Fly Tying With Foam: The Chernobyl Ant

Curious about fly tying with foam? Fly Fishing Expert Robert Levin demonstrates how to create a Chernobyl Ant fly.

A completed Chernobyl Ant made by the author.

Photo by Robert Levin

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If you followed along with Fly Tying With Foam: The Foam Beetle, you'll know how handy foam is when fly tying. Now, let’s tie a sample of the next generation of foam flies, The Chernobyl Ant. There are any number of designs for this fly. The one I demonstrate here tries to take the best assembly techniques from several designs and I add a few tips of my own.

Creating a Foam Chernobyl Ant

Follow along with the video below or read on for step-by-step instructions.

Step One

Chenille is wrapped about a long hook.

Photo by Robert Levin

Start with placing a length of chenille on the hook shank. It will help hold the foam body from rotating on the hook when the fly is finished.

Step Two

Foam is placed over the hook and thread is wrapped the body.

Photo by Robert Levin

Now place the brown underbody (either pre-cut or from a strip) extending past the hook bend about a ¼ inch and fasten it in place with several loose turns then pinching it and pulling the loose turns tight. It should look like the image above.

Step Three

Legs are draped over the foam body.

Photo by Robert Levin

Next place the pre-cut back legs as shown in the image above in place with several loose wraps of thread. Using a small drop of gap filling super glue on the intersection of the legs, give it a small puff of Insta-Set. Now place the black body on top of the underbody and match the ends together. Hold that in place with several wraps over the both bodies at the leg intersection, and then pull tight. The legs should splay but not too far apart.

Step Four

A second piece of foam covers the tan body and legs from before.

Photo by Robert Levin

Advance the thread to create a segment of the body fastening only the brown underbody. Using the same procedure as just done, advance again to create another segment. Move the thread up to the next leg position and repeat the steps done to place the first set of legs. It should look like the image above. When the legs are in position, bring the black body up over the brown segments and fasten in place with several wraps. You can now make the last wrap a portion that will represent the head. It should look like the image shown.

Step Five

The fly's body has come together.

Photo by Robert Levin

You can whip finish the fly at this point. Next, you want to place a sighting spot on top of the fly at each leg position. Do this with a small dot of cyanoacrylate and a small puff of Insta-Set or you can use a wrap or two of thread when tying the body to the leg junction in both places when you are not using glue.

Step Six

The completed Chernobyl Ant with two yellow dots on it.

Photo by Robert Levin

There you go! This ant pattern is a few steps away from tying hoppers and many other terrestrial insect forms.

This fly is a time-tested productive approach in summertime fishing. If you have any questions on how to use it or want to get set up with a fly tying kit of your own, reach out to a Fly Fishing Expert here on Curated. Good luck and tight lines!

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Written By
Robert Levin
Robert Levin
Fly Fishing Expert
I have been an avid fisherperson since my teenage years. Caught the bug from my dad who fished exclusively with a fly rod. Not that he ever fished with a fly on that rod, he trusted the weight of the fly line as it would not break when he pulled a five foot Chain Pickerel out of the lily pads in the...
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