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

Step by Step

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/


Image

Porcupine guard hairs

Porcupine guard hairs

I just received some fantastic Porcupine Guard Hairs from Virtual Nymph http://www.virtual-nymph.com/
I have played around a little already with them and this is some of the best ribbing material I have come across. I will be posting some patterns using these and some other innovative VN products later this week. Check out their website, loads of great materials: http://www.virtual-nymph.com/


Dyna King Ultimate Indexer

The new Dyna King Ultimate Indexer

The Dyna King Ultimate Indexer review:

It all started with the thought of purchasing a new vise for the photography of salt water flies for my new book. I needed one that had full rotation in all directions, horizontally, vertically, up and down and in and out. But I also needed a vice that would look the business with a salt water hook in it in front of the camera. After much research and the exchanging of e mails with fellow tyers around the world, with, I must say mixed responses! I ordered the Dyna King Ultimate Indexer. Dyna King have an excellent reputation in the fly tying world and although I am no stranger to their products, for some strange reason, I have never owned a DK vice. On arrival a few days later I couldn’t wait to try it. This is one good looking vice! After a short while of adjusting and getting use to UI, I was quick to realize that the jaws supplied with the vice where faulty! Could this be right ? I tried and played some more with adjustments but, I couldn’t get a single hook of any size to ‘hold fast’ in the jaws. I am sure you can imagine my disappointment! I contacted Dyna King and relayed my observations, they where quick to respond. New jaws arrived just a few days later.

After tying now for a few weeks with the DKUI, I feel the majority of my initial concerns have been resolved, but there are still a couple of, I feel eliminatory design faults that remain.

1. When adjusting the critical hight of the vice through raising the shaft in the set collar the overall stability of the vise is compromised, thats is to say it ‘rocks’ ever so slightly but annoyingly about 0.5 mm from side to side. Its only when the shaft is entirely inserted into the set collar that it retains stability. Dyna King informed me that this can be resolved by purchasing a extension for the shaft.

2. The base lock screw even when tightened fully isn’t tight enough to secure the vice shaft from swinging slightly if extra pressure is placed on a jawed hook through pulling the tying thread towards or away from you. They also commented on this point and said : To secure the shaft 100% they would have to place a notch in the shaft to accompany the base lock screw.

These two points being noted, the vice is becoming more of a pleasure to work with as I slowly get use to adapting my tying style to using it. Hand crafted out of high grade stainless steel, brass and aluminum the Ultimate indexer is a fine piece of quality engineering.

Dyna King Ultimate Indexer specifications:

Hook range: 22 – 8/0

Jaw tip to end  21.6 cm

Height, Jaw tip to desk 17.8 cm   (fully inserted in base collar)

Weight, with Pedestal 3176 g.

Weight, with Clamp 1360 g.

Also included with your vise is simple but precise plastic snap on Centering gauge which allows you to center your hook shank to the axis of vice body rotation.

Instructional DVD featuring Al Beatty demonstrating tying techniques, as well as the features of this vise.

RRP. $ 499.00  http://www.dyna-king.com/

IMG_9115

360 Rotation and Indexing Feature:
This allows the spindle and jaws to be rotated a full 360 degrees to one of eight stopping points, so the fly can be viewed and tied from every position. The indexer can be released by simply unscrewing the brass indexing knob under the bearing housing.
The bobbin cradel can be positioned into any possible angle required by the tyer.

The bobbin cradle can be positioned into any possible angle required by the tyer.

The upper third of the shaft has a angle adaptor fitted that allows the jaws to be raised and lowered.

The upper third of the shaft has a angle adaptor fitted that allows the jaws to be raised and lowered.

The jaws length can be adjusted by loosening the body friction screw.

The distance of the jaws from the vise body can be adjusted and rotated by loosening and tightening the body friction screw.


Confessions of a glue user…

Confessions of a glue user…

Bug Bond revolutionizing fly tying

For over two decades I have been a serious user of various types and brands of two component bonding agents and epoxy in my fly tying and rod building, all of which have their (highs and lows) advantages and disadvantages!

