Invicta Flies - Ruff Drummer
The Ruff Drummer gets its name from the the material used in the tail and hackle collar, the Ruffed Grouse (referred to as "Drummers" in some areas. These well-marked, soft feather fibers combined with the ostrich herl thorax, create remarkable life-indicative movement, no matter how the fly is fished. Lead wire and a brass bead gets it down in a hurry, or you can omit the lead wire for a slower sink in calmer waters.
Hook: Mustad 3671, #12-18
Thread: Danville's Prewaxed 6/0, black
Head: taper-drilled brass bead
Weight (optional): .015 lead wire
Tail: grouse body feather fibers
Ribbing: fine gold wire
Abdomen: tan or light brown dubbing
Thorax: ostrich herl, brown and white mixed
Collar: grouse body feather fibers
The following article illustrates how to tie this pattern, but the techniques can be applied to many different flies to increase durable or provide material options.
Step One- weight
Step Two- tail and ribbing
Step Three- dubbing
For the abdomen, you can use any tan or light brown dubbing such as beaver or rabbit. Here, I have used a blend of natural brown mink underfur mixed with about 1/4 as much cream Antron dubbing. Spin the dubbing onto the thread without wax (so we get a somewhat shaggy look), keeping it very thin near the hook and getting a little thicker as you work down the thread. Slide this up to the shank and take a turn around. Your second turn with the dubbing goes behind this first one, and the next overlaps it going forward. Essentially, what this does is lock down the sparse fibers so we have a fully covered abdomen near the tail with no thread showing and no excessively long stray fibers out over the tail. Continue winding the dubbing forward in slightly overlapping turns, filling in any gaps to maintain the tapered look. Stop at the half-shank point and take a couple extra turns of thread to anchor the last fibers of the dubbing. Note that the brass bead covers a little more than 1/3 of the front half of the shank...keep this in mind so you don't make the abdomen too short.
Counterwrap the ribbing by going up on the far side of the hook, over the top, then down on the near side. Keep the spacing somewhat close to get five or six wraps before you reach the tying thread. We "counterwrap" the ribbing for a couple of reasons. For one, it makes the ribbing more visible. The other is to help bind the fibers so the shape is held through a few more fish. At the front of the abdomen, bind the ribbing down with three turns of thread and clip the excess wire with wire cutters. Use your fingernail to push the clipped end down and cover this completely with the tying thread...be careful as the sharp edge of the wire can sever the thread.