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Sea Bass herring

Heres another one of the old video tutorials while I edit the new ones!

Elk Hair Caddis

A video tutorial of how to fish the Elk Hair Caddis. The full step by step for tying the EHC will be published shortly, Enjoy.

Elk Hair Caddis Step by step

Elk Hair Caddis

Hook Mustad R30 # 16-10 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=175

Thread Dyneema http://www.virtual-nymph.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=1&Itemid=26

Body Olive dubbing

Hackle Brown Cock

Wing Bleached elk

This classic caddis pattern is from the tying bench of well know American fly tyer Al Troth.

This is probably the most well known caddis pattern in existence, and rightly so. The EHC as it is also known is one of the best adult caddis patterns that you could use.  I myself have fished this pattern for at least 30 years, and every season it never fail to provide me with great sport.

Most of the materials are readily available but in the past few years the bleached elk hair has become more difficult to obtain.  Al Troth himself recommends that you use the thigh hair from a cow elk, bleached, this I have found impossible to obtain but any good quality bleached elk does a good job.  If you find like me that the bleached elk cannot be obtained, regular elk will also do a good job, it’s just a little more difficult to see at a distance on the water.

You can fish this pattern dry so that it just floats high on the hackle points, you can fish it half drowned so that it gurgles like a popper when retrieved and you can even fish it wet just under the surface. A brilliant all round pattern.

1

1

Attach the tying thread and run it along the hook shank until it hangs level with the hook barb.

2

2

Prepare the hackle and tie in at the base of the hook shank.

3

3

Attach the dubbing to the tying thread and begin to build up the body of the fly.

4

4

Once you have dubbed the whole body make sure you leave enough space for the elk wing head (2 mm behind the hook eye) secure the dubbing with a few turns of tying thread.

5

5

Using a hackle plier wind on the hackle, palmered style along the whole of the dubbed body.

6

6

Tie off the hackle and trim off the access.

7

7

With the use of a small hair stacker even thew ends of a small bunch of elk hair. You can also remove the under wool at this stage.

8

8

Remove the hair from the stacker and lie it along the top of the hook as shown to measure the correct length of wing required.

10

9

Still holding the hair in place , change hands and make two loose turns of tying thread around the head of the fly, and pull tight. Make a couple more turns of tying thread to secure the wing.

11

10

You can now trim of the surplus elk hair butt ends to make that distinctive EHC head.

Tie off the tying thread and remove.

12

11

The finished Elk Hair Caddis.

Tying the Muddler Minnow

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Unquestionably the most famous of all streamers, and the model for many others.

Hook: Mustad R73NP-BR # 10-4

Thread: Dyneema (waxed)

Tail: Mottled turkey

Body: Flat gold tinsel

Rib: Copper wire

Underwing: Grey squirrel tail

Wing: Mottled turkey

Collar/Head: Spun and clipped natural deer hair

 

A few notes regarding the original Muddler pattern:

 

The hook used by its originator Don Gapen was a Mustad 38941 3X Long streamer, this was one of the long flies. When tying slip wings its important to use waxed thread. The Dyneema I use in most my patterns is too smooth for for wet fly style wings and has to be waxed in order not to slip. 

The original recipe is as above but excluding the copper wire rib. The rib is a later addition. The original was tied with metal tinsel that required no protection from the small sharp teeth of trout but later as plastic tinsel became the norm the wire rib was added to protect the tinsel and add additional strength.  When spinning large bunches of deer hair I recommend, if you are using regular tying thread a minimum denier of 3/0 waxed is necessary to have sufficient  strength to apply enough tension to achieve optimal flare in the deer hair.  When tying spun and clipped deer hair patterns your choice of hair is paramount. See my earlier posts regarding tying with deer hair and spinning deer hair.

If I was unfortunate enough to be be given the choice of having only one fly to fish for all species both in fresh and salt water, I would have no problem! The Muddler minnow would without doubt be my number one choice. The pattern I tie here is as close to the original as I can get.

