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Post 11 Dec 2021, 12:59 • #1 
Guide
Joined: 07/26/21
Posts: 179
Location: Central Georgia
Excuse the crude title
How do you dress your terrestrials? What makes them more likely to be taken vs. just acting as a nymph suspension device? The chubby chernobyl is a broadly used pattern, Im sure most of us have a few or have used them. Maybe it makes for a good case study?


The fly on the right was tied for a trip to Montana in August with big hoppers and gian golden stones in mind. While it looks good to me, it only moved one fish the whole trip. The nymphal shucks were all over the place and indicated this 2x long size 8 wasnt ridiculously oversized, but the locals didnt care. Aussie possum dubbing, 8-10 stands of flash in the tail, and a natural tapered body shape make up what defines this fly as big and heavily dressed to me.

The fly on the left is hot off the press and is intended to be a much dressed down chubbie or "skinnie". With a blend of orange ice dub and high and dry, I suspect it will carry less water. Only 3 strands of flash in the tail, and a much smaller (even in proportion) chunk of foam make this fly feel lightly dressed to me. This fly is intended for use here in the south east where I have seen mid summer golden stone fly adults well over an inch long! It is tied on a 2xl size 12.


This poor fellow was underneath my tent when I broke camp one morning last year in GSMNP.

Ofcourse, no matter how the chubbie is tied Ill probably hang a pheasant tail off it. Why not? The bennefit of the lighter fly is that I think I can cast it well on 5x instead of needing to move to 2-3x tippet, and I hope it will be a better fly than a bobber.

What do you all think? How do you tie your chubbies (or other foam terrestrials)?


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Post 11 Dec 2021, 13:04 • #2 
Global Moderator
Joined: 04/20/07
Posts: 8464
Location: US-ME
Notice the hyaline wings of the natural vs the opaque of the imitation. Notice the proportion of body to wing.


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Post 11 Dec 2021, 13:23 • #3 
Guide
Joined: 07/26/21
Posts: 179
Location: Central Georgia
Exceedingly valid points. Im not sure that the chubbie is necessarily the pinnacle of imitation, and that may be precisely why mine normally perform more like fancy strike indicators.

If I was aiming for more realism and was limmited to stuff that is currently in my fly box, Id probably pick one of these (more yellow sally sized)


If not limmited to the fly box I would be very tempted by some of Pittenridges stone flys.

I think what youre getting at is that flies that are better imitations of the naturals that a chubbie really can be would be generally better fish catchers, and Im sure youre right. Still, the question of what makes a fish more likely to eat a big ridiculous foam bug stands.

Thanks!


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Post 11 Dec 2021, 16:03 • #4 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 12/31/15
Posts: 1063
Location: The Rockies
The fly on the left is how I tie all my chubbies. I just use a shorter head and last section. I also use more material in the wings for better visibility.


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Post 11 Dec 2021, 16:39 • #5 
Guide
Joined: 07/26/21
Posts: 179
Location: Central Georgia
Interesting. So less foam in the head section and the tail section, and a larger wing. Do fish seem to eat it well, and if so, is that correlated to the chubbie matching the hatch? I assume the wing is for you, not the fish?

I did shorten that head section by about a third for what its worth.


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Post 13 Dec 2021, 23:50 • #6 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 12/31/15
Posts: 1063
Location: The Rockies
For what it's worth, this is how I tie chubbies. I tie them on size 10 and size 14 2XL hooks (usually Daiichi 1710s). I have a few in size 6 or maybe 8, but I almost never fished them. So I stopped carrying them in my usual boxes.

I tie them in lots of different colors, and I consider them to be attractors and all-purpose hopper, stonefly, or whatever imitations. I start with 2mm foam and the River Road Creations tapered cutter. The big wing is my favorite poly yarn or, more often, whatever is visible enough that I'm not going to use for anything else. The fish only see the little that extends outside of the profile from below anyway.




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Post 14 Dec 2021, 09:41 • #7 
Guide
Joined: 07/26/21
Posts: 179
Location: Central Georgia
Most excellent. Thanks for the photo! It looks like you picked a dubbing with a lot of flash? How do you like the river roads cutters? Worth it?

I think Ill have one size 8 in yellow and a size 10 or so in black, and everything else in the 12 range for around here. We dont really get a lot of hoppers, but lots of places are loaded down with small crickets that would be best imitated in about a 14-16. They seem to be prevalent starting pretty early in the season too. Id love to do a big western float where the name of the game is 1.5" long foam dries to big reckless trout.. you need something to dream about I guess.


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Post 14 Dec 2021, 12:18 • #8 
Sport
Joined: 07/12/20
Posts: 34
Location: Helena, MT
I fish terrestrials quite a bit, some ants and beetles but the majority are hoppers. I tend to purchase a lot of my more complicated foam patterns, but I tie a ton of chubbies. I have found over the years that smaller is usually better. I like to tie them about an inch long, with enough dubbing so that there's only a little foam overhanging on the sides. Like GlacierRambler, I've ditched most of my 6 & 8s in favor of 10s and 12s.

Here is a chubbie/hopper variant (Chopper) I've been messing around with. I don't think it's any more effective than a standard chubbie, but I sure like the looks of it. I tie all my chubbies with a single wing (I'm lazy) and I use the overturned foam bullet head almost always. The knotted legs are totally unnecessary, in my opinion. The most effective colors I've found for SW Montana are combinations of tan/pink/yellow, and black foam with either purple or green dubbing.



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