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Uncommonly Effective: The Well-Hung Foam Spider Pattern

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:05 pm
by Karl Klavon
The Well-Hung Foam Spider pattern is probably as close to a One-Fly Pattern Concept as I am ever going to get. And I have been fishing it a lot for my stream fishing over the last 3 years, but it also works well on stillwaters too. All though this pattern has been in development for more than twenty years now, here is the Materials Listing for what I consider to be its best and final form:


HOOK: #13 TMC 212TR or 212Y - like a Klinkhamer hook but shorter - #13s because 14s were taken too deeply and 12s were too big and often put the fish off.

THREAD: 70D, Black Ultra Thread.

YARN UNDER BODY: Wrapped with Jamieson's, Color 101 Shetland Black, Wool Yarn.

HACKLE: Gray Partridge, with half of the fibers stripped off the inside curve, tied in tip first, then wrapped around the foam tie in point.

OVER BODY FOAM: 2MM thick, Scintilla brand, #14 Creame in color, cut with a 3/8th" wide disc using a hole punch, bow-tie notched out with a caddis-wing cutting tool or cut with a River Road Creation's Spider Body Foam Cutting Tool in a 1-step operation. See-


1. The most time consuming part of tying this fly is forming the foam bow-tie pieces, and then preparing the partridge hackle. Start by cutting out a number of Spider bodies with the # 12 River Road Creations Spider Foam Cutting Tool or 3/8th inch wide discs out of the foam sheet material with a 3/8th inch Hole Punch, then notch them at the mid point to form an hourglass profile, with the waist being about an 1/8th of an inch wide. Although they are not as pretty, the scrap parts of the foam sheet left over can be used to make additional bow-tie pieces, if the discs are cut to within an 1/8th of an inch of each other - you will see what I mean when you cut your discs, or better yet, use a River Roads Spider Foam Cutter Tool, which produces better results, is quicker and easier to use.

2. Select well marked (high-contrast) Partridge Hackle flank feathers, removing all the fluff from the bases, and moistening the feather, pulling all the hackle fibers back against the grain except for the very tip end. Putting hackle pliers on the tip of the hackle makes doing all of this much easier to accomplish. On most partridge hackles the hackle stem will have a slight curve to it. Turn the feather concave side up and strip all the inside curve fibers off of the feather stem. Trim the tip to form a small triangle in back of the tie in point, and set the prepared hackles aside for future use.

3. Cut a 3 to 4 inch long length of yarn for each fly to be tied.

4. Place a hook in the vise and tie in the thread right behind the hook's eye, wrapping back to where the hook shank starts to bend down, and stop.

5. Tie in the yarn at the bend and and wrap it on down and around the hook bend to where the thread will form a 45 degree angle to the point of the hook, then wrap the thread back up to the tie in point, and half-hitch.

6. Now make one turn of the yarn flat, then twist it twice (or more depending on how thick of a body you desire), and continue wrapping the yarn on up to the waiting thread, and half-hitch there again.

7. Now let the yarn untwist, and as you did before wrap the yarn forward flat down on top of the hook shank to the back of the hook eye, and return the thread back to the tie in point. Again make one flat-wrap, and then twist the yarn to match the body thickness as you used before, wrapping the yarn back to the waiting thread at the tie in point, and tie it off and trim the excess yarn away.

8. Tie in the hackle by the tip, concave side facing up, with the stem sticking out in front of the hook's eye. Now use a loose wrap of thread to tie in the foam spider body or bow-tie piece on top of the hook shank and slightly to the near side, so it will center on the hook shank as you pull up to tighten the foam down with thread tension, now do a 3-turn whip finish to secure everything.

9. Now wrap the hackle in between the foam over-body and the yarn under-body, clock-wise, 1 1/2 to 2 times at most, and tie it down with a 1/2 hitch and trim the hackle stem away, now whip-finish right in between the hackle fiber legs and trim the thread away. Put a drop of head cement on top of the whip finish above the foam and your Well-Hung Foam Spider is complete.

CONCLUSIONS: This pattern has a number of advantages over many other patterns you could fish. It floats surprisingly well and is quite durable, so far my Personal Best is 100 trout on a single spider pattern. Granted, the fly was completely shot by that point but, it was still catching fish. The hackle contributes nothing to floating this fly. It does parachute the fly down on the water far more gently than the way most ant and beetle patterns land, and this spider is a lot more visible to the angler than ants and beetle patterns are on or in the water. The cream colored foam is also highly visible when turbulent currents take the fly subsurface. And the fish are equally willing to take it on top as well as under water. The hackle also provides a lot of wiggling leg motion for the fish to be stimulated by. And the always well-under-the-water Well-Hung wool under-body appeals to fish that are put off by high riding dry flies. It is the best of both worlds all in a single fly pattern. Is it a terrestrial? Is it an emerger? Is it a spider that has something in its death grip, giving the fish a choice of taking two for the price of one? Who knows? I don't. What I can tell you is that, if the presentations and drifts are good, the Well-Hung Foam-Spider works very consistently a lot, if not most, of the time.

