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 # 1 Getting started

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.  


On line fly tying course for beginners

Calling on all my fly tying friends, the future of our craft needs your support !

As most of you who are reading this are already advanced fly tyers and friends, I hope you will help me, help others, who are new to our craft. As you are aware, it’s not easy starting to tie flies without some good fundamental tuition in choice of materials, hooks, tools and techniques. In order to help those of all ages that are new to fly tying,  I would like to start a free on line tutorial and Q & A column, that will cover all the basic’s, and guide the beginner from the correct way to secure a hook in the vice to the finished fishing fly and many more useful techniques in between.  From my own experience through holding hundreds of courses, many of those who try to learn to tie flies without any tuition FAIL and seldom return to our craft, but those who are given a enthusiastic introduction with basic instruction, generally carry on tying flies there whole life and introduce others to the art of fly tying.

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My intention is to publish four or five tutorials each week  so the beginner has time to practice each one before moving on to the next. All of which will remain online for future reference. I would also like to involve all the great fly tyers out there helping with the Q & A column. Your accumulated fly tying knowledge cant be found in books!

So please share this with your fly tying friends, translate it, if you can, and share on facebook, blogs, websites, local clubs, schools, magazines and anyone you know who would like to learn to tie flies. 

To receive each post of the course, all you have to do is sign up by entering your e mail address on the top right hand side of this page and follow the feather bender.

I thank you in advance for your time and support.

thefeatherbender


CdC tutorial with Marc Petitjean part 1

This is a tutorial I made with my good friend Marc Petitjean to demonstrate how he uses the magic tool and a few other CdC techniques he has up his sleeve.

Marc Petitjean is a master with CdC, and without doubt, one of the main reasons for its popularity today.  Photo copyright Barry Ord Clarke.

Marc Petitjean is a master with CdC, and without doubt, one of the main reasons for its popularity today. Photo copyright Barry Ord Clarke.

If you are not familiar with Marc’s tools and materials they really are the bee’s knee’s. Super high quality Swiss made Vices and ingenious, yet simple to use tools and his CdC is some of the continuously best available.

This is the step by step for one of Marc’s quick and simple CdC body and caddis wing. The vice, tools and all materials used are Marc’s own and are available from  http://www.petitjean.com/shop/

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1. Once your hook is secure in the vice attach you tying thread.

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2. Select a nice large CdC hackle and place it up towards the hook shaft and tying thread.

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3. With a couple of loose turns of tying thread, catch the CdC hackle and slowly pull towards you.

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4. Once you have reached the point of the hackle secure it well with a few tight turns of tying thread.

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5. Tie down the end of the hackle to the hook shank and attach your hackle pliers at the base of the shaft.

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6. When your hackle pliers are attached make a couple of turns of the hackle while holding the fibers into the hackle stem, but only a couple.

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7. Once the hackle stem is twisted you are ready to start winding it on.

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8. Holding the CdC hackle tight make your first turn around the hook shank. You are going to use the twisted CdC hackle as a dubbing rope.

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9. Once you have made one turn of the hackle, hold the fibers into the hackle shaft again and twist only once or twice.

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10. Repeat the turn and twist until the whole hook shank is covered. Its very important that you dont twist the hackle all in one go and then wind it on the hook shank. This will lead to the hackle breaking when you try to wind it on.

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11. Once the hackle is wound on, with a little room left behind the hook eye for the wing tie it off.

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12. Trim off the excess hackle.

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13. Your caddis body should now look like this.

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14. With a pair of small sharp scissors carefully trim off the protruding CdC fibers from the body.

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15. Now you should have a fine segmented spun CdC caddis body as here.

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16. Select three similar lengthen CdC hackles of your chosen colour.

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17. Take each hackle and hold horizontally.

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18. Carefully draw the fibers so they are 90 degrees to the hackle stem.

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19. The correctly prepared hackles should look like this.

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20. Once all three hackles are prepared lie them on top of each other as shown.

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21. Choose the size of magic tool appropriate for the hook size used.

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22. Take hold of all three hackles at the same time and pre s down into the magic tool.

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23. Once in the magic tool trim off the ends of the CdC on both sides of the tool. This is very important otherwise the CdC will hang up in the spring of the clip.

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24. Now place the receiving clip over the fibers of the CdC in the first clip.

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25. Once the receiving clip is in place release the first clip and remove the CdC.

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26. Now trim off the hackle stems.

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27. Your CdC should now look like this, ready to place in the dubbing loop.

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28. Split your thread and place the CdC clip in the loop. Holding the loop closed with your right hand.

