Tying a Pistachio Beetle

Here is a great, terrestrial dry fly attractor pattern. The pattern has been informally tied around many fly clubs for some years. It was first shown to me in about 2000 by a client by the name of Chester Fox. Chester and his wife fished Beaver tailwater with me one summer day, and he had tremendous fun showing me this pattern and plopping the imitation beetle around the bank edges and catching fish. Thanks for sharing, Chester!

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Pistachio Beetle (Scott's version)
Hook 3x long multi-purpose hook, straight eye, size 6 (Daiichi 2461)
Thread Black or any color of choice
Body Spun and trimmed deer body hair
Shell Pistachio shell painted color of choice
Shell Stripe Strand of gold Flash-a-bou like material glued from front to back of shell
Legs Matching color of Sili Legs or other stranded material such as thread or flash strands.

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Start by buying a bag of pistachios and eating a few. Save the hulls!

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Like mussel shells, the nut's shell is a "bi-value" shape. The place where the two halves connected needs to be smoothed out and rounded a bit with an emery board. The fronts of many will have to be trimmed with stout scissors.

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Select some model paints for the shell. Browns, metallic greens, and black are always good beetle colors. White and other detail paint for markings make it fun and creative. I used small strips of gray tape rolled and folded inside the shell to help it stick on paper or cardboard while painting. This is a good shade tree activity outdoors and gets you away from any paint fumes.

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I like to add a stripe of flash to my shells. Take one strand of fiber and draw it through some Zap-a-Gap or other super glue and then lay it carefully on the shell back pressing it down toward the ends.

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Start the thread and end at the back of the hook.

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Deer hair body fur makes good spinning fur for the body.

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Clean the fluff out of the butt ends by holding the clump by the tips and tickling the underfur out.

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Then trim the tip ends.

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Angle the clump onto the shank, take a couple of loose wraps and begin to draw down tension on the thread.

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As it begins to flare, release the fibers and let them spin around the hook shank. Continue with a few wraps moving the thread forward through the stacked hair.

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Push the fibers back on top of each stack.

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Pull the hair back and take a wrap or two of thread before adding the next clump.

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Continue the process adding and spinning each clump. It's OK if it looks messy at this point.

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Once you get to the head, tie off and whip finish.

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Trim the hair flat on the underneath side of the shank.

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Using a pair of cuved scissors, trim the top of the body to roughly the shape of the inside cup of the pistachio hull.

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If you have a rotating vise, it makes the job easier.

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Trim a bit and fit the body to the inside of the pistachio hull. Don't over trim. The trimmed deer hair body simply allows glue to soak down into the gaps and helps secures the hull.

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Now, it's ready to be glued on.

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Put a little Goop household glue or Loctite gel super glue in the hull and add a couple Sililegs or other material for the legs. Two or three strands are enough. Goop or other similar glues need to be used in a well ventilated area or outside.

© Scott Branyan, www.flyflinger.com

Press the shell onto the deer hair and hold until it stays down. The front of the hull should be just behind the eye of the hook.

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For durability and shine, you can coat the hull with a layer or two of nail polish.

I hope you enjoy tying and fishing this pattern. The hard shell makes a definite "plop" sound when it hits the water. It's a great attractor.

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