How to Tie Lance Egan’s Red Dart
“This little festival of color and texture is Lance Egan’s Red Dart. Maybe it’s just the high water we’ve had this year in the East, but this fly has become the go-to pattern for a whole slew of anglers, it’s really that good.
For a hook, I’m going to use a Lightning Strike JF2 in size 14. After getting hold of the hook with plunger-style hackle pliers, I’ll use my bodkin to pick up a 7/64” gold slotted tungsten bead. The bodkin helps to center the small hole of the bead in my fingertips while the hackle pliers allow me to easily insert the point of the hook into that hole, then slide the bead around onto the hook shank. After getting the hook and bead assembly firmly secured in the jaws of your tying vise, slide the bead forward and get it correctly oriented behind the hook eye.
.02 lead-free wire is used to add weight and to help stabilize the bead. While holding the bitter end of the wire, take 7 or 8 touching wraps around the hook shank then helicopter to break it off close. Slip the wire rearward so there’s some space between it and the bead. Using just the smallest amount of super glue, or here, Fly Tyers Z-Ment, apply the adhesive to the hook shank between the wire wraps and the bead. Quickly slide the wraps forward so they butt up against the back edge of the bead and hold them there with a fair bit of pressure for a few seconds so the adhesive sets. This will not only hold the bead in place but also allow you to tuck in the tail of the wire without the wraps simply spinning around the hook shank.
For thread, I’ve loaded a bobbin with a spool of UTC 70 Denier in red. Get your thread started on the hook shank behind the wire and take a few wraps rearward before snipping off the tag. Then, wrap forward to just behind the wire.
Red saddle hackle is used for the tail of the fly. Select a single feather and pull down a dozen or so fibers perpendicular to the stem. Squeeze the fibers between your fingertips and strip them from the stem. You can make sure the tips of the fibers are aligned by aligning the butts. With the tips pointing toward the back of the fly, measure to form a tail approximately a hook shank in length then transfer that measurement rearward to the start of the hook bend. Take wraps of tying thread to bind the fibers to the top of the hook shank, all the way back to the start of the bend. You can then snip the excess butt ends off close.
Pearl-colored Sulky Sliver Metallic is used to rib the fly and protect the delicate peacock herl beneath, a 10” length is enough to make numerous flies. Lay one end of the material against the near side of the hook and take thread wraps to secure it. Keep it on the near side of the hook as you take wraps rearward all the way to the base of the tail. You can then wrap forward over top of the wire wraps to further stabilize them. End with your tying thread hanging at about the hook point.
Although Lance uses peacock-colored dubbing for the body for increased durability, I’m going to go with 3 strands of the natural stuff. Begin by snipping off an inch or so of the delicate herl tips. Lay the tips against the near side of the hook at the back edge of the wire and take thread wraps to secure them. Go all the way back to the base of the tail then gingerly, and without twisting, bring the herls between the hook point and your tying thread. Wrapping behind the tying thread like this helps to compress the herls and create a nice full body on the fly. Once past the hook point, begin putting a little angle into these wraps, like so, this will also add to the fullness of the body. Leaving a small amount of space behind the bead, take wraps of tying thread to firmly anchor the peacock herl then reach in with the tips of your tying scissors and snip the butt ends off close….
I have no idea why trout are so attracted to this pattern but they most definitely are.”