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Mini Chubby Fly Tying Tutorial

November 16, 2015

How to tie the mini chubby

PATTERN DESCRIPTION: The Mini Chubby Chernobyl was my best fly pattern in 2015. I started fishing this pattern in the middle of June and continued to fish it through September with tremendous results. I’m certain this pattern would have been effective through October if we had any October Caddis flying around on this side of the Continental Divide. Tied in a size 14 with cocoa 2mm foam, brown wiggly legs and flashy gold dubbing, this foam fly pattern seems to represent everything from caddis, small stoneflies, grasshoppers, and spruce moths. At times fish would crush The Mini like a fluttering insect getting ready to escape and other times, fish would sip this fly in like it was matching the hatch. Whenever the spruce moths were flying about and landing on the water, this fly worked flawlessly. The Mini is a great all around fly pattern because it looks a lot like everything that trout love to eat.

I’ve been working on tying up a small Chubby Chernobyl type fly for quite some time, but was never really happy with the results until I omitted the extra set of legs from the original and substituted the thinner Superflex leg material for the Sili Legs. The Superflex legs are thinner and much more durable than Sili Legs and as a result, look better on this fly. Because of the durability of the Superflex leg material, I started tying all of my Chubby patterns with it. When adding the wing to the Chubby, I tie the wing in with a loop-wing method. This method uses minimum thread wraps and provides a durable wing.

The Mini Chernobyl is an easy fly to tie, and an extremely durable and effective fly that should be in your fly box. Check out the Mini Chubby Fly Tying Tutorial and let me know what you think.


Hook: Dai-Riki 710 3xl nymph hook – size 14

Thread: 8/0 or 70 denier dark thread like black, dark gray, brown

Dubbing: Gold or Goldenstone Sparkle Dubbing…the Sparklier the better.  *I blend my own dubbing out of STS Trilobal Dub Gold, mixed with gold Red Heart Acrylic Yarn. The mix of the two materials makes a great, easy to use dubbing. Most flashy dubbings, like STS Trilobal Dub are a real pain to work with by themselves.

Body: 2mm Thin Fly Foam Sheets – Cocoa

Wing: Poly Wing – 1 strand

Legs: Superflex Spandex Leg Material – Brown

wrapping thread on hook

Step 1: Wrap a 3 layer thread base.

Step 2: Dub a thick body of gold dubbing onto the back-half of the hook, as shown above. End the tying thread at the hook point. The finished dubbed body on the Mini Chubby Chernobyl will be rather robust and nymph-like rather than thin, like a dry fly body.

Cutting foam for mini chubby tutorial

Step 3: Cut a strip of 2mm sheet foam about the width of the gap of the hook. Next, round the edges of the foam strip.

Tying foam onto hook

Step 4: Position the foam strip over the dubbed body. The rear of the foam strip should extend just beyond the bend of the hook. Bind down the foam strip with 2-3 firm thread wraps.

dubbing on mini chubby

Step 5: Finish dubbing the body of the fly as shown above. End the thread just behind the eye of the hook. I usually apply a thin amount of dubbing to the thread and build up the body of the fly in multiple layers rather than try to build up the body of the fly in one pass with lots of dubbing on the thread.

2mm foam body mini chernobyl

Step 6: Bind down the foam strip at the head of the fly with 2-3 firm thread wraps.

trim foam body on mini chernobyl

Step 7: Round the edges of the foam strip.

add superflex legs to foam mini chubby

Step 8: Apply the Superflex legs to both sides of the foam body of the fly with 3-4 thread wraps. The Superflex leg material has a slight, natural curl when cut into short pieces. Tie the legs in against the natural curl of the material for a more natural look. If you tie in the legs with the curl, the legs will close together.

poly wing on chubby chernobyl

Step 9: Comb out a single strand of Poly Wing material. Next, position the wing on top of the fly as shown above.

tying in poly wing

Step 10: Bind down the poly wing with 3-4 firm thread wraps. Keep the thread wraps to a minimum here so as not to create too much bulk at the head of the fly.
loop poly wing technique

Step 11: Grab the poly wing extending over the head of the fly. Pull the wing back while leaving a little “loop” or slack in the poly wing. Form a loose wrap of tying thread around the poly wing then, using your off hand, pull the poly wing and slowly make a small loop in the poly wing as shown above. Bind wing down with 3-4 firm wraps of thread. I’ve been tying all of my Chernobyl Wings with the loop-wing-method because it’s very durable, quick,  and uses fewer thread wraps.

trim poly wing

Step 12: Poly wing tied in with a loop. This method is great for tying in Chubby Chernobyl poly wings.

trim poly wing to length of foam body

Step 13: Trim the wing just beyond the foam body.

wrap thread with dubbing

Step 14: Apply a thin amount of dubbing to the thread, just enough to cover up the exposed thread wraps. Whip finish fly with 3-4 wraps.

finished mini chubby chernobyl fly

Finished Mini Chernobyl.

trout view of finished mini chubby foam fly

top view of mini chubby chernobyl fly tying tutorial

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Bill West permalink
    November 27, 2015 7:19 pm

    Great fly…… It works on wild Brook trout

    • November 28, 2015 12:05 pm

      Nothing like catching brookies on dries. Thanks for the comment.

    • benmck90 permalink
      February 18, 2016 5:48 pm

      Agree’d looks like brookies would love it.

  2. April 20, 2016 4:02 pm

    Great photos and great instructions for a great fly.

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