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 1
Secure your 3XL streamer hook in the vice making sure that the hook shank is horizontal.
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2
You will need two mottled turkey feathers one from each wing. Cut two small slips one from the same position from each wing feather for the tail.
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Attach your tying thread and run it the full length of the hook shank so that it hangs vertically between the hook point and barb. Place the two small wing slips ‘back to back and tie in on top of the hook shank for the tail as shown. This is done by holding the two slips in the left hand while you make one loose turn of tying thread around the slips and between your finger and thumb. Tighten by pulling your tying thread ‘upwards’ This will stop your wing slips from slipping around the hook and keep them central and straight.
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4
Trim off the surplus slip butts diagonally and tie in a length of fine copper wire at the base of the tail. Now cover the hook shank with an even coat of tying thread. This is important to get a tinsel body of the same thickness.
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Tie in your flat tinsel about 1 cm behind the hook eye. Wind the tinsel in even close fitting turns all the way back to the tail and the back to the tying in position behind the hook eye. Tie off.
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Cut off the excess flat tinsel and then wrap the copper wire rib in the opposite direction to the flat tinsel, in even open turns. Tie off.
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Cut a medium bunch of hair from a grey squirrel tail and remove the under fur and shorter hairs. Stack the hair in a hair stacker. Now measure the hair wing along the hook shank so that it is the same length as the slip tail. Trim the hair wing to length. Now before you tie the hair in place a small drop of varnish on the cut end of the hair bunch, this will glue it in place and also make it more durable. Tie in on top of the hook shank.
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Cut two larger mottled turkey wing slips for the wing. Again one from each wing feather.
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Tie these in the same way as the tail on top of the squirrel tail underwing.
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Select some good dense natural deer hair from the winter coat. See my earlier post on European Roe deer.
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Cut a good generous bunch. This is where many tyers make the mistake of too small a bunch and having to add more bunches later, to make the whole head. The head should be made of only one bunch of deer hair. Clean the hair by removing the under fur and shorter hairs and stack in a hair stacker.
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Place the bunch of deer hair with the tips facing back towards the tail, these will be the collar of the head. While holding the bunch in place make two loose turns of tying thread around the bunch, then tighten by by pulling upwards and the hair will flare. Once the hair is flared make several other tight wraps with a ‘zig zag’ movement as you go towards the hook eye. This will push the deer hair from side to side as you wrap and stop you from trapping the hair and tying it down flat!
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Tie off and whip finish. You can now begin to trim your muddler head to the basic shape. See my deer hair tutorial.
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14
You can choose here if you would like a cone shaped head. You can see on this image that some hair ends are burnt! see my deer hair tutorial for the full step be step of this technique.
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Or a round clipped head. This style will move more water when stripped.
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The finished Muddler minnow.

Bug Bond Thunder Creek.

Bug Bond Thunder Creek, a great salt water sea trout pattern.

The original Thunder creek streamer series came from the vice of American, Keith Fulsher. In the early sixties, not satisfied with the regular head and eye size of streamers, he began experimenting and chose the reverse buck tail technique for his Thunder creek patterns.  This technique involves tying the buck tail, as the technique suggests, the opposite way and then folding it back over the hook shank and tying down to form the head. The simplicity of this pattern and the minimal materials needed to tie it, is fly design at its very best! He achieved his goal, a slim two toned body with a large minnow head that allowed for larger eyes, the main attack point for predatory fish and through changing only the buck tail colour and hook size, could imitate numerous baitfish. Streamers generally fall into two categories, baitfish imitations and attractors! I am in no doubt that the Thunder creek covers both. You can try a whole load of colour combinations, and if you would like a little flash in the pattern tie this in at the rear of the head before folding the wings back. Also if you would like a heavier pattern use lead under the head dubbing.  If you are looking for a slimmer pattern to imitate a sand eel, replace the buck tail with a synthetic material like fish hair or DNA, but dont build up the head with dubbing, this will keep the pattern slim and streamline.

1
Secure your straight eye streamer hook securely fixed in the vice.

Attatch your tying thread and cover the first third of the hook shank.

3
Now cut a small bunch of buck tail and even the ends in a hair stacker. measure the hair bunch to the correct length required and tie in as shown, on top of the hook shank.

4
Turn your hook up side down in the vice.

5
Tie in another bunch of lighter buck tail on the underside of the hook shank. This should be just a little shorter than the first. Make sure that the forward whippings of tying thread are tight into the hook eye.

