The aim of this blog is to connect fly-tyers all over the world, to share, techniques, patterns, information and knowledge.

Step by Step

Fly tying course # 3 Its a material world

Fly tying, in most cases, begins with a fly tying kit.  Unfortunately most fly tying kits can result in the same frustration as starting to tie too difficult patterns. When you open a fly tying kit for the very first time, the first thing you notice is the over powering perfume of paradichlorobenzene or moth balls. This is used to keep feather and fur eating insects at bay, and from making a smorgasbord of your materials. Beyond the moth ball vapors, your newly purchased kit, is filled with what looks like, at first glance, a fantastic array of shiny tools and materials from the most exotic foul and beast.

And if you have any fly tying /material questions, dont be afraid 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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My fly tying room looks messy, but there is order in the chaos!

Unfortunately the usefulness and quality of “kit” materials and tools is generally poor. In nine out of ten kits the scissors are bad quality and wont clean cut tying thread and and other fine materials. Ideally you should have two pairs of scissors, one with extremely fine points for the more intricate work and a pair with larger and serrated blades for deer hair and heavier work. The bobbin holder is of equally poor quality, cutting the tying thread with every  two or three turns around the hook. I am also of the thought that the natural materials in most fly tying kits are chosen by none fly tyers for volume and not usefulness, for the new beginner. That all being said, if you have a access to a reliable fly fishing store that has a good fly tying department and fly tying staff, ask if they can put a kit together for you with quality tools and materials tailored to the patterns that you wish to tie. Generally speaking, when it comes to tools and materials, the more money you use the better the quality.

My recommendation for a basic starter set for trout and grayling flies:

Vice

Dubbing needle

Hackle pliers

Scissors

Bobbin holder ceramic

Whip finisher

Clear fine varnish

Tying thread

Cock Hackle mixed Whiting pack,  Black, brown, grizzle

CdC natural tan

Peacock eye

Pheasant tail

Fine Antron dubbing Black. Tan. Olive. 

Natural deer hair

Hares mask

Poly yarn white

Lead wire

Medium copper wire

Hooks dry fly Mustad R 30 94833 # 12. Nymph Mustad R73 9671 # 8. Streamer Mustad R74 9672 # 6.

When you have been tying for a while you will start to understand materials more with regard to quality and uses. You will quickly see how much easier it is to tie with quality materials and how much better the end result will be. Again when buying materials try and use a shop that has a large fly tying department, these normally have the best quality materials and staff that tie flies that are on hand to help and answer your questions.  But even in these shops, the materials can vary. When buying materials, say for instance pheasant tail !  don´t just take the first packet hanging on the wall ! Look through all the packets and choose the one that works best for the patterns you wish to tie. There is always varying quality in size, colour, markings, fibre length… and quantity in most natural materials, that at first glance all look the same, but only under closer scrutiny is the difference noticeable.

Vice:

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Since this is the most single expensive item you will require to tie flies, your choice should be made carefully. You should consider how many and what type of flies will you tie and what size hooks you will be using. Beyond the prime function of holding the hook securely, modern vises incorporate a number of additional functions of varying usefulness. Hight, jaw angle and full rotation are normal and found in most good models. Vices are available in several different designs and price classes. The best way to acquire a feeling for the vise that suites your tying style and requirements is to visit a retail store with a good selection of designs and price class. Ask the staff to point out the advantages and disadvantages of the different makes and try them out for yourself.

Tying thread:

See fly tying tutorial # 2

Bobbin holder:

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A poor quality bobbin holder can be infuriating. It is really worth investing in a good quality ceramic bobbin holder, these are far superior to other models. The ceramic tubes are far harder than even the highest quality surgical steel, which eventually becomes worn and develops grooves that will cut the tying thread.

The wire arms of a bobbin holder need to be adjusted to accommodate the particular size of spool being used and the acquire the desired tension. The tension should be light enough for you to easily draw off thread, while still being tight enough to hang free under its own weight without unwinding. Setting the tension on a bobbin holder is as follows:

For less tension pull the two wire arms outward from each other, and to increase tension, the opposite. Try your spool and fine tune the tension accordingly.

Scissors:

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Its unreasonable to expect one pair of scissors to do all the cutting jobs required when tying flies. Eventually you will need at least two. One high quality pair with sharp fine points, for all the fine work and a second pair that are used for heavier work such as tinsel, wire… If you are going to tie many deer hair flies it is also useful to have a longer bladed pair with serrated edges. These “grip” the deer hair and enable flush cutting.

When buying scissors, If you have large hands, make sure that your finger and thumb fit comfortably in the handles.

Dubbing needle:

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This is probably the most simple fly tying tool, but at the same time one of the most useful.  Dubbing needles have many tasks to perform, applying varnish to finished flies, picking out dubbing, splitting hackle fibers, mixing epoxy… Your work space when fly tying can quickly become chaotic beyond recognition, especially when you have tied a few different patterns, and its easy to spend more time looking for your dubbing needle than tying flies. Therefor I have several dubbing needles of mixed diameter standing up-right in a piece of foam.  The point of the dubbing needle can quickly become covered with a build-up of varnish, epoxy and head cement.  This can be scraped away with a blade, but I keep my needles clean with another method. I have an 35 mm film canister that I have filled with wire wool. All you need to do is push your built-up dubbing needle through the canister top down into the wire wool a few times and your needle is as new!

