If I created a hall of fame filled with the most productive flies, the Chernobyl ant would hold an honored position at the top of the list. I documented much of my history with this fly on previous posts, and the reader is encouraged to click on the below links to learn why I revere this foam terrestrial/attractor.
When I performed an inventory of my Chernobyl ants a few weeks ago, I discovered 23 size 10 versions in my bins and boat box. I was satisfied that this quantity was sufficient for the upcoming season; however, I counted only two large size eight imitations. During 2015 I often utilized two beadhead droppers from my Chernobyl ants, and the size 10’s tended to ride very low in the surface film as a result of the weight of two flies. I decided to go big for the new season, and I tied fifteen new size eight foam ants. These larger flies should be much more visible, and they will probably do a superior job of floating a double nymph dry/dropper configuration.
I learned during the late summer and fall season that trout began refusing the Chernboyl ant. For some reason the fish seemed to get more discriminating in their choice of surface terrestrials as the season progressed. In response to these snubbings, I experimented with substituting a Jake’s gulp beetle, and I was pleased to discover that the smaller terrestrial was quite effective. The Chernobyl allows me to spot fish and also to determine that they are looking to the surface for their food supply. The more realistic and smaller Jake’s beetle enables me to close the deal when fish are more selective.
The only significant change to my Chernobyl ant tying approach is the usage of a Tiemco 5262 or equivalent hook. The heavier weight of this hook serves as a keel for the large foam ant, and this causes the fly to land right side up nearly all the time. I learned this trick from Jake Chutz, the designer of Jake’s gulp beetle. I tied all of the new size eight Chernobyl ants on the heavier 5262 hook.