charlie's flybox

Fat Albert


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Charlie Craven and Charlie's FlyBox, Inc.
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step: 1
Pattern Description
The Fat Albert comes from the vise of Brent Taylor of Kansas City, Kansas. This big fat bug came to me recently in a fly swap and it really caught my eye. I have been hearing of this pattern for a few seasons now; used as the dry in a dry/dropper rig. From the looks and construction of this fly, I can tell you the thing is gonna float like no tomorrow. There are about 9 millimeters worth of closed cell foam stacked on this fly, which makes for that magic proportion of a whole lota foam and a little bit of hook. The overall profile of the Fat Albert could imitate a hopper, stonefly adult or cicada with equal aplomb. Try this fly with black and tan foam or even orange and black for a couple different combinations sure to catch the fishes eye. It seems that Mr. Taylor was also a guide in Chile for a time, which falls right into place with this flies general characteristic of an enormous terrestrial. I have a dozen or so Fat Alberts tied up for my box and will certainly be giving them a try this next summer. Try this one for a little change of pace!
Materials Needed:

Hook: TMC 5262, 2302 or 5263 #4-10.............. Thread: 140 Denier Rusty Brown.............. Body: 1/8 Foam, Tan and Brown...................... Indicator: Brightly colored McFlyFoam................. Legs: Round Rubber Legs.................................
step: 2
Start the thread right behind the eye and make a thread base at least partially down the bend of the hook. Return the thread to within a few eye lengths back from the hook eye. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 3
Cut a strip of brown foam that is about as wide as the gap of the hook. This strip should be at least four inches long. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 4
Tie the brown foam strip to the hook up near the eye and wrap back over it to the bend. Continue past the bend a bit to anchor the foam down onto the curve of the hook. Wrap forward again with the thread to the front of the hook. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 5
Cut a strip of tan foam that is about as wide as the gap of the hook like you did for the brown foam. Tie this tan strip in as you did with the brown foam, at the front of the hook on top of where you tied in the brown foam. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 6
Wrap back over the tan strip to the bend. Try to bind the foam down tightly as you wrap. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 7
Spend about fifteen minutes covering all the foam on the shank with a nice smooth layer of thread as shown here. This is where the 140 Denier thread comes in handy as it lies flat and covers well, but it still takes some doing to get everything covered. Be patient and get it done. Bring the thread to about even with the hook barb and let it hang there in preparation for the next step. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 8
Pull the tan foam forward and bind it down with two tight wraps of thread at a point about even with the hook barb(or between the barb and the point). charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 9
Lift the foam again and move the thread forward an equal distance. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 10
Lay the foam down again and bind down the second segment. Repeat the above process one more time to create three segments that extend just past the halfway point on the shank. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 11
Pull the brown foam strip over the top of the tan foam segments and bind it down in the last tan foam section. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 12
Cut a clump of brightly colored McFlyFoam and bind it down in that same segment section at the center of its length. McFlyFoam compresses well and will create very little bulk. That's good. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 13
Take another tan foam strip (as wide as the hook gap) and tie it down in that same segment (by now you have realized to go easy on the number of wraps for each of these material tie downs...the cumulative effect is plenty to hold everything down but you dont want to make too many turns on any one material to keep the bulk to a minimum) charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 14
Cut the McFlyFoam down to a short little puff. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 15
Tie an overhand knot in a single strand of rubber leg material. The original fly has two strands knotted together here, but I have found that they pull out too easily, so I am going with just one. Sue me ;-) Lay the leg alongside the hook with the knot right at the end of the foam body. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 16
Tie the knotted leg in along the side of the body in that same favorite segment. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 17
Knot another strand of rubber and tie it in the same way on the far side of the hook. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 18
Lift all three sheets of foam up and out of the way while you work the thread up to just behind the hook eye. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 19
Lay the first tan foam strip down and bind it in place just behind the eye with a couple tight turns of thread. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 20
Bind the brown foam down on top of the tan foam. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 21
Bind the other tan strip down on top of the brown foam. Try to keep all the strips on top of each other. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 22
Clip the front end of all three foam strips just beyond the hook eye. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 23
Tie in a single (un-knotted) strand of rubber leg along the near side of the hook in that front joint. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 24
Tie another strand of rubber leg in along the far side of the hook as well. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 25
Ought to look like this... charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 26
Whip finish the thread in the last segment of the foam body. Clip the thread. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 27
Round the corners of the head with your scissors as shown. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 28
Trim the front legs so they are all about even with where the knot falls on the back legs. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 29
Run a generous glob of Gloss Coat along the bottom side of the fly. Dont use Zap-A-Gap here, as it turns white when it dries. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 30
You could leave the fly like this... charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 31
...or you can go in a stripe the legs with a black marker to mix it up a little. Up to you. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 32
Top view, finished fly. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 33
Quartering view. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox