Video: How to Tie Ken’s Crazy Ant

Ken’s Crazy Ant is ridiculously easy to tie and floats like a cork.
Photo courtesy Tightline Productions

This is one of those amazing fly patterns that looks complex, but is actually incredibly easy to tie. When I first saw the profile of Ken’s Crazy Ant, I thought, “Uh oh, how the heck do you make those antennae look like they’re part of the body like that?” But then you see how it’s done, and you can’t believe that’s all there is to it. The discovery must have been a real Eureka! moment for the fly’s inventor, Ken Walrath. I won’t ruin the surprise.

In this great video from Tightline Productions, Tim Flagler ties the pattern to Walrath’s specifications, and I doubt there’s anyone watching who couldn’t be whipping these up in just a few minutes. And we all know how production ant patterns can be in many situations.

          Ken’s Crazy Ant
          Hook: Standard dry-fly hook (here a Dai Riki #305), size 16.
          Thread: Black, 8/0 or 70 denier.
          Body/antenna: Foam drawer liner.
          Adhesive:  Zap-A-Gap.
          Wing: White Antron or Zelon.
          Legs: Grizzly hackle.
          Note: Tie these with different-colors bodies and wings.

13 thoughts on “Video: How to Tie Ken’s Crazy Ant”

  1. Pingback: Neat Ant. - Fly Fishing Forums
  2. You have got to be kidding me! That is almost too easy. But heck yea I am gonna get me some of that material and tie some up.


  3. Great video. I tied one using same materials except for substitute of Mustad hook for Dai Riki. Dropped into water and it floated ok. Dropped a second time and it sank like a rock. Any ideas?

    1. Steve,

      My advice is to actually fish with it in real life conditions, with tippet attached and a false cast every now and again to shake off excess water. I do the bowl of water tests all the time on both dry and subsurface patterns and I’m constantly surprised at how sinkable, highly floatable patterns are in the bowl. Patterns that consistently ride high and dry on the stream will oftentimes fail the bowl test miserably.

    2. Use a polypropylene yarn or McFlylon for the wing. It floats better than Z-lon or Antron. You can try a smaller hook to reduce weight on the fly as well. And finally when you coat it with a floatant on the stream will help keep from going too deep. However, real ants don’t float all that well either and sink pretty quickly, so you may want to fish it with a larger dry as an “indicator” and have the ant sink in the film and hang on for some awesome takes.

  4. I’m clearing out the silverware drawer already to get some of the foam matting to tie this fly. I think my wife will excuse my actions as she is beginning to accept my obsession or more accurately, give up.

  5. Hello.
    Looking forward to tying this Ant fly,can you provide some more info on the non slip liner please?
    Having a problem locating it in the UK.

    Thank you,Colin.

  6. Looked high and low but , to no avail… Couldn’t find that specific pattern of foam… Please leave me a reference
    or location as to where I can purchase this pattern.. Would be much appreciated….
    Thanx Much, Stan Reynolds

  7. Nice pattern. I am going to head over and buy some of that foam after work. Ant patterns are working good on a nearby river

  8. The foam seems to be open cell foam:( soaks in water catches fish but it sinks after one fish:( does anyone know if the make a brand that is close cell foam. Awesome pattern idea otherwise. Who else has experienced this?

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