the filaments with the bodkin.


Step 12
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 12

Tie in the antron pieces together and try to keep the antron filaments evenly spread out on the top of the hook. Form a little cone with the thread that is pressing the filaments firmly against the hard abdomen and keeps them in a spread-out formation.


Step 13
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 13

Tie in a hackle feather with the dull side up. Rooster or hen is optional. I prefer hen though, since it adds a little "life" to the fly.


Step 14
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 14

For the thorax, we take a step further from tradition and use dubbing instead of yarn. There are many variants of synthetic dubbing and as long as they are sparkly (and preferably quite coarse), they will suit this fly. My own favourites are Ice Dub and Crystal Seal.


Step 15
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 15

Be firm when dubbing the thread. The thorax is supposed to be quite fat and at the same time compact. Don't take too much dubbing at a time. Coarse synthetic dubbing isn't as co-operative as natural dubbing. It's better to dub in steps and wrap multiple layers.


Step 16
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 16

A finished and compact thorax. Moderate amounts of dubbing on the thread and instead built with three layers.


Step 17
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 17

Take a few wraps with the hackle, tie it down and cut the waste. This is a point where you can see if the dubbing operation was successful. If it was, the thorax should have kept its shape and the wrapped hackle shouldn't have turned it into a shapeless mess.


Step 18
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 18

Cut the top hackle barbs as close to the stem as possible.


Step 19
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 19

Take the antron pieces and slide them between the fingers a couple of times to stretch out any loose filaments. Then fold them over the thorax.


Step 20
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 20

Lay the thread over the antron while stretched forward and tighten slowly while you move the antron back and forth to get it as spread out and even as possible. Secure them with a couple of firm wraps close to the thorax, but don't cut the waste end yet.


Step 21
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 21

The filaments are hard and slippery and we want to do more to secure them better. Stretch the yarn upwards and build a little thread bump immediately in front of it to hold it that way.


Step 22
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 22

Cut the antron as close to the thread as possible and even the head out with a few wraps of thread.


Step 23
Montana, Slim & Sparkly - Step 23

Whip-finish and cut the thread. Apply some cement to the head and let the drop include a little bit of the antron where it disappears under the thread. Only the antron filaments in direct contact with the thread are more or less secure here. Most are still only squeezed between other (slippery) ones. The trout's teeth will tare in the wingcase and these looser ones will slip out. Every filament slipping out will weaken the grip of the entire bunch... and soon the wingcase will be standing straight up from the fly. This is not a guess.



Vary colors, just as with the original Montana pattern. A few variants I like are yellow, red, green etc. for thorax and olive and brown for abdomen/tail/hackle.



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