The Spant is my version of a spent ant pattern. I came up with this fly many years ago after encountering a flying ant fall on Brainerd Lake. The ants were blown from the tall evergreens surrounding the lake, and the fish wasted no time in getting on them. I did not have anything suitable to match the ants at the time, so I made do with a few of my larger midge patterns. They worked okay, but after a little time at the vise, the Spant was born.
Traditional flying ant patterns have many problems. Number one on this list is; they don’t float very well. The Spant has this covered with its buoyant wide-spread deer hair wings and broad hackle legs. The other problem with traditional ties is that they are so hard to see on the water. While the Spant doesn’t show up like a beacon, it is much more visible than any of the other patterns I tried.
The best part of the Spant is that it looks so realistic from the fishes view. I try to keep a very prominent waist on the fly between the front of the hackle and the head section. I also oversize the dubbing at the rear to imitate the abdomen (gaster) which is so apparent on the natural.
Tie a few of my Spants up and stash them in your box. They have proven themselves on such varied waters as the South Platte, Henry’s Fork and Depuy’s Spring Creek.
This is also a great pattern for high mountain lakes. I like to cast the Spant six to ten feet in front of a cruising fish and let the fly sit. If the fish seems like he doesn’t see it, I will give the fly the slightest twitch…that’s usually all it takes.