The Water Floatman
Designed by Phil Rowley
Hook: Daiichi 1170 or 1550, #10-#14
Thread: MFC 8/0 Black
Shellback: Booby Cord or Black Rainy’s Float Foam (Medium)
Body: Pearlescent, Silver, Light Olive or Peacock Crystal Chenille
Legs: Olive or Brown Stretch Floss
Tying Note: Use a white shellback and peacock green Crystal Chenille to suggest larger backswimmers.
After the first frosts off the fall fly fishers can expect the first boatman falls of the season. With a lifecycle that is the reciprocal of most insects water boatman reach maturity in the fall and are finally able to take flight in order to mate and migrate.
A typical scenario involves an angler basking under the sun of a crisp fall day, as all around raindrops appear to fall from a cloudless sky. Upon closer inspection these "raindrops" are actually water boatman crashing headlong into the lake. Stunned and perhaps knocked half senseless the boatman spin wildly at the surface as they attempt to break through the meniscus. This overt behavior does not go unnoticed as trout key into this newfound surface fare.
At times trout can become selective to this behavior and will only prey upon the spinning adults at the surface. The Water Floatman was designed with this scenario in mind. Using a floating line simply cast the fly into the path of a marauding trout and begin a brisk twitching strip retrieve. Hang on, as strikes to boatman are seldom subtle. The patterns buoyant nature also lends it self to probing the near shore shallows using a clear intermediate or hover line. By late fall trout are keyed onto boatman and they are well worth the effort when probing likely looking areas.
By switching the foam color to white, using a dark olive or peacock green Crystal Chenille and upsizing the hook the Water Floatman also makes and excellent backsimmer imitation.
Step by Step Tying Instructions
1) Cover the hook shank with tying thread. Take a piece of Booby Body Foam and using a utility knife or razor blade cut it in half lengthwise. Tie in one half of the Booby Body Foam in at the rear of the hook with the flat side of the foam facing up.
2) Tie in a length of Crystal Chenille at the rear of the hook. Advance the tying thread forward so it hangs at the 3/4’s mark of the hook shank.
3) Using figure eight wraps secure a length of Stretch Floss in at the ¾’s mark of the shank.
4) Wind the Crystal Chenille forward to the hook eye. Sandwich the Stretch Floss legs between the Crystal Chenille wraps. Do not figure eight the Crystal Chenille around the legs as this adds too much bulk. Tie off and trim the excess Crystal Chenille.
5) Pull the Booby Body Foam shellback over the body and tie off. Trim the excess foam so it is even with the eye to suggest the head of the natural water boatman.
6) Build a neat head whip finish and remove the tying thread. Pull the legs back and trim them even with the bend of the hook. Do not stretch the legs while trimming.