Re: The Well-Hung Foam Spider Pattern

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:16 pm
by Vince_villavivencio
Got a picture of the Well-Hung Foam Spider?

Re: The Well-Hung Foam Spider Pattern

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:44 pm
by Karl Klavon
It is said that a picture is worth 1,000 words of explaination so here are a couple of pics to (hopefully) make up for my writing deficiencies.

Re: The Well-Hung Foam Spider Pattern

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:10 pm
by Karl Klavon
Here is a source and a picture for the Tiemco Hooks the that The Well Hung Foam Spider is tied on: ... erger-hook

Re: Tying Well-Hung Foam Spider Patterns' to Tippet Knots

PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:53 am
by Karl Klavon
All Parachute Patterns present some fly-to-tippet knot tying problems: Like how do you tie the fly on to the tippet without entangling some of the hackle fibers in the knot, and how do you trim the tag end of the knot just tied without cutting off some of the parachute hackle barbs on the fly?

Here is where the FlySpoke Knot is a great aid in accomplishing these things, because it allows you to tie the fly joining knot, pull it back out beyond the parachute hackle to trim away the tag end, and then guide the knot back down to tighten on the hook eye by pulling on the standing line. In putting up the following video some confusing information needs to be corrected. FlySpoke calls the knot he is tying and testing a Double Davie Knot, which it clearly is not! Since FlySpoke came up with this knot variation I have given it his name to eliminate the confusion. The actual tying of the FlySpoke Knot begins at 2 minuets and 30 seconds into the video, if you do not wish to view the testing procedures at the beginning of the tape. Here is the link:

Re: The Well-Hung Foam Spider Pattern

PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 10:40 am
by Vince_villavivencio
Thanks for the picture. I'm going to give this fly a try.


Re: One-Fly Well-Hung Foam Spider Pattern Results

PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:06 pm
by Karl Klavon
The snow pack was 178% of normal in the Sierra East of where I live and fish this year, so the fishing season started about 2 months late for me, and even now, there are streams still running too much water to fish well. Up to this point I have fished 8 streams, 7 of them with the Well Hung Foam Spider pattern exclusively. Here is a tally on how it did up to this point:

July 9th, R Creek, 3 browns.

July 19th, S Creek, (fishing the Two-Toned X-Rated Ant pattern instead of the spider for comparative purposes - 2 browns).

July 23rd, C Creek, 52 browns and 8 brook trout.

Aug. 1st, Q Creek, 20 browns, 12 on the Orange Peacock Herl version and 8 on the Black Wool Yarn version - no difference.

Aug. 8th, East Fork of D Creek, 18 browns and 4 rainbows.

Aug. 19th, B Creek, 8 rainbows and and 4 browns.

Aug. 21st, upper D Creek, 20 browns and 3 rainbows.

Aug. 29th, R Creek, 24 browns and 1 brook trout.

My old flies consisted of 6 of the Orange dyed natural Peacock Herl versions of the Well Hung Foam Spider pattern, and it took until this last trip for me to loose all of the orange ones. On the one day that I fished both the Orange and the Black Wool ties, I could detect no difference in how the trout reacted to and took the different color variations. In theory, the black body model should have a slight trout vision advantage, and the wool model is also more durable as well. But both seemed to catch fish just fine. My normal standard operating procedure is to change fly patterns after catching 10 fish. At times some patterns will work better than others. But in the small in fertile freestone streams that I fish, any fly pattern that resembles some kind of bug will usually be readily taken if it is presented well and the fish are not spooked by the angler, so pattern isn't usually a deal breaker. After doing this experiment, I can see how a One-Fly Angler can easily catch his fair share of fish, no matter what fly pattern he chooses to use....Karl.

The Well-Hung Foam Spider Pattern Cream Foam Source

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:22 am
by Karl Klavon
It has come to my attention that sources for the Cream colored 2 mm foam are few and somewhat difficult to find, so here is a source with reasonable foam prices and shipping rates:

I just ordered 4 packs of 4" X 6", 2 mm Cream Foam, with each pack containing two foam sheets, and the total cost came to only $11.00 dollars. Shipping was a very reasonable $3.00 dollars to my address. Because they specialize in Hopper tying supplies, they also carry a very complete line of foam cutting tools that will make nice notches in the foam discs for the Hourglass shape in tying the Well Hung Foam Spider pattern. Karl.

Re: The Well-Hung Foam Spider Pattern Foam Cutting Tool

PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:51 am
by Karl Klavon
I was not aware of the availability of River Road Creations' Spider Pattern Foam Cutting Tool. All the fly fishing catalogs I have (all 2019s) did not list it but, here is a link to one vendor who is selling them: And, there is one on its way to yours truly as we speak.

For this Well Hung Spider application, the under-body foam extension piece the cutter cuts will not be used or needed. It can be easily be eliminated by measuring the over all body length you desire and cutting a foam strip to that width, from a foam sheet. Then cut your over body Foam Spider pieces to that length, which will eliminate the unneeded foam extension piece. This will be much simpler, easier and quicker, with much more consistent results and less expense than having to buy both a hole punch and a separate foam cutting tool to do the same job. I apologize to anyone who may have already made an investment in a hole punch and or foam cutting tool. If you have, there is a pattern called the Foam Disc Beetle that you may find interesting and still be able to use your hole punch on. I am Sorry for any inconvenience I may have accidently caused....Karl.

Re: Lake Fishing Well-Hung Foam Spider Pattern Update

PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:46 am
by Karl Klavon
Well, I did my usual end of the season deer hunt/T-fishing trip and have some additional input on the River Road Creations Spider Foam Cutter model performance of the Well-Hung Foam Spider pattern to report.

The Midge Pupa Patterns Fishing: It was warm and sunny when I got to the lake, with no wind to start, and no rising fish to speak of, so the angling day began with a #12 Orange Midge Pupa - 10 brook trout very quickly. The #12 White Midge Pupa was next, and it also produced 10 fish quite quickly. Then the Red Butt #14 Zebra Midge Pupa, for a somewhat slower 10 brook trout, and a final 10 on the #16 Blond Midge Pupa. This year I have converted to tying all these midge pupa patterns with Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift Wool Yarn for the bodies instead of using marabou, and the fish catching results have been every bit as good but, the wool is much easier, quicker, and much more durable to work with.

The Herl Things Were Up Next: Things were still quiet on the lake, and with no surface activity, I went with a #14 Black & White Grizzly Herl Thing first, which produced its 10 fish forthwith. On to the #14 Blue Herl Thing, and 10 even faster than with the Grizzly model. Last up was the #12 Olive Herl Thing (Think a Damselfly Nymph here), and it was the slowest of all the flies tried this point to fill its 10 fish limit.

Finally, Some Surface Action: By this time the wind had come up and occasional terrestrial insects were being deposited on the windward side of the lake, so out came my Dry Fly Box. Opening it, what first caught my eye was the Well-Hung Foam Spider Pattern tied with the Foam Piece cut with the River Road Creations Spider Foam Cutter. I only had one to fish because all of the rest of the available space was filled with the Hourglass Foam models, so on went the new tie to see how it would do on the fish.

A nice brook trout was slowly cruising the shoreline from my right. I placed the fly on the water as gently as I could, 8 feet in front of its line of travel, and all was well - the fish kept coming slowly. As it approached the fly, it did not quicken its pace or stop to inspect the fly, but very confidently came over the top of the pattern and took it down under water with him. I let him get down about a foot then struck, and the fight was on. In not many more casts, 9 more brook trout followed suit. Where there were more fish competing for the available food supply, the fish's responses to the Spider were much more aggressive, often sprinting 10 and 15 feet to attack the fly in a rush. And as spectacular as those takes were, it was the the super slow confident ones that gave me the most satisfaction.

The Knotted Leg #12 Two-Tone Foam Beetle Pattern Went On Next: The responses to the big beetle pattern were much the same as they were with the spider pattern. But the harder splat presentations of the beetle pulled fish from farther away and most of the takers were in a big rush to hit that fly. Here again, 10 fish very quickly.

The Last Pattern Fished Was The Attractor Ant - #12: This is, more or less, a Two-Tone X-Rated Ant pattern - the Two-Tone relates to the Tan/Black Foam laminate these terrestrials are tied with, providing a light top for the angler to easily see looking down from above the water, and a black bottom for the fish to easily see looking up against the sky from under water. The X-Rated refers to the Madam-X style Rubber Legs on all of my ant patterns. On the #16s, the barbell body segments are tied with dyed black peacock herl. For the Attractor Model, the body segments are over wrapped with Mirage Tinsel and coated with Liquid Fusion Cement for durability. This pattern can also fish for back-swimmers and water boatmen beetles, which carry their own air supply in the form of air bubbles to be able to live and breath under water. I can only suppose the fish take the two too many pairs of legs and bodies to be mating pairs of insects. But take the Ant they readily do, with all the same rise forms that the other two patterns showed - 10 fish more than quickly enough.

Conclusion: By this time I had fished completely around the lake and it was time to pack up and head back to my base camp. As it was, I was going halve to really hustle to get back to camp before darkness would set in. While this update on the Well-Hung Foam Spider could have been made much more succinctly, I believe you will gain in knowing the relevance of the full context that the angling environment presented on this day, as I saw it....Karl.