A New Hook For My Foam Spider Pattern - Gamakatsu C15-BV

I have recently changed to the above mentioned C15-BV Hook for tying my Well-Hung Foam Spider Patterns, because the Vertical Eye and Barbless design is most helpful in releasing fish and tying on Parachute hackle flies without crushing the hackle: With the vertical eye, you just turn the fly on its side and stab the tippet through the eye hole under the hackle, and tie the tippet knot there as well - quick and easy.

For a view of the hook and some Kebari tied on it, Please see the following:

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I believe it’s interesting how much the colors of the materials the fly was tied with changed when viewed against the 3 different colored back grounds the photos were shot under compared to what we see in the air above the water. The fish get a very different view than the one we get.

After TUSA was sold, the forum went away and all the links to articles that appeared there (Here as well) have also been Lost. Fortunately, I have other access to some of that material, so I’m putting up the Materials List and Tying Sequence for the Well-Hung Foam Spider Pattern as follows:



HOOK: #14 Gamakatsu C15-BV - like a Klinkhamer hook but shorter, 14s, because the #12s tended to put fish off.

THREAD: 70D, Black Ultra Thread.

YARN BODY: Wrapped with Jamieson’s, Color 101 Shetland Black, Wool Yarn.

HACKLE: Gray Partridge, with half of the fibers stripped off the inside curve, tied in tip first, then wrapped around the foam tie in point 1.5 to 2 times.

OVER BODY: 2MM thick, Lt. Cahill or Apricot colored Foam, cut with a River Road Creation’s Spider Body Cutter in a 1-step operation. Please See: River Road Spider Foam Body Cutter | Trident Fly Fishing

THE FOAM SPIDER: The Well-Hung Foam Spider is as close to a One-Fly Pattern as I’m going to get. I’ve been fishing it a lot stream fishing for 3 years now, but it also works well on stillwaters, but not as consistently as the ant and beetle patterns do on lakes. This pattern has been in development for more than 20 years now, here’s the Tying Instructions:


  1. The most time consuming part of tying this fly is forming the foam pieces, and then preparing the partridge hackle. Start by cutting out a number of Spider bodies with the #14 size River Road Creations Spider Foam Cutting Tool from a strip of foam the width of the length of the over body you want, 5/8".

  2. Select well marked (high-contrast) Partridge Hackle flank feathers, removing all the fluff from the bases, and moistening the feather, pulling all the hackle fibers back against the grain except for the very tip end. Putting hackle pliers on the tip of the hackle makes doing this easier. On most partridge hackles, the hackle stem will have a slight curve. Turn the feather concave side up and strip all the inside curve fibers off of the feather stem. Trim the tip to form a small triangle in back of the tie in point, and set the prepared hackles aside for future use.

  3. Cut a 3 to 4 inch long length of yarn for each fly to be tied.

  4. Place a hook in the vise and tie in the thread right behind the hook’s eye, wrapping back to where the hook shank starts to bend down, and stop.

  5. Tie the yarn in at the bend and and wrap it on down and around the hook bend to where the thread will form a 45 degree angle to the hook point, then wrap the thread back up to the yarn tie in point, and half-hitch.

  6. Now make one turn of the yarn flat, then twist it twice (or more depending on how thick you want the body to be), and continue wrapping the yarn on up to the waiting thread, and half-hitch again.

  7. Now let the yarn untwist, and as you did before wrap the yarn forward flat down on top of the hook shank to the back of the hook’s eye, and return the thread back to the tie in point. Again make the first wrap flat, and then twist the yarn to match the body thickness you used coming up, wrapping the yarn back to the waiting thread at the tie in/off point, and tie it off and trim the excess yarn away.

  8. Tie in the hackle by the tip, concave side facing up, with the stem sticking out behind the hook. Use a loose wrap of thread to tie in the foam spider over body on top of the hook shank and slightly to your side, so it will center on the shank as you pull up to tighten the foam down with thread tension, now do a 3-turn whip finish to secure everything.

  9. Wrap the hackle in between the foam over-body and the yarn under-body, clock-wise, 1 1/2 to 2 times, and tie it down with a 1/2 hitch and trim the hackle stem away, now whip-finish right in between the hackle fiber legs and trim the thread away. Put a drop of head cement on top of the whip finish above the foam and below the body and your Well-Hung Foam Spider is complete.


Karl, can you add a photo?


Tenkara Addict fishes The Well-Hung Foam Spider:

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                                                                                                                            9 November 2021


I obtained your e-mail address from Tristan Higbee, “Tenkara Addict,” of YouTube fame. I watched a recent video he posted about fishing your Well-Hung Foam Spider. I was intrigued by the effectiveness of the fly and decided to research it.

