by Tim Flagler

The Chernobyl Ant is a great trout fly, but the Chubby Chernobyl is even better.

The Chubby Chernobyl is a husky descendant of the venerable Chernobyl Ant. There are times, especially on Western rivers during the late summer and early fall, when trout will swim from 20 feet away to inhale a Chubby twitched in the film. This pattern works that well!

Aside from its attractiveness, consider these other two factors when tying and fishing the Chubby Chernobyl. The first is float-ability and how the pattern sits on the water. If the fly lands on the water improperly or sinks more than floats, all the attractiveness in the world isn’t going to make it fun to fish. A good Chubby will land correctly and float high and dry every cast. Sure, a little cleaning, drying, and dressing are necessary now and again, but not constantly.

The   second    important   factor—and this is a biggie—is durability. If the fly gets torn apart or the foam body twists around the hook shank after catching only one fish, how useful is it? Tying on another fly during the heat of battle is extremely frustrating and wastes precious time. A Chubby should last for at least a half-dozen fish, including a couple of big dogs. Construct the Chubby Chernobyl accordingly.

Chubby Chernobyl

Detailed instructions for tying a Chubby Chernobyl. This is part of a series of Tim Flagler’s collaboration with Fly Tyer Magazine. Check out his article abo…


Hook: Lightning Strike SN1, size 10.
Thread: UTC 140 Denier, fluorescent pink.
Tail: Krystal Flash, pink.
Dubbing: UV Ice Dub, pink.
Body: Craft foam, 2mm, pink.
Wings: Polypropylene yarn, white.
Legs: Sili legs, barred, pink.

Chubby Tying Tips

I think I’ve tried nearly every method for tying the Chubby Chernobyl. Some techniques led to less than acceptable durability, others were very time-consuming, and sometimes the finished fly just didn’t look good.

I like constructing the body using one layer of 2-millimeter-thick craft foam. You may cut the body to shape using craft scissors; never cut foam using fine fly-tying scissors. Better yet, you can quickly stamp out bodies using a foam cutter manufactured by River Road Creations. Pink and purple are my first and second choices of color when tying the Chubby Chernobyl; a black back with a red underbody sneaks in at number three.

Wrap a layer of dubbing at both the rear and front tie-down locations on the hook shank. Add a drop of superglue in those areas before tying the foam body to the hook.

Spread out the thread wraps rather than making a single, narrow band of wrapped thread. The dubbing, adhesive, and the ex- panded tie-down areas are all crucial to the durability of the fly.

Covering the thread wraps and making the underbody using chenille, Sparkle Braid, or Estaz might make sense, but this isn’t especially practical, so I tough it out and use multiple dubbing noodles. My favorite dubbing is UV Ice Dub.

Pick and comb out the wings after tying the polypropylene yarn to the fly; this makes a difference in how this pattern lands and floats. And finally, after tying the fly, add an ample drop of superglue to the top at both fore and aft tie-down areas. This glue locks everything in place; as far as I’m concerned, this step is not optional.

Tim Flagler is a regular contributor to our magazine. Be sure to check out the accompanying video to this article—and all of Tim’s terrific tying and fishing videos—at his website, Tim lives in New Jersey.