Card's Cicada Variation
Cheech - July, 2015
For those of you who don't know Charlie Card, he's a guy who has been rowing a drift boat longer than he has been driving. I knew Charlie in high school, but I really didn't appreciate his fish wizardry until I started fly fishing about 15 years ago. Utah's Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir is home to some great terrestrial fishing because it runs smack dab in the middle of a desert. Not really known for hatches of giant salmonflies or green drakes, the Green River is mecca for terrestrial fishing. Hoppers, beetles (even in February), ants, and most of all - cicadas. Charlie has a fly with MFC called Card's Cicada that has been wrecking fish for years and years, but if you get a glimpse of Charlie's fly boxes, you will see that he has variations upon variations of these big black beasts. He gave me one of them that still sits perched on a piece of driftwood in my tying room. I have studied it in it's simplicity many times to gather inspiration, and it has helped me put many a fish in the net.
I was replenishing my boxes with some big foamies this spring and decided to make some variations of Charlie's pattern. In the fly I got from Charlie, he had a piece of accent foam (purple) under the black main foam body, but I decided to put it on the top of the fly. I also swapped out the calf tail wing for treated para-post material. Also, I wanted to add some "spent" wings that laid a bit off to the side of the fly, so I tied in wings of sparkle emerger yarn. Sparkle emerger yarn really doesn't do much to add buoyancy, and it just sits in the surface film looking all translucent and such.
Once I had my variations tied up, I had to see if they passed the two most critical tests on big foamers. 1- Will it land the way I want it to every time? 2- Will the foam stay put without twisting all around the hook shank? These bugs passed with flying colors, now to fish them (which I wasn't worried about at all.) I won't bore you with details, but these flies absolutely have been crushing fish on several different river systems and on a lake with picky browns.