Although epoxy is available at most corner shops and relatively simple to use, it does take some experience working out the correct amount to mix for the specific job at hand, so there is minimum waste but also mixing the correct amount of both components to advance or reduce curing time as required. Also when mixing, you have to use a slow figure of eight motion with the mixing tool! this greatly reduces the possibility for air bubbles and results in a clear cure! In addition to this you also need to use a rotating dryer if you are tying several patterns with epoxy at the same time, or applying rod rings, to achieve an aesthetic and uniform application.

This all changed a couple of years ago while tying at the Dutch fly fair!

Mr Bond David Edwards

From my tying station, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a somewhat, suspicious  character standing on the corner of the tyers podium selling small baggies to passers by. Unlike comparable US cop TV show characters, that are dressed like rap gangsters, this guy resembled a fly fishermen! But what he was selling is just as addictive. Once you have started using, you can’t stop!

The man in question was David Edwards and his baggies contained the first production batch of Bug Bond UV fly tying resin.

Being a professional photographer my entire working life I spent hours every assignment waiting to see the results back from the processors, but with the onslaught of the digital revolution, the results where instantly available.  This I believe, is Bug Bond’s greatest advantage!

Unlike Epoxy, Bug Bond requires no mixing and for most applications, only a ten second cure, with the correct frequency UV light. Fixed finished and dried in just a few seconds.

Do’s and don’ts from a user:

When using Bug Bond there are still a few things to consider.

If you require only a thin protective coating over a material, apply your BB and cure with the UV light, simple!  But take note, that if you are applying BB to a porous material, especially one that has several layers, like the untreated tying thread on the head of a fly, any BB that is absorbed into the thread will not be exposed to the UV light, and wont cure. For this reason, I still prefer to use head cement on the heads of my flies.

If you need a thicker coat, or lets say, a larger transparent head or body on a salt water pattern, then you have to build this up layer by layer, if you apply too thick a coat, the UV light has difficulty penetrating and will cure the surface layer and can leave the center somewhat viscous, although I haven’t found one yet, I am sure that this may also have an application ? I have also found that if you are curing a larger area, like a whole hackle, its an advantage to start by applying a coat of BB on one side first and then curing with the UV light a distance from the material (30 cm), but slowly moving it closer as the curing process advances, then repeat this on the rear of the hackle. This I have found, slows the curing process a little, but gives optimal results. A hard clear, glossy and tack free finish.

You may also experience, that if you start with the UV light too close to the material to be cured, it cures too quickly, greatly  increasing in temperature  as the photo-activators cure the resin. This should be avoided, as a cure that is too fast and too intense can shrink the material being coated and result in distortion, as I have experienced through trial and error. Also on a safety point, avoid getting BB on your fingers! If you are unlucky enough to do this and accidentally cure it while holding a fly, the heat is intense.

Stronger and better hardening is achieved through using the resin at 37 F degrees (2.6 C degrees) and first with an intermittent exposure to the LED UV light and finishing with a constant exposure for 10 seconds or more. You will also discover that BB may not adhere as well to all materials. I have experienced a couple of foam types and materials coloured with some spirit based waterproof felt pens. You should also remember that this is a UV cure product, so using it in daylight will cure the bonding agent as it comes out of the tube.

Also if your curing time seems to be getting longer, remember to change the batteries  in the UV lamp!

BB has many applications

Top Tips:

With regard to production tying and hands free curing I have made a simple fly curing station. Using an old fly reel box I have covered the inside and lid with silver foil.  On one corner of the lid, I use the corner so that the box can accommodate larger flies diagonally. I cut a hole a little smaller that the diameter of the light head and built up a short tube of black card to hold the light in position.

Attaching rod rings with only BB

Inside the box I have glued a foam popper head for securing the fly while drying. Just place the hook of your fly in the foam place on the lid and switch on the light. You can then get on with another fly…

If you dont intend to use your  Bug Bond for some time, keep it in a cool dark place. David recommends the refrigerator, this keeps it fresh and prolongs life, but then you should remember to remove it and let it reach room temperature at least an hour before you are going to use it.

If you would like to add a little more flash to your BB, try mixing it with regular hobby glitter before applying or just sprinkling it onto the fly before curing! These are available in an amazing amount of colours and only cost a few pence.

