In 2014, I came up with a pattern that became my go-to fly for many years: the Japanese Lantern. It was just a simple sakasa kebari, but instead of thread for the head, I used pearlescent Mylar to give it a little flash. The fly performed swimmingly and I had the utmost confidence in it. I tied it in two variations: light (“lit”), and dark (“unlit”). But after my epiphany in 2014 with double glass bead flies, I realized I could improve the Lantern by supplanting the Mylar with two crystal beads, giving it the same shimmering effect while adding a little weight to help it sink. I’ll probably still carry the unweighted versions, but I think this is a major improvement on one of my staple patterns.
Japanese Lantern Recipe
Hook: Firehole Sticks 316, #12
Head: 2 Small Crystal Pearl Glass Beads
Thread: UNI, 6/0, Black (Unlit) or White (Lit)
Ribbing: Small Copper Wire, Silver (Unlit), Black (Lit)
Hackle: Pheasant, India Hen, or Partridge
This pattern checks all the boxes of everything I look for in a confidence fly: contrast, size, movement, profile, and just enough weight to get it down while still being easily cast with a tenkara rod. Plus, it’s fast and easy to tie making it expendable so I have no trepidation about throwing it into a log jam where I just know that 16-incher is hiding.
All flies evolve. And I’m pretty happy with the latest iteration of my original creation. I encourage you to always think about how you can improve yours too.
“A novel is never finished. It is only abandoned.” -Archibald MacLeish
Tie one up and share a pic below!
I tie these down to a size 20. Same thing but I use a single 11/0 clear/black glass bead instead of two beads. Shank is just too short for 2 beads. I tried to post an image with no success sorry.
Hi John, do you have the photo uploaded somewhere? I had to remove the plug-in that used to allow people to upload pictures because it was crashing my site. However, if you have an image uploaded somewhere and have a link to it, you can use this and paste the URL to your photo between the quotes: