Monday, December 13, 2010

Fly Tying as "Usual"

The Usual
 Well the weather has not been exactly cooperative lately.  Here on Long Island it has been pretty cold and windy for a number of days but the wind finally let up Friday and I thought I would head over to a local lake for some Tenkara trout fishing.  You know conditions for fishing are not good when you don't even have the opportunity to get "skunked."  Seems mother nature decided to put a nice thick cover of ice over my trout.  By the way, does anyone out there think a fisherman could look any more stupid than when he is holding a fly rod and staring at a frozen lake? I personally don't think so.  But if anything, the cold weather gives me an excuse to keep tying flies.  As some of you already know I really enjoy tying and fishing sakasa kebari but among my other favorites are the flies designed by Fran Betters.  The first fly I ever tied was a Haystack.  Since then I have spent a lot of time trying to become a better tier of his flies.  Lately, I have become pretty good at tying Ausable Bombers.  However, my favorite fly of his is the Usual.  This fly was created around 30 years ago when Fran became a little bored tying flies one afternoon and decided to experiment a little.  He eyed a snow shoe rabbits foot and thought that the material must be excellent at repelling water due to the wintry environment it finds itself in a good portion of the year.  He tied it in the pattern of a Haystack and left it up to friend to try it out.  It proved to be a deadly fly and has been with us ever since.  In addition, it introduced much of the fly tying world to a great material for use in tying various types of flies.  The Usual is a great fly in that it can be fished dry and floats like a cork.  With a little tug you can get it under the water and fish it like a nymph or emerger.  It's fibers make it translucent and give it a certain iridescence and it is also very durable.  The Usual is a very versatile fly that is easy to tie as it is only consists of two materials, thread and rabbit fur.  In my opinion I think its a great fly that should be in every one's fly box.

The Usual
Hook: any standard dry fly hook will do size 12-20
Body & Tail: Snowshoe Rabbit fur from the underside of paw
Thread: Uni-thread 6/0 Fire or Hot Orange (any thread will do though)


  1. Thats a great pattern, then again all of Fran's patterns are great.

    Your rendition of it is well done.

  2. Amen, to all of Fran's patterns being great. The best part of tying a Usual is how easy it is to tie a good one. The Haystack, on the other hand, is a simple one to tie also but to get great looking one is not as easy as one would think.