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Bionic Ant

Origins of The Bionic Ant (Lance Egan Guest Blog)

Guest Bio.

Lance Egan has had a passion for fly-fishing for more than 27 years and has made a career of fly-fishing. He is an accomplished competition angler at all levels across multiple disciplines and has represented his country at the World Championships on multiple occasions. An innovative fishing equipment designer, he currently  works for Fly Fish Food, an online and storefront fly-fishing retailer in Orem, Utah, as the shop manager.  In addition to his fly shop duties he is a part-time fly-fishing guide and Signature Fly Designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants.

Lance Egan

Bionic Background.

My favorite summertime technique is to float rivers from a Fly Craft or Hyde drift boat and accurately cast ants to weary, bank-hugging Trout.  Until about 10 years ago I largely overlooked the importance of ants and beetles for summertime Trout.  Sure, I fished a lot of cicadas in early summer, hoppers late summer and even threw the odd cricket pattern but I rarely fished ants.  

I've since learned what I was missing!  I find this to be true of most of my fly fishing friends and fly shop customers.  Generally speaking, we seek out hatches and otherwise nymph or toss streamers during non-hatch periods.  While all of that is fun (and can be very productive), I relish the opportunity to fish dry flies, and large ants have become my summertime go-to dries.

Getting an ant pattern that is buoyant, easy to see, and fish approved wasn't easy.  

There are several patterns out there that check one of  those boxes, maybe two, but rarely all three.  The Bionic Ant has become my go-to terrestrial, and really, my go-to dry fly during non-hatch periods and often during major hatches!  

Lance Egan Bionic Ant


Size Matters.

Sure, the Bionic is basically an oversized sailor ant pattern with a few extra materials, but the biggest change for me regarding this pattern is its size.  Previously, I fished size 16 and smaller ant patterns.  Not any more.  

Other than a few experiences with Grayling, I don't really fish ants smaller than a 14 (Grayling have small mouths compared to Trout and although they'll gladly attempt to eat a large Bionic Ant, they rarely get it in their mouth well enough to hook them).  Anyway, my point is that I recommend you try fishing ants much larger than you'd think.  I mostly use size 10 & 12.  


Tying Tips.

With a Bionic Foam body, white top for visibility, small legs for movement and silhouette, this pattern gets attention.  Add a nice brown, or my favorite, coachman brown, hackle to the center and you have a buoyant, visible, fish catching fly.  One final tying tip, use oversize hackle and trim it flat on the bottom.  


Persistence Pays Off.

I sent this pattern to Umpqua several times starting about 17-18 years ago. They first passed on it saying they already have foam ant patterns. I sent it a second time and again they passed. I sent it a third time with more information regarding how well it fishes and that it is best in larger sizes. I mentioned that the other foam ant patterns already being sold were too small and that a larger ant is a better option for most waters and finally Umpqua relented. 


I fish the bionic ant more than any other dry fly. I do this because it works!!


Tight Lines,



You can learn how to tie the Bionic Ant on YouTube, and source Bionic Foam in 6 unique colours and cutters here.

Bionic Ant


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