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29. Remove the clip.

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30. You can now spin your tying thread just a few times with your fingers to hold everything in place for the big spin.

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31. While holding your bobbin up with the tying thread hanging on your finger between the bobbin and the dubbing, spin your bobbin clockwise.

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32. Once the bobbin has spun a little, put tension in the tying thread by pulling slightly on the bobbin and then run your index finger and thumb, up along the tying thread towards the dubbing. This will set tension in the thread and tighten the spin in your dubbing brush.

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33. Now wind on your CdC dubbing brush, but take care to hold ALL the CdC fibers back in the wing position with every turn. That means after each turn of dubbing collect all the fibers from under the fly and hold as shown-

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34. Once all the dubbing is wound on, while holding the wing in place make a few turns of tying thread to hold it in the correct position.

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35. Whip finish.

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36. Trim off the rear of the wing. About a half hook length from the hook bend.

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37. Turn your fly up side down and pull the whole wing down on each side of the fly. Trim off the surplus on the underside.

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38. The finished Petitjean CdC caddis. Although this has been a rather lengthy tutorial, Marc ties this extremely effective pattern in under 3 minutes.

The vice, tools and all materials used are Marc’s own and are available from  http://www.petitjean.com/shop/


Making a fur hackle and dubbing tutorial

Once again this is a request I have had from several fellow bloggers for the fur hackle spinning technique. Although similar too the spinning deer hair article, there are a few pointers you should be aware of when mastering this technique.

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Just about all natural and synthetic furs, feathers and hairs can be used as one form of dubbing or another. Before you start its worth considering what type of hair or material is suitable for the type of fly you are tying. There are several factors regarding the choice of natural materials.

1. Dry fly, nymph, wet.

2. Sinking, floating.

3. Ridged or pulsating.

4. Neat or scruffy.

When you are using natural materials you should consider what kind of animal, lifestyle, and climate it derives from. If choosing a dubbing for a small dry fly the  under fur from otter, beaver and coypu have, because of their aquatic lifestyle a super fine under fur which is impregnated with natural water repellant oils, rather like the fur equivalent of CdC. On the other hand if you would like a long pulsating, sinking hackle choose a soft finer hair from an opossum or a rabbit that will absorb water but remain mobile and lively when fished. For nymphs there is of course the classic spiky hares ear dubbing. So to achieve optimal function and design of the the pattern you intend to tie, consider the above before starting.

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1. Here I am using an old fashioned bull dog paper clip to hold the fur but for perfect dubbing spinning I can recommend the Marc Petitjean Magic tool. Marc’s magic tool is made from transparent plastic, the advantage with this is that you have much more visual control over the length and lie of the material being used. The above material is a regular hare zonker strip. Place this in the clip so the fibers are 90 degrees to the clip and at this stage you also determine the length of the hackle required.

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2. Now with long straight scissors cut off the base and hide from the strip leaving only 2 or 3 mm of fur out from the clips jaws.

 

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3. The finished loaded clip. You should now take care not to apply pressure to the clip and open it before needed. Otherwise all the material will shift or fall out.

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4. Make a dubbing loop. If the material you are using is dense ( thick guard hairs and under fur) you will need to make a loop of double tying thread as above. But if the material is fine, a finer loop of split tying thread is sufficient. Also its important that where the two sides of the loop meet the hook shaft that they are touching. If you have them open, one strand of thread on each side of the hook shank the loop will not close correctly, and the material spun will loosen and fall out.

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5. Move your bobbin forward towards the hook eye and attach your dubbing spinner.

 

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6. If you are using Dyneema or another thread that is un-waxed, you will need to apply a little dubbing wax to the thread to gain ultimate traction.

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7. Once you have placed the material in the loop carefully remove the clip in one smooth movement while keeping tension on the spinner to hold the dubbing loop tight and closed.

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8. While keeping tension, spin the dubbing loop clockwise until all the material is secured and flares like a regular hackle.

 

 

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9. You can now wind on your fur dubbing loop in a traditional hackle style. Taking care to brush back the fibers of each turn before making the next.

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10. With this technique you can make as many turns of fur hackle as required. If you make only two turns you have a perfect fur hackle collar or you can cover the whole of the hook shank. If you would like a very spiky dubbed body for a nymph you can cover the whole hook shank and then trim it all down to the body shape you would like.

 

 

 

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11. For a buggy nymph dubbing you would need a material that will sink and command a little more volume that a fine dry fly body. This is hares ear. Pull some stiff short fibers from the ears of the hare and some softer more dense hair and fur from the mask.

