Fly Tying Patterns

The SMS beetle

Hook: Tiemco TMC 2312
Thread: Sheer 14/0
Body: 2 mm foam
Legs: Plastic broom bristles
Antennas: Black goose biots

There a few insects that make a more characteristic footprint on the surface than a beetle and for periods of time during a season there will be a lot of terrestrials around and on the water and beetles will be one of them. A classic foam beetle will give you great fishing, but if you want something more, a little more advanced and something slightly more sophisticated, then it's the SMS beetle you want!

This is a good example of flies I like to tie; flies that will impress both the fish and the fisherman. Flies like this will attract attention as soon as you open your box :)

Cut a piece of 2 mm foam into a square shape, 7 mm wide and 20 mm long.

Cut a small tag at one end.

Round of the corners towards the tag, making it look like this:

Cut it into a clearly tapered shape.

Now, tie in your thread at the back of the hook and tie in the foam body by the tag making it point backwards. Then go forward with your tread and tie down the foam at three points to represent the abdomen, thorax and the head. The thorax and the head together makes up about 1/3 of the body, and then the thorax makes up 2/3 of what's left. Those are good guidlines. Use just two turns of the thread at each point.

Step 6
Unwind the thread, but leave the tag tied in, you will now have three obvious markings from where the thread were tied in onto the foam.

What I like to do now is that I like to cut the foam at all three markings about 1 mm at each side of the foam, this will prevent the foam from curling around the hook a lot when tied in. You will now see the thread go "deeper" in the foam when tied in.

Step 7
Use plastic broom bristles from any broom (I have used bristles from a furniture broom). And tie them in at the hook shank so that the back pair of legs extend some where at the back third of the abdomen and the middle pair somewhere close to the thorax.

Step 8
Front pair of legs go in the middle of the thorax. And then a pair of goos biot antennas at the hook eye!

Step 9
Stretch the foam a little and tie down behind the hook eye to create a neat little head.

Step 10
Cut off the foam, and tie off the thread. Now colour the whole thing with a permanent marker.... now I hear you mutter "why the heck didn't he use black foam from the start instead, moron!" Well, being like I am I think you get a more realistic look with the marker and the secret treat that you will see in the last steps! :)

Cut a crease through the abdomen with a sharp knife.


Use a fine set of flat pliers or tweezers to flatten out the legs just where they extend out from the body, then start bending them to the right shape.


Bend the legs further and flatten them to make a more realistic look.

I like to flatten the "feet" of the beetle the other way, to make an illusion of them beeing more delicate.

There are two things that I like to do. To make it more realistic to the fish I like to heavily treat the underside with super glue, which when it dries on the marker will leave a shiny surface resembling of the almost metallic looking colour a lot of beetles have on their underside.

Secondly I like to make it more realistic to the fly fisherman, and treat the top side with two layers of matt water based varnish, making it look much more realistic, and this is also where the marker comes to life better!

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