This was originally something that I did for FlyTalk, but it was a requested pattern here at FF&W. The Loop-Wing (a somewhat common fly name these days) shown here is GB’s version from back in the days of bell-bottoms. Go tie:
1. Get the hook into the vise and wrap the shank with thread.
2. Tie in the tails. I typically use hackle-fibers tied in a fan-style. Colors to match the natural, or an all-around color like medium dun.
3. Dub the abdomen (keep it in proportion for the insect being imitated).
4. Tie in the fibers to be used for the loop-wing (this is (1) on the illustration). For smaller mayflies, the fibers of mallard flank feathers and so forth work nicely. But tougher, more “sparkly” materials, such as Z-lon, SST, etc., can also be used.
5. Tie in the hackle feather immediately in front of the loop-wing fibers (this is (2) on the illustration). Use a color that matches the natural, or just go with an all-aorund color like medium dun.
6. Dub the thorax (keep it in proportion for the insect being imitated).
7. Wind the hackle forward over the thorax and tie it off. The hackle can be wound in a basic spiral, or can be “X” wrapped to get a broad base of fibers. To do an X-wrap, take two broad spirals forward, two broad spirals back, then two forward again. Once the fly is totally finished (step 9), trim the hackle off the bottom of the fly.
8. Loop the wing fibers forward over the hackle (making the wing a realistic height). The wing can either be left as one larger loop, or… for a better wing, don’t fully tie the wing down, just partly trap it with one or two wraps of thread. Then use a hackle pliers and grab one or more wing fibers and gently pull on them so that the fiber(s) draw(s) down, making a smaller loop inside the wing (go for a loop about 1/3 the height of the main loop). Do it again to make another loop, this time about 2/3 the height of the main loop. Now you have a stacked loop-wing that presents a great overall look (see the photo below).
With fine-filament fibers like Z-lon, you’ll have to do this by grabbing a small group of fibers and drawing them down rather carefully. It may take some fussing, but it looks pretty sweet when done right.
9. Once the wing is to your liking, tie it down and finish the fly. If the wing fibers are too bulky to wrap down, just leave them sticking out over the eye of the hook, tie off, and then trim the fibers to the same length as the eye of the hook.
10. Lash it on, throw it out there.