Tying the Black Field Cricket

The black field cricket is fairly common in many parts of the United States. If you fish near meadows or farm fields you know that they are an important part of a trouts menu during the months of July, August, and even through September. As an avid terrestrial fisher and fly tyer I stock my fly boxes with many beetle patterns, Crane flies, Hoppers, and black Crickets in sizes #8-#14. Many of the patterns I tie specifically terrestrials combine natural materials with synthetics.

 above: I caught this nice Brown on a black Cricket. 
A hot August morning on The Mad River.

The very top photo is a version of Davie McPhail's Black Cricket pattern. I tie this pattern using knotted pheasant tail legs, black wire ribbing over the foam body, and 1mm Razor Foam. The reason I use knotted pheasant tail for legs is I've fished biot legs and they get crimped after they get hit by trout. I use Razor Foam in the 1mm thickness because I fish 2-3wt lines often during the months of July and August and the fly is a bit less wind resistant. After testing the pattern out for quite some time I minimized the amount of materials and can tie these up in about 5 minutes, I loose a lot of them to fish so I'm not trying to create “masterpiece look-alike ties”. These are going to get hit very hard by trout so I may go fishing with a dozen of them and come home with less than half in tact. The important thing is that they catch fish...big fish!

Black Field Cricket
Hook~TMC 5212
Thread~8/0 Uni Black
Tails~Black biots
Body & Wingcase~ 1mm Razor Foam
Ribbing~Fine black Uni Wire
Rear Legs~Knotted black Pheasant tail (x3 per leg)
Dubbing~Black Beaver Belly
Antennae~Black Pheasant tail 


The mid-Summer Snack~Japanese Beetles

In the heat of the summer many fish hunker down during the day and will pass up the occasional Caddis, midge, or ant floating overhead. Often fish conserve energy for a larger more nourishing food item that they know they will expel the least amount of energy to consume. This refers to the “Pounds Per Meat Law” again the least amount of energy expelled for the most nourishment possible. This should be the mid-summer mantra for both fishers and fish! Japanese Beetles are one of those items on the floating menu that will spark a fishes interest when nothing else seems to work. Rises to beetles can be ferocious and lightning fast by both large and smaller trout. This pattern has saved me on the stream time and time again during the summer heat.

This Japanese Beetle pattern is one I have refined over the years and even have changed up since the advent of some better synthetics. Sheet foam over the years has become more accessible as far as thicknesses and color range. I'm particular about foam thickness as much as I am about feathers and color ranges. Hopefully this pattern will serve you well as a close imitation to the naturals and pay dividends on the stream.

 Sea Bee's Beetle
Thread~ Uni 8/0 Black
Hook~TMC 531 #14
Body~Rainy's Float Foam 2mm
           Peacock Herl x3 strands
           Uni Wire Fine green
Wing Case~Loco Foam Beetle Green
Rear Legs~Knotted Black Pheasant Tail
Front Legs~Black Hackle Collar x3 wraps

1) Tie in Green Loco foam a .25" wide segment.
Tie in Rainy's Float Foam, a .125" wide segment
Tie in Green Uni Wire and then lastly three strands of Peacock herl.

2) Begin by winding Float Foam up the hook to build up a body thickness that resembles the turtle-like profile of the beetles abdomen. Now wrap the Peacock Herl covering 3/4 of the hook shank. Now wrap the Uni wire in the opposite direction that you wrapped the Peacock Herl.

3) Pull Loco Foam over entire abdomen section and make 4-5 tight wraps while pinching foam between your index finger and thumb. Now you will have a defined wing case segment. Tie in black hackle in front of tied off section and wrap three turns on top of your 4-5 wraps that previously secured the foam. This will imitate the mid and front legs and give the fly more stability.

4) Build up a thorax section using black dubbing in front of the foam tag end. Tie in knotted Pheasant tail legs. Legs should extend beyond the end of the hook of a distance that measures about 2 hook eyes. Dub over legs a few turns, creating this dubbing bump will imitate the thorax which is pretty hefty on beetles in general. Now once again tie foam down creating the second smaller segment making 4-5 wraps.

5) Make a few wraps of thread in front of the foam tag end, just behind the hook eye, and whip finish. Prior to snipping off the excess foam make sure you clip the foam above hook eye about 3mm. Make two cuts on either side of foam edges to create a faceted head.

 ~Clint Bova