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4/18/2014
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Email a Friend Sloan’s Mighty May Baetis
By Dave Sloan

I initially came up with the basic idea for this series while examining some baetis on the Pit River and noticed how prominent the notch in the wing case was, especially as the baetis came closer to emergence. I wondered if this could be a trigger that I could incorporate into some other patterns.

As a result I began experimenting with the notched wing case on some other patterns to get a feel for the right material to use on such a small fly and how it fished. After trying multiple materials I settled on good old turkey, colored it black, and epoxied it. Once I had the wing case figured out I began to experiment with a new fly all together. I wanted something with a bit of flash, but not too much, a bead head that wouldn’t put off fish, and something that was relatively durable. The result was a spanflex body wrapped over spiraled Accent Flash to mute the amount of flash, a black nickel bead head, a dubbed thorax, hen saddle legs, and an epoxied wing case.

When I finally got the combination right the results were quite good and the Mighty May Baeits quickly became one of my “go to” flies while fishing and guiding. With the success of the original baetis pattern I began to use and develop several others to form a series including the Mighty May: Baetis, PMD, March Brown, Callibaetis, and the most recent additions, the Mighty May Sulphur and Hendrickson.

The series as a whole is fished best on the dead drift, excluding the callibaeits in lakes, but on occasion just prior to or during a hatch can produce very well on the swing. The series has quickly become one of my most productive nymphs on any river under an indicator and quite often as a dropper under a dry fly. So tie a few up and go rip a few lips. Tie this fly in sizes 16-20.

Sloan’s Mighty May Baetis
Step 1 Slide bead on and start the thread, wrap back approximately a third of the way down the shank of the hook.
Sloan’s Mighty May Baetis
Step 2 Next, get four pheasant tail fibers, even the tips, and tie them in where the thread is stopped. This will form the tail and should be about as long as the gap of the hook is. If anything miss slightly short on the length.
Sloan’s Mighty May Baetis
Step 3 Now, advance the thread forward so that when the thread is hanging it is even with the point of the hook. Tie in a single strand of small Spanflex, tying it down all the way back to where the tail has been tied in. Do the same with a single strand of Accent Flash.
Sloan’s Mighty May Baetis
Step 4 Spiral wrap the KrystalFlash back up even with the point of the hook and tie it off. It should take about four turns to get there, no more than five.
Sloan’s Mighty May Baetis
Step 5 Now wrap the Spanflex up the shank of the hook, laying each wrap next to the previous one until it is up to where the Krystal Flash was tied off. The Krystal Flash should be showing through the Spanflex. (As the Spanflex is wrapped forward make sure that it is stretched tight.)
Sloan’s Mighty May Baetis
Step 6 Use the Arizona dubbing, dub a thorax that begins slightly behind the point of the hook and extends forward to the bead. The thorax should be pronounced, but not too bulky, it should be no bigger around than the diameter of the bead itself. Arizona dubbing is fairly spiky so when the thorax is dubbed there will be stray fibers going in every which direction, cut them off tight to the fly.
Sloan’s Mighty May Baetis Sloan’s Mighty May Baetis
Step 7 Now get some turkey that has been treated so it will take the epoxy. Cut a strip that is large enough to cover the top of the thorax. Put a notch in the tip of it, much like what would be done on a stonefly nymph, just on a smaller scale. Tie this in directly behind the bead. The tips of the notch should extend just past the end of the thorax.
Sloan’s Mighty May Baetis
Step 8 Get some Hen Saddle and even up the tips of about eight fibers and tie them in, one clump on each side, of the thorax. They should extend slightly past the end of the thorax.
Sloan’s Mighty May Baetis
Step 9 Dub a collar with the Arizona Dubbing. Clip the stray fibers. (Try to keep the collar as small a possible.)
Sloan’s Mighty May Baetis
Step 10 Whip Finish, color, and epoxy the wing case.
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Click photos to enlarge
Sloan’s Mighty May Baetis
Products for this fly:
Tiemco TMC 2487 Hooks
Spirit River Brite Beads
Uni 8/0 Tying Thread
Ringneck Pheasant-Tail Clump
Wapsi Spanflex
Krystal Flash
Umpqua Arizona Syntheric Peacock
Turkey Tail Feathers, Cinnamon
Wapsi Hen Saddle Patches
Umpqua's Flexament & Thinner
Z-Poxy (5 min.)
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