If you would like to use a fine material make use of a dubbing rake.  When pulled through the fur on a skin, this will collect only the finer under fur.  If you don’t have a dubbing rake you can also just pluck out the fibers with your fingers.

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12. Now place the under fur  in the palm of your hand and with the finger of your other hand rub the dubbing around in a clockwise motion.  This will blend the dubbing evenly, making it easier to work with.

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13. Select a small amount of dubbing and place it between your index finger and the tying thread as shown.  When I am teaching people to tie flies one of the most frequently asked questions is – how much dubbing shall I use ?  Most fly tyers apply way too much dubbing to the tying thread at one go, so I say, take what you think you should use, half it, and then half it again, and normally you arrive at a usable amount.

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14. Now its time to roll the dubbing material onto the tying thread.  With the tying thread and dubbing resting on your index finger place the tip of your thumb on top of this so as to trap the material and the thread between your finger and thumb.

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Still trapping the thread and material between your finger and thumb push the tip of your thumb towards the tip of your finger, clockwise, thus rolling the material around the thread. You must do this several times up and down the thread to attach the material, forming a kind of dubbing rope.  You should also remember one of the most common mistakes with attaching dubbing is that the fly tyer will roll the dubbing firstly clockwise and then anti clockwise when replacing the thumb back into the beginning of the rolling stage, this unwinds the dubbing.  Also don’t try and make more than a few cms of dubbing rope at one time, this will also unwind as you wind it onto the hook shank.

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15. Once your dubbing rope is ready you can now begin to wind it onto the hook shank to form the body.  When you have wound on the first length of dubbing, repeat the process until the desired size of body is achieved.  If you would like to taper the body, as in most nymphs begin with a thin dubbing rope, and the apply more dubbing each time making a thicker rope.

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16. Once the nymph body is finished tie off behind the hook eye.

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17. If you would like an even more buggy effect use a brush ( I use an old tooth brush ) to pull out the fibers to make a buggy body.

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18. The brushing gives a soft and mobile, yet spiky nymph body.

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19. But if you would like a fine slim body without too many fibers you can trim these off with a fine pair of scissors.

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20. The finished trimmed cigar shaped body. Good luck! If you have any questions regarding dubbing dont be shy.

 

 


Klinkhåmer Special

Its been a few days since my last post, so I thought I would get things going again with a truly modern classic, the Klinkhåmer. When I have held fly tying demos and courses for both beginners and advanced tyers there is always some who have questions about tying the Klinkhåmer. So here it is, the correct way, learn and enjoy.

An original Klinkhåmer tied by the man himself, Hans van Klinken.

An original Klinkhåmer tied by the man himself, Hans van Klinken.

Original recipe for the Klinkhåmer:

Hook:   Daiichi 1160, Daiichi 1167 Klinkhåmer hooks size 8-20

Thread:            Uni-thread, 8/0, grey or tan for body

Spiderweb for parachute

Body:    Fly Rite Poly Dubbing any colour of preference or Wapsi Super Fine waterproof dry fly dubbing for smaller patterns

Wing:   One to three strand of white poly-yarn depending of the size and water to fish

Thorax: Three strands of peacock herl

Hackle:             Blue dun, dark dun, light dun, chestnut all in good combination with the body colour.

It was 28 years ago in Norway on the 27th June 1984 that the first Klinkhåmer special was born from the vise of Hans van Klinken, for fishing Grayling in the river Glomma. Now regarded as an absolute standard pattern for all trout and grayling fishing all over the world, and is probably the best and most adaptable emerger ever made.

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Hans says:

I never have seen any pattern that has been spelled wrongly as much as the Klinkhåmer Special. I have no idea why. In Germany they call it the Nordischer Hammer or Klinki. In the States they seem to prefer the Clinck and I often get questions about all kinds of Hammers I have never heard of before. I guess I have seen Pinkhammers, Yellowhammers and even Bluehammers and those are just three out of of many. Of course I can’t deny that I felt really good when the Klinkhåmer Special got so many good reviews but I was most proud about the fact that it was nobody else than Hans de Groot who invented the name. The real name actually was the LT Caddis which was just one fly from my large LT series developed in Scandinavia between 1980-1990. So the Klinkhåmer Special is just a name Hans de Groot and Ton Lindhout came up with, probably after some drinks! Both were also members of our editorial staff of a Dutch fly fishing magazine at that time.

The following step by step is my rendition of this wonderful pattern:

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1

Place your hook in the vice and cover the upper half of the hook shank with regular tying thread.