On a safety note, UV lights are dangerous if miss used. They should never be pointed at the eyes and kept out of the reach of children at all times.

Curing BB with the UV light

You will quickly discover that BB and its uses within fly tying and rod building are infinite.

But like all new materials, it takes a little time and experimenting to be familiar with the boundaries, possibilities and applications.

Bug-Bond has been designed to be optically perfect and when cured correctly to have a tack free surface. Other  benefits are that it is also resistant to tainting or yellowing when exposed to sunlight and also has a degree of flexibility when cured.

For Bug Bond see links: http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/   http://www.veniard.com/section188/


Proppen-Without doubt my most productive sea trout fly….

Proppen, over a thousand sea trout can't be wrong!!

Proppen, over a thousand sea trout can’t be wrong!!

This is my variant of one of the best salmon flies in recent years. It is, without doubt my most productive fly for salt water sea trout fishing.  There is something about this pattern that sea trout just can’t resist.

 

On many occasions when there are sea trout feeding or on the move, and they just follow the fly and won’t take, this small fly works most of the time.  Fished on a long fine leader and floating line just under the surface with a very slow figure of eight retrieve, the takes are savage and powerful, driving the tiny hook home immediately. Many fishermen are skeptical to fishing such small patterns, but if you give this one a try, I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

When nothing else will work, proppen saves the day…

Proppen

Hook: Mustad 60329NBLN # 10 Carp Power

Thread: Dyneema

Feelers: 4  Stripped cock hackles

Beard: Deer hair summer coat

Body: Moose hair coated with Bug Bond and coloured with waterproof felt pen

 

1
Secure your hook in the vice as shown.

2
Select four stiff light coloured cock hackles

3
Strip off all the fibers.

4
Attach your tying thread to the hook shank

5
Tie in the four stripped cock hackles evenly spaced around the hook shank.

6
Cut a small bunch of deer hair from a summer coat, this wont flare as much as the winter coat hair. And even the points in a hair stacker.

7
Tie in the deer hair as a beard over and around the cock hackles.

8
Trim off the surplus deer hair and tie down.

9
Tie in two long moose mane hairs, one black, one white.

10
Wrap the moose hairs around the body simultaneously and tie off behind the hook eye.

11
Whip finish and remove the tying thread.

12
Give the body a coat with Bug Bond.

13
Give the body a quick zap with the UV light to cure the Bug Bond.

14
Colour the body with a waterproof felt pen and give it another coat with Bug Bond.

15
The finished fly ready for the salt.

Four feelers in all directions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Pseudo Spinner

18
Whip finish and you have  a fine mayfly spinner that floats like a cork.

The Pseudo Spinner.

Fishing, or even identifying a mayfly spinner fall can be one of the most challenging situations a fly fisherman can experience! Its all about breaking codes and learning to read the signs. With the larger mayflies its somewhat easier to recognize the spinner fall, danica and vulgata are so large that they can be seen at a greater distance floating in a crucifix posture and lifeless in the surface, sometimes with such a high mortality rate they cover the whole surface of the river. But smaller darker and sometimes almost transparent species can be difficult to see even at close quarters.

 

Mayflies are known for their short lived life, with some species having less than an hour to find a mate and deposit eggs before they die. The first sign to look for, after the initial hatch, is high above you, the swarming dancing, mating mayflies high above the tree tops.  After mating and this swarming becomes sparser the males are drained of energy and are fighting to keep themselves airborne but gradually floating down closer to the water, where they die and lie with wings and tails spread out on the surface. The females, who hatch later than the males have a little more energy left to fly upstream to lay their eggs so the current will carry them back down to be deposited in the same stretch of river bed where she lived her nymphal stage of life. After which she dies and becomes spent.

High above the tree tops.

 

If after examining the waters surface and no spent spinners are visible, look for fish that are steady risers. This is a normal rise form for fish selectively feeding on spent spinners.  That being said, smaller fish can become wild in the beginning of a spinner fall making small splashy rises and even leaping clear of the water to take them as they fall.  As day turns into night and the spent spinners begin to drown and are trapped in the surface film slightly sinking, the larger fish begin to feed on them, rising every few seconds, not big splashy rises but sipping or slow head and tailing as the spent spinners float over them, as with all predators maximizing energy intake and minimizing energy consumption. Larger ‘Experienced’ fish seam to know that there is no escape for these dead and drowning flies.