Hackle pliers:

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Its much easier to correctly wind a hackle on a dry fly when you use hackle pliers.  They come in many designs and price classes, like all other fly tying tools.  I use and recommend a rotary model.  The rotary model will keep the hackle from twisting when wound.  Its important that whichever model you choose to use that the sprung jaws have a secure grip, even on the finest hackle points.  A good tip for all models to improve their gripping quality, without damaging the materials to be held, is to glue two small pieces of super fine sand paper on the gripping side of each jaw, then trim them down to fit the edges of the jaws. This will stop materials slipping out of the jaws when maximum tension is applied.

Whip finish tool:

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These again come in various models – the most important distinction being if they are fixed or rotate.  A well designed whip finish tool allows quick and neat finishing of a fly with the correct knot. A whip finish tool is preferred by most professional tyers because the job at hand can be done much faster and neater than a series of half hitch knots done by hand. The Materelli Rotating whip finisher is regarded as the best there is.

Hackle:

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This is probably the most discussed material amongst fly tyers, When buying cock capes / hackles one should understand that ALL capes come from individual birds each with distinctive characteristics. You cant expect the same uniformity as with tins of beans from the supermarket. consider the following factors:

Colour:

Look for the best colour that suites your requirements. The best capes have a even consistency in colour.  This can differ from cape to cape, in both natural and dyed. With your first purchase of quality hackle choose the colour you are most likely to use most, give this some thought. For dry flies look for capes with a good vivid colour that glows, and a high glossy shine. My choice for the three most useful colours for general trout patterns are:

Brown:

From a pale red to dark red but normally called brown. This will cover most of your needs for caddis fly patterns and a good amount of traditional dry flies.

Black:

Jet black in natural capes is a rarity . Nearly all jet black capes are dyed. A black cape is always useful for mayflies, ants, tails and nymphs.

Grizzle:

Is not really a colour but a description of the black chevron barring on a cream or white hackle background. Extremely useful not only alone but mixed as a secondary hackle colour with brown for such patterns as Adams, Europea 12… and the standard hackle for most dry midge patterns.

Condition:

Capes from healthy birds will feel bouncy to the touch and the hackle will shine. Dr Tom Whiting owner of Hoffman, has said that when he chooses birds for breeding he considers not only colour and quality but also the character of birds. No matter how good the colour appears to be, If the bird is nervous and of low spirit he will be low in the pecking order. This will influence health and plumage quality. It is also useful to check the stems of a few hackles and see if they are flexible and not brittle when wound on a hook. Hackles that are brittle are useless.

Feather count:

The more hackles of a good usable quality on a cape is of course desirable. You can again gain a feeling for this just by handling the cape, check it´s depth (thickness). Inspect the individual hackles for barb count, (the density of fibers along a hackle stem) and fibre stiffness. This is difficult for a new beginner but will come with time spent at the tying bench.

Hackle size:

Expensive modern cock capes are generally sized. This means they give you an indication as to what size flies they are most suitable for and ca. how many flies you are able to tie with them. The most useful cape/hackle size for the fly tyer here in Europe is for hooks # 10-16.

Pheasant tail:

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The least expensive and most common pheasant tail used in fly tying is from the Ring neck pheasant.  The best feathers come from the centre of the tail of the male bird (cock pheasant) These long centre tail feathers have the longest fibers and normally the best chevron barred markings. Uses include, legs on nymphs and crane flies, tails on may flies and nymphs, wing cases and the only material needed for the most famous of all nymphs the pheasant tail.

Hares mask:

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This refers to the mask and ears of the European brown hare.  Individual masks range in colour from pale tan to almost black. The texture and length is from fine and soft in the under fur, that is an excellent dubbing. To long and stiff guard hairs, that can be used for feelers and tail in many patterns.  The ears are covered with short stiffer hairs without almost any under fur.  A mixture of hair from the ears and the mask makes one of the best buggy nymph dubbing available. As used in the Gold ribbed hares ear.

Deer Hair:

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See also my earlier post on European roe deer.

Deer hair is normally described as hollow, This doesn´t mean that it´s hollow like a drinking straw, but that each hair is built up of hundreds of small air filled cells. This type of hair structure is most defined in deer from areas with an extreme winter climate. The result, the colder it is, the better the spinning qualities, with some exceptions. The hair from reindeer and the north american caribou. In order to achieve optimal insulation, these hairs hold so many air cells that they have a tendency to be brittle, and break under the pressure  of tying thread.

The winter coat of the Norwegian roe deer has many air filled cells and is ideal for spinning, packing and clipping.  While the hair from the summer coat is somewhat stiffer and extremely fine. A first class hair for tails and winging dry flies.  The colour varies from light red brown on the summer coat to dark grey with darker barred tips on the winter coat.  The best hair for spinning is found on the back of the roe along the spine. This hair is extremely dense, not at all brittle, and floats like a cork. The chalk white hair on the rump is excellent for dying, or for patterns that require white deer hair.

You should also be aware that the roe mask has a diversity of hair that is difficult to equal. Here you will find hair in many different lengths, shades of brown and coarseness. Ideal for dry´s from # 10 and down to the very smallest comparaduns. Anyone who ties caddis flies shouldn’t be without a roe mask.

If you know a hunter or a game keeper, try and secure yourself a whole roe skin, you wont be disappointed.

Polypropylene Yarn:

A smooth or rough textured synthetic yarn available in many colours.  Being less dense than water, poly yarn is particularly suited to dry fly applications, such as wings, parachute posts, shuck cases, loop wings…  Silicon coated yarn, is even more water repellant than standard polypropylene.

