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Wilcox's Dingle Berry (Hanging Chad) - Olive.


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These have been electric for years, finally ready for release to the public. Hexagenias, Drakes, Stones it covers it all! This will bring up fish when nothing else does!
At the time of writing this article, articulated dry flies have yet to gain popular status in the fly fishing industry; in fact very few patterns are even produced.  Every signature tier likes to believe they are first to create something new in the world of fly tying, and although in many instances I have been, one thing I have learned is more often than not, someone else in the world may have had a similar idea. When it comes to producing flies commercially, the Dingle-Berry is most certainly one of the first of its kind. The Dingle-Berry as my customers and I lovingly address the fly WAS sold through Idylwilde flies by the name of Hanging Chad, NOW AVAILABLE WITH UMPQUA FEATHER MERCHANT.  Perhaps the company figured my reference to a dangling piece of feces would be uninviting to anglers or the paper ballot scandal of the 2004 presidential election in the state of Florida was more readily recognized by anglers age thirty and over, in any event I would like to believe after the ballots are counted the articulated dry fly has arrived and will be around for multiple terms.
            When creating an articulated dry fly I was thinking about the propensity of fish to select an easier target for a meal when given the choice. This same line of thinking is what lead to the design of many of my dry flies that incorporate a curved shank hook and trailing shuck, to give the patterns the illusion of being stuck in the surface film as they are emerging or even crippled on the surface. The incorporation of curved hooks and parachutes allows the rear end of the abdomen to sink below the surface, representing what appears to be an easier mark for the fish or at least one that is inhibited from flying away right that instant. To take the dry fly to the next level I wanted to figure out what else could be done to persuade fish in difficult conditions on still waters and flats when selectivity seems to be at its peak.  Fish feeding in flats and still water have the advantage of inspecting their food at a leisurely pace since the insects aren’t whisked away in the faster pace of the current in pocket water and riffles where the decision to feed must be rapidly facilitated or the opportunity to feed will pass by in the current. This observation helps to explain the fish’s enhanced selectiveness in flat water situations and the aggressive nature of fish in moving water situations.   
            With careful observation during several larger insect hatches that are easier to view by scanning the water with the naked eye, I determined the larger more selective fish were keying in on insects that were still working to get free of their shucks. Not rocket science, as most anglers have observed this very same thing. I had used a dry-dropper rig to imitate the emerging insects with great success; however there were many occasions where the fish might come up, inspect the dry fly and even bump it with a closed mouth only to swim away. I think that perhaps cutthroat as aggressive as they can be were some of the most likely to give it a nose bump, the good news with them is unlike former president Bill Clinton, more often than not they would come back and inhale it. One day a light bulb went off in my head, what about incorporating the nymph and adult stage of these larger insects into one fly? An articulated dry fly was born.
            I had a great platform of dry flies to work with that had been extremely successful for years so I turned to my own designs to figure out how to begin the process. Since I wanted to use the articulated fly to represent various hatches I looked to the JC Special for answers. Initially the fly was tied using the JC up top and an articulation created from monofilament. Very similar to what you see now; however it went through several changes to the shuck materials and design before evolving into what you see here. I tried different colors of glass beads and wire ribs on the shuck to give it the added weight to keep it in the water and while they worked well, the ostrich herl breathes well under water creating a natural look and feel and when wet gives the shuck just enough weight to keep it beneath the surface without pulling the fly down. I still love the multi-colored posts for enhanced visibility; however the foam post is ideal for the extended float time and its ability to be “popped” along the surface.

            I’ll use the Dingle-Berries in various situations for Hexegenia, Drakes, Stoneflies and Hendrickson hatches. Though it is rare I will fish a singular fly, the Dingle-Berry allows me to fish multiple flies and represent multiple stages in a new way that has been extremely successful over the last few years. Try fishing one on a 9’ 4X leader to reduce the twisting caused by larger flies. If you are casting over more wary fish you can go lighter and longer. I ordinarily will not use a dropper fly when fishing these but if you do chose to do so then you will want to drop the fly off a knot positioned above the fly like on the tag end of a blood knot or even off the eye but not off the bend or you will counteract the natural movement of the trailing shuck. This platform can be adapted to smaller insects as well, I have tied them as small as a size twenty Blue Wing Olive so have fun experimenting. Just don’t forget to wash your hands when you are done playing, after all you are handling Dingle-Berries.


Dingle-Berry – Olive

Hook 1: UMPQUA - U101, Size 14

Thread: Olive, 8/0 or 70 UTC

Legs: Olive, Speckled centipede legs, Med.

Abdomen: Olive, Midge tubing

Rib: Olive, Ostrich herl

Head: UV Lt. Olive, Ice Dub

Articulator: White, 20# fly line backing. This can be colored if you so chose.

Hook 2: UMPQUA - U201, Size 10 to 12 (I have tied BWO versions as small as size 20)

Thread: Olive, 8/0 or 70 UTC

Abdomen: Olive, Midge tubing

Post: Orange, Foam cylinder

Under wing: Pearl, Krystal flash

Wing: Olive, Elk Hair

Legs: Olive, Speckled centipede legs, Med.

Hackle: Dun or Badger

Thorax: UV Lt. Olive, Ice Dub

 

 

 


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