PRO-team member Andre Miegies guides us through how to tye a Soldier Beetle and how he came across the pattern:
Years ago I fished a river somewhere in Belgium in high summer. On the bank of that river I met another fly-fisherman who was doing a good job: time after time he was into a fish. At lunch-time we sat on the bank, ate something and fell to talking about the river, the fish…and his flies. He showed me the fly he was fishing with, a kind of ugly-looking orange palmer.
He pointed to a beetle on a flower and said ‘That’s a Soldier Beetle and the fish really like them.’ He gave me a fly and we said goodbye and wished each other tight lines. I knotted the fly on my leader, started fishing with it and began to catch fish - good fish. The fly somehow wound up in a corner of my fly-box and stayed there for a long time. A few years later, I was standing on a bridge in Denmark, staring at the river and the surroundings, and then I saw a red/orange beetle on the bridge. I thought back directly to that guy in Belgium. I picked up the beetle and threw it into the stream. After it had floated a few metres a large grayling came up and took the beetle if there was no tomorrow. After this I decided to try and make a good imitation of this beetle - not aiming at the usual palmer-effect, but designing a new pattern with new materials.
The natural Soldier Beetles (Rhagonycha in Latin) are about 7-11mm long and are yellow-red, with dark wing-tips.The wings and other parts are not as hard as those of other beetles. You only see the Soldier Beetles in high summer - July/August – and mostly during the day, when they appear to be most active.
After searching through my tying materials I found what I was looking for and started to draw something on paper. I had a few things to think about during the construction of this initial sketch. The new pattern had to float really well and it had to have some movement while it was dead-drifting. My ch
oice of materials was foam and tiny rubber legs.To make the right colour I use permant markers: red for the head, black for the wing-tips and bronze for the shell-back.
In order to replicate the fly you will need:
Hook: Partridge Surehold lightning dry barbless, size 10-12
Thread: Uni 8/0 rusty brown
Shellback: 2mm orange foam
Legs: tarantula rubber legs, black/ orange
Body: rusty brown ice-dubbing
Antennae: bristles from a paint-brush, black
Click on the image to the right to begin the step-by-step:
Visit Andre's website by clicking here...