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Peacock eye:

The eye tail feather from the peacock (male bird) provides us with the famous herl. Covered in iridescent  green fibers and used for wound bodies and butts in hundreds of patterns. For stripped herl patterns the best herl to use is from just under the eye of the feather. These herl´s are stronger here than otherwise found on the lower tail.

CdC:

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CdC in short for Cul de canard or more correctly Croupion de Canard, was first used as a fly tying material in the 1920s in Switzerland.  In more recent years the Swiss perfectionist Marc Petitjean has been responsible for popularizing the use of this material.  All birds have these feathers, but the best for fly tying come from ducks.  The feathers are located around the gland that produces preening oil. This highly water repellant oil is collected on these small feathers,  and its here the bird obtains the oil with its bill to dress its feathers.  Without this oil the bird would drown.  The small fibers catch tiny air bubbles that work wonderfully on emerger patterns. Besides its excellent floating properties CdC

is not only extremely aqua-dynamic pulsating with life in the water, but also hydrodynamic. A CdC hackle will collapse under air pressure while casting, but as soon as the cast ends the hackle opens and falls perfectly back to its intended shape.

Dubbing:

See also my post on dubbing:

Just about all natural furs, feathers and hairs can be used as one form of dubbing or another.

Many tyers have become use to mixing there own dubbing material, in a particular texture or colour, or even mixing several different materials to give a special sparkle or shade. When choosing a natural material for a dry fly, think a little about the animal or bird that it comes from,  the fur and under fur from a beaver or mink is excellent as this has a lot of natural water repellent oils, this will make it float well.  The under fur is also very fine, this enables you to dub extremely small dry fly bodies.  Where as for a buggy nymph you would need a material that will absorb water and sink and command a little more volume that a fine dry fly body. Synthetic dubbing is available in literally thousands of colours and textures for all types of flies. So consider the requirements of the dubbing needed for the job at hand before beginning to tie your flies.

Varnish:

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Head cements and varnishes used in fly tying have come a long way in the last decade. But still In some fly tying circles, purists believe that glue has no place, and should never be used in fly tying. I am of the school that uses both super glue and epoxy in most of my tying. The best varnish to start with in Veniards Clear fine.  This varnish is easily absorbed by most tying threads and dries hard with a reasonably glossy finish.  If you would like a super hard glossy finish I recommend that you firstly coat the head of your fly with Veniards clear fine, after this is dry, you can then give it a coat with nail varnish. The best nail varnishes are Revlon Top speed and Sally Hansens Hard as nails.

Hooks:

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Dry fly hooks:

Dry fly hooks are normally all fine diameter wire hooks that are made from standard, fine or superfine wire so that there is minimum weight in the hook making the fly float better. 1X being the standard and 4X the thinnest

The most important thing to remember when choosing your dry fly hook is the right hook for the particular pattern you are going to tie without jeopardizing strength.  A superfine hook has more chance of straightening when fighting a large fish.  For “regular” high floating deer hair and hair wing dry flies a standard wire hook will suffice. And for the tiny dry flies #18 and smaller, standard wire hooks will work fine and give you all the strength you need, even for big fish.  As these hooks are so small they nearly float on there own.

Wet fly and Nymph hooks:

Both your standard wet fly and nymph hooks are in the same category, with the exception of some more recent specialist hooks that fall under the Emerger category. They are both normally made with a heavier diameter wire to give the hook extra weight, in order to make it sink. Generally the standard nymph hook is a little longer in the hook shank, to give you room to imitate the slender body of the natural insect.

Emerger hooks:

These are hooks that normally have more bend than hook shaft, that are designed to imitate hatching insects that are hanging in the surface water film. The bent hook shaft helps the fly tyer imitate this stage, with the rear part of the body of the insect submerged  and the thorax and wing case above.

Streamer hooks:

Because almost all streamer patterns are tied to imitate small fish, the hooks that are used for streamers tend to reflect the natural body shape of  bait fish of various sizes. Most streamer hooks are made of standard diameter wire or heavy and come in various shank lengths.

Hook Size:

Hook sizes are were most fly tiers can get confused. The number on a hook generally refers to the relative size of each hook with respect to each other. However there is NO industry standard and different manufactures have different standards for applying numbers to their own sizes.

The most important thing to remember is that the size number on a hook packet is a “relative size” NOT a actual measurement of a hook.

The higher the number i.e. (# 28, very small hook) the hook size is increasing with a decreasing number.

The lower the number i.e. (#1, large hook) will increase in size with an increasing number i.e. (# 8/0, very large hook) the larger the hook size.


Fly Tying Course # 2 Thread and Whip finish

Tying thread:

There are many threads available today that have many different properties. The tyer will want to use the one that is most suited to the task at hand, in respect to thickness, strength, stretchability, waxed or un-waxed and weather it has a flat or round profile on the hook, And of course colour.

Size / thickness:

Thick threads are described in lower numbers  3/0  and thinner threads in higher numbers 16/0.  And strong threads such as Kevlar and Dyneema are as strong as carbon fibre. Silk threads and flosses are still available, but most modern threads and flosses are made from synthetic materials such as Rayon, Dacron, Nylon and Polyester. Stretchy flosses are normally made from Lycra. These modern threads may not please the purist but they do have a significant roll in contemporary fly tying.  Rayon and Acetate flosses are extremely shiny and I use them only for tags. If used for floss bodies they have a tendency to fray easily.

