A good part of tying your own flies is that there is always something new to learn! Someone asked if I had ever tied flies with rubber bands and I replied, "No, except for legs, tails etc." Well, you can make a chironomid body or perhaps other flies from cut pieces of ordinary elastic bands. As an example, I grabbed a wide white rubber band from celery stalks in the fridge and cut a very narrow strip about an inch long from it. One end was trimmed to a point where it was tied at the hook bend, stretched, wrapped to the hook eye, and with the aid of permanent markers, an interesting chironomid was created! Details follow below.
The white elastic should be fairly thin and flat such as those found holding celery sticks together. The bands found in my fridge were about 1/4 inch wide so I cut a piece about 1/16 inch wide and one inch long, trimming the end to a point. You then attach this point of the elastic about midway at the hook bend with white tying thread, leaving several inches of the thread dangling past the hook bend. Now tie off the white thread here and retie a thin monofilament thread at the hook eye. Now here is the tricky part. Stretch the elastic fairly thin and wind it to the hook eye with an overlap at each wrap. In other words, you will see a bit of a ridge with every wrap. Tie off the elastic, still under tension, at the hook eye. Next, grab the white thread left trailing from the hook bend and wrap it forward carefully following the elastic ridges. If you have connected thin monofilament at the hook eye, you can also tie off the white thread here with little distortion! The final step is to use permanent marking pens to colour the top or back of the fly, plus a coating of clear varnish to hold things in place. In the example shown, it have used 2/3 brown and 1/3 orange but you can use your imagination to create different colours. For example, trout at times feed on snails but snail flies are a rarity! Okay, just scoop up a snail for an example at your lake and colour the elastic fly to match! In addition, if you observe chironomids with distinctive bands, the trailing thread can be made to match the band colour of the live chironomids! In fact, you can colour the stretch fly body, under and over, to match the live critters! The possibilities are really endless!
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