The Syntheta-Baetis

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The interesting thing about the Syntheta-Baetis is it uses nothing but synthetic materials. I have fished this fly for the past three seasons and can say it easily out fishes a standard pheasant tail pattern under any conditions. This is a great Colorado early winter tailwater fly, but I have fished it successfully on the Bighorn, in Yellowstone National Park, and on the Green River. The tubing gives the body a soft, gooey appearance and the Ice Dubbing adds just enough flash. I generally fish it as the trail fly in a dry-dropper setup, but it works great as a small attractor in a two-nymph rig above a midge. With only three materials, this is a very easy to tie with just basic skills.


Hook: Size 16, 18, 20 nymph hook

Thread: Brown 70 Denier Ultra Thread

Bead: Gold

Tail and Wingcase: Hareline Amber Mayfly Tails

Body: Hareline Micro Tubing, Brown

Thorax: Hareline Ice Dub Olive Brown


  1. Thread on a gold bead of appropriate size for your nymph hook. Secure the bead with a few wraps of thread.


2. Cut off a clump of 15 or so Mayfly Tails. I use fewer for more selective trout. The one in the photos uses more so they would show up better. Measure them so the tips extend about one hook length behind the bend. Tie them in beginning a little less than halfway back from the bead. Wrap backward toward the bend until the tail is secured. DO NOT cut off the butt ends of the Mayfly Tails!


3. Wrap the thread back toward the eye about halfway and tie in a three- or four-inch piece of Micro Tubing and wrap back toward the tail. As you wrap back, stretch the tubing so it gets thinner and forms just a bit of a taper.


4. Wrap the tubing back toward the middle of the hook stretching it at first then wrapping a little lighter as you move up the hook. Tie off just behind where the butt ends of the Mayfly Tails are sticking out.


5. Pull the Mayfly Tails back toward the tail and secure them with a few wraps of thread. Dub the thread a bit loosely. It is essential to use a light coating of dubbing wax or a glue stick to get the synthetic dubbing to adhere to the thread.


6. Wrap the dubbing so it forms a slightly bulbous thorax. Trim the excess fibers to your desired length, cleaning up the really long ones. Do not clip these excess fibers too closely. You want it to be a little bit bushy. The exception would be the top where the wing case will have to lay.


7. Wrap the Mayfly Tails back over the dubbing to form the wing case. Secure with a few wraps of thread.


8. Separate the butt ends of the Mayfly Tails into two equal clumps. Pull each clump back toward the tail and tie off to form legs. Clip to desired length. Whip finish.

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9. You can tie this fly beadless or on a scud hook as an emerger. You can also vary the dubbing and tubing colors to match the local hatch. I particularly like purple and clear tubing. The clear tubing will show the color of the thread but it will be muted. You can also use white or black Mayfly Tails. Try a curved scud hook with white Mayfly Tails to imitate an emerger. Enjoy.

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