This was taken under a spinner fall, although they where still hatching the trout wouldn’t touch them.

This is a mayfly pattern shown here represents NO specific species, but with just a tiny alteration in size and colour can be a good representation for most hatches of smaller to medium sized mayflies.  The most time consuming part of this pattern is stripping the peacock herl of its fibers. There are a few ways that you can do this. One is with a regular pencil erasure, just lie the herl down on a flat surface and rub the herl away from you. The other is to pull the herl through your finger and thumb nail as shown here. It takes a little time to master this technique but once you have done it a few times its plain sailing!

 

Hook Mustad R50 # 18-12

Tying thread Dyneema

Tail Coq de leon

Body Stripped peacock herl

Over body Bug Bond

Wings CDC hackles

Thorax CDC spun into dubbing loop

 

1
Place your hook in the vice as shown.

2
Select some nice Coq de Leon hackle fibers.

3
Run the tying thread along the hook shank until you come to the hook bend. Tie in the center tail first, then the two side tails, making sure that they are all about the same length.

4
If you want to make the fly a little more robust, put a tiny drop of super glue right on the tail bases. This will make everything stronger and help keep the tails in place.

5
Now run the tying thread forward and build a slightly tapered under body to shape the quill over body.

6
Choose a good strong herl from a peacock tail feather and strip off the fibers.

7
Tie in the stripped quill on the underside of the hook shank at the tail base.

8
Wind on the quill the right way! One side of the quill has better markings than the other. Tie off at the wing base.

9
Remove the surplus quill and give the body a coat with Bug bond.

10
Give the quill body a blast with the UV light, if you are using varnish you will have to wait for the body to dry before you continue.

11
The dry coated quill body.

12
Select two small well fibered CDC hackles. Trim them both down with curved scissors as shown.

13
Tie in your two CDC wings pointing slightly forward.

14
Spin a little CDC in a dubbing loop behind the wings.

15
Wind on the CDC, firstly behind the wings and then between and forward finishing behind the hook eye.

16
View from above of the finished thorax.

18
Whip finish and you have a fine mayfly spinner that floats like a cork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Midas touch, confessions of a nymph-omaniac.

Bling, bling, Midas nymphs are the right way to go for winter grayling.

Bling, bling, Midas nymphs are the right way to go for winter grayling.

The Midas nymph is my rendition on a more common pattern called the copper John, which uses copper wire instead of gold oval tinsel amongst other things. The interesting thing about the copper John, according to Bruce Olsen sales manager for Umpqua Feather Merchants, The worlds largest manufacturer of commercially tied flies, the copper John is the best selling trout fly in the world. “We sell them by the tens of thousands” Bruce says, and thats just the original copper version. When you add in all the colour variant of that pattern, the numbers get to be absolutely staggering.”

 

Thousands of anglers around the world cant be wrong. If you haven’t tied and fished with the copper John, its probably time you did!

Head: Gold brass bead head

Hook: Mustad S6ONP-BR # 16-10

Tying thread: Dyneema

Tail: Golden pheasant topping

Body: Medium gold oval tinsel coated with Bug Bond  http://www.veniard.com/section188/  http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/

Thorax: Peacock  herl

Legs: Goose biots

Wing case: Medium oval gold tinsel

 

After having great success with bead head nymphs for both trout and grayling, over a period of time a pattern began to develop. Since the introduction of bead heads in the early eighties, we all know how well they fish, but if I was fishing with exactly the same weighted nymph, but tied with a black bead head instead of a gold one, the amount of takes where not dramatic, but noticeably reduced! So my natural chain of thought is that its the gold head which was the main attractor factor. Why not try a nymph that is totally gold !  After my initial attempts, I quickly discovered that the tinsel body and thorax where extremely venerable to small sharp teeth, and had a very short lifespan. But a coat or two with Bug Bond or Epoxy sorted that out.  This is a relatively new pattern and I have only fished it seriously last season, although the results where good, its still too early to say how good! Tie some up and try for yourself, you won’t be disappointed! This spring it will also be tested on sea trout…

 

1
Place your bead head on the hook and secure in the vice.

2
Run the tying thread over the whole length of the hook shank.

3
Tie in one or two small golden pheasant toppings as the tail.

4
On the underside of the hook shank tie in a good length of medium gold oval tinsel. The oval is better, round tinsel has a tendency to slip down the body.

