Project Description

Two Bit Hooker, Craven’s

Pattern Description:

Ah…the Two Bit Hooker.  This is one of my favorite patterns ever and I can honestly say it’s one found on the end of my tippet most days.  I just don’t fish without it.  I love to fish it, and it was designed to be fished, on a dropper under a dry fly, but I also use it in a two fly rig when I have to get dirty.

My favorite versions are a size 14 red tied with 3/32″ tungsten beads and a black size 18 tied with 1/16″ tung beads.  The dark olive is a huge seller as is the brown version and the new color additions of both pink and purple have been deadly.  The short answer is; you can’t really go wrong with a Two Bit.

I developed this fly to be slim, slick and heavy and you can read more about the design thoughts and process in my Charlie’s Fly Box book if you’re into that sort of thing (and I appreciate the support).

Materials Needed:

Beads: 2 Copper Tungsten Beads, 1/16″ for a #18, 5/64″ for the #16 and 3/32″ for the #14
Thread: Rusty Brown Danville 6/0
Tail: Mottled Brown Hen Saddle Fibers
Abdomen: Tying thread.
Rib: Black 14/0 Veevus Thread
Wingcase: Medium Opal Mirage Tinsel
Thorax: Rusty Brown Superfine Dubbing
Legs: Mottled Brown Hen Saddle Fibers
Coating: Solarez Thin Hard UV Resin

Step 1

Pinch the barb flat on the hook and thread the two beads over the point. Push the beads up to the eye of the hook.  Start the thread just behind the last bead.

Step 2

Wrap a thin thread base back to the hook bend.  Preen about a half dozen hen saddle fibers away from the stem of the feather so their tips all line up square. Measure the tips against the hook so they are about a half shank length long.

Step 3

Grasp the tips of the fibers in your material hand and place them across the hook shank at the bend with their butt ends facing slightly down on the near side of the hook.

Step 4

Bring the thread up and over the hen fibers capturing them against the hook shank. Allow the thread torque to twist the fibers to the top of the shank. If you make the wrap smoothly over the fibers they should be dragged to the top of the shank by the thread. You can put one more wrap of thread over the tails right at the bend, but no more.

Step 5

For the thread rib, I like to use a bobbin to keep the thread under control. Feed several inches of thread from the bobbin tube and hold the end of the ribbing thread across the bend of the hook as you did with the tailing fibers. The stub end of the ribbing thread should extend to just behind the rear bead.

Step 6

Make a wrap of the brown thread to capture the black thread rib right at the bend of the hook.

Step 7

Wrap the brown (Body) thread forward over the tag end of the ribbing thread and the butt ends of the tail fibers up to the back of the bead, securing them tightly to the shank.

Step 8

Work the brown thread back and forth over the rear half of the hook, building up a slight taper toward the back of the bead. This taper should remain very thin but still be apparent.

Step 9

Spiral wrap the ribbing thread forward over the thread abdomen to the back of the bead and tie it off. You may want to twist the ribbing thread a bit before you start wrapping to cord the ribbing up a bit. I like a flatter rib rather than one that is corded and very thin, but if the ribbing thread is too flat it occupies too much of the body and makes for a fly that is more rib than body. Try to get three to five turns of ribbing up to the bead. Once you reach the bead make several wraps of the ribbing thread to tie off the brown body thread.

Step 10

Clip the brown working thread flush against the shank behind the bead and trim the butt ends of the tailing fibers as well.

Step 11

Bring the black ribbing thread back over the front edge of the abdomen so it is just in front of the 50-50 point on the hook.

Step 12

Lay in a single strand of the medium Opal Mirage tinsel. I like to lean this piece in a bit toward my near side of the hook as I wrap over it so the thread will draw it up to the top dead center of the hook.

Step 13

Make a few firm wraps of thread over the tinsel to secure it to the top of the shank. Make sure the tinsel is centered and tied back to nearly the middle of the shank.

Step 14

Dub the thread with a very thin, tight strand of Superfine dubbing. Start the dubbing at the base of the tinsel wingcase.

