Thread Midge & Brassie
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Thread Midge & Brassie
2005 Mustad Competition



Thread Midge

Hook: Mustad 94840, #18-24
Thread: Danville's Prewaxed 6/0, black
Body: tying thread
Ribbing: Uni-Thread 6/0 or similar, color to match natural


Step One

Insert the hook into the vice, making sure you will have plenty of room for winding thread on the rear portion of the hook shank. Secure the tying thread on the shank directly behind the hook eye by wrapping the thread back over itself toward the bend in five tight, touching turns. Clip the tag end of the tying thread and let the bobbin hang free.

Stop the bobbin from swinging or moving at all, then let go and watch what it does. You will notice the bobbin spin counter-clockwise (looking down on it). The individual strands that make up the thread are untwisting themselves. This will flatten the thread and make it useful for less thread build-up. You can help it along by pinching the thread near the hook, and gently running your fingers down the thread. Note the flat appearance of the black tying thread in the photo...
Select a lighter colored thread that matches local midges, such as white, gray, tan, or olive. Uni-Thread 6/0 is a little thicker than the Danville's 6/0, so that brand works well. You can also experiment with different types... here I'm using white Kevlar thread.  Cut a six to eight inch section and lash it to the top of the hook shank with two touching (barely overlapping) turns of the now flat tying thread. Let the bobbin hang and carefully pull back on the lighter thread to shorten the tag end (see photo above). There shouldn't be more than a millimeter of the lighter thread showing in front of the tie-in area.


Step Two

Pull down on the tying thread to tighten the wraps, then continue wrapping over the lighter thread back to the hook bend, holding it up to keep it on top of the shank. From the bend, wind the thread forward toward the eye again in tight, touching wraps that do not overlap. Stop at the point where the lighter thread is sticking out a little, which should be about half to one hook eye width behind the hook eye.

Notice in the photo how smooth the black portion of the body is. If you have bumps, or the body is much thicker than this, simply unwind the tying thread and redo it until you get the look you need.


Step Three

Let the bobbin hang and grasp the lighter ribbing thread. Use the fingers of both hands to twist it until you notice it is thin and rounded, all the strands of the thread twisted together. Spiral this forward in close open wraps to the tying thread, making sure the spaces between the wraps are even. Take two turns of the tying thread around the ribbing to secure, and closely clip off the excess (see below).


Step Four

Now all that's left is to build up a big fat head. This actually represents the swollen thorax and head area of the midge. Wrap the tying thread back and forth between the tie-down area of the ribbing and the hook eye. Usually, the thread builds itself into a rounded shape. If you find the individual strands of the tying thread getting out of hand so it won't wrap tight, spin the bobbin clockwise (looking down on it) to tighten it, and continue. When the head is about twice as thick as the body, tie a four-turn whip finish knot neatly in the head area, tighten, and clip. Coat both the head and the thread body of the fly with head cement.

You can vary the look of this pattern by changing thread colors, using different styles of hooks, adding a touch of dubbing to the thread just before whip finishing, or substituting fine wire for the ribbing.



Hook: Mustad 94840, #18-24
Thread: Danville's Prewaxed 6/0, black
Body: fine copper wire

Tying the Brassie is very similar to tying the Thread Midge, with a few minor changes outlined below.


Step One

Secure the thread on the hook shank just behind the eye as you did for the Thread Midge, but take two more turns of thread toward the bend. Again, let the thread unwind and flatten. Cut a six to eight inch piece of fine copper wire and lash this to the top of the hook shank with two wraps of thread, pull it back gently to shorten the tag end, then continue in touching turns to the bend of the hook. Hold the wire in place as you pull down slightly on the tying thread to tighten it. Now wind forward toward the eye back over the previous wraps, ending just over the tag end of the wire. Notice in the photo below the thin layer of thread over the wire, and that the wire is on top of the shank the whole way. The space between the hook eye and the tag end of the copper wire will be used later to tie it off.


Step Two

Let the bobbin hang and grasp the copper wire. Carefully, so as not to twist the wire off the top of the shank, pull it down on the far side of the hook and come forward underneath just behind where the black thread ends. In other words, your first wrap of copper wire will be around the bare hook. The second wrap will be over the thread. Keep the wire taught as you wrap it up the shank. The smooth thread base helps keep the wraps tight together, but to help it along, lean the wire back just slightly as you make each turn, so the wire "slides" off the previous wrap into place. Continue up to the tying thread.


Step Three

When you reach the tying thread, angle the copper wire forward and take two turns of thread over it. Pull down a little to tighten, then use small wire cutters or heavy scissors to trim the wire as close as possible. Do not use your tying scissors for this, as it will dull and nick the blades. Save your tying scissors for softer, more delicate materials.

You will notice in the photo there is now a "barb" of the wire sticking up. If left like this it will sever the tying thread. Use your fingernail to push it down toward the far side. Basically, you're bending it down around the shank. Carefully cover the end with tying thread, but not too tightly, as the minute burrs on the clipped wire can still catch on the thread.


Step Four

Build up a fat rounded head as you did with the thread midge, whip finish and clip the thread. Apply head cement to the thread wraps.



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This site was last updated 04/02/05