The super ant is an ungainly creation consisting of just three materials - foam, hackle, and thread. It was a creation of my buddy Rick, during a late night tying session in our West Yellowstone cabin, fueled by one too many servings of "cabin punch." This jumbo sized attractor pattern scored big time on fish in the West Yellowstone area. The brown trout on the meadow section of Gibbon River fell particularly hard to its charms.
When I brought the pattern home to New Jersey, it worked well for warm water species, but our trout here on the east coast sometimes cast a suspicious eye upon the pattern. They would often rise to inspect the fly, sometimes following it a distance downstream, before ultimately refusing the offering. They were interested, but there was something about the pattern they were not sure about.
As it turns out, it appears that the "super" in the super ant was turning fish off. Downsizing the pattern has made it much more effective on our east coast trout. It has also significantly improved its hooking abilities on small mouthed panfish as well. I observed that panfish sometimes had a little difficulty taking down the original pattern. They would often grab the end of the foam and swim off with it missing the hook completely!
The original fly I copied was tied on an old, no longer produced Mustad barbless hook (3257B). It just so happens that I have thousands of these funky, old irons lying around. This hook was supposedly discontinued because of its weak hooking abilities. Although the hook held well, it was said to have penetration problems due to the pronounced hump in the point. I have used the hook for a while now and have not observed any issues with penetration, so I am continuing to use them. After all, I have to do something with them. Another option in the same style of hook would be the Partridge Roman Moser (CS27) barbless dry fly hook (also discontinued, but easier to find). In the end, any dry fly hook, barbed or not will work just fine.
To get the hi-vis indicator tips, I tinted the white sections with permanent markers in various colors. The standard white works well enough but in some light conditions, a little bit of color improves the visibility of this pattern which has a tendency to sit low in the water. In addition to the "not so super" ant I also tied up a few "not so super" bees with some foam bee bodies I had lying around. Bluegills and other sunfish tear these up once the bees start flying.
Want to tie one? You can find the recipe here.