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2

Cut a length of poly yarn and tie in at the post base as shown. You should leave a rather long length of poly-yarn over the hook eye, as the post, this will give you something to hold on to, when you wind on the parachute hackle later.

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3

Trim the end of the Poly-yarn diagonally, so it will be easier to taper neatly down later for a finer body result.

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4

Tie the  butt of the poly-yarn all the way down into the hook bend to form a fine taper.

Run the tying thread up and down the hook shank to build a proportional tapered body with the tying thread ending at the parachute post base. This is very important to achieve a slim delicate body.

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5

Select and prepare the hackle. Tie the hackle stem in so that the stem creates a little more volume/taper on the upper body. Make sure that you have enough stripped hackle stem to tie to the parachute post later.

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6

When dubbing the body of the klinkhåmer start dubbing your tying thread at the base of the parachute post and run the dubbing tapering down to the bend of the fly and widening in taper as you go up again towards the abdomen.

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7

Run the remaining dubbing in front of the parachute post, this will support the front of the post and also lay a foundation for the thorax.

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8

Tie in three long strands of peacock herl, points first at the rear of the abdomen., this helps the reverse taper of the finished thorax.   Position your tying thread just behind the hook eye.

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9

Wind on the peacock herl to form the abdomen. Make sure that the turns of peacock herl are tight and even. Tie off the peacock herl behind the hook eye and whip finish.

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10

Remove the tying thread and apply a little varnish to the head.

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11

Now, if you have a true rotational vise turn the jaws so the hook rotates until the parachute post and hackle are in a horizontal position. Take the bobbin with the spider thread and attach it to the parachute post base. Tie down the hackle stem into the top of the base. Make a few tight turns of tying thread to brace the base of the post ready to accept the hackle.

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12

Make sure your tying thread is tight into the abdomen end of the parachute post. Now carefully begin winding your hackle from the TOP of the post in tight even turns. Each turn moving closer to the abdomen.

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13

Once the hackle is fully wound, while holding the hackle point in one hand make two turns with tying thread, the first to the right of the hackle point and the second to the left. This will secure the hackle correctly. Now clip away the remaining hackle point and whip finish as shown on the underside of the parachute hackle. When making your last remaining whip finish, just before you tighten the loop and remove the whip finish tool, place a tiny drop of varnish or superglue on the loop before you tighten it into the hackle base. This will secure everything.

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14

All that remains to be done is to cut the parachute post to the required length.

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15

The Klinkhåmer special as seen from above. The parachute hackle should be evenly spaced around the whole fly.


Crayfish Master class.

Although I don’t fish with super realistic patterns, I do enjoy tying them every now and then. If you are starting from scratch, as I did with this crayfish, it takes a little time to actually work out the fundamentals, scale, hook size, proportions, materials and techniques.

I always start with a morphology  image from the visual dictionary, this gives you the basic shape, scale, body segment and leg count. Once this is established I select the materials and then try and plan the correct order to put them together. This can be rather like building a piece of IKEA furniture without the instructions, you get half way and realize that you have left something out! and have to start again.

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But for those of you that would like to have a go, I have photographed each step of this pattern, trying not to miss anything out and explaining each stage as I go. Although it looks complicated, its not difficult, but does take some time. You can tie it in stages tie up the legs one day, the claws another etc. So give it a go!

If you have any questions post them in the comments box at the foot of the article and i will try and answer them ASAP.

Good luck.

Hook: Mustad S74SNP # 1 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=195

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

Beard: Buck Tail

Legs & claws: E-Z Body http://www.e-zbody.com/ coated  in Bug Bond  http://www.veniard.com/section188/

Underbody: Dubbing

Eyes: EP Crab eyes

Body shell: Closed cell foam coated in Bug Bond

Tail: Three Cock ring neck pheasant neck feathers

Feelers: Stripped cock hackle stems

T

1
Cover the hook shank with a foundation of tying thread

2
Tie in a bunch of buck tail for the beard. This should be a mixture of natural brown and white

3
Take some E-Z body small and medium tubing and cut to length for the legs and claws

4
Holding the medium tubing and tying thread end in your left hand, make the first joint. Once this is done finish with a half hitch and remove the thread for the next joint. You can coat each joint with Bug Bond or varnish as you go

5
Bug Bond is perfect for coating the whippings on each joint

6
Once you have coated the claw with Bug Bond you can cut it to shape

7
Now move onto the next joint

8
Once you have made all the joints for the left claw you can now move onto the right one

9
I have made one claw a little larger than the other just to give it a more realistic feel

10
Make sure that when you tie in the first claw that the positioning and scale are correct. once its tied in coat the whippings with varnish