I found the recipe and found I had the materials to make it. In my research, I also found a comment you made about your fly. You said you preferred not to fish the spider in stillwater conditions, choosing an ant among other choices in such situations.

Undaunted, made the fly, and I fished it at several lakes and ponds in the area where I live in southwestern Ohio. I am pleased to report to you, although you may prefer other offerings, the warmwater inhabitants here, have great appreciation for your contribution to fly fishing.

I’ve used the spider with both Tenkara and conventional fly fishing. In a very short period of time, the Well-Hung Foam Spider had become one of my favorites, as well, and will be a fixture in my fly boxes.

Thank you for sharing your fly with Tristan. I’ve already expressed my thanks to him for posting the YouTube video.

                                                                                                                           Tight Lines,
                                                                                                    Shawn M. Johnson
                                                                                                                           Centerville, Ohio


I would be flattered to have my e-mail to you, posted on the Kebari and Flies Topic Board. I keep a log of my fishing trips and you might find the additional information helpful.

Date: 12 October 2021

Body of water: lake

Weather Conditions: Sun, clouds, wind; Temp. 76º

Water Conditions: Clear

Rod Used: DragonTail Mizuchi ZX 340

Time of Day: 3:40 - 6:30 P.M.

Hook Type/size: Caddis/Scud #2457; Size #14

Type & # of fish caught: Bluegill & bass(25 bluegill, 3 bass)

On that day, the first fish I happened to catch was a largemouth bass. I have fished the spider using my traditional fly fishing rods, and have also experienced success. As I indicated, I came to realize I only used my Tenkara rod just once, and decided to fish the fly again. The results of my most recent trip are below.

Date: 6 November 2021

Body of water: pond

Weather Conditions: Sunny, cool; Temp. 55º

Water Conditions: Clear

Rod Used: DragonTail Mizuchi ZX 340

Time of Day: 2:50 - 5:30 P.M.

Hook Type/Size: Caddis/Scud #2457; Size #14

Type & # of fish caught: Bluegill ( 25 )

I recall Tristan stating in his video, he did not come to Tenkara fishing from a “traditional fly fishing background,” while I, on the other hand, did just that. I somehow lost (or had stolen from me), close to $150.00 of fly fishing equipment during a motorcycle trip to Pennsylvania in 2019. Not wanting to experience a repeat occurrence, I discovered Tenkara, in the hopes of meeting this need. In the 2 years I have implemented the strategy of Tenkara to my fly fishing, it has certainly served me well.

I hope the inclusion of my e-mail doesn’t add to the controversy surrounding Tenkara. I’ve become aware of the debate in some circles, of whether Tenkara is “really fly fishing.” It is certainly not the position I subscribe to, and I hope you don’t either. If possible, can you let me know when you post my e-mail to the Kebari and Flies Board?

Thank you again for providing me with the distinction of contributing to the sport/art of fly fishing.

Peace & Tightlines,

Shawn M. Johnson

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Shawn, anglers can argue all they want about what is and is not Tenkara but, all the arguing in the world will not change the fact that Tenkara Fly Fishing is a Part of Fly Fishing just as much as it can be for me and a lot of other T-anglers.

In response to my preference to use other terrestrial patterns for High Lake Fishing: When Gary La Fontaine and Burnie Sanders made Sampling Trips into the high lakes to count Terrestrial Insect Falls, ants were always the number 1 item and beetles were always # 2, and they counted no spiders at all as I remember. I have caught lots of trout on my spiders in lakes but, not as many as I have caught on my ant and beetle patterns. I have not fished the spiders much for warm water fish the way you have, but John (a friend who owns the pond we fished), on his first spider outing had 23 strikes and landed 3 bluegill in an hour on his spider, which was all the light we had that evening to fish by. I had cautioned him before hand that the hook he was using was too big to catch the fish we were fishing too. I fished a smaller wet fly and landed 3 times as many BG as he did, but I only had half as many strikes in that hour as he got. So from the strike-ratio stand point, the spider sure did a lot better than my wet fly had done. Thank you again for your interest and comments expressed above. I think the T-Community will find them interesting and informative…Karl.

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In Shawn"s Fishing Log entries, the type and length of lines used was not mentioned and that’s vital information in my view. Since some of the angling was done with Western tackle, it is probably safe to assume that a Floating Western Fly Line was used with the floating Spider Pattern on the Western Tackle. Likewise, I think he probably used a floating line with his T-rod as well, because floating lines just work better with floating flies on stillwaters. A sinking FC line will pull the floating fly under the water and cause drag. Drag on lakes and ponds? Stillwaters are rarely still because of wind action, and the floating line anchors the line on the water to keep the fly from dragging and getting ripped up and off of the water by the wind, so a floating line will work better in stillwaters and help keep the fly from sinking.

