Fly Tying 1 min read

[Video] Tying Al’s Rat (Variant)

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

December 23, 2011

From Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions comes this fly tying video demonstration on how to tie Al’s Rat or a least a slight variant of orginal fly pattern (the original pattern calls for Danville monocord in lieu of the UTC 70 thread used in this video – picky I know).

What Makes Al’s Rat So Effective

In a nut shell, simplicity. Developed by the late Al Miller to fool finicky wild brown trout that inhabit Little Lehigh Creek in Eastern Pennsylvania, Al’s Rat is about as simple as a fly pattern can get. Al Miller, who fished and studied the Little Lehigh daily for some 35 years, believed and practiced tying in the round such that a fly pattern is symmetrical from all views. Could that be why Al’s Rat is so effective? Or maybe it’s just that when trying to mimic midges size 20 to 28, less material is better. I don’t really know, but I do know this pattern works!

When To Fish Al’s Rat

Developed as a midge pupa imitation and deadly when fished in the film, Al’s Rat is not only effective in the winter, but year round. Regulars on the Little Lehigh, myself included, know that Al’s Rat isn’t just a winter midge imitation, but is also highly effectively during the famed Trico hatch on the Little Lehigh in the heat of summer. Go figure!

Tips on Tying Al’s Rat

Using a flat thread on this pattern is key and enables you to build a nicely tapered body on the fly. Tim’s tip of cording the thread by spinning the bobbin is a great way to rib the fly without adding another material. This a great tip that can be used on many of your flies. As with most small flies, less is better and this is particularly true when you dub the thorax on this fly pattern.

Al’s Rat Material List

Hook: Dry fly hook (Dai-Riki 310 or Daiichi 1100), size 20 – 28
Thread/Body/Rib: Danville Monocord (UTC 70 shown here), brown
Thorax: Muskrat dubbing