6
Now apply a little dubbing to the tying thread and build up a tight dense base for the head of the baitfish. Make sure that the head is not larger than the initial butts of buck tail. Finish with the tying thread hanging at the base of the head.

7
This stage can be done free hand, but you can achieve much better results using a transparent plastic tube. Place the tube over the eye of the hook pushing the buck tail back to form the wing.

8
Make a few tight turns of tying thread to form the head. The Bucktail wing will flare outwards.

9
Carefully remove the tube, by twisting it from side to side while carefully pulling off the head. Make a few more secure tight turns of tying thread and whip finish. Apply the tape eyes one each side. To set the wing flat wet your fingers and stroke the wing.

10
The only thing remaining now is to coat the head with Bug Bond. The first coat is just to secure the tape eyes. Make sure that when applying the next two coats that you cover the band of tying thread. When the wing dry’s it will remain flat.

Edson Tiger

The modifide Edson Tiger with the Brass Eyes.

I have had some questions about the Edson brass eyes and where they can be obtained.  All the info is in this article alone with contact and purchase details.

One of the great classic American streamers, developed by the well know fly tier  Bill Edson in 1929. The Edson Tiger dark & light where influenced by a streamer called “Dick´s Killer” that Edson received from fellow fly tier Dick Eastman of New Hampshire in 1928.  The original patterns tied and sold by Edson where with jungle cock cheeks, but later he replaced the jungle cock with small teardrop brass plates which was apparently done, not only because of the increasing price of the already expensive jungle cock but also difficulty in obtaining a regular supply of it. But soon after the introduction of the metal cheeks they became so popular with his customers that they replaced the jungle cock on all his streamer patterns. But truth be told,  the metal cheeks added a whole new dimension to how the patterns fished. With extra flash and weight in his streamers, there where few other patterns at this time that offered this. Although this pattern is almost a century old it still accounts for many a trout and has proven an excellent late season pattern for salt water sea trout fishing here in Scandinavia. A couple of years ago while tying at the Dutch fly fair, I was lucky enough to meet Chris Helm, who had for sale, the Edson Brass eyes.

Chris Helm doing his thing at the Dutch fly fair

If you contact Chris and purchase these eyes to add that extra dimension to you Tigers they do need a little work doing to them before they are ready to tie in. Using a pair of sharp wire cutters, these are not difficult to cut, they are made from brass after all, but sharp cutters make for a neater finish. You need to trim the side of the eye that is square into a point. Once this is done I use emery paper to sand the edges of the point to a fine taper, otherwise you will get a distinct mark under the tying thread where the the eye is secured.

Hook: Standard streamer # 6

Tag: Flat gold tinsel

Tail: Barred wood duck

Body: Peacock herl

Wing: Yellow buck tail

Topping: Red hackle fibers

Cheeks: Jungle cock or Edson Brass Eyes

Head:  Yellow varnish

Secure your streamer hook in the vice. Attach your tying thread and run this along the hook shank.  Tie in a length of flat gold tinsel for the tag, this should be just three or four turns.

Once you have tied off your tag and removed the surplus you can tie in three or four long strands of peacock herl at the base of the tag.

Select a wood duck flank feather with good barring and cut out a slip, line up all the bars if uneven and fold in half. This will give barring on each side of the tail. Tie off.

Run the tying thread back to the tail and twist together the peacock herl and tying thread to strengthen it and wind on to form the body. Tie off the peacock herl.

Select and clean a small bunch of yellow buck tailf or the wing. Stack the hair in a hair stacker. This should be no longer than the tail end.

The topping is a small bunch of red hackle fibers tied in on top of the wing as shown. It should be approximately one-third of the total wing length.

Now tie in the jungle cock cheeks, one each side. Make sure that both jungle cock eye´s are equal in size and well balanced. Whip finish.

All that is left to be done now to finish your EdsonnTiger is varnish the head yellow.

The Eyes are available along with a good

selection of Mustad streamer hooks from

Chris Helm at:

http://www.whitetailflytieing.com/

Stingsild bucktail streamer

In the autumn in Northern Europe after the long hot summer when the coastal waters begin to cool down again, its at this time of year you dont want to be without a stickleback imitation!

