I came to the realization last week that FlyTalk doesn’t do enough “TieTalk.” My excuse is that honestly, I really don’t enjoy tying flies. I can tie the few patterns that I need now and then, but I’ve never been one to sit down and learn to tie something just for the sake of tying or crank out dozens by the fire the evening. It’s just not me.

tying a fly
Tying flies. Field & Stream

But I know a whole lot of people that love tying almost as much as fishing. They’re freakishly good at it and have compiled tips and tricks, written books, and shot videos that can help everyone.

In my quest to begrudgingly learn more about tying and bring some of that knowledge to FlyTalk I’ve been looking at a number of people in our sport that know a hell of a lot more about making fake bugs than I do and want to share some of that knowledge with all of you.

So this week’s featured tyer is Jason Borger. You might know him better as Brad Pitt’s casting double in A River Runs Through It. Jason is a class act, done and seen everything our industry has to offer and has agreed to let me share this tip with you. His website, Fish, Flies & Water has a wealth of knowledge from super slow-mo casting and mending tips, to flies and gear.

This week’s fly is what Jason calls the “Cross-Dresser” and is a variant on the Griffith’s Gnat. The recipe and materials are below. For the full monte on the fly head on over to FF&W to view this and some other amazing content. – TR

Cross-Dresser (Winged)

Tying sequence:
1) Wrap the hook shank with thread (from front to back).
2) Tie in the trailing shuck (use as a full underbody to prevent a possible “lump” at the rear of the fly).
3) Tie in the hackle feather.
4) Apply a small amount of dubbing to thread and wrap body forward to wing area.
5) Tie in the wing, and add more dubbing to the thread.
6) Dub the wing area and then wrap the body forward to the head.
7) Palmer the hackle forward (take care going through the wing area) and tie off at the head.
8) Tie off the thread and apply any head cement, if you wish.
9) Trim the hackle off the bottom of fly.
10) Go fish!

Materials list:

Hook: Tiemco or Targus 101, 103BL, 104BL, or equivalents.
Thread: 8/0 or smaller, color to approximately match body.
Shuck: SST, Z-lon, antron yarn or similar (dark sand is a good color).
Body: SuperDry, Super FIne, or silk dubbing, light olive/light gray blend (typical, but colors may vary).
Hackle: Dun or watery-dun dry-fly hackle, palmered and trimmed flat on bottom.
Wing: SST, Z-lon, antron yarn or similar (medium gray is a good color), tied V-wing style.
Note: For dark midges or to go for a “silhouette” fly, try tying the fly all-black (except for the shuck).