Denier:

The following relationship applies to straight, uniform filaments:

DPF = total denier / quantity of uniform filaments

The denier system of measurement is used on two- and single-filament fibers. Some common calculations are as follows:

1 denier = 1 gram per 9 000 meters
= 0.05 grams per 450 meters (120 of above)
= 0.111 milligrams per meter

In practice, measuring 9,000 meters is both time-consuming and unrealistic; generally a sample of 900 meters is weighed and the result multiplied by 10 to obtain the denier weight.

  • A fiber is generally considered a microfiber if it is one denier or less.
  • A one-denier Polyester fiber has a diameter of about ten micrometers.

You will notice that for most of the patterns on this blog, I use only one type of tying thread, Dyneema.

This has several advantages when tying. Its a un-waxed super strong multi-filament polyethylene fibre that offers maximum strength combined with minimum weight. It is up to 15 times stronger than quality steel, on weight for weight basis. Dyneema floats on water and is extremely durable. Resistant to moisture and salt water, UV light and chemicals. Being a multi-filament thread it can be spun anti clockwise, and the fibers will open and flatten out, making it ideal for the largest of flies, splitting and spinning dubbing loops and tying with deer hair. Its also makes “O” build-up under tinsel bodies. If you spin Dyneema clock wise, the fibers twist together and become a super strong micro tying thread 16/0. suitable for even the smallest flies. The other advantage is that you need only one colour of thread, as Dyneema colours well with waterproof felt pens. The applications are therefore more or less unlimited. But it also has disadvantages. Being unwaxed it has a tendency to be extra slippery with some materials. So I either wax it when needed or change to a more traditional pre-waxed thread.

I will come back to Dyneema later and make a whole tutorial on its uses and related techniques.

Attaching Tying thread to the hook:

When you attach the tying thread to the hook shank, its not only for attaching other materials but lays a foundation for all the materials to be tied in, and stop them form slipping on the smooth bare hook shank.

If you have any questions about fly tying, techniques, hooks or materials please post them here and I will do my very best to answer them quickly.  

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. Holding the end of your tying thread in your left hand and your bobbin in the right place the thread behind the hook shank.

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 2. Keeping tension on the thread with your left hand bring the bobbin around under the hook and cross the thread as shown.
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3. Now make another turn of thread close into the first.
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4. Still keeping tension on the thread in your left hand make six or seven more turns with the bobbin, keeping them tight into each other. If you are making a tinsel of loss body fly that requires a fine even foundation its important that the first wraps of thread on the hook are neat and even for good results. On the other hand if you are making a fly with a dubbed body its not so important. But once again if you learn to be neat with every pattern you tie, you will accomplish better looking flies all round!
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5. Now you can trim off the butt end of the tying thread.
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6. Tying thread attached, you can now carry on and cover the amount of hook shank needed with a thread foundation.
Whip Finish:
This is the knot used for finishing a fly, or tying off a section under tying to stop a material from moving while you progress to the next step. This is a technique that many new beginners find difficult to master, but once learned its never forgotten. Just take your time and practice the whip finish on a bare hook.
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1. Holding the bobbin in your left hand, place the hook of the whip finish tool into the tying thread and over the bend as shown.
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2. Now keeping tension on the bobbin with your left hand, turn your whip finish tool a half clock wise revelation so the tying thread forms a triangle and the thread from the bobbin is parallel with the hook shank.
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3. Now keeping tension all the time in the bobbin turn the whip finish tool clockwise so it leads the tying thread around the hook shank two or three times.
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4. Once you have made two or three turns around the hook shank pull the bobbin hand to the left while you tip the whip finish tool hand slightly upwards and let the thread slip off the bend, not the hook! of the tool.
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5. Once the thread has slipped of the bend keep pulling with the bobbin hand but keeping tension in both hands and pull the hook of the tool down towards the hook.
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6. Once the hook of the whip finish tool is tight to the hook just slip it out and tighten the tension of the bobbin to finish the knot. Trim off the tying thread to finish the fly. I tend to make at least two whip finish knots on dry flies and nymphs where the heads should be small and neat. But on larger and salt water patterns I make three or four.

Fly tying course # 1 Getting started

Hi, due to the popularity of the fly tying course I have decided to publish all 20 courses again, so if you know anyone who would like to learn to tie flies or is just getting started please let them know about the course and share the link with your fly tying forums and other fly tying friends. I will be posting one course each day until the 5th January.

This on line fly tying course will be dedicated to showing those of you who are new to fly tying all the correct moves and techniques for successful tying. Once learned, these techniques will not only make tying more fun, but you will also find with time and practice that each stage will become quicker and more natural for you, resulting in more and better flies.

 

The correct way to secure a hook in the vice.

This may sound like we are truly beginning at the basics, but all these small tips will help you to learn the right way. If you make a habit of following them every time you tie, you will succeed as a proficient fly tyer.  I will be posting 4 or 5 new fly tying lessons each week, so try and practice so you are ready for the next one. If you hit a wall, dont give up! Try again and if you really get stuck, send me a message and I will try and help you out. GOOD LUCK!

Most modern fly tying vices have a tension screw and lever.  Although some models have the tension screw mounted as a collar just in front of the lever or behind the jaws.

This is the correct way to insert and secure a hook.

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.

Firstly you must open the tension lever on the jaws and offer the hook being used, up into the open jaws.  If the opening between the jaws is not wide enough, open the the jaws tension screw until the hook fits snugly.

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2.

Once you have positioned the hook correctly, at the base of the hook bend and just behind the barb in the vice jaws, adjust the jaw tension screw again but this time tightening it until it holds the hook firmly in position.

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3.

