Two of the buggiest natural materials used in tying flies are peacock herl and hare’s mask fur. The 20 incher combines both to create a fish catching machine. I’ve had a decent amount of success with the 20 incher pattern in the spring before snow melt and in the fall season. It may produce at other times, but I’ve only been using it for two years and haven’t experimented with it extensively in other portions of the fishing season.
I weight my 20 inchers with lead wraps that span 2/3 of the hook shank beginning at the bead, and this yields a large weighted fly that sinks rapidly. In the spring season I like to use the 20 incher as my top fly with another hatch matching fly such as an RS2 or caddis pupa below it as the point. The weight of the 20 incher enables me to forego crimping a split shot to my line.
I plan to tie eleven additional 20 inchers for 2014, and I made good progress last night with four remaining to be completed. I have been using copper wire to counter wrap the rib over the abdomen, but the standard pattern calls for a larger flat gold wire. I think I have some wire that fits that description, and if I can locate it in my fly tying desk, I will use it on my final four. Another deviation I make is to use Tyvek for the wing case. Tyvek is the material used in FedEx envelopes and is nearly indestructible. I color a section of Tyvek on both sides with a black magic marker and then cut a strip the width of the abdomen and tie it in where a turkey wing section is normally added.
Hopefully I will use the 20 incher more in 2014 and enjoy great success. Do buggy materials equal a buggy fly? I thinks so, but the fish will be the true judge.