5
You can now dub a tapered underbody. If you would like to add extra weight you could build up the under body with lead wire.

6
Now wind on the tinsel in tight even turns to form a segmented nymph body. Stop with good room for the thorax.

7
You can now give the body a good coat with Bug Bond. This not only protects the tinsel but also gives it extra “bling”. Cut four lengths of gold oval tinsel and tie these in to form the wing case, tight into the body.

8
Now apply a little more dubbing to bring the thorax up-to the required diameter.

9
At the base of the body tie in a good long peacock herl and move your tying thread froward to the bead head.

10
Make four or five turns with the herl and tie off. But dont trim off the remainder of the herl
you will need this later.

 

 

11
Take two goose biots and tie these in one each side of the thorax for the legs.

12
Cover the rest of the thorax with a few turns of peacock herl and tie off behind the bead head.

13
Now fold over the tinsel wing case and secure with a couple of loose turns of tying thread, trim off the tinsel wing case about three mm above the two loose turns of tying thread. This is so when you tighten the loose turns, the trimmed ends will disappear under and into the bead head.

14
carefully give the wing case a coat of Bug Bond, making sure that it doesn’t get onto the peacock herl thorax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Deer Hair Immerger.

The deer hair Immerger.

The deer hair Immerger.

Presentation is alfa and omega when fishing emergers.

This incredibly simple pattern, truly, it only takes a few minutes to tie! makes emergers into immergers. This technique places your pattern right below the surface film (immersed) as if the insect is actually climbing out of the shuck onto the surface.

Taking my Fender emerger one step further by extending the deer hair parachute post which places the entire hook, and tippet point entirely under the surface…

All you need:

Hook: Mustad C49S  http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=177

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Body: Moose hair coated with Bug Bond  for Bug Bond see links: http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/   http://www.veniard.com/section188/

Post: Deer hair wrapped in moose hair coated with Bug Bond

Parachute hackle: Deer hair

1.
Tie your bicolored moose hair body. You can see the full step by step for this in my earlier post ‘Fender parachute’.

2.
Cut and stack a small bunch of deer hair central in the thorax.

3.
Turn your hook so the deer hair post is at 90 degrees and make some wraps of tying thread to reinforce the post base.

4.
Tie in two moose mane hairs, one black one white, along the length of the post finishing under the parachute hair.

5.
Once you have wrapped the moose hair emerger post, tie off the moose hair, remove the excess and return your hook to the regular position.

6.
Coat the post with Bug Bond and tie in two long peacock herl’s, by the points at the rear of the thorax.

7.
Wrap the peacock herl over the whole thorax and tie off. Remove the excess.

8.
Using your index finger press the deer hair post down to form the parachute hackle.

9.
Carefully place a small drop of Bug Bond in the center of the deer hair hackle. Make sure it penetrates the deer hair.

10.
Give the Bug Bond a zap with the UV light to cure.

11.
You may wish to add one more drop to hold the deer hair hackle in place.

12.
The finished deer hair immerger, in the correct posture.

13.
Front view.

14.
View from underneath.

Only deer hair and Bug Bond…


Fender Parachute

My good friends hunting dog, Fender and just one of the many animals and huge amounts of materials he secures for my fly tying every year.

My good friends hunting dog, Fender and just one of the many animals and huge amounts of materials he secures for my fly tying every year.

Fender secures more meat wrapped in materials for the winter.

This is a quick and simple parachute technique that requires only deer hair and Bug Bond.

Hook: Mustad C49

Tying thread: Dyneema

Body: Moose mane hair

Hackle: Roe deer hair and Bug Bond

Thorax: Underfur from deer or moose winter coat.