Now with your right hand carefully adjust the hook shank until horizontal. You can now apply full pressure to the jaws by  tightening the tension lever.

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4.

You can check if the hook is secured correctly by plucking it, like a jews harp, with your thumb nail. If it makes a “ping” sound you have done everything right. If it moves in the jaws, start again until secure.

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5.

Wrong:

In many older fly tying books they recommend that you secure the hook so the point is hidden in the jaws. This was to avoid catching and damaging your tying thread, but this also restricts tying access to the rear of the hook shank. Once you have learned to avoid catching your thread on the hook point it’s not an issue.

If you have any questions about fly tying, techniques, hooks or materials please post them here and I will do my very best to answer them quickly.  


The mother of all daddy’s

The mother of all Daddy’s

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Many daddy patterns are somewhat delicate and easily damaged, be it by fish, or even prolonged casting, and general ware and tare.  Here are a couple of patterns that show you how to make your daddy’s not only more resilient, but also with added float ability.

 

Tipulidae or Daddy long legs as they are more commonly known, are a familiar sight both on and off the water more or less the whole summer.  There are in fact several hundred species of daddy’s from just a couple of mm  to over 40 mm long.  Although most species of daddy are terrestrial there are a few that are aquatic. Daddy’s are remarkably poor fliers and once airborne are largely at the mercy of the wind and where it takes them, being forced to crash land on the water, blowing across the waters surface surface like tumble weed, trailing their legs behind them, in some cases even making a bow wave as they blow and skate across the surface.  

 

The detached body method that is illustrated here is a good way of creating suitable sized bodies that can also represent other larger detached bodied insects such as dragon flies, mayflies and of course daddy long legs, without using larger hooks, that will in turn introduce more weight, which is inappropriate for patterns that are intended to float.  What is needed is a material that will produce the length and bulk of the natural but also added buoyancy.  

 

The foam body fits all these requirements, just make sure that the foam you use isn’t one that will take on water, like a bath sponge, but a foam of a closed cell type. Dont just try the natural colours for the bodies of daddy’s try bright attractor colours such as bright green and yellow, these will make the difference when there are lots of daddy’s on the water and add an attractor element.

 

Foam Daddy

 

Hook: Mustad R50NP-BR # 12-8

Tying thread: Dyneema

Body: Razor foam (colour optional) 

Legs: Porcupine guard hairs or moose main

Wings: Two soft indian hen hackles

Hackle: Cock brown

Thorax: Peacock herl

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1

Place a tube fly tool in the vice with the smallest diameter needle.

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2

Take a small sheet of razor foam twice the length of the finished body size required.

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3

Fold the foam in two.

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4

Trim of a section of foam at a angle as shown.

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5

The length of finished foam should look like this, with a narrower center and widening at the ends. This will give the correct body shape.

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6

Thread the needle through the center of the foam.

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7

Attach your tying thread to the needle just in front of the foam.

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8

Fold the foam along both sides of the needle and make the first body segment with a few wraps of tying thread.

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9

Continue making the segments along the entire body length.

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10

Once the body is complete make a whip finish at the last segment.

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11

Your body should now look like this.

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12

When removing the body from the needle grip it firmly with your finger and thumb and twist from side to side as you pull.

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13

Secure your hook in the vice and attach your tying thread. make wraps until the thread hangs vertically with the hook point.

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14

Secure your foam body on top of the hook shank.

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15

Remove the excess foam.

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16

Bend and shape your porcupine rear legs and tie in.

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17

Select and prepare two hen hackles for the wings. I have found if you use cock hackles that are too stiff they will propel when cast and spin, resulting in a twisted leader! So I prefer to use softer hackles that collapse when cast.

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18

Tie in the wings as shown.

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19

Prepare a cock hackle and tie in at the wing base.

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20

Now two more legs.

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21

At the base of the hackle tie in one or two lengths of peacock herl.

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22

Wind the peacock herl on to form the thorax.

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23

Wind on the hackle through the thorax and tie in the last two legs pointing forward.

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24

Whip finish and remove your tying thread.

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Clouser deep Minnow (Variant)

Clouser Deep Minnow (variant)

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Bob Clouser is a well known fly tyer from Middletown USA. He designed the Clouser minnow with the goal of making a pattern that would represent a fleeing bait fish, with a jig motion. The key to achieving this is locating the eyes in the right position on the hook shank. When you retrieve the fly it rises and when you pause if falls or dives. It never stops moving. I am calling this a Variant because I dont believe it to be 100% the original Clouser deep minnow, but I may be wrong!  Anyway its a great sea trout and bass pattern that should be tied and tried.

Hook: Mustad S71SNP-DT # 6  http://mustad.no/catalog/na/product.php?id=193

Thread Dyneema

Eyes Bidoz sea eyes (original has red with black centre) http://bidoz.com/shop/en/eyes/57-sea-eyes.htm l

Belly White buck tail

Flash Spirit River Crystal Splash

Back Brown buck tail 

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1

Secure your hook in the vice with the hook shank horizontal.

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Run tying thread about 1/3 along the length of the hook shank.

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The eyes I use are bidoz sea eyes, they have a small rebate that fits nicely around the hook shank.

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Tie in the eyes about 1/3 along the hook shank and secure with a figure of eight wrap and a drop of super glue to stop them twisting.

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Cut , clean and stack  a length of white buck tail. The belly and wing should be approximately two to two and a half times the length of the hook.

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Once your buck tail is ready tie it on as follows. Trim the ends straight and place the buck tail diagonally at the side of the hook shank between the hook eye and eyes. Make two loose turns around the buck tail and then tighten.

