Video: How to Tie Matt’s Gnat, Improving on a Classic


Fish a Matt’s Gnat any time and place where you’d try a Griffith’s Gnat.
Photo by Tim Flagler

One of the cool things about fly tying is that there are so many options when you sit down at the vise. You can tie a classic pattern, a newfangled one you just saw in a magazine, or you can invent your own. A fourth option is to take an established fly—even one as venerated as George Griffith’s eponymous gnat—and figure out a way to make it better: more durable, more lifelike, or perhaps just more suited to the waters you fish. Matt’s Gnat is tier Matt Grobert’s attempt at making the Griffith’s Gnat more durable. When you’ve got a palmered hackle on any fly, a break in the hackle stem, caused by a fish’s teeth usually, can cause the whole thing to unravel. This is why so many patterns us a wire rib to hold everything down. By using rabbit fur instead of hackle and twisting it into a dubbing rope with the peacock herl, Grobert has avoided the unraveling problem.

In this great video from Tightline Productions, Matt Grobert, an author and blogger, shows how to construct the cool dubbing rope. At first, the process might look a bit fussy, but once you see how it makes the rest of the fly go together in a snap, I’m sure you’ll be sold. The idea of combining the peacock herl and the dubbing into a single rope is ingenious. I can already think of lots more applications for this technique.

          Matt’s Gnat
          Hook: Caddis pupa hook (here, a Tiemco 2488), size 20.
          Thread: Burgundy or Claret, 6/0.
          Body: Peacock herl.
          Dubbing: Natural snowshoe rabbit’s foot, in a waxed dubbing loop.
          Head: Tying thread.

11 thoughts on “Video: How to Tie Matt’s Gnat, Improving on a Classic”

  1. The snowshoe hare is sort of naturally waterproof. I don’t think the hare’s mask will float as well in this fly.

    1. Is there any thing I could substitute for the snowshoe as it’s a bit hard to find and when I do it’s a bit pricey, especially postage to Ireland

      1. Perhaps you could substitute another fur with water proof type properties such
        as the guard hair from mink, otter or similar? Worth a try to experiment?

        Mike … tying for 50+ years

  2. this is a cool little…and I do mean little, fly. I love the dubbing loop/rope with peacock like this. I am definitely going to tie some of these up this winter.

  3. I actually took this design and made a soft
    hackle nymph out of it using hares ear. It’s became
    one of my go to flies.

  4. Is there any thing I could substitute for the snowshoe as it’s a bit hard to find and when I do it’s a bit pricey, especially postage to Ireland

    1. Perhaps you could substitute another fur with water proof type properties such
      as the guard hair from mink, otter or similar? Worth a try to experiment?

      Mike … tying for 50+ years

      1. How about cdc fibres? They could be held in a clip and attached and wound in the same way. Not as strong as snowshoe, but 1lb breaking strain mono could be used as a rib. Just thinking out loud 🙂
        Thanks for the pattern, I’m going to try it right now!

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