The Tenkara Nazis will say fishing stillwaters, and fishing with floating lines for sure, is not Tenkara fishing. Truth be told, most of my fixed line rods are not tenkara rods, but keriyu and seriyu rods, meaning they have no cork grips and are considerably lighter in weight and more sensitive than the cork grip tenkara rods are. It is the Direct Connection you feel with Fixed Line Rods that caused me to abandon my Western, rod & reel, tackle. And, as for a floating line not being an element of tenkara fly fishing, why does DIAWA make and sell Floating Tenkara Fly Lines if floating lines are not true to tenkara in Japan?

Please see the following: Daiwa Tenkara Floating Line

Just as a Western Floating Fly Line needs a Leader, so does a tenkara floating fly line. After doing a lot of trial and error leader constriction, here is the leader formula I have settled on as a good all around leader design:
24" of 16 Lb. Nylon RIO Salmon/Steelhead Tippet material
18" of # 3.5 LowViz Level FC Tenkara Line
12" of # 2.5 LowViz Level FC Tenkara Line
9" of 8 Lb. NoViz Spinning FC Line and
2 to 3 Feet of 5X FC Tippet for Stillwater Fishing, which makes an 8’ + Long Leader, added to your rod length long floating PVC Tenkara fly Line.

But for fishing running waters, the traditional Tenkara technique of fishing FC Level Lines held up off of the water for long drag free drifts is the BestTechnique to use with my Spider Pattern.


Since Tenkara Addict fished with the Well-Hung Spider pattern, he has made 3 more Saturday Tenkara fishing videos, fishing an hour on two of them and 1.5 hours on the other one, which had fewer but much bigger trout. And all of those were Free Stone Streams, which are generally considered to be easier to catch fish from than Spring Creeks are. All of the freestone streams were fished with Wet Fly Kebpari Patterns and produced 10 trout each in their allotted fishing times. Whereas the Spring Creek fished with the Dry Fly, produced 22 trout in an hour long fishing session. Tristan is certainly welcome to stay with his more traditional Kebari wet fly patterns if he wants to do that but, he might be able to catch more fish by fishing with dry fly patterns.

It might be a fun experiment to run a series of tests on a number of streams or through a whole season, fishing a dry pattern for 30 minuets and then fishing with a wet fly for the second 30 minuets, and keeping track of the fish counts with Tenkara Addict’s Fish Counter, and recording the results in a fishing log, alternating which fly style goes first on each trip to keep things as even as possible over the season. Just some Food for Thought…Karl.

I completely agree Karl. For the larger water & fish I can find myself in, the longer, lighter, stiffer keiryu rods are more suitable. At the other extreme, the tiny streams with small fish are much more fun with seiryu rods. Once I got used to the slimmer grip (which was fast) I quickly learned to appreciate the sensitivity of not having cork. Finally, with my UL backpacking adventures, the more slender and lighter non-cork rods fit my “style” and I can stuff more of them in a rod tube if desired. Don’t get me wrong, I love my tenkara rods, but I’m not going to disregard the benefits of non-cork rods just because it doesn’t fit someone else’s definition of acceptable. And YES, i use floating lines on lakes with an indicator at times (gasp!).

Kris, thank you so much for your input and I highly agree with what you are saying. I (and I am sure you) are not saying every T-angler out there ought to sell their T-rods and replace them with keriyu and seriyu rods. But if someone is contemplating buying a new rod, it sure would not hurt to see what’s out there in seriyu and keriyu rods before making a final rod buying decision. You might find something you like a lot better than the standard tenkara rods presently available.

I believe the key to casting the more slender gripped rods comfortably is to hold them lightly with your fingers in stead gripping the rods tightly in the palm of your casting hand.

And for fishing patterns like Balanced Leaches on wind rippled waters, a Bobber/Indicator would sure hit the spot…Karl.

Kris, your comment about using strike indicators with fixed line rods brought to mind an incident that happened to a couple of my fishing buddies, I believe I you may find interesting and entertaining involving strike indicators, and it may have light weight backing fishing tackle implications for you to use as well.

Dave used to fish dry flies almost exclusively but, anymore about all he does is Indicator Nymph Fishing these days. He makes his own indicators out of Party Packs (of 100 multi-colored balloons for a buck) of balloons, by blowing a little air in the balloon and tying an overhand knot to seal it off. Then he half hitches his leader/tippet around the balloon above the knot so he can adjust the fishing depth by loosening the half-hitch and sliding the line to the needed length, which is cheep, quick, and very easy to do.