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Tie down the butts as shown.

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Lift the buck tail and wind the tying thread back behind the eyes.

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Now wrap the tying thread over the buck tail back about level with the hook point and then forward again. Making sure that the buck tail remains on top of the hook shank.

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10

Rotate your vice so the Clouser is up side down. Wind your thread forward taking care not to cross over the buck tail on top of the eyes.

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Take about 8 strands of Crystal Splash or flash and tie in so that the longest side extends just a little further than the buck tail belly.

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Take the remaining crystal splash and fold it back, this should be shorter and extend only a little further than the hook bend.

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Tie down the crystal splash.

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Prepare another bunch of buck tail slightly more than the first and measure it up to the belly.

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Once you have tied in your buck tail back using the same method as the belly, rotate your vice the correct way again just to see that the fly is balanced.

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Spin the vice round again and tie in three strands of peacock herl as the topping and whip finish.

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17

Stick some red and black prisma tape eyes in the small eye holes.

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Place a small drop of Bug Bond on top of the tape eyes and cure with the UV light.

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Coat the eyes once more with Bug Bond and the head, cure with the UV light.

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The finished Clouser deep minnow variant. You should try this pattern in the some other great combination colours, Blue & white, Olive & white and Chartreuse and white.


Cottus Gobio

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Hook: Mustad R 74 # 2

Thread: Dyneema

Tail: Siberian squirrel tail hair

Body : Squirrel tron dark hares ear dubbing

Rib: Fine copper wire

Wing: Pine squirrel zonker strip

Collar: Natural red fox body hair spun in dubbing loop

Gill covers: 2 Ring neck pheasant “church window” feathers coated with Bug Bond

Head: Natural kangaroo body hair spun in dubbing loop and clipped to shape

Eyes : Epoxy eyes

The original zonker pattern was tied by the American fly tyer Dan Byford in the 1970s and was quickly recognized the world over, as a big fish fly and extremely easy to tie, yet a realistic imitation for most smaller bait fish. The original pattern used a lead or tin sheet that was folded and glued over the hook shank and then cut to shape to make the underbody.   The flexibility of the Zonker as a bait fish imitation pattern is only limited to your own imagination. There are a huge amount of rabbit fur strip materials on the market in just about every colour imaginable, not to mention fox, squirrel, mink etc, the combination possibilities are endless. Another advantage with the zonker, unlike buck tail and feather wing streamers, is that it is an extremely robust pattern. If tied correctly the fly will normally outlive the hook, although the eyes are somewhat vulnerable to the small sharp teeth of trout. This can be improved by attaching the eyes with super glue and coating them with Bug Bond or head cement.

When fishing this pattern or any long tailed streamers in general for that matter. Many fly fishermen are of the thought, that when fishing a long tailed streamer the fish tend to “Nap” at the tail and won´t take the fly properly! This can be the case for smaller trout but generally speaking a large trout will take this pattern hard and fast. If you do experience napping at the tail when fishing, stop the retrieve dead, and let the fly sink a little for two or three seconds, nine times out of ten the attacking fish will pick it up on the drop.

1Secure your Mustad R 74 # 2 hook horizontal in the vice.

1
Secure your Mustad R 74 # 2 hook horizontal in the vice.

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3
Cut a good bunch of Siberian squirrel tail with clear markings. Stack the hair and tie in for the tail. The tail should be approximately the same length as the hook shank. If you would like to add weight to your fly, this is the time to do it.
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4
Now tie in a length of medium copper wire, at the tail base for the rib.

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5
Dubb your tying thread with dark hares ear Antron dubbing and start making the body of the minnow.

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6
Once you have wound the dubbing forward in a tapered body, about one cm from the hook eye, brush out the fibers with a tooth brush. This will give more body and movement to the finished streamer.

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7
Cut a zonker strip from a pine squirrel hide. Make sure that the strip is tapered to a point at the tail of the strip.

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8
Again try and choose a squirrel strip that has nice markings and a good taper.

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9
Place the zonker strip up on top of the body of the fly so that it´s the same length as the tail. Now wind on the copper wire rib.

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10
Take care not to trap the fibers of the squirrel as you go. There should be no more that six turns of copper wire between the tail base and the end of the body.

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11
Once you have reached the end of the body tie off the copper wire and the zonker strip. Remove the excess and tie down.

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12
Now place a strip of natural red fox body hair still on the hide in a paper clip or the Marc Petitjean magic tool as used here.

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13
Make a dubbing loop an spin the fox hair into a dubbing brush.

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14
Wind on the fox dubbing brush making sure that you comb the hair back and up with each turn, this will form the over wing of the streamer. If you have some fox hair that has accumulated on the underside of the throat trim this away, this same depth as the body.

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15
Now select two ring neck pheasant church window feathers, the same size. Coat these with Bug Bond.

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16
Now tie these in, concave out, as shown. One each side to form the fins. These also give a wobbler effect on the streamer when fished.

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17
Make another dubbing loop. Here I have used natural kangaroo body hair. If you dont have kangaroo you can use another coarse natural hair.

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18
Now wind on the dubbing brush forward tight into the rear of the hook eye. Again taking care not to trap and tie down the hair as you go.

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19
Whip finish. Before you begin to trim and form your streamer head, brush out the fibers with a tooth brush to open the hair and give more volume. Trim the head to shape.

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20
Select two epoxy fly eyes, these should be a little larger than the natural for the size of the streamer. This will give a slightly more efficient attractor factor.

