The FBC Pattern Evolution
Given enough time spent at the vise, sooner or later we are all bound to screw up and tie a pattern that works. Usually it works on a particular hatch, or stage of a particular hatch. Yet every now-and-then you REALLY screw up and tie a pattern that just flat out catches fish. The Foam Butt Caddis is that kind of pattern.
Tied originally as a cricket pattern for the Big Pine in Northcentral Pennsylvania, it quickly became my go-to terrestrial pattern, both for trout and smallmouth. It was at this stage, tied on a #10 standard Mustad 94840 dry fly hook, that I thought I had nailed it.
Then one hot muggy day I broke out the float tube and took it for bluegills on a local pond. The gills would not look up for anything I had, from a Gaines Popper to a hairbug. Nothing I had would bring them to the surface. In defeat I decided to use the FBC as an indicator, throwing a beadhead on a dropper. Instantly I began to catch fish....but not on the beadhead....on the FBC. As a result, over the course of a few years it established itself as bluegill candy. It still did well on trout as a cricket pattern, but truly found its mark as a bluegill pattern. I thought.
Then about 3 years ago, while fishing South Jerseys ponds and bogs, I decided to try tying it larger. I was beginning to get quite a few decent bass on it, but the hook just seemed to get shaken loose more often than not on the larger fish. The result was an upscaled version of the same pattern on a #6 Gamakatsu Stinger Hook. The change stuck, and before long I found myself hitting many waters with nothing but a handful of FBC's for both bass and panfish.
Fast forward to this year. Tied on a #4 Stinger hook, the FBC has most of my warm-water patterns collecting dust. On any given outing, the Big-Butt tied in either Ginger or Dun carries the day. It seems only the future knows just how effective the FBC can be, and I'm just along for the ride.