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Although the recent tendency for tying and designing sea trout flies has gone more towards imitation patterns, some of which are extremely realistic, I am constantly drawn back to some more traditional styles of tying, that never stop producing fish. This is one of them!  This extremely simple pattern is so effective on autumn sea trout that for the past few years at least a couple of dozen have to be tied for my box.  During the summer months the Mickey Finn, another classic buck-tail streamer, is an outstanding pattern on bright sunny days, but falls short when fished in the autumn. I wanted a pattern that would fish as well in the dark grey autumn months, this was the result.

Stingsild Buck-tail streamer

Hook          Mustad S71SS salt water streamer # 4-6  http://mustad.no/catalog/na/product.php?id=193

Thread      Dyneema http://www.funkyflytying.co.uk/shop/products/veevus-gsp-thread-dyneema-/1266/

Body         Holographic tinsel

Throat    White buck-tail https://www.spiritriver.com/materials/hair-fur/select-bucktails

Underwing   Four strands of gold Gliss n Glow https://www.spiritriver.com/materials/flash/gliss-n-glow

Wing      Light brown buck-tail with darker brown buck-tail over https://www.spiritriver.com/materials/hair-fur/select-bucktails

Topping   Five or six strands of peacock herl

Eyes    Edson brass eyes  http://www.whitetailflytieing.com/

Head    Black  http://www.veniard.com/section154/cellire-head-cement-and-thinners

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1

Insert your salt water streamer hook in the vice with the hook shaft horizontal.

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Run your tying thread along the hook shank until you come to a place between the hook point and barb.

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At the tail of the hook tie in a length of holographic flat tinsel. Unlike salmon and exhibition flies this tinsel body should be uneven, I want to achieve the most reflective multi faceted surface as possible. So the foundation of thread doesn’t have to be flat!

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This is also a fishing fly so strengthen the tinsel body by coating the thread foundation with varnish before you start wrapping the tinsel.

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Wrap the tinsel over the whole length of the body and wipe off any excess varnish that may flow on to the tinsel. tie off.

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Turn your fly up side down and tie in a small bunch of prepared white buck-tail. This should extend about one half of the hook length beyond the hook bend.

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Trim off the excess buck-tail and tie down the butts with a few turns of tying thread.

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Tie in four short lengths of gold Gliss n Glow on top of the hook shank.

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Now clean and stack a small bunch of light brown or tan buck-tail and tie in on top of the Gliss n Glow.

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Repeat stage 9 but with a darker brown buck-tail That extends a little longer than the light brown.

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Cut five or six lengths of peacock herl from just under the eye on a peacock tail feather. Tie these in in one bunch for the topping, again a little longer than the buck-tail wing.

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Take two Edson brass eyes, you can substitute these with jungle cock but the effect is not the same.

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Trim down the brass eyes with wire cutters as shown.

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Secure the eyes one each side of the head with a few turns of tying thread. Before you continue to tie in the eyes apply a drop of varnish to hold everything in place.

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Wrap the head with tying thread and whip finish. Coat the head with black varnish.  Now wet your fingers and soak the entire wing and pull it back to give it shape.

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Once the wing is wet and shaped let it dry, it only takes a few minutes.

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Once dry the wing will hold its shape.

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A batch of Stingsild soon ready for the salt!

Dyneema tying thread

Right now I am at the cottage by the sea  busy writing the  new book on ‘Patterns for salt water sea trout’ Heres one of the Hoodlum images.  All 50 patterns in the book will be presented like this with full stage by stage tying instructions. The book is due for publication in March next year.

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Over the past few weeks I have had many questions regarding the tying thread I use and where it can be obtained heres the details.

I will also re post the piece I did on tying with Dyneema.

http://www.funkyflytying.co.uk/shop/products/veevus-gsp-thread-dyneema-/1266/

Veevus GSP Thread (Dyneema)
£3.50
A superb quality GSP thread in different thread weights.
The 30 denier is the thinnest strongest thread for its size i know.
In the heavier sizes its perfect for Saltwater flies and for spinning deer hair.
You also get 75 meters of thread per spool which is more then most other companies offer.

