The Parachute Adams is a great variation of one of the greatest and most popular dry fly patterns ever created. I presently have a custom order for eight dozen trout flies for a client in eastern Pennsylvania, and the Parachute Adams, a dozen in size #12, was the first pattern on his list. The fellow has been buying flies from me every year, for at least ten years. It’s nice to have customers who give you repeat business! He fishes the Beaverkill and Delaware a lot, plus makes trips to Colorado.
The Parachute Adams is a great attractor pattern, it is also a good searching pattern, especially in broken water on big rivers and smaller freestone streams of both east and west. It is effective in sizes from #8 to #18 or even #20, though I personally prefer not to tie them smaller than a #16. An excellent variation of the Parachute Adams is to substitute olive dubbing for the usual gray body. As I tied these flies this morning, I was inspired to take some photo sequences, sort of a tying tutorial of sorts. And I also want to add a little fly tying diversification to the posts I make here. Keeping more on topic than stories and photos of white-tailed deer fawns, this dry fly pattern post is an effort in that direction. Also, be on the lookout soon, maybe even later today, for two of my original Rangeley style streamers, as promised: Carrie’s Killer and Carrie’s Ghost. (Hope you folks are not tiring of my spate of recent posts).
I still have seven more dozen flies to tie to finish this order – all drys – likely they’ll end up here too – plus I plan to knock off later this afternoon to head to Spring Creek near Bellefonte, because I figure this hot weather will produce a heavy sulphur spinner fall this evening. Among the tying and fishing yet to come today, I also need to squeeze in a little time with the mower on the yard. OK, tying the Parachute Adams:
A Balanced Thread Wrap is when you balance the thread tension according to match the material being tied in, or wrapped around. In this case it is a taut, but not tight tension. You can also add a bit of head cement to the base of the wing before starting your wraps, this helps prevent the thread from slipping off.
The hackle stem butts are comparable to a phrase associated with a Martini at this stage, shaken, not stirred, but in this case they should be clipped, not stripped. This leaves little butt ends of hackle barbs that help the thread bite into the feather stems more securely.
For production purposes, all 24 hackles for these flies were sizes, selected, and prepared in advance.
Very important tip here: From my fellow tier and friend, Tom Baltz of Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania, for you right-handed tiers, wind the hackles counter-clockwise. This changes the angle of the barbs when wound to point away from you when you finish the thread wraps to lock the stem in after being wound. No more trapped hackle fibers! The tying thread can be wound almost normally, because the hackles fibers, now pointing away from the direction of your thread wraps, simply slide out of the way. Left-handed tiers, you would wind clockwise if you tie in normal left-handed fashion.
I still prefer to use a finishing technique that I perfected years back when I wound the hackles clockwise, and needed to get fibers out of the way to wind off the head. I use the little finger on my left hand to hold the tube of the bobbin. Holding the bobbin back out of the way, I load my Materelli whip finisher while having the use of my left thumb and all three remaining fingers to pull the hackle fibers out of the way. I then use the Matarelli, making 5 – 6 turns. Clip thread off, add a small drop of head cement for extra durability, and you’re done.
Hook: Standard dry fly hook, sizes #8 to #16
Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 #31 Gray or Uni-Thread 8/0 Gray , brown thread could also be used
Wing: White calf body hair
Hackle: Brown and grizzly mixed
Tail: Brown and grizzly mixed
Body: Dark gray rabbit or muskrat dubbing
If you have never fished the Parachute Adams, I suggest it’s high-time you tie some and give them a try!