11
When tying in the claws the ends of the E-Z body tubing can be flattened with flat nosed pliers first

12
Now you can tie up all the walking legs. Before you do this seal the ends by burning them with a lighter, taking care they dont catch fire

13
Tie in the joints of all eight walking legs

14
When you start tying in the legs make sure that you position them correctly as realistic as possible

15
All eight legs in place, remember that the two rear legs should be facing backwards

16
Select two large brown cock hackles and strip off the fibers to make the antennas

17
Tie these in as shown. If they are too long they can be trimmed down later

18
Spin some dubbing onto the tying thread and start at the front and dubb in between the legs, making sure you get the right thickness and taper

19
Cut a piece of foam sheet for the exoskeleton. This can be measured against the hook for the correct size

20
Place the foam in the correct position and tie in the first segment between the third and fourth pairs of legs

21
From the underside this first segment should now be dubbed and the tying thread moved behind the rear legs

22
Now make the next segment over the foam

23
Dubb the next underbody segment while lifting the foam

24
Continue dubbing and tying the segments as in stage 23 until you are finished

25
The underbody should now look like this

26
From the neck of a pheasant skin select three church window hackles for the tail

27
Strip of the fibers at the base of the hackles

28
Tie in the first tail plate as shown

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The second tail plate

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And the third central and on top of the first two

31
You can now colour the crayfish with a waterproof felt pen

32
Take two crab eyes and trim the ends to a point. This will help attach them to the foam

33
First make two small holes for the eyes with a dubbing needle in the foam. Then dip the ends of the eyes in super glue and attach

34
Your crayfish should now look like this

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You can now coat the whole crayfish with Bug Bond

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The finished beast


Image

Another tie with the new shrimp foils

Another tie with the new shrimp foils

I just had a few minutes to play around with the shrimp foils. This time I reversed the foil and tied it in back to front for a Gammarus shell. I’ll post the full step by step for this pattern later.


Video

Video tutorial for a simple rag worm

Although its still a few months before the rag worms start swarming on the coast for thier annual spawn, its always good to have them tied up before hand. For those of you who find the earlier rag worm pattern I posted on the blog difficult to master, this is a much easier and quicker pattern to tie but still fishes well.
I have found the best colours to be Orange, olive and white.


Just foiling around!

The Awesome opossum

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Yesterday I received in the post a few samples of Shrimp foils from the fly people in Germany.  One sheet with coated foils and a second with uncoated.  The coated foils really look the business but unfortunately after three attempts to tie them on and failing miserably in all three, I went over to the uncoated and and had no problems at all.  Although the coated ones seemed flexible enough and relatively easy to position, every time I attached the thread and applied the slightest pressure they snapped! Its not as if I was being heavy handed or over tightening the thread. They just would not tolerate much pressure.

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After succeeding on my first try with the uncoated I can only presume that the coating, which gives them a three dimensional appearance has  somehow effected the the durability of the foil.

From what I can gather the foils are available in two sizes, the one used here is the smallest, and seemed to be tailored for my # 6 Mustad stinger hook. But if I am honest I would like to see even smaller foils for hooks down to size 8 and 10, for salt water sea trout fishing here in Europe.

All that being said the uncoated foils worked great and they give the shrimp an impressive finish. As I mentioned earlier this is only my first tie with the foils and I haven’t even scratched the surface of testing them, I dont even know if the will withstand the teeth of a fish or will take colour from waterproof felt pens…  As soon as I know I will update this post and let you know.

In the meantime you can see they look great, so if you would like to give them a go the contact info for dealers is below.

As a foot note: I was just contacted by Lutz, at the fly people and informed that the coated shrimp foils I received are a prototype and that they have experienced the same problems with them breaking. As a result they are only going to produce the un coated foils for sale. 

Hook: Mustad CS52 # 6 Stinger http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=182

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

Beard/Feelers: Natural Opossum and Whiting pink spey hackle mixed

Rib: Clear mono

Eyes: EP Crab eyes

Underbody: Opossum dubbing

Shell back: Shrimp foil coated with Bug Bond http://www.theflypeople.com/  to order foils:theflypeople@web.de Bug Bond http://www.veniard.com/section188/

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1

Place your stinger hook in the vice.

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2

Cut a short strip from a piece of opossum fur, keeping a small strip of hide on.

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3

Holding the strip as shown place a Whiting spey hackle over the opossum .

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4

Place the hair and the hackle in a magic tool clip and trim off the hide and hackle stem.

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5

Spin the mixed hackle and hair in a dubbing loop and wind on the hook shaft to form the beard of the shrimp.

