fly styles [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: fly styles

04-28-2002, 01:57 AM

I understand the differences between conventional, variants, and parachutes, but I can't seem to get a good answer on the differences between the paradun, comparadun, and the thorax style. I find it interesting how the various styles sit differently on the water in order to imitate better.

John Desjardins
04-28-2002, 12:04 PM
Here goes my interpertation FWIW.
Paradun: A dun fly dressed with a parachute hackle
Comparadun: A dun fly with the wing/hackle constructed out of deer hair. The deer hair is fanned around the top of the hook. I can't think of the person on the Delaware river who uses them.
Thorax style: The dubbed body is both in front and behind the hackle or wing.

When you think of flies sitting on the water differently, you need to remember that what type of water you are on will affect how the flies float. On a still water you will want a lightly dressed and very good imitation of the flies shape. In a fast flowing river you bushier flies (Wulffs for example) will stay on top while the still water flies are unfder water in a couple of feet.

04-28-2002, 12:42 PM

Here is a good web site for trout entomology and also there is another section on trout flies on this site.

The book Selctive Trout - Swisher and Richards 1971 was the breakthrough bible on trout emtomology in the 1970s. I have it here. Picked it up at a discount book store table on Madison Avenue NYC for $ 3 in 1976, great steal. List price then was $ 5.95 my how things have changed. Any way below is the updated Selective Trout edition for $ 33. If you want to learn entomology and translation to patterns would recommend this book.

Swisher and Richards were Michigan residents not sure where they are now. Actually met Richards on the Pere Marquette steelhead fishing in the early 1980s. Gave me some hints which I needed since I was new steelhead fishing at that time just being relocated to the mid west from NYC area.

04-29-2002, 12:14 AM

Are you saying a paradun is the same as a parachute style? I don't think that's correct. It's my understanding that a paradun was a precursor to the comparadun. Also, I think the wings are not the only distinguishing feature, some or all of them have a tail shaped like a V for floatation. The other two styles you explained make sense.


At that fly website paraduns, comparaduns, and thorax style flies are not listed. Are they mentioned in that book? If they are can you post what it says?

04-29-2002, 03:56 AM
Never mind. It doesn't really matter. For what it's worth, I think a paradun and a comparadun are pretty similar and are characterized by a tail split in a V shape, a fan shaped wing, and no hackle.

The parachute patterns in my fly boxes have a fur post, a wing radiating out along the base of the post that lies flat on the water, and a straight tail.

A thorax fly I saw today had the wing and hackle in the middle of the body, and the hackle was snipped short so it wouldn't ride as high.

So, to me it looks like the paradun and comparadun ride the lowest on the surface, then the parachute, the thorax, and finally a conventional fly.

I actually used something similar to a comparadun today called a sparkle dun, and finally tried it out when my other flies weren't working. The sparkle dun has feautures like John described for the comparadun: brown deer hair wing, no hackle, but with a scraggly, bushy green tail(the sparkle) I caught a big brown trout on my first couple of casts, and then I saw a fish rise about 15 feet in the other direction that I had been trying to tempt all day. I cast the comparadun over to him, and I could see the whole thing unfold. Out of the emerald green water I saw his form rise and strike at my fly, and then I felt him tug the line, and the fight was on....well at least for 5 seconds, and then he was off my line and gone. Arrrgggh!

04-29-2002, 07:13 PM

Selective Trout was the book that introduced the no hackle comparaduns and paraduns, etc.. in 1971. It was a revolutionary book. Its a good one, will have to pick up the new one below myself.

If you really want to learn all about trout FF recommend you get it. Others will also have recommendations.

Another good way to learn the sport is join Trout Unlimited and/or Federation of Fly Fisherman where you can meet people in your local area to share information on techniques and where to fish, etc. in your local area.

I was evolving this part of my FF when I was cursed with a transfer to the mid west and the steelhead and salmon were presented as a new FF challenge which I have not been able to stop pursuing. Don't do very much regular stream trout fishing any more. All available FF time is dedicated to steelhead essentially for the last 23 years, the first 16 years (youth etc) was all trout fly fishing like you wish to pursue.