When Wes met Dave on the River that evening, he asked Dave how things were going? To which Dave replied, “Pretty good, I’ve caught some nice fish but I am really getting frustrated because the trout keep coming up and popping my balloons; I have had to put on 5 new balloon indicators so far”.

To which Wes replied, “What was the color of the balloons they are eating?”

“Orange”, replied Dave.

So Wes put on a dry fly with an Orange Down Wing Caddis pattern and caught fish after fish until the evening rise was over. Dave also caught a few more fish on his nymph and continued to get his orange balloons popped. A caddis hatch was coming off that evening and you could easily see the fish feeding at the surface, but Wes did much better than Dave did in catching those fish. I find it amazing that anglers will persist in using less successful fishing tactics when the fish are showing you where they are and what they are feeding on, but it happens a lot.

That is funny Karl! I had a similar experience last year on a week long back packing trip. The fish (lake) kept hitting my buddy’s pink thingamabobber, so I put on my Pink Pookie hopper pattern and had non-stop action for a couple hours.

I have found the exact same thing, but actually attributed it (perhaps incorrectly) to the fact that many of my cork-less rods are much more tip-flex (ie Kurenai), and I need to relax my grip at the “stop” of the forward cast to prevent excessive recoil.

Absolutely not! Keep them ALL! That’s why I had to build a custom shelf/rack to hold all of mine:)

Here is another installment of Tenkara Addict fishing with the Well-Hung Foam Spider, for brown trout this time:

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If you take notice in the above video, right about the time Tristan noticed that his Idaho Killer Kebari was missing, the wind started to rise. On both lakes and streams in the mountains, wind is a major provider of terrestrial insects into the water for trout to eat, so the trout will be looking up for their next bite of food as the wind comes up.

The wind carries along what ever is out and about, so one ant, beetle, or hopper pattern is about as good as any other one because the fish will take what they can get and what ever the wind brings to them. The advantage the foam spider has over most other terrestrial patterns is that the sparse partridge parachute hackle is there for leg movement and not to float the fly. And that subtle leg movement is supplied by the water’s micro-currents and not by the angler having to move his rod and line to get the leg action.

Under these conditions a high riding dry fly will still work but, not nearly as effectively as a Damp Fly will. The difference between a high riding dry fly and a damp fly is only a fraction of an inch. But that fraction of an inch makes an incredible difference in the fish’s willingness to rise and take the fly. Again, presentation trumps pattern, and even an unweighted kebari usually drifts deeper than where terrestrial feeding trout are looking for their next meal to come from. The Well-Hung Wool Yarn under-body wrapped on the submerged hook, I believe, is a big part of the outstanding appeal this damp fly has. It is like the fish is getting two meals for the price of one rise.

I’m surprised no one pointed out that the legs on the spider are tied in pointing in the wrong direction - pointing up instead of pointing down like they do on real spiders. Take a partridge feather and drop it to see which way it falls. It will float down on the air with the concave side facing up. There is no way to make it fall any other way, so I go with the flow and the fish never seem to mind the fact that the legs point up.

Foam is soft, pliable and an alive feeling in the fish’s mouth, but, for sure, it is not the most durable of materials flies could be tied with. However, the sandstone canyon walls and ceilings on that stream were far harder on tippet material and fly tying materials than most angling situations are. When Tristan tied the fly on, it was already missing 2/3s of the back of the foam over-body and the hackle was all misaligned, the fly still floated close enough to the surface to get the desired results. I have had 50+ fish days on a single spider pattern, so the tie is more durable than it appeared to be in the video. And who does not want a pattern the fish want to destroy rather than just eat it?

Here is an update on tying the Well-Hung Foam Spider Pattern with Hot-Spots. Tying the Hot-Spot models does not differ from the tying instructions given above - all you have to do is pick the Fluorescent Colored Thread you want the Hot-Spot to be and tie the fly as usual.

After the first yarn wrap, I twist the yarn 7 turns before wrapping the back body segment on up the hook shank, which makes a tight enough body that little, if any, of the thread color will show through the yarn body on the front or back body sections. But as you finish the pattern off with a couple of Whip Finishes over the hackle and foam tie-in point, what you get is a nice compact FL - Hot-Spot of your thread color choice.

For clear blue colored and green colored waters, FL- Orange works best. For tea and whisky colored waters (tannin stained), FL- Chartreuse is the color to use.

In comparing the older Black Thread models to the newer FL - Hot-Spot models, the Hot-Spots gave a definite bump up in fish catching performance, with no added tying effort required to get it. What a sweet deal…Karl.

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