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6

On the underside of the hook tie in two strips of lead wire and on the top of the hook shaft a length of clear mono for the rib.

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7

Tie in two EP crab eyes slightly elevated over the beard.

IMG_9793

8

Take some under fur from the opossum patch and dub the whole shrimp body as shown.

IMG_9794

9

Make a dubbing loop in between the beard and the dubbed body. Run your tying thread forward to the hook eye.

IMG_9781

10

Now make the same mix as the first dubbing loop but in the largest magic tool. So you have enough to cover the whole body.

IMG_9795

11

Spin this in the dubbing loop. Make sure that you brush out the fibers with a tooth brush before you begin winding it on.

IMG_9798

12

Once the dubbing brush is wound the full hook shank length tie it off just behind the hook eye.

IMG_9800

13

Now place your shrimp foil on top of the hook shank and tie in at the tail. Make one whip finish.

IMG_9801

14

Wind your mono rib carefully along the body of the shrimp making each turn on the marked ribs of the foil. Tie off at the tail.

IMG_9802

15

Whip finish and remove your tying thread.

IMG_9808

16

Give each shell back segment a coat with Bug Bond and cure with the UV light.

IMG_9811

17

The finished Foil back shrimp.


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.


Video

Mullet salad

Heres another tutorial for a simple but effective small seaweed pattern for Mullet.


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 our own 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.

A cross section of European Roe deer hair which I photographed with the help of a microscope at X40. You can see that the hair isn't hollow as most people believe, but filled with many small air filled cells.

A cross section of European Roe deer hair which I photographed with the help of a microscope at X40. You can see that the hair isn’t hollow as most people believe, but filled with many small air filled cells.

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.

Image

The winter coat of the European roe with its dense hair is ideal for spinning.

The winter coat of the European roe with its dense hair is ideal for spinning.

Although the summer coat from the European roe is much thinner it still has its uses for dry fly wings and tails.

Although the summer coat from the European roe is much thinner it still has its uses for dry fly wings and tails.

If any of you are interested I do have a few very nice generous strips of winter roe from December last year for 15 Euro each including postage for Europe: I only have a few so the first  to contact me at: barrycl@online.no


Video

Video tutorial for tying the Gammarus Locustra.


Making a deer hair dubbing loop.

Recently I have had many questions regarding spinning deer hair and the best method of attaining a even open fibered body for deer hair flies. I use this technique on patterns such as G&H Sedge. The other technique is for making cork like bodies from deer hair. Once mastered these techniques can be applied to many patterns.

1The material used here is deer hair, select your material and prepare it so that all the fibres are straight. Attach your paper clip to the tips of the fibres.  You determin the length of the fibre you would like at this stage.

1
The material used here is deer hair, select your material and prepare it so that all the fibers are straight. Attach your paper clip to the tips of the fibers. You determine the length of the fibre you would like at this stage.

2Carefully cut along the edge of the clip leaving only a couple of mm in front of the jaws.  If you have more than this you will find that the spinning will be difficult and the material will fall out when used.

2
Carefully cut along the edge of the clip leaving only a couple of mm in front of the jaws. If you have more than this you will find that the spinning will be difficult and the material will fall out when used.

3Make a loop of tying thread at the rear of the area to be dubbed.  Be sure that the two strands of thread closest to the hook shank are tight together, ( Not open or the material placed between them will fall out ) this can be done by taking a turn or two of tying thread around the loop base pulling them together.

3
Make a loop of tying thread at the rear of the area to be dubbed. Be sure that the two strands of thread closest to the hook shank are tight together, ( Not open or the material placed between them will fall out ) this can be done by taking a turn or two of tying thread around the loop base pulling them together.

"4Hang

5Place the cut end of the material in between the two strands of the loop.

5
Place the cut end of the material in between the two strands of the loop.

6Now carefully open the jaws of the paper clip and remove it, letting the weight of the dubbing spinner hold the strands together trapping the material, and stopping it from falling out. Now you can carefully adjust the hair by sliding it up or down to distribute it evenly within the loop.

6
Now carefully open the jaws of the paper clip and remove it, letting the weight of the dubbing spinner hold the strands together trapping the material, and stopping it from falling out. Now you can carefully adjust the hair by sliding it up or down to distribute it evenly within the loop.

8You can now begin to wind the dubbing onto the hook shank just like a conventional feather hackle, combing the fibres back with each turn.

8
You can now begin to wind the dubbing onto the hook shank just like a conventional feather hackle, combing the fibers back with each turn.
8Repeat the process until the body is completed.