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21
The finished streamer.


Deer hair daddy

Many daddy patterns are somewhat delicate and easily damaged, be it by fish, or even prolonged casting, and general ware and tare.  Here’s a pattern that show you how to make your daddy’s not only more resillient, but also with added float ability.

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Tipulidae or Daddy long legs as they are more commonly known, are a familiar sight both on and off the water more or less the whole summer.  There are in fact several hundred species of daddy’s from just a couple of mm  to over 40mm long.  Although most species of daddy are terrestrial there are a few that are aquatic. Daddy’s are remarkably poor fliers and once airbourne are largely at the mercy of the wind and where it takes them, being forced to crash land on the water, blowing across the waters surface surface like tumble weed. Trailing their legs behind them, in some cases even making a bow wave as they blow and skate across the surface.  

The extended body method that is illustrated here is a good way of creating suitable sized bodies that can also represent other larger  bodied insects such as dragon flies, mayflies and of course daddy long legs, without using larger hooks, that will in turn introduce more weight, which is inaapropriate for patterns that are intended to float.  

As for the deer hair make sure that it is the best spinning hair from the winter coat. Dont just try the natural colours for the bodies of daddy’s try bright attractor colours such as bright green and yellow, these will make the difference when there are lots of daddy’s on the water and add an attractor element.

Deer hair daddy

Hook: Mustad C53SNP-BR # 12-6

Tying thread: Dyneema waxed with Veniards PFTW http://www.veniard.com/product2977/section9/

Body: Spun and clipped deer hair (winter coat)

Legs: Pheasant tail fibers

Wing & Head: Spun and clipped deer hair

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1

Secure your curved nymph / terrestrial hook in the vice.

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2

Cover the hook shank with tying thread a little down into the bend.

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3

At the tail of the fly make a dubbing loop. Its important that you make this loop with doubling your tying thread and not splitting it. The deer hair is quite dense and needs the strength of a double loop to spin it correctly! Wrap your tying thread out of the way behind the hook eye.

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4

If you are using Dyneema or another gel spun thread, you will need to wax it. This will give better purchase on the deer hair when spun.

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5

Place a length of deer hair, from the winter coat in a magic tool or a bull dog clip and cut off the hide. Place the hair in the dubbing loop.

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6

The deer hair should have at least 1 cm. through the loop on the cut side.

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7

Spin your dubbing loop until the deer hair becomes an even dubbing brush.

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8

Wind on the deer hair brush as you would a regular hackle, making sure to brush the hair back with each turn. Tie off the dubbing loop about 1 cm. behind the hook eye.

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9

Before you start trimming the deer hair brush out and trapped hairs with a stiff tooth brush.

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10

Now make a few initial trimming cuts with the scissors too form the basic body shape.

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11

Trim the remaining body hair.

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12

With a pair of finer scissors trim the body to the required body shape. Now with a lighter singe the trimmed body, DO NOT BURN!

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13

After singeing the clipped deer hair body will tighten and become very even.

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14

Turn your fly up side down in the vice.

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15

Tie the joints in six or seven pheasant tail fibers for the legs while still on the tail feather.

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16

Place the finished legs in a magic clip and trim off the tail feather shaft.

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17

For this dubbing loop you need only split your thread. Place the pheasant tail legs in the loop and spin the bobbin. The legs will flare in all directions.

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18

Wind on the legs.

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19

Cut a medium bunch of deer hair and remove the underfur. Stack the deer hair if wished in a hair stacker and tie in as a wing on top of the body as shown. Its important that you use enough deer hair in the wing too little and the fly will not fish the correct way, so more is better.

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20

The buts of the deer hair will flare and form a muddler type head.

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21

Turn the fly the correct way again in the vice, whip finish and trim the underside of the muddler head, taking care not to remove too much wing.

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22

Once the head is trimmed you have your finished deer hair daddy. Taking care you can also singe the head of the fly as with the body. With a balanced wing and head this pattern will land up side down every time.

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23

The fished deer hair daddy with a singed head. This pattern floats like a cork and can be stripped through the surface if wished like a muddler.


Tying with deer hair part 3. Spinning ultra tight bodies with deer hair.

Here are a couple more quick techniques, for making cork like bodies from deer hair and a deer hair guard.

14This is another technique if you would like a very tight spun body. As you cover  the hook shank with spun deer hair using a finger and thumb at the rear of the hair and at the front push and twist your right hand to pack the hair tight together.


If you would like a very tight spun body. As you cover the hook shank with spun deer hair using a finger and thumb at the rear of the hair and at the front push and twist your right hand to pack the hair tight together. Repeat this after every bunch of hair is tied in.

15Once the body is finished brush out all the fibers with an old tooth brush before you start trimming. This is very important!


Once the body is finished brush out all the fibers with an old tooth brush before you start trimming. This is very important!

16Trim your body roughly to the correct size.


Trim your body roughly to the correct size. You can be as detailed as you like at this stage.

17Now using a gas lighter, petrol lighters and candels give off too much soot. Carefully burn the surface of the hair body. Taking care not to set it on fire!


Now using a gas lighter, petrol lighters and candles give off too much soot. Carefully burn the surface of the hair body. Taking care not to set it on fire!

18The singeing of the hair will tighten the packing and coaterize the tips making it tight and even. Brush off the soot with a tooth brush.


The singeing of the hair will tighten the packing and cauterize the tips making it tight and even. Brush off the soot with a tooth brush.

19The result is a almost cork like body of perfect spun deer hair with a smooth even finish. That also floats like a cork!


