The aim of this blog is to connect fly-tyers all over the world, to share, techniques, patterns, information and knowledge.

Tom Thumb Tutorial

IMG_9965

This magical little deer hair pattern seems for the most to have been forgotten! I have looked through a whole range of my ‘go to’ pattern books and have found reference to it only in name, no images and no step by step. Although I have located some info regarding the pattern on the net I felt that it deserved a proper step by step tutorial. As far as I understand the Tom Thumb is said to have originated from England in the 1940s, but I find this a little misleading as deer hair at this time, was little, if not used at all in England! But Canada where the pattern was popularised is another matter all together, being the birthplace of many deer hair patterns and pioneer of tying with deer hair. Although you can tie the TT with a wide range of deer hair in smaller sizes the optimal sizes 8-12 need a hair of a certain length. So if you are new to the game and intend buying deer hair specifically for this pattern I can recommend Natures Spirit Humpy deer hair. The TT primarily being a Humpy without a hackle! Its also difficult to find two materials, deer hair and peacock herl, that trout and grayling are more attracted to!

The TT is a skater pattern and the larger the front wing the more water it will push, if you shorten the front wing like an elk hair caddis, you have a diving caddis pattern ‘Borger’s Devil Bug’ if you trim it even shorter you have a ‘Cooper bug’ and if you tie it on a size 18 or smaller you have a ‘Cooper’s bug’ that represent hatching midge. Please tie and try this pattern, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Hook: Mustad R50 # 8 – 14
Tying thread: Dyneema
Tail: Deer hair
Body: Peacock herl
Shellback: Deer hair
Wing: Deer hair

IMG_9949

1
Secure your hook in the vice with the hook shaft horizontal.

IMG_9950

2
Attach your tying thread and cover the whole hook shank.

IMG_9951

3
Select deer hair that has sufficient length for the size of hook being used.

IMG_9954

4
Cut a small bunch of deer hair for the tail and remove all the under fur and shorter hairs. Stack the deer hair so all the points are level.

IMG_9955

5
Tie in the bunch of prepared deer hair as shown for the tail. If you wish to imitate a hatching mayfly make the tail a little longer and shorter if it caddis and again for midge.

IMG_9956

6
Trim away the excess deer hair and run the tying thread back towards the tail base.

IMG_9957

7
Cut and prepare as before another slightly larger bunch of deer hair for the shell back and wing. This can be measured a little longer than the tail.

IMG_9959

8
Tie this in as before trying to keep the majority of the deer hair on top of the hook shank.

IMG_9961

9
Tie in 3 or 4 long strands of peacock herl at the tail base. Run your tying thread forward towards the hook eye.

IMG_9962

10
Keeping the strands of peacock herl tight and together wrap the whole hook shank and tie off.

IMG_9963

11
Now taking care not to include the tail hairs fold over the last bunch of long deer hair, keeping it on top of the hook shank and tie down behind the hook eye.

IMG_9964

12
Once your hair is secure make a whip finish. Now bring your tying thread forward in front of the wing but behind the hook eye. While holding the wing up, make several wraps of tying thread to hold it in position so the wing stands up!

IMG_9965

13
Make a whip finish and remove your tying thread.

IMG_9973

14
The Devil bug variant with a dubbed body and bleached elk wing.

IMG_9970

15
The Cooper bug.

IMG_9985

16
The Cooper’s bug midge variant # 18.

IMG_0024

17
This is one of my own spent spinner variants.

IMG_9948

And one with Klippspringer hair with a little red thread grayling bling!

3 responses

  1. Really effective looking ties. Where can I source Klippspringer hair? Googled it and came up with a load of gun-toting ‘hunters’ gurning over dead trophies

    January 26, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    • Thanks, it is a great material and as far as I know there are a few shops in South Africa and the last I heard was that Toby at Funky Fly Tying was going to stock it.

      January 26, 2016 at 5:18 pm

  2. Great pattern. I have fished a similar fly called a Gray Back with much success in the Rockies.

    January 26, 2016 at 10:28 pm

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s