9
Repeat the process until the body is completed.

10For trimming the spun deer hair body, I find it best to use long straight serrated scissors for a more even finish.

10
For trimming the spun deer hair body, I find it best to use long straight serrated scissors for a more even finish.

11Start to trim the body on top of the hook shank from the rear and try and make each cut go the whole length of the body.

11
Start to trim the body on top of the hook shank from the rear and try and make each cut go the whole length of the body.

12The more even and singular  each cut, the more even the body!

12
The more even and singular each cut, the more even the body!

13Continue trimming around the whole body of the fly until the requiered resuls are achieved.

13
Continue trimming around the whole body of the fly until the required results are achieved.

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.

14
This 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.

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

15
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.

16
Trim your body roughly to the correct size.

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!

17
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.

18
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!

19
The result is a 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.


Video

Video tutorial for CdC shrimp

A simple but effective shrimp for salt water sea trout. Yet another older video but they tying technique is still valid.


Deer Creek Fish Headz

IMG_9682

If you are after a realistic sand eel, these are the way to go!

This is the first time I have used the Deer Creek Fish Headz and I have to say they are the best self adhesive heads I have used to date. Available in a great selection of colours and sizes, I am glad to say even extra small which are the perfect size for salt water sea trout patterns. Unlike some of the other self adhesive heads these are already coated and are flexible, almost rubber like and adhere extremely well to the materials I have used so far. These heads are shaped to perfectly accommodate a stream lined sand eel body form and I can’t wait to try them in the salt.
They are available In:
X small, Small, Medium,Large and X large. and several different colour combinations.

For full range and order information see: http://www.deercreek.co.uk/FISHEADZ-tm.html

Deer Creek Sand Eel Fish Headz


Video

Video tutorial: Fritz Shrimp.

Another pattern for salt water sea trout that has been extremely productive for me over the years.


Video

Another video tutorial for the Melt Glue Zonker or Virtual Minnow

The original zonker pattern was tied by the American fly tyer Dan Byford in the 1970s and was quickly recognised the world over, as a big fish fly and extremely easy to tie, yet 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.   This melt glue body technique gives the zonker a new life. If viewed by a fish in reflected light the shine and flashing of the maylar mixed with the animation of the pulsating fur strip, makes it a first class bait fish attractor pattern.  But when viewed by a fish in a back-lit situation ( in  silhouette ) this pattern really comes to life,  with the light penetrating through the transparent melt glue / maylar body and fur guard hairs.

This is another great baitfish imitation in both reflected and backlight situations.

This is another great baitfish imitation in both reflected and backlight situations.

Hook: Mustad S74S SS Salt water R74 freshwater # 6  http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=195

Under body: Melt glue

Over Body: Mylar tubeing

Thread: Dyneema

Wing/tail: Fur zonker strip
Eyes: Prizma tape eyes.


Video

Tying the sea Bass Herring

Heres another video tutorial I made some time ago for the sea bass herring. A simple but effective pattern for salt water fishing using E-Z Body tube. This pattern can be adapted for many bait fish and eel patterns so dont restrict yourself to just this pattern.

Hook: http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=189

Tying thread: Dyneema

Body tube: E-Z Body Orders and info at: http://www.e-zbody.com/

Tail: Crystal hair

Head: Epoxy or Bug Bond

Eyes: Tape eyes

 

 


Video

Tying the Thunder Creek

This is a video I made some years ago, but its quite easy to follow and all the basics are there, so give it a go. I have half a dozen or so more video tutorials that I will post over the next week or so.

Hook: Mustad S71SNP-ZS http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=193

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

Wing: Buck tail

Head: Epoxy or Bug Bond http://www.veniard.com/section188/

Eyes: Tape eyes


Sea trout Flat wing

Firstly may I wish you all a happy new year!

The seasonal festivities family birthdays and goodbye ceremonies are now over and I have more time to get back to what is most important. Thats right, fishing and fly tying! So please accept my apologies for being vacant the last couple of weeks, but now I am back in the saddle with the first sea trout fly of the year. Please enjoy and much more will come soon.

Yours,

The Feather Bender.

This sea trout flat wing variant is a sure winner and an attractor of larger fish.

This sea trout flat wing variant is a sure winner and an attractor of larger fish.

The original flat wing pattern was developed by the late Bill Peabody a well known fly tyer and fisherman from Rhode Island in the US.  The original pattern was developed for stripped bass but was also found to be just as successful on many other salt water species. Recently a number of flat wing patterns have been developed for salt water sea trout and sea bass fishing in Northern Europe and have proved to be extremely effective.