The result is an almost cork like body of perfect spun deer hair with a smooth even finish. That also floats like a cork!

This is another trick for whip finishing large deer hair flies. If you have problems getting in to the hook eye to whip finish, before starting tying cut the end off a rubber washing up glove and make a hole in the finger tip with a dubbing needle. Place the glove finger tip over the bobbin as shown.

This is another trick for whip finishing large deer hair flies. If you have problems getting in to the hook eye to whip finish, before starting tying cut the end off a rubber washing up glove and make a hole in the finger tip with a dubbing needle. Place the glove finger tip over the bobbin as shown.

Once you have finished your fly the bobbin and finger tip are as shown.

Once you have finished your fly the bobbin and finger tip are as shown.

Now for a easy trouble free whip finish just slide the finger tip over the hook and deer hair. Remove the tip after you have whip finished and removed your tying thread.

Now for a easy trouble free whip finish just slide the finger tip over the hook and deer hair. Remove the tip after you have whip finished and removed your tying thread.


Techniques for tying with deer hair part 2 Spinning and burning.

Anglo – Swedish caddis:

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This is a hybrid pattern that combines two great patterns, the wing and head of the Swedish streaking caddis and the body of the British Goddards caddis. There are a few techniques here that are useful when tying with deer hair. 

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Cut a thin strip of deer hair from a winter coat, rather like a deer hair zonker strip and attach a Magic tool clip about half way down the hair.

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With a pair long straight scissors trim off the hide from the deer hair strip. You will see that there is a little under fur left in the trimmed end!

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Using a tooth brush, brush out the loose hairs and under fur from the clip.

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Place a terrestrial hook in the vice.

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Cover the hook shaft with a foundation of tying thread. I use only Dyneema gel spun thread for tying with deer hair, if you haven’t tried it I recommend you do!

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Make a dubbing loop at the rear of the hook, make sure that the two ends of the loop closest too the hook shank are touching each other! If they are not the loop will remain open and will not grip the deer hair.  Wind your tying thread forward out of the way toward the hook eye.

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Un treated deer hair is quite fatty, If you wax your thread it has a much better purchase on the hair and reduces the chances of it slipping in the loop.

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Place the loaded magic tool clip in the dubbing loop and trap the deer hair centrally in the loop.

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Start to spin your deer hair in the dubbing loop. You can see in this image that the loop is not fully spun as you can still see the core of tying thread.

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You must continue spinning the loop until the core is no longer visible and the hair is evenly spun.

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You can now start wrapping the deer hair dubbing brush as you would a traditional palmer hackle along the whole hook shank.

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Make sure that you brush the deer hair fibers back with each turn so as not to trap them with the next turn!

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Once you have wound the whole dubbing brush tie it off and give it a good brushing with a tooth brush in every direction. This will free any fibers the have become trapped and give a better result when trimmed.

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With a pair of serrated straight scissors trim the hair from the rear of the hook.

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Once fully trimmed you should have a Goddard caddis type body.

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For the wing you will need a generous bunch of deer hair. Remove ALL the under fur, if you dont, the hair will not spin fully.

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Once cleaned stack the hair in a hair stacker. Measure the wing on the hook.

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While holding the hair in place at the correct length on the body make two loose turns with tying thread around the bunch of deer hair and then tighten.

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Make a few tight turns of tying thread through the remaining deer hair towards the hook eye to secure it and whip finish.

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Remove your tying thread and once again give the flared deer har head a good brushing.

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Now, while resting your scissors on the hook eye trim the head all the way round.

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The under side of the head should be trimmed level with the body and cone shaped.

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Take a lighter and singe the trimmed deer hair head. Take care not to set the whole fly on fire!

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Once the head is singed give it another brush with the tooth brush to remove the soot. And there you have it , the Anglo Swedish caddis.


Pedal power for Bug Bond is now available!

The ultimate UV tool is now available!

If you use Bug Bond, the new professional curing light is now available! One of the main advantages with this new mains operated foot pedal adapter is that you have full power constantly for optimal curing. 

You can order your Bug Bond mains adapter now from: http://www.fishingmegastore.com/bugbond-mains-professional-uv-light~18838.html It will also be available from all Veniard stockist soon!

So what’s new…  For those of you that have seen me tie at any of the shows this year, you may have seen me using, the Professional UV light. A new attachment for the Bug Bond light, that when the on/off switch cap is disconnected, the main light unit can accept a remote foot switch that can be powered by both mains via an AC/DC adapter, or separate rechargeable battery unit. This gives the user the convenience of mains power with foot operated curing and the portability demanded by the traveling tyer… keep the foot operated switch at home under the tying bench and while on the fishing trip return the light to AA battery operation. I believe this is another first for light cured resins in fly tying… 

photo

This is the Bug Bond mains adapter in action.  photo: With thanks by Tore Litlere Rydgren taken at the Nordic fly fair earlier this year. 

IMG_1521The Bug Bond pedal and connecting power cable are of a simple but elegant light weight design. When I first tried this new addition to the UV light, surprisingly, it took a few days to get use to it! Its not normal to tie with your feet. Mastering the hand, eye, foot coordination took some getting use to! But like anything its just a matter of time.

IMG_1524The pedal is also supplied with a AC/DC mains adapter that should work anywhere.

IMG_1515Along with the Bug Bond Original-Lite and Original-Clear the new pedal switch mains attachment, is another step forward in fly tying with UV resins.

For release date and availability see:  http://deesox.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/bug-bond-fly-tying-first-again-at-sim.html


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