I did a video of an old pattern. One that has caught myself and so many others so many trout. I did the old school ant, but of coarse I used synthetic dubbin. I tied up a batch of Cinnamon ants, because I am going to fish a spot on a spring creek that I know the trout there get a regular diet of cinnamon colored ants.
Ants of this color are always small, well at least were I am from. They usually are between a 22- 26. I tie them in size 28 as well. If the trout are being picky, the smaller sizes are required. In the video I tied a Huge one so the video would be clearer. I also tie these tiny ants in dark brown. This color represents the common ants that you see all the time. Yup they to fall in the water and become pray to the trout. The browns I tie in the same sizes.
I need to fire up the dye bath, to dye some tiny hackles red. There is an ant, one I have only ever seen on two streams. One in New Jersey and the other in P.A.. The body on these ants is the same color as trico, a super deep brown, pretty much black. The kooky thing about them is they have bright red legs. Weird looking they are for sure. But the trout are aware of them and they do look for them. I discovered these ants one July morning some years ago. I was fish the trico hatch and there was a rather large trout sipping occasionally. He was my last trout catch, I got the others, and put the rest down from catching them. I drifted my trico over that trout several times without even a look. I swapped patterns, going through my trico arsenal, and nothing.
I stood and watched the trout feeding. The rises were not in any kind of timing, but they were sipping rises just like the trout was taking spinners. I got my binoculars out of my car and peered at the film, I could see trico spinners, drifting right over the trout. I noticed a smiggin a extremely small bug on the water, smaller than the tricos. The trout came right up and took it. I thought hmm perhaps it was a midge or maybe an ant. I tried a griffiths gnat #26, the trout looked but no take. He didnt look again. I swapped out for the old timely cinnamon ant. I tied the size 26 ant on the line and cast it over him, it came into his window and he came right and sipped it right in, or so it appeared. Once I got the trout in, I saw he was fowl hooked. By chance i managed to hook him on the top of his head. Hey you try and keep track of a size 26 ant 15ft away. lol
Once he settled and I removed the hook from his head, I pumped his throat. I had to see what he was eating. To my surprise, I pumped out a mess of the dark, red legged ants, and just a couple of small cinnamon. I have a huge arachnophobia, I mean I will scream like a little girl when a big spiders on me. When i pumped the throat load on my hand, I could of swore those little ants were spiders. I nearly threw it right in the stream. Upon closer inspection i noticed only six legs, but they were red. I went home and picked a mess of hackles off the white neck i had and dyed them red.
Two weeks later later I returned to this stretch of stream with my hatch matching ants. I thought well they should work. I had tied a couple up parachute style and a couple the old way. I tried the parachutes first. Not even a look. Hmmm. I put a trico on and started catching fish. I got down near the area where I had the run in with that selective trout. A couple of trout were rising under the large sycamore. I watched the fish for a short while. I noticed one rising that was certainly larger then the rest. I set my trico a drift to him. He refused it. I tied on the old school red legged ant. Sent it a drift, and nose up, dorsal, tail, he was one. A great fight with a 17" wild brown. After I released him, I made my way back up to the fish that refused he parachute. There were some which didnt want my trico, and I wondered if they would take the ant. I got every one of them with it, one the first drift to them. From that day on, I always carry red legged ant, tied the traditional way.
Heres a video of the traditional fur body ant. As I said earlier, its a large cinnamon. I tie the red legged ants to small for video. And I dont have a pic because as I stated earlier, I need to fire up the dye bath and dye some size 26 hackle red.