I have been fishing the Madam X for a long time, but found that no amount of floatant really keeps it afloat, especially after a few fish.
Concurrent to thinking about a more buoyant Madam X I fished some with a white tag on them, and found they were far easier to see. I had not been tying in the white tag for speed reasons, and because I am almost always sight fishing and was almost always able to see the fly if it stayed afloat.
Fishing the Tongariro with some mates made me question the lack of the white marker on top of the cicada. James’ flies were far easier to see, and some of my standard Madam Xs with white pylons were remarkably visible, even if not that buoyant.
Another mate who introduced me to the Madam X changed his pattern to include foam to keep the fly afloat. I decided to copy his revision of the Madam X and add a white tag for visibility.
The result is a fly that has about 20mm of 5mm foam cylinder on the back of the hook, and a white tag tied in on top of the fly. This promises to be buoyant and visible, without sacrificing the quick tying time of the Madam X.