Russ Symons ties up a dry fly with a certain magical reputation for catching fish
Russ Symons ties a Midas Dry Fly
YOU could easily be forgiven for never having heard of the Midas fly, but it has been around on the competition circuit for well over a decade. As is the way with competition anglers, if they find something good it becomes a state secret! It is one of those dry flies that imitates nothing, but represents all sorts of things. It was first tied by Paul Davison and fished with great success on the big midland reservoirs. From my own experience, it catches very well on small fisheries as well. This year I’ve tied up a half dozen in black, because I thought – with its paddle-like appendages – it could be taken for a hawthorn and that season is fast approaching. I’ve had success with the Midas in various colours, but orange, fiery brown and claret are my ‘go to’ colours when I need to ring the changes. On small fisheries with my 5wt, I’ll often fish just one fly at the end of a 12 to 15-foot leader of greased-up nylon, with the last two feet degreased so that it’s under the surface right up to the fly. The last thing you want on a small stillwater is six inches of line floating high in front of the fly. It’s one of those things that will spell the difference between successfully fishing a dry fly and a niggly nearly day! One of the most successful dry fly anglers I ever knew would grease and degrease after every couple of casts. Believe me that was a lesson well learned! That meticulous attention to detail is what often sets the irritatingly successful angler apart from the rest of us! Boat fishing on a reservoir with a dry fly such as the Midas, is a whole different ballgame. Greasing and degreasing is still important, but with two or three flies on the leader, what is vitally important is clean casting, so that you lay those three flies out in a straight line in order that they are fishing immediately after landing on the water. Perhaps it is a strange thing to say about a dry fly, but every now and again you’ll have a fly that’s become swamped. Whatever you do don’t be in a hurry to get it in...this Midas fly seems to catch quite well subsurface as well. Several times I’ve been fishing a reservoir and fish have taken a fly that has become waterlogged and is fishing inches beneath the surface. So, what makes this non-descript looking
fly so successful? I do believe that –although it doesn’t look like a specific insect – it does resemble several. Add to this resemblance the trigger points of the legs, the sparkle from the gold tinsel just behind the head, the lighttrapping qualities of the buggy body and hackle and, it works. And, that’s the name of the game!
Tying the fly
This is not a difficult fly to tie. In fact, I’ve been told several times that my Midas flies are too tidy and that I should make them more ‘straggly’, but they catch fish for me. If you want to make them more straggly, that is up to you. Start by running your thread down the hook shank, catching in a length of monofilament as you go. I’ve been using an old spool of Drennan 6lb fly leader. Any clear monofilament will do, 5 or 6lb breaking strain seems to be about right. Dub the body for near enough two thirds of the shank length. I think the original dubbing was seal’s fur but I’ve been using Frankie McPhillips’ Traditional Irish dubbing for several years and it does a nice job. At this point the legs go in. The original tying says three or four strands of pheasant tail reversed so that the thicker end is protruding beyond the bend of the hook and set so that they trail below the line of the shank. This is how I tie mine. Having said that, I’ve seen some Midas flies tied with knotted pheasant tail legs and that seems to work as well. Then another batch of dubbing is added to form the thorax and this dubbing should be a fairly loose dub. Then before the hackle is tied in and wrapped, the dubbing needs to be roughed up on the top of the fly. Velcro and a stubby toothbrush does a good job. Use a webby greenwells or furnace hackle and take three or four wraps, leaving enough room for two or three turns of dubbed gold Lite-Brite before you finish off the head. Then rough the fly up again! After which, treat it with a fly floatant and put it in a drying rack for a day or two to thoroughly dry out before going into a fly box.
“Don’t be in a hurry to get it in...this Midas fly seems to catch quite well subsurface as well.”
Various Midas dry flies, perfect for the reservoir or small stillwater.
Dr. Charles Reaves with a lovely spring brown trout caught on a Midas Dry.