Sometimes I think I should go back to trout, at least I could land more than 80% of them. Steelhead are another matter at times.


04-29-2002, 07:51 PM

Just curious if you have experimented with floruocarbon leaders/tippet at all to increase your catch percentage as you may be able to get away with heavier test line if you did that. I know in the salt I am able to go up a couple Xs and not notice a decrease in the number of fish I hook.

Just curious,


04-29-2002, 08:45 PM

Yes, a matter of fact I had a couple on Rio Fluor Flex Plus 9.4 lb
which broke the line, although it may have been the knot. These two fish though were off after a couple of jumps or big runs etc..

I gave up on the fluro and went back to the Maxima green, that held up better.

The fish were just hot last week. No one was landing any that I could see. Got some great fights, memories, and solitude though, I was very satisfied.

If you have any recommendations on Fluor carbon brands and knots to use let me know.

Got to find something to get an advantage over those buggers !


04-29-2002, 09:04 PM
I do not use flourocarbon much (why switch from Maxima?!??!) but am begining to realize that under certain applications, it has certain advantages.

Flouroflex Plus is a great flourcarbon but remember...triple surgeon's knot and a heavily salived knot before tightening.

04-29-2002, 10:08 PM
I love the maxima ultragreen. 90% of the time that is what I am using. Great stuff but as Ryan says there is a place for fluoruo and it sounds like your clear streams may be a good place for some field testing.

I have had good results with the rio stuff as tippet. Do not really think you need the whole leader to be fluoro and 3 feet or so of it at the end of your leader seems to work just fine. Plus it is not as exspensive to use it just as tippet as that stuff aint cheap.

However even 12-15 pound test is sometimes not enough when you have a crazed steelie at the other end but as you know once you get past that initial run your chances improve.

Like Ryan mentioned make sure not to put too much heat stress on the material when tightening up the knots and it should hold just fine. Also be sure and reaplce the stuff if it does get nicked up. I find it more abrasion resistent than regular mono but once it does get nicked up it gets very fragile. Another reason I use it just as tippet.

Anyway good luck and I will be interested to see it it improves your landing rate. Or course it aint all about catching but it sure is fun to get one to the bank every once in a while.

Plus I would like to see how it works so when I get out there in september I can use your field results to my benefit. :hehe:


04-30-2002, 01:02 AM

If you want to try a new knot, I just read about a super strong knot for attaching your flies to the leader. It's in the March/April 2002 issue of American Angler. Richard Nightengale calls it the Sixteen-Twenty Loop in honor of the Sixteen-Twenty club: catching a 20-pound Atlantic salmon on a size 16 or smaller hook, which he became a member of in 1995. He has tested many knots and his tests indicate a .99 breaking strength with minimal variation. It works for salmon-weight leaders as well as trout weight leaders.

04-30-2002, 06:41 AM
Thanks will check out that knot in American Angler.

Also always do wet the knot.

Never a problem with Maxima but if I can get it down for the fluoro than possibly I have a slight advantage on the silver bullets.

PM steelies are all wild and they are known for their fight. In twenty years I have 1 or 2 that had little fight to them.

05-03-2002, 11:42 PM
Here is the summary of another fly style called the Sparkle-dun from "Essential Trout Flies":

The Compara-dun and Sparkle-dun are variations on the original Haystack design. They all have deer hair wings at the front of the body shaped like a fan spread out over 160 degrees (v. 180 degrees), so that the body rides lower in the water. The original Haystack design had a deer hair tail. The Compara-dun has a split V shaped tail to more closely imitate the natural. The Sparkle-dun has a scraggly tail made out of Z-lon(the sparkle) which imitates the dun just finishing its emergence from the shuck.

The author also describes the thorax style as a fly with a hackle wound a few turns both fore and aft of the wing. A V shape is then clipped out of the hackle on the bottom of the fly so the hackle fans out around the body about 200 degrees(v. 180 degrees) The V notch on the underside of the fly makes it sit lower in the water.

"Essential Trout Flies" is really a terrific book. It describes the different styles from both a tying perspective and a fishing perspective and includes beautiful pictures of each style from all angles, as well as six variations of each style. The author then describes his personal experience with the variations and which ones work best and why.