1.
Secure your emerger hook in the vice with as much of the bend clear of the jaws.

2.
Run your tying thread from just behind the hook eye down deep into the bend.

3.
Select some long Moose mane hairs.

4.
You will need two long hairs from the moose mane, one white and one black.

5.
Tie in the moose hairs by the points at the base of the hook bend.

6.
Build up a slight forward taper on the fly body with tying thread.

7.
Take both hair at once, with the black hair at the bottom and begin to wind on in even tight turns.

8.
Continue over the whole hook shank until you come to the thorax. Tie off.

9.
Trim off the surplus hair and tie down ends. Although these moose mane hairs are remarkably strong you can give the body a coat with Bug Bond.

10.
Cut and stack a small bunch of deer hair. Tie this in as a parachute post.

11.
At the base of the hairs from a winter coat of a moose or deer there is a dense under fur. Remove enough to dub the thorax.

12.
Dub the thorax behind and forward of the post.

13.
Place your finger tip in the centre of the deer hair post and press down until the deer hair flattens out.

14.
Place a small drop of Bug Bond in the center of the deer hair parachute hackle.

15.
Give the Bug Bond a zap with the UV light.

16.
The finished Fender emerger, made only from deer hair and Bug Bond.

17.
The view from below. Its a perfect quick and simple parachute hackle.


Nymph-omaniac

Mayfly Nymph

A general pattern for most large mayfly nymphs

Hook Mustad R73 9671 # 8-12

Tying thread Dyneema

Tail Olive ostrich herl

Body Olive brown Antron dubbing

Rib Olive Ostrich herl

Thorax Olive brown Antron dubbing

Wing case Golden pheasant tail

Legs Peasant tail

This pattern imitates the nymph stage of our two largest mayflies, Ephemera 

vulgata,  that is most common in lakes, and Ephemera danica, that is most common in slow flowing rivers and streams. These nymphs prefer sandy or muddy bottoms, where they live more or less buried for two to three years.  These large nymphs can be recognized by the breathing gills along the sides of the rear body.  Nymph patterns like this one should be weighted, so that they don´t swim up side down in the water, this should be done by tying in two strips of lead wire on the underside of the hook shank. The R73 hook from Mustad that I have used here is so heavy in the bend that it will swim the right way even if you use extra weight under the thorax. On these large nymphs I prefer to use Golden pheasant as the wing case. These tail feather fibers are tougher than normal ring neck pheasant tails fibers and have a little more shine.

1
Secure your hook in the vice and attach your tying thread.

2
Wind on a short length of lead free wire under the thorax.

3
Tie in three long ostrich herl fibers for the tail. These should be tied in like the legs on a photo tripod.

4
Cut away two of the ostrich herls. The remaining one will be used for ribbing.

5
Spin the Antron dubbing onto the tying thread and dubb a tapered body along 2/3 of the hook shank.

6
Wind on the ostrich herl as a rib over the rear body part. About 6-7 even turns. Remove the access herl.

7
Cut off the small ostrich herl fibers on the top and bottom of the rear body.

8
The rear body should now look like this.

9
Clip a large bunch of golden pheasant tail fibers and tie them in close to the rear body end.

10
Cover the thorax with dubbing, finishing about 2-3 mm behind the hook eye.

11
Cut two smaller bunches with normal pheasant tail fibers and tie in on both sides of the thorax as shown.

12
Spin a little more dubbing and dubb in front of the legs.

13
Pull the fibers over the thorax to form the wing case.

14
Tie down the fibers behind the hook eye.

15
Trim off the access pheasant fibers and whip finish. Apply a little varnish and your large mayfly nymph is finished.

16
The nymph seen from above.


All in one… a three minute dun mayfly pattern.

This pattern I developed out of necessity during a unexpected Vulgata hatch.

To find a simpler dun mayfly imitation  will be difficult.  All you need in the way of materials is one long fibered CdC feather and a short foam cylinder and a hook.

I named the fly “All In One” as the whole fly is tied with the same one CdC feather. You need to practice a little if the techniques I us are unfamiliar too you, but with a little practice or after you have tied a half dozen or so, it only takes about two minutes to tie this simple but effective pattern.  All in one floats fantastic as the whole fly is made from CdC and foam.

