charlie's flybox

Foam Beetle


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Charlie Craven and Charlie's FlyBox, Inc.
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step: 1
Pattern Description
This little foam beetle has been a secret weapon in my arsenal for several years. You can use this fly anytime during the season and have good chances of pulling fish up. Beetles are very common and fish are usually on the lookout for them. I fish them along the banks most often but also have a lot of fish eat them out in the middle. Beetles can fly so they can find themselves anywhere from bank to bank. I usually tie my beetles without an indicator as I think it can sometimes turn the fish off. Often the fly will land upside down as well, and the bright spot makes no sense to the fish. They will eat a plain fly with no indicator when it's upside down but not if it has a big yellow dot on it! I use a lot of Zap-A-Gap when tying my beetles and other foam flies. The glue adheres well to the foam and adds great durability. I think you'll like the trick for splaying the legs as well.
Materials Needed:

Hook: TMC 100SPBL #8-20 Thread: Black 8/0, 6/0 or 70 Denier, depending on fly size. I switch to the smaller thread at about a size 18. Shell: Black Foam, 2-3mm. depending on the fly size Underbody: Peacock Herl Dyed Bright Green Legs: Black Krystal Flash HotSpot: 2mm yellow, orange, white or chartreuse foam, punched out with a hole punch and glued on the back.
step: 2
Attach the thread at the index point and wrap back to the bend of the hook. Lay a thin layer of Zap-A-Gap over the thread base to glue the foam solidly to the hook in the next step. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 3
Cut a strip of foam that is about as wide as the gap of the hook. Trim the corners off the foam strip to taper the end slightly as shown. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 4
Lay the tapered end of the foam on top of the hook at the rear edge of the index point and bind it down over the glue. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 5
Wrap back over the foam to the bend, securing it with spiral wraps. Make several tight thread turns at the bend and make sure the foam is square with the bend of the hook. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 6
Tie in six or eight dyed peacock herls by their tips at the bend of the hook and wrap forward over the tips to the midpoint on the shank. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 7
Move the thread forward to the front edge of the foam. Tie in three strands of black crystal flash with a couple x-wraps, like you would tie in a spinner wing. Make sure the crystal flash is tied in on top of the foam underbody. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 8
Place another thin layer of Zap-A-Gap over the foam underbody. Keep it pretty thin, it wont take much to hold the peacock herl down. The glue adds a significant amount of durability to the peacock. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 9
Pull the crystal flash strands forward along the side of the hook eye and tie them down with ONE turn of thread. This will hold the flash legs out of the way while you wrap the peacock herl in the next step and keep the legs from becoming glued to the body. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 10
Wrap the peacock up to the back of the crystal flash legs, over the wet glue. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 11
Release the turn of thread holding the legs and make one wrap of peacock in front of the legs. Tie the peacock herl off at the rear edge of the index point. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 12
Trim the butt ends of the peacock. Make a thread base on the bare shank at the front edge of the hook from the front of the peacock to the eye and back again. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 13
Put a small drop of Zap-A-Gap on the top of the foam shell and smear it into a thin layer. A very thin coat is all that is necessary. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 14
Pull the shell over the top of the underbody and legs and tie it down at the rear edge of the index point. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 15
Quickly, push the crystal flash legs up against the foam from the bottom of the fly with your fingertip. Position the legs so they are spread apart. The legs will become glued to the bottom side of the foam and the glue will hold the legs in the position that you place them. The glue also secures the foam and peacock as one unit, keeping the foam from twisting out of shape when you fish it. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 16
Trim the front of the foam off just behind the hook eye. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 17
Whip finish the thread between the eye and the front of the foam. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 18
Trim the legs so they are about a gap width long. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 19
Use a small hole punch to punch out a few brightly colored pieces of foam from a 2mm sheet. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 20
Grab a piece of foam in the tips of a pair of tweezers and apply a thin layer of Zap-A-Gap to one end. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 21
Place the spot in the middle of the shell on the back of the beetle. This type of hotspot is easier to see because it sticks up a little and you can see it out across the water. I also like this type because you can peel it off if the fish are a little extra picky. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox
step: 22
Finished Fly, bottom view. Notice length and spread of the legs. charlie's flybox
charlies flybox