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Parachute Adams

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Adams Parachute - Harold Hinsdill Smedley, in his book, Fly Patterns and Their Origins (Westshore Publications, 1943) credits Leonard Hallady of Michigan with creating the Adams fly in 1922. When German brown trout were introduced into the Boardman River in order to compensate for the loss of native grayling and brook trout, Hallady tied a pattern he hoped would be effective with the finicky browns. He gave one of his new flies to his friend, Judge Charles Adams, who fished it and returned to Hallady, declaring the new fly "a knock-out." By 1934, the Adams fly was patented by William Avery Bush of Detroit, Michigan, and sold commercially. In the early part of the twentieth century, mass production of fishing tackle in the United States was a booming business, and many lures, flies, and other equipment that had been made formerly by hand in small quantities were patented and manufactured in factories. The Adams fly became widely available. The parachute version of this fly has become popular probably because it is easier to tie.

Printable Version


Hook:1X Fine wire, Standard shank, Turned-Down eye; e.g., TMC 100 or equivalent; sizes 14-20
Wing:White calftail, tied as a post (Para-post material makes a nice substitute for calf hair
Tail:Grizzly and brown hackle tips
Rib:Brown thread
Body:Gray Superfine
Hackle:Grizzly and brown hackle (one or two stems of each), wound around wingpost parachute-style

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Tying Instructions

  1. Peel about eight or ten fibers from the brown spade hackle (it doesn't matter which one) and measure them against the shank so they are one shank length long. Tie in the first bunch of tailing fibers at the bend of the hook with ONE wrap of thread.
  2. Peel eight or ten more fibers from the grizzly spade hackle and lay these atop the first bunch and match the length.
  3. Grasp the tip ends of both bunches of tailing fibers and UNWRAP the turn of thread holding the first bunch down. You now have a mixed bunch of brown and grizzly hackle fibers in your fingertips.
  4. Tie the entire clump in as one at the bend and wrap forward over the butt ends to the midpoint on the shank. Trim off the butt ends of the tailing fibers at this point.
  5. Move the thread forward to the hook eye and back again to the seventy-five percent point forming a smooth thread base for the wing to follow.
  6. Pull a clump of posting material that is, when coiled into a cord, about the same diameter as the hook shank. (Unless using turkey flats.) This is just a rule of thumb and the amount can be both a fair amount more or less than this quantity depending on the effect desired.
  7. Tie the posting material in at its midpoint at the 75% point on the shank with two or three tight turns of thread. Pull the end that is pointing toward the tail out to the far side of the hook while simultaneously pulling the piece that is out over the hook eye to the near side. This will make the tie down wraps twist diagonally.
  8. Bring the thread to the front of the wing and make two or three more diagonal turns from the front of the near wing to the back of the far wing.
  9. Pull both wings above the hook forming one single wing. Begin to post the wing by wrapping the thread clockwise around the base of the wing. Build a thread post at the bottom of the wing that is about one to one and a half eye lengths tall. Bring the thread to the front of the wing and make a single turn all the way around the shank to anchor the posting wraps.
  10. Select one brown and one grizzly feather with matching barb lengths (one and a half gap widths) and stack them one on top of the other, inside to outside. Prepare their bases by stripping a few fibers from the quill exposing the stem for a length of about three or four eye lengths. Tie these feathers in at the same time (with the insides of the feathers toward the hook shank) in front of the wing and wrap back over the quills to the base of the wing.
  11. Pull the feathers to prop them up against the front edge of the wing. Tie the feathers to the base of the wing by posting the thread both around the wing base and the stripped feather stems. Wrap over the stems all the way to the top of the thread post and back down again to the base of the post. Make a single turn of thread around the hook shank to anchor these wraps as well. Move the thread to the midpoint on the hook and apply a thin layer of dubbing to it.
  12. Start wrapping the dubbing with the first turn at the base of the tail/bend of the hook and work forward forming a pronounced taper to the back of the wing. Cross the dubbing to the front of the wing and continue the body with the dubbing tapering back down at the back of the index point. I find this is much easier to do with a very thin layer of dubbing on the thread versus trying to taper the dubbing on the thread itself.
  13. Grasp the tips of the hackle feathers in a pair of hackle pliers and begin wrapping the feathers at the top of the thread post. You want the inside of the feathers facing UP at this point, that is, the cupped side should be toward the ceiling. Make the first turn of hackle at the top of the post with each successive turn under the last, working down to the base of the post. Continue wrapping the feather down the post. Keep in mind you have two feathers here so you don't need very many turns. Three or four seems about right for a number 16 fly.
  14. Once at the base of the wing, pull the hackle feathers down on the far side of the hook. Grasp the wrapped portion of the hackles with your thumb and index finger and pull them back slightly from the hook eye. Pull the tips forward again so they point out over the hook eye and remove the hackle pliers. Do NOT let go of the wrapped hackles in your right hand until you have tied them off in the next step. While holding the wrapped hackle out of the way with your right hand, tie off the hackle tips immediately behind the hook eye with your left. Trim the tips of the hackle feathers flush against the hook shank.
  15. Grasp the wrapped fibers again and hold them out of the way while you tie a whip finish in the index point. It helps to pull the loop from the whip finish up from the bottom rather than down from the top to prevent tying down any stray hackle fibers. Clip the thread.
  16. Apply a small drop of head cement at the base of the wing and another on the thread head and you're done.

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