Step 15

Build the dubbing into a ball shape behind the first bead. This ball of dubbing should be about the same diameter as the bead, but be sure that you still have a bit of dubbing left on the thread here before you go on.

Step 16

Pull the rear bead back a bit and bring the dubbed thread over the rear bead and into the space between the two beads.

Step 17

Make a few more turns of dubbing in between the two beads, building up the shank diameter so it is just shy of the outside diameter of the beads.

Step 18

Detail of dubbing build-up between the beads. We have to fill the void in between the beads to create a base to tie the legs on next. If you do not dub a large enough diameter here, the legs will not sweep back along the body of the fly but rather stick out at right angles to the hook shank.

Step 19

Even the tips of a larger clump of hen saddle fibers and measure them against the shank so they extend from just behind the first bead back to about the hook point. Carefully peel these fibers from the stem, keeping their tips aligned in the process. Hey, I said “carefully”!

Step 20

I use the tips of my scissors to separate the clump into two even bunches without letting go of the fibers. We want an evenly split clump of hen saddle fibers.

Step 21

Lay the split clump of hen fibers in along the shank with each half on either side of the hook. Try to be conscious of the length here. We want the tips of the hen fibers to extend back to just short of the hook point.

Step 22

Reach in with your material hand and grasp the fibers tightly along the side of the shank. Hold these in place for the time being.

Step 23

Make a loose turn of thread over the butt ends of the fibers just in front of your fingertips. Once the thread has passed all the way around the hook and is coming back toward you again on the underside of the shank, you can begin to tighten and close the wrap to anchor the fibers in place on either side of the hook shank.

Step 24

If your legs are a bit too long you can pull the butt ends gently to shorten them down if needed. Once you are happy with the length of the legs, make a couple more firm wraps of thread to lock them in place behind the front bead.

Step 25

Divide the butt ends of the fibers to their respective sides.

Step 26

Pull the butt ends of the near side clump back along the side of the fly and pin them in place with a tight turn of thread.

Step 27

Pull the butt ends of the far side clump back on the far side of the hook and bind them in place as well. Folding the butt ends back like this will do two things for us: It will allow us to hide the clipped ends under the thread head behind the bead rather than having the stubble stick out near the bead, and it folding the fibers like this will make for a much more secure tie down, preventing the legs from pulling out from under the thread wraps later. Always thinkin’, that Craven Boy…

Step 28

Pull the butt ends out at a right angle to the shank to separate them from the tips.

Step 29

Reach in with the tips of your finest scissors and trim the butt ends of the legs as close to the shank as you can. Do this on both sides of the hook.

Step 30

Make a turn or two of thread over the stub ends of the legs. We should have a smooth thread band between the beads.

Step 31

Pull the flash forward over the top of the rear bead and the dubbed thorax making sure it is centered.

Step 32

Tie the flash down between the beads with a couple tight thread wraps. You may want to spin the tying thread up a bit so it bites into the flash and dubbing here.

Step 33

Fold the long front end of the flash back over the wingcase and bind it in place again with a couple more tight wraps.

Step 34

Detail of folded flash wingcase between the beads. Folding the flash like this does the same thing it did for us on the legs. It anchors the material more firmly in place and prevents an unsightly stub end from sticking out over the bead making for a much cleaner thread head.

Step 35

Whip finish the thread between the beads and clip.

Step 36

Trim the excess flash as close to the thread head as you can. I try to just nick the edge of the flash with a small snip of my scissor blades then tear the flash off across the radius of the bead. You can try this too. It’s not hard and leaves no stub end exposed.

Step 37

Hold the legs down below the hook shank and apply a small drop of resin to the top of the fly. I usually set the resin drop down on the Mirage wingcase and use the tip of a fine needle to smear the epoxy all the way back to the base of the tail along the top of the fly. Bring the resin forward onto the back of the front bead as well.

Step 38

Finished resin coat. Note there is a slight bit more resin across the wingcase than there is at the bend.

Step 39

Finished fly.