How to Tie a Tungsten Rainbow Dart
I call this fly the Tungsten Rainbow Dart. It’s basically a mash-up of three great Lance Egan patterns; the Tungsten Surveyor, the Rainbow Warrior and the Red Dart.
For a hook, I’m going to go with a Lightning Strike JF2 jig hook in size 14. I’ll pair this with a silver 7/64” slotted tungsten bead. Insert the point of the hook into the small hole of the bead then work the bead around onto the hook shank. Get the assembly firmly secured in the jaws of your tying vise, making sure the bead is oriented and seated correctly behind the hook eye.
.015 lead-free wire is used to add more weight and to stabilize the bead. While holding the bitter end of the wire in the fingertips of your left hand, start taking touching wraps around the hook shank, 6 or 7 is a good amount. Helicopter the wire to break it off close. Leave some space between the bead and the wire. Take a small amount of superglue, here, Fly Tyer’s Z-ment and apply it to the hook shank between the bead and the wire, then quickly slide the wire forward and hold it there so the adhesive sets. This will lock the bead into place and make it possible to tuck in the tail end of the wire without all of the wraps spinning around the hook shank.
For thread, I’m going to go with UTC 70 Denier in red. Start your thread on the hook shank at the back end of the wire and take a few wraps rearward before snipping off the tag. Continue taking thread wraps forward to the back edge of the bead. Then go back down to really anchor those wire wraps in place.
Small, silver Ultra wire is used to rib and segment the fly, a 5” length will make numerous flies. Lay one end of the wire on top of the hook shank and take thread wraps to secure it. Allow thread torque to push the wire to the far side of the hook, make sure it’s bound down all the way to the start of the bend. End with your tying thread hanging at about the hook point.
Red saddle hackle is used for the tail of the fly. Pull down about a dozen stiff, straight, less-webby fibers so they’re perpendicular to the stem. While keeping their tips aligned, strip them free. Pass the clump to the fingertips of your right hand then measure to form a tail that’s a hook shank in length and transfer that measurement rearward to the start of the hook bend. Using the back edge of the wire wraps as a guide, snip the excess butt ends off square. Give your bobbin a counterclockwise spin so when you take the first wrap of thread it’ll want to jump rearward and catch the very ends of the fibers. While holding the fibers up at a slight angle, continue taking thread wraps rearward to the start of the hook bend. Holding the fibers up will ensure they stay on top of the shank. Once again, end with your tying thread at about the hook point.
Rainbow-colored Sow & Scud Dubbing is used for the body of the fly. It kind of has an olive-grey tint to it as opposed to the more pinkish Tan Rainbow Dubbing. Take a small pinch of the dubbing, and elongate the fibers parallel to your tying thread then twist clockwise to build up a thin dubbing noodle about 2” in length. Although the noodle looks fairly large here, we’ll be tightening it up in just a second. Start taking wraps with the noodle so the dubbing begins right at the base of the tail. Make sure to get a full wrap of dubbing around the shank then give your bobbin a healthy clockwise spin to cord up the thread and the dubbing noodle as well. Start taking wraps with the slimmed-down noodle up the hook shank to create a nicely tapered abdomen on the fly.
Next, get hold of the silver wire and begin making open spiral wraps with it over top of the dubbed body to rib and segment the fly. This not only adds to the look but also helps with durability. When you reach your tying thread, use it to firmly anchor the wire then helicopter to break the excess off close.
Large opal-colored mirage tinsel is used for the wing case of the fly, a 5” length will make numerous flies. Secure one end of the tinsel between the end of the dubbed body and the back edge of the bead. Make sure it’s bound down really well with tight wraps of tying thread.
Peacock herl is used to produce the thorax of the fly, 2 or 3 herls are all you need. Before tie-in, snip an inch or two of the brittle tips off square. Secure the herl behind the bead with a few wraps of tying thread then, start wrapping it behind your thread. As you go forward the thread will help to keep the herls sandwiched together. Keep wrapping until you have a nice, fuzzy thorax behind the bead. Next anchor the herl with 2 or 3 turns of tying thread. Once you have it bound down well, snip the excess off close.
Pull the tinsel forward, out over the bead, and take just a couple of thread wraps to lock it down, then pull it back and take a few more to pin it back. You can then snip the excess off nice and close.
To seal everything up and enhance the look of the wing case, I’m going to use some UV cure resin. You really don’t need much at all. A fine-tipped bodkin makes application of the resin a breeze. To cure the resin, get hold of the UV torch and give the wing case an ample shot of UV light. With the resin cured, you can simply snip your tying thread off close without ever whip finishing.
My hope is that this pattern is just different enough that it’ll fool fish on my local waters that regularly see lots of Lance Egan flies.