Basic Black: do you remember when every woman had the basic black skirt and slacks as a foundation to their wardrobe? Perhaps they still do…at least the skirt. Well such is the necessary fly fishing presentation of basic black. A black gnat tied small: size 18 hook, black 8/0 thread body, black dubbing ball for thorax and few turns of a small starling feather. You could add a tail of black hackle fibers if you wanted to lean towards a mayfly vs. the midge/chironomid/gnat imitations. Here, I used the 8/0 for the thread head and may, aesthetically, have done better to finish off the fly with a smaller 14/0 thread for the head.
This small, simple pattern was suggested to me several years ago by a gnat fanatic fly fisher. He almost exclusively fishes “gnats” in black, brown, yellow, olive, tan….simply changing the thread color for the abdomen when tying the pattern. He does quite well in the reaches of the Western U.S. No bead head, no ribbing, no fuss. Mostly just basic black….and good presentations.