1
Secure your hook in the vice so the jaws of the vice hold the hook at the bottom of the bend, and that the straight part of the Klinkhamer hook is horizontal.

2
Choose a long fibered CdC feather and comb all the fibres back as illustrated about 1 cm from the feather tip.

3
Tie in the CdC feather at the rear of the horizontal part of the hook shaft.

4
Cut a short length of foam cylinder and tie this in as a regular parachute post.

5
Attach your hackle pliers to the stem of the CdC feather and carefully wind this around the foam post as you would a regular parachute hackle.

6
Comb the CdC fibres that cover the hook eye back so they are not in the way and tie down the CdC feather.

7
Trim off the points of the CdC parachute hackle and use the surpluss to dub the thorax. You dont need much.

8
Finish with a couple of whip finishes and your All in One is finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Make a fast Buck.

Image

Buck-tail’s are not only great patterns to tie and fish but are making a huge comeback.

Here are a few of the most recent I have tied, I will follow-up this post soon with an in depth article about tying these beautiful flies and the use of Buck-tail.

ImageImageImage


The worm that turned!

The rag worm fly is without doubt one of the most difficult patterns to tie, but the rewards can be great!

The ragworms wedding as it is known, is called the springs most exciting adventure for the sea trout fisherman. And if you are lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, there is no danger for you not connecting with fish. Although ragworms are on the sea trouts menu the whole year round, its in the spring under the annual swarming that the sea trout will go on a feeding frenzy and gorge themselves on the worms.

The real deal.

There are many patterns known to sea trout fishermen to imitate the worm, some better than others, some simple to tie and some, not so simple to tie. I believe the original pattern from the tying bench of innovative Swedish fly tyer Robert Lai is still for me, without a doubt the best. Robert´s pattern is probably one of the most challenging patterns, many fly tyers will ever learn to tie, but the rewards are great.  No other worm pattern swims and pulsates in the water like his, imitating the natural swimming worm as closely as humanly possible with feather and steel.

Although we are not 100% sure, and thats not for lack of theories! But the spring swarming is due to the worms spawning season and seems to be triggered by two main factors. A rise in water temperature 6-7 degrees, and the arrival of a new lunar phase, (full moon) from anywhere  around mid March and into April.  The female ragworm broods her eggs within her long flattened body and as the eggs develop her body becomes brittle and eventually splits, releasing the eggs. The male ragworms are attracted to the egg laying by following pheromones, that are also released by the females. After spawning, both male and female ragworms die.

Ragg worm swarming can be very local in most situations, and it’s not easy to know where. Then you should look to the sky, beacause the greedy and forever hungry sea gulls can show you the way.  If you can see that screaming sea gulls are flocking and circle around a area of coast, this shows you where to fish – just like the pelicans when tarpon fishing. Consider  also when the strong spring sun has been high in the sky all day and warming up the shallow’s, especially with dark muddy bottoms. Most sea trout fishermen, including myself, prefer sight fishing during the day looking for rises as you fish systematically, possible holding spots in small bays and inlets as the tide rises and falls. But if you are, as most sea trout fishermen, hoping to connect with  larger fish that are normally wiser and more sceptical about entering the shallower coastal waters during the hours of daylight. These shallow areas retain the days heat during the first couple of hours of darkness.  It’s during this period that larger sea trout dare to venture into the shallows to feed.  You should fish at least a couple of hours into the night.

The pattern I have tied here started off, 15 years ago, as a direct copy of Robert´s original pattern, but over the years it has changed a little, but this had more to do with receding memory on my part, than anything to do with developing the pattern. But the basic original principal is still there and the pattern still works. There are a few rules one must follow when tying this pattern. The tail hook should be small and light in weight. Because the worm has an extremely flexible body, a larger and heavier tail hook has a tendency to “Hang-up” on the body under casting, which results in you fishing a ball of marabou with the hook out of-line.  A heavier tail hook also reduces the  animation and swimming motion of the worm by restricting the tail from lifting when the bead head sinks.  Another point is the central core of the fly, not the loop that you spun the marabou onto but the Dyneema spine that holds the front hook to the tail hook.  This is Alfa and Omega regarding the success of tying this pattern. If the spine is not securely attached to the front hook, you can risk loosing, not only the business end of your worm but also fish. So make sure that you tie this in as well as you can and don´t be afraid to use super glue.  The Latin name for the common ragworm is Nereis diversicolor, meaning they are quite variable in colour, but typically reddish brown and turning more on the green side during the spawning season.  So the rule for colour is that there is no rule, you can tie the worm in any colour you like! Personally I have found the two most successful colours for me are the one shown here and bright orange. And don´t forget that ragworms are on the sea trout menu the whole year, so don´t restrict your fishing with it just to the spring, it´s also a deadly pattern for regular trout fishing.