One of the great things about tying these modern flat wing patterns is that the design lends itself extremely well to individual interpretation in size, colour and material use. But remember that the key word for tying flat wings is sparse, if you over dress these flies you defeat the whole point with them. Try and use materials that are light but create volume, but always consider the movement of the material in the water when fished and don´t forget its reflective and  flash qualities. Some fly tiers also make use of a tandem hook on larger patterns, attached by mean´s of a wire or mono extension with the tail hook, up side down. But I find that this in most cases completely changes the action of the fly.

Hook Mustad S71SNP-ZS # 8-2 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=193

Tying thread Dyneema

Tail Two flat wing saddle hackles and Flashabou

Body Mother of pearl Body Braid coated with Bug Bond

Under wing White buck tail and five strands of Crystal flash

Over wing Yellow Olive and blue buck tail mixed

Topping Five strands of fine peacock herl

Throat White buck tail

Cheeks Jungle cock

1. Secure your salt water hook in the vice and attach your tying thread at the rear.

1. Secure your salt water hook in the vice and attach your tying thread at the rear.

2. tie in two medium long saddle hackles flat on top of the hook shank as shown along with a few strands of flashabou or similar

2. Tie in two medium long saddle hackles flat on top of the hook shank as shown along with a few strands of flashabou or similar.

3. Cut a length of MOP Bills body braid at the base of the flat wing tail.

3. Cut a length of MOP Bills body braid at the base of the flat wing tail.

4. Wrap the body braid over the whole hook shank taking care to leave enough space for the wing and head.

4. Wrap the body braid over the whole hook shank taking care to leave enough space for the wing and head.

5. tie in a bunch of white buck tail and a few strands of crystal hair for the wing.

5. tie in a bunch of white buck tail and a few strands of crystal hair for the wing.

6. Mix a small bunch of buck tail in your chosen colours and even in a hair stacker.

6. Mix a small bunch of buck tail in your chosen colours and even in a hair stacker.

7. Tie in this bunch on top of the white under wing.

7. Tie in this bunch on top of the white under wing.

8. Tie in another smaller bunch of white buck tail for the throat of the fly.

8. Tie in another smaller bunch of white buck tail for the throat of the fly.

9. Top off the wing with four or five strands of peacock herl.

9. Top off the wing with four or five strands of peacock herl.

11. Using a dubbing needle or similar make the peacock herl curve in the right way.

11. Using a dubbing needle or similar make the peacock herl curve in the right way.

12. Select two jungle cock eyes and tie in one each side of the wing base.

12. Select two jungle cock eyes and tie in one each side of the wing base.

13. Whip finish. Colour the head of the fly with a waterproof felt pen and varnish.

13. Whip finish. Colour the head of the fly with a waterproof felt pen and varnish.

Once the flat wing has become wet you will understand how the wing and tail fall naturally into place to form a fantastic mobile bait fish imitation.

Once the flat wing has become wet you will understand how the wing and tail fall naturally into place to form a fantastic mobile bait fish imitation.


Cottus Gobio

IMG_6281

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.

IMG_6240

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.
IMG_6241

4
Now tie in a length of medium copper wire, at the tail base for the rib.

IMG_6242

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

IMG_6243

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.

IMG_6244

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.

IMG_6245

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

IMG_6246

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.

IMG_6247

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.

IMG_6248

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.

IMG_6250

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.

IMG_6253

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

IMG_6254

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.

IMG_6259

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

IMG_6261

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.

IMG_6263

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.

IMG_6264

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.

IMG_6266

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.

IMG_6267

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.

IMG_6269

21
The finished streamer.


Flies tied to order

IMG_1968Fill your fly boxes for the coming season. During the winter months I will be taking orders for flies for trout, Sea trout, Grayling and pike so if you would like to order send me a e mail with your enquiry and I get back to you. barrycl@online.no


Image

Virtual Nymph

My first attempt with some of the great Virtual Nymph products I received at the weekend and Bug Bond. Not 100% happy with the results, but when I have played a little more, I will be making the full step by step for this Stone fly nymph.

Hook:  Mustad Slow death 33862NP-BR  http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=2196

Thread:  Dyneema

Tail:  Porcupine guard hairs

Underbody:  Natural seal fur Dubbing

Body:  Natural nymph skin

Wing cases Virtual nymph stone clinger wing-buds and heads coated with Bug Bond

Legs:  Turkey biots coated with Bug Bond

Antenna:  Porcupine guard hairs

Check out the products on: http://www.virtual-nymph.com/ and  http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/ http://www.veniard.com/section188/


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