Tying an Extended Foam Body

Tying an Extended Foam Body

Learning how to tie an extended foam body allows you to take the body of the fly past the actual hook shank. This comes in handy when tying hoppers, stone flies or any other foamy creation. Hoppers are notoriously successful in the summer for trout, and any foam fly will work great if used for panfish.

What you will need is:

A bodkin or some smooth strong piece of metal like a large sewing needle

Thread: I prefer 6/0 uni-thread its strong and allows you to really cinch down on the foam

Foam: I just use craft foam from somewhere like walmart or hobby lobby its usually about a dollar for a 10x12 sheet

In my example I will be using a bodkin, most fly tying kits will come with one. Make sure that what ever you use is free of any burrs or rough spots that would inhibit the material from sliding off of it at the end. Before I begin to tie anything onto the bodkin I will run my fingers through my hair and use the natural oils to lubricate the bodkin. This will come in handy at the end.

 Next cut a strip of foam, the wider you cut it the larger the body will be. Fold the foam in half, at this point I like to take my scissors and taper the body towards the fold with two angle cuts. I like to do this because it gives the body a more natural taper. After you choose to taper or not to taper the foam, push the foam on to the bodkin at the middle of the fold.


Do not start your thread on the bodkin, if you do when you go to slide the body off the thread will stay on the bodkin and unravel your work. So fold the foam in half and then start your thread raps close to the end of the folded section, make sure to pull tight and cinch down the foam.

After you have made several securing wraps pull the two end pieces of foam back and advance your thread forwards a few wraps.


Like the first section pinch the two sides of foam to the hook and cinch the foam with several securing wraps.


Repeat the same steps as you make your way to the end of the foam. I try to taper my foam bodies with smaller sections near the folded end and larger towards the finished end. When you create the desired amount of body sections simply whip finish on the last body section and trim your thread.


To get the body off of the bodkin I use both hands to push at one end and pull at the other and sort of inch worm the body off. This technique can also be used with two different colors of foam to give a bi-color effect to your fly as well, I tend to do a dark color on top and a lighter on bottom.



Here is an example of the extended foam body on a dozen large salmon flies. To put the foam body on the hook itself I will take the bodkin and run it through the second body segment from the whip finished side and out the end. Then I will take the hook and run the eye of the hook through the same path as the bodkin. Add a little superglue and thread wraps and you're ready to start your foam creation.