Project Description

Jumbo Juju Chironomid

Pattern Description:

While there are several obvious advantages that come from working in a fly shop, one of the best has to be the daily interaction with customers. Folks from all walks of life stroll through the door, some in seek of the latest and greatest in rods and reels, some searching for the next great fly tying material and still others who are looking for that “hot” pattern they heard about from their buddy. It is this last group that sometimes brings the most amusement to us fly shop guys. In many case, a guy has a specific fly in mind and will say something like, “I need a dozen size sixteen bead head Pheasant Tails. My buddy was killing them on that fly the other day.” But every now and again, you get a guy coming in that makes you really have to hold in your laughter. We have heard some pretty strange requests in the shop over the years and the guy who asks for “a little brown fly, about this big” (as he holds his fingers about a half inch apart) and then is flummoxed that we don’t know exactly what it is he is looking for. We’re fly shop guys, man, not mind readers…
Fun-filled occurrences like these peak in the spring and early summer when we are inundated with customers chasing the elusive chironomid. It’s not that the chironomids themselves are so funny, but the pronunciation of that word has been butchered in so many ways it’s sometimes hard to keep a straight face. Chrominoids, sheronamids, kernamids, shamwows, chironowiches, humanoids and chironomidges are just a few of the flies we’ve been asked for, and it becomes pretty easy to decipher this strange code after a few weeks. For the record, a chironomid (pronounced ker-on-uh-mid) is a large lake dwelling midge pupae that emerges in our high altitude reservoirs early in the year and lasting all summer. These giant midges can grow as large as a number eight three extra long hook, and get down as small as about a size eighteen. These are the first active insects of the year in most lakes and the trout feed heavily on them right from the get go.

Materials Needed:

Hook: TMC 2302 or Daiichi 1760 #10-16
Bead: White Brass or Tungsten Bead, slightly undersized
Thread: Flourescent White UTC 70 Denier for the abdomen, and 8/0 Black UNI for the thorax
Abdomen: Superhair, three strands of the primary color and two strands of the ribbing color. In this case, we are using three strands of dark brown and two strands of burnt orange.
Flashback: Medium Opal Mirage Tinsel
Wingcase: Black Thinkskin
Thorax: Black Superfine Dubbing
Coating: Solarez Thin Hard UV Resin

Step 1

Place the bead on the hook and slide it up to the eye. Start the thread behind the bead and wrap a thin thread base back to the bend of the hook. Try to keep the thread very flat and smooth as you wrap back, without any lumps or bumps. We just need these wraps to travel from one end of the hook to the other with minimal bulk.

Step 2

Build a small nub of thread at the bend of the hook right above the barb. I try to make the center of this nub line up with the hook barb and extend equally back and forward of that point. This nub should not be too big and ultimately should match up to the body diameter.

Step 3

Return the thread to the starting point, again, taking care to keep the thread laying flat along the shank. You may need to spin your bobbin to untwist the thread as you wrap.

Step 4

Cut three strands of the dark brown Super Hair from the clump and pull them between your fingertips to straighten them a bit. Clip the ends so they are all even.

Step 5

Lay the Superhair in at an angle and capture them with a couple firm wraps of thread. I try to tie the first three strands of Super Hair in squarely along the near side of the hook shank. Pull the long ends of the hair back along the shank to shorten the front ends down so they are just in front of the first turn of thread you tied them down with.

Step 6

Cut two strands of the orange Super Hair and straighten them as you did with the brown ones. Cut the ends so they are even and lay the strands at an angle across the near side of the hook shank. Capture the orange Superhair with a couple turns of thread, taking care to keep these two strands separate from the brown ones. I try to tie the second clump in above the first, more on the top of the hook than the side, although the strands should all line up in order from the bottom to the stop with little space between them.

Step 7

Draw all five of the Super Hair strands taut and toward the rear of the hook. I use the pad on the tip of my index finger to keep the strands slightly divided here, as we don’t want them to intermix as we wrap back over them. Be sure that you have two separate bunches of hair; three brown ones and two orange.

Step 8

Wrap the thread smoothly back over the five strands of Super Hair all the way to the front end of the thread nub at the bend. Be sure to keep the thread laying as flat as possible as you wrap (un-twist it if necessary) and that the strands of Super Hair remain separate bunches stacked vertically on top of one another.

Step 9

Return the thread to the starting point once again. For this final layer of thread from the bend forward to the front, we want to be ultra-sure that the thread lays flat and smooth as we move ahead. If you allow the thread to twist and cord up, the underbody will have ridges that make it nearly impossible to wrap the Super Hair smoothly over them. The ridges created by twisted thread create high and low spots that will influence the individual strands of Super Hair and make them separate. Keep that underbody smooth!

Step 10

Grasp all five strands of Super Hair so they remain aligned and flat like a ribbon. While holding all the strands taut, fold the bunch over the top of the hook and pull them straight down, at the immediate front edge of the thread nub. Note that the five strands are still aligned, with the two orange strands now leading, the three brown strands following.

Step 11

Continue wrapping all five strands forward up the shank as one unit. Each turn should result in the aligned Super Hair lying flat on the shank creating a ribbed effect as you wrap. Note that the order is still the same as that first turn, two orange followed by three brown.

Step 12

Continue wrapping the Superhair strands forward to just behind the bead. Tie the Super Hairs off with a few firm wraps of thread (make sure they are secure because if they slip out from under these wraps you’ll have to start over again).

Step 13

Clip the excess Super Hair strands flush and whip finish the white thread over the butt ends.  Start the black 8/0 thread over the front end of the abdomen. Wrap back to about the eighty percent point.

Step 14

Tie in a single strand of medium sized Opal Mirage tinsel at the 80% point so it lies flat on the top of the abdomen. Make sure the flash is centered on the shank. You can tie the flash in with a couple of soft turns and then manipulate the long end to square it up on the fly. Anchor the flash in place with a couple more tight wraps.

Step 15

Cut a strip of Thinskin that is about half as wide as the gap of the hook. Remove the paper backing and tie the Thinskin in with the side that was attached to the paper facing up at the eighty percent point, right on top of the flash. We want the paper side facing up so the intrinsic curl of the Thinskin doesn’t interfere with the rest of the tying process. We want that curl to face down so the long end doesn’t bounce around in our way while we tie the rest of the fly.

Step 16

Apply a thin strand of Superfine dubbing to the thread and build an elongated egg-shaped thorax up to the back edge of the bead. The thorax should be about the same diameter at the bead itself. Make a few turns of thread between the back of the bead and the front of the dubbing to create a firm base for the wing case tie down to come.

Step 17

Pull the Thinskin strip forward over the dubbed thorax and anchor it down with two tight wraps just behind the bead. Be sure that the Thinskin buckles around the thorax creating the tight, smooth wingcase you see here.

Step 18

Pull the Mirage flash forward over the top of the Thinskin, taking care to keep it centered. Use two firm wraps of thread to tie it down behind the bead.

Step 19

Pull the long end of the flash back once again, folding it over just behind the bead. Make a couple more Jumbo Juju tight wraps of thread over the fold to secure the flash in place.

Step 20

Pull the Thinskin tightly forward and reach in with the tips of your scissors and trim it off as close to the bead as you can. If you stretch the Thinskin just slightly you can get a much closer cut. Lift the long end of the flash and make a small cut at the near edge with the tips of your scissors. Pull the flash toward the far side of the hook and it will tear off cleanly even with the thread wraps, leaving no stub end.

Step 21

Build up a few turns of thread to cover the butt end of the Thinskin wingcase and whip finish the thread. Use a red marker to color the thread nub at the bend of the hook. If you simply press the tip of the marker onto the thread here, the ink will run through the thread and even bleed slightly up the underbody beneath the abdomen creating realistic redness on the butt end of the fly.

Step 22

Place a drop of resin down on the top of the wingcase and then use the bodkin to smear the resin back to the bend of the hook all the way to the end of the thread nub. Continue the resin coat up to the back of the bead, even getting some of it on the bead itself. Continuing the resin coat from the bead to the bend makes for better adhesion and creates a more durable fly.

Step 23

The resin should only be on the top and just slightly down the sides of the fly. The Thinskin wingcase should be covered entirely with resin.