A Fishable Realistic Foam Ant by Sergei Utkin

Articles, Fly Patterns, Step-by-Step Tutorials — By on October 9, 2009 8:13 am

[Editor’s Note:  The following is a step-by-step tutorial on how to tie a fishable realistic foam ant by Sergei Utkin, translated to English from Russian by Hatches Staff.  On some steps, a word or two was lost in translation, so we had to use our own judgment to fill in the gaps.]


Hook: Mustad C49S
Thread: Black
Abdomen, back, head: 2mm Foam, color black, covered with lacquer.
Rib: Thin Copper Wire, Black Antron
Legs: Heavy Tying Thread impregnated with lacquer, bent with the aid of heated tweasers
Antennae: Thin Tying Thread impregnated with thinned varnish, bent with the aid of heated tweasers


The body of natural ants is opaque, smooth and bright. There is no depressions where the abdominal segments meet one another, but is still visible due to the differences in  color and luster.  Another characteristic are the cross connections between the abdomen and thorax, as well as the thorax and head.  The color is radically black.  On the underside of the abdomen, the abdominal segments are highlighted by a thin strip with metallic luster.

Step 1

Secure the copper wire and antron to the hook


Step 2

Next, cut out a triangular piece of foam, and to fasten in at the bend of the hook.


Step 3

To form the abdominal segments, evenly wrap the thread forward towards the hook eye, making two or three wraps between each segment.



Step 4

The foam must not wrap around the hook shank, but instead, sit on top.  After the fifth segment, take a few wraps around the foam with maximum tension and then cut off any excess foam. To process the surface of foam color and then use a thin coat of lacquer.


Step 5

Slightly pack the front of the abdomen towards the bend  of the hook and secure with a few wraps of thread.  The distance between the segments will be reduced, and the abdomen will become more rounded.


Step 6

Wind the antron forward to  even the abdomen’s surface, and then impregnate with a thin coat of varnish.


Step 8

Wrap the thin copper wire forward.


Step 9

Coat three segments of heavy tying thread with varnish.  Let dry and then fasten under the shank of hook.  Do the same to the thin tying thread used for the antennae.


Step 10

Cut another triangular section of foam and fasten at the point between the head and the thorax, in between the front legs and antennae.


Step 11

Fasten the rear end of the thorax, and then color and coat it with a thin coat of lacquer as you did the abdomen.


Step 12

Use your thread to help you form the head, and then press flat with your fingers  so that it will assume the proper form.


Step 13

With the aid of tweasers(heat may be neccessary) bend the legs and antennae to the proper shape (it appears that Utkin uses smooth pliers to flatten the legs before bending).


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Rating: +24 (from 26 votes)
A Fishable Realistic Foam Ant by Sergei Utkin, 9.1 out of 10 based on 17 ratings


  1. Fred Hannie says:

    Great looking step by step and fishable ant. We need to see more patterns like this .

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    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  2. Pete says:

    This is awesome! I can’t wait to get home to try this one out. The few ant imitations I have are just foam with a few wraps of thread (okay maybe not that bad), however, I’m sure that is how they look to a wise trout.

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  3. Tom Gibbons says:

    huumm,just look at it ,foam is just so common sense.this is nice.going to the vise,thanks staff and Sergei Utkin.Tom Gibbons

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  4. lykos33 says:

    nicely done …not too hard either

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  5. Brian Holum says:

    NICE PATTERN!!! Had to try it as soon as I seen it. I tied 2 in about 15 minutes, so it wasn’t that hard. I used Japanese legs was the only difference and they turned out great. Thanks Again!

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  6. Ted Roesch says:

    Too bad I don’t have the patience or passion; Bob Meade would be proud. Bob’s work use to appear in the “old” Fly Tyer mag’s of the mid-80’s.

    Sergi is doing top quality work.

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  7. Jason says:

    I would like to see the underside of this fly. is there a possibility that anyone has a picture?? does the hook show up??

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  8. jeffor says:

    WOW ! killer looking !! this will be a fun pattern to use and modify
    with some other foam !! can’t wait tot hrow it in the creek !
    Thanks for showing the patterns that you think we will like !!

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    Rating: -2 (from 4 votes)
  9. Bob says:

    Very nice tie. Excellent! As ever, Bob Mead

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  10. dave says:

    maybe i missed it , but what size hook is this tied on

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    Rating: -1 (from 3 votes)
  11. Renato Bugelli says:

    There are no words is just amazing!!!

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  12. blake says:

    thnks for the new pattern ive been trying to find a real good ant fly in my books and on line but i havent had very much luck going to my vise right now

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    Rating: -1 (from 3 votes)
  13. Ted Roesch says:


    I saw a photo of Bob, several years ago, never-mind the mid-80’s, he looks “normal”! -I’m good at certain 2-D Art, but 3-D is a real coordination challenge for me. But, I do well enough to fool fish (winter mainly). A.K. Best had 2 VHS’s that taught me enough & added “FIRE” to learn how to do a fly smaller than #18; it has paid back expotentially!

    – Forget Dead Drifting as well, some twitching/slow swimming (even at un-natural appearing speeds) will trigger them to strike. Also, Google “Continuous Drift” as a technique. Years later I boucht a book that explaind what I repeated each week end visiting a pool.

    As for knots, more are to come, all good, some are easier to tye @ 23 degrees.

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  14. holy crap, this fly is awesome, can’t wait to try it out this year. Thanks for the article, glad I found this site.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  15. warren chan says:

    Great tye!! the best i’ve seen yet, keep up the good work

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  16. Jack Pangburn says:

    Excellent realistic presentation…..where is the foam ant spray?

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  17. William Tracey says:

    Dave Whitlock used to tie nymphs like this back in the ’70’s. If they didn’t have a hook you would have sworn they were real. There was another guy in the PSFF of Tacoma that could do it too, I forget his name though. I was a member for a long time, don’t know if they sill exist or not.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  18. Kurtise Templeton says:

    Does anyone know what size hook was used? Great looking pattern, would love to try but hook size would help. I’m guessing like #10-14?

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  19. Mike Johanson says:

    Great looking ant. the more I tie with foam the more I love it. The varnish really does the trick. I will be taking this pattern to my favorite mountain lake to try it out. will try it in a cinamon color

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  20. Ron Matthews says:


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