Published Nov 11. 2023 - 8 months ago
Updated or edited Nov 11. 2023


I like rubber legs on dry flies. Their suggestion of something edible is the fish equivalent of ringing a dinner gong.

Nick Thomas
Rubber-legged dry fly
Rubber-legged dry fly
Nick Thomas

I like rubber legs on dry flies, they twitch and wiggle as the fly floats over ripples or if you give the leader a lift or twitch now and again. The appearance of something possibly edible helplessly kicking around on the surface is the fish equivalent of ringing a dinner gong.

The Sillikix is not a subtle imitation assembled from a few whisps of feather and fur tied to land softy and unobtrusively as thistledown on a heavily fished stream. No, this one is for wild hungry fish on the lookout for a good feed, it’s definitely more McDonald’s than Michelin. Slap it down, twitch it, dibble it up and down, in fact do whatever you think makes it look like an insect in extremis.

Silicone leg strands form both the body and legs. The round profile makes a segmented body when wound in touching turns, and if you decrease the tension as you wind you can form a smoothly tapered body. The wing of the fly is tied in forward and then folded back between the front legs which forms a prominent head and also splays out the legs for maximum twitchability.

Side, bottom, top
Side, bottom, top
Nick Thomas
Pattern type: 
Dry fly
Nick Thomas
Fasna F-120 #14/16
Sheer 14/0 brown
Get Slotted brown Silli Legs
Get Slotted yellow Silli Legs
Semperfli copper poly-yarn
Troutline natural pine squirrel dubbing
Skill level/difficulty: 
  1. Run on the thread, take around the bend in touching turns and remove the tag end.
  2. Tie in a brown leg strand and bind down up the hook. Wind forward in touching turns varying the tension to taper the body, tie in and trim off the waste.
  3. Tie in a piece of poly-yarn lying over the hook eye.
  4. Tie in a yellow leg strand on either side of the hook a little way back from the eye.
  5. Dub behind the rear legs and over the thread warps.
  6. Fold back the wing separating the front legs and tie down.
  7. Dub over the wing fold, smear the thread with varnish and whip finish.
  8. Trim the legs and wing to length.

Treated with a little floatant gel on the wing the fly is very buoyant and will pop back to the surface if it goes under in a ripple. The trick with poly-yarn wings is to apply a minimum of floatant so the fibres don’t stick together. I put small drop between a fingertip and thumb to melt, spread it into a thin film and then wipe the floatant onto wing like loading a paintbrush. Once the wing is done, pull the legs through the melted gel.

The result
Twitching a Sillikix
Nick Thomas

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