Three sizes available.
30 Denier (thinnest)
100 Denier (Great allrounder)
150 Denier (Saltwater and Deerhair)
Available in Black and White

Antelope wanted!

Hi, I am trying to find some klipspringer antelope hair of the salt and pepper mottled kind, is there anyone that can help me locate some?

Techniques for traditional dry’s

Techniques for traditional dry’s

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Its often said “If you can tie a good dry fly, you can tie just about anything” this makes dry flies sound extremely difficult, they are not. There are many other patterns that look much simpler but are much more challenging for the tyer to master. 

The key to good dry flies:  

Quality materials

Proportion

Attention to detail

Follow the step by step instructions

Practice

h3doU2

Follow these rules and you will be tying great dry flies in no time.

Although you dont need perfect, great looking flies to catch fish, a well proportioned dry fly will float better and fish better in many cases giving a much more correct footprint on the water. There is also the wow factor, a well tied box of flies is always a great talking point amongst friends and other fishermen!

The techniques shown here are normally only learned after many years of tying and observing other more experienced tyers. If we where talking about a play station game, they may be thought of as cheats! Here you are given a condensed lesson in tying the classic dry fly.  If you learn the correct way right from the start you wont carry on making elementary mistakes. So study, learn and practice these techniques, and apply them to other patterns with a similar style.

Dont forget! If you have any questions please dont hesitate to ask. Just post your question at the foot of this page.

If you would like to receive a message when the next stage of the course is published, just add your e mail address at the top right of this page. Thanks, The feather bender.

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1

Secure your hook in the vice, so the hook shank is horizontal.

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2

Attach your tying thread and cover the hook shank with a even foundation of thread.

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3

Take a golden pheasant tippet feather and cut out a small section as shown. Keeping the tippets on the feather shaft will give you perfect aligned tips and also keep the tippets the right way while you tie them in.

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4

Lie one side of the tippet section on top of the hook shank and adjust to the correct length, see proportions chart. Tie in.

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5

Trim off the tippets 2/3 of the hook shank length or where you will tie in the wings. If you cut them off shorter you will have an un even underbody later. Tie down the tippet butts. Now make two small ridges with tying thread at the wing tying in point, about 1 mm apart.

This will make a groove for the wing shafts to be placed.

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6

Prepare two fan wing feathers by stripping off the lower fibers from the shaft. Dont worry too much about the wing tips not being too square this we will fix later.

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7

Place one of the fan wings in the groove and tie in as with a regular dry fly hackle X whipping.

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8

Now repeat with the second fan wing on the opposite side.

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9

Tie down the hackles keeping them vertical and run your tying thread to the rear of the hook shank. Take a long peacock herl. To get the peacock herl to warp correctly, tie it in by the point with the concave side to the hook shank. Again tie in the herl the full length of the body too the wing. Wind your tying thread about 1/3 of the hook shank.

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10

Wind on your peacock herl in tight even turns about 1/3 of the body length and tie off. Now carry on winding your peacock herl 2/3 of the body length.

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11

Cover the second third of peacock herl with wraps of tying thread and the a few wraps further into the wing. The wraps of tying thread over the peacock herl will give the body the required thickness.

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12

Now make the next segment of peacock herl into the wing base and tie off with a couple of turns of tying thread.

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13

Select and prepare a hackle and tie in so the hackle is vertical and then run your tying thread for ward to the hook eye.

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14

Remove the hackle stem and wind on the end of the peacock herl and tie off a couple of mm behind the hook eye. This peacock herl will give you the best foundation for your hackle. It creates a track that each turn of hackle will fall into and ensure that the hackle points stay vertical when wound.

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15

Attach a hackle plier to the point of your hackle and wind on your hackle in nice even turns, taking care that it doesn’t twist or buckle. Tie off a couple of mm behind the hook eye.

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16

Now take some flat edged scissors. While holding the wings in one hand, and holding the blade along the desired wing length position press your thumb against the blade trapping the wing points and whip off the points with a twist of the wrist. Take care that you are holding the wings tightly, otherwise you may pull them off!

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17

The finished fan wing dry.

Sea Bass herring

Heres another one of the old video tutorials while I edit the new ones!

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