Hook Tail: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 8

Hook Head: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 6

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Central Core: Dyneema

Tail: Black and Olive brown marabou

Body: Black and Olive brown marabou

Head: Brass or Tungsten bead

1
Secure your salt water # 8 tail hook in the vice.

2
Cover the hook with a foundation of Dyneema tying thread. I use Dyneema because it is salt water resistant and weight for weight stronger than quality steel.

3
Select some fine tapered olive and black marabou and tie in the tail. Colour your Dyneema with a black waterproof felt pen.

4
Load two paper clips or a Marc Petitjean magic tool, one with black marabou and one with olive. Make sure that the marabou fibres are not too long.

5
Once you have loaded your paper clips make a dubbing loop that is 2.5 times the length of your paper clips. Make sure that you dubbing loop begins tight against the tail of the fly. Colour the dubbing loop black with a waterproof felt pen.

6
Holding the loop open with your left hand place in the black marabou.

7
Now you have to take care! Once the black marabou is trapped in between the dubbing loop make sure you dont release the tension. Otherwise all the marabou will fall out.

8
Whilst keeping the tension in the first marabou by holding the dyneema loop with your left forefinger and thumb place in the olive marabou approximately 1 cm further down the loop. Now retain the tension in the loop and let the bottom half hang over your forefinger. Spin the bottom half of the loop tight.

9
Once you have spun the bottom half, while keeping the tension in the loop, lift and pull your dubbing spinner off your finger and the upper half of the loop will spin automatically, catching the black marabou. You can now spin the whole loop to tighten the marabou securely.

10
While holding the loop out stretched and tight use an old tooth brush (not a metal dubbing brush! this will fray and weaken your Dyneema) to open out any trapped marabou fibres.

11
Hang your dubbing loop in a material spring or clip, so that it doesn´t unwind while you are working on the rest of the fly. Using a even stronger Dyneema, cut a 30 cm length and double it. Place the looped end through the tail hook eye as shown.

12
Now thread the two ends of the core Dyneema through the loop in the hook eye.

13
And pull tight. You can now place a little drop of super glue on the knot.

14
Colour the core Dyneema with a black waterproof felt pen and then lie it down on top of the spun dubbing loop.

15
While holding the Dyneema core and the dubbing loop in your right hand, catch the centre of the dubbing loop with the hook end of a whip finish tool.

16
Fold the dubbing loop over as shown towards the tail hook.

17
While holding the dubbing spinner in place with your left hand remove the whip finish tool from the loop. You will now see the loop spin automatically together. Secure the dubbing loop to the tail hook by tying down a small section, and then folding over the dyneema and tying down again (see stage 23). Repeat this until you are sure it is secure. Remove the access dyneema tying thread and carefully apply a drop of super glue to the whippings . Taking care not to get it on the marabou.

18
Find the core loop again and attach your whip finish tool. Now you should be able to slide the marabou dubbing loop down the core a little. Remove the hook from your vice.

19
Place a bead onto the # 6 shrimp hook and secure in the vice. Once in the vice place a few wrapping of lead wire behind the bead head. This extra weight gives a much better swimming action.

20
Using your thumb nail push the lead wire into the bead head.

21
Attach your tying thread and secure the lead wire and bead head.

22
Tie in the core of the fly as shown.

23
Once the first part of the core is attached apply a drop of super glue.

24
Fold over the core and tie down again. Apply another small drop of super glue.

25
Once you have secured the core slide the dubbing loop up and tie this down. Once you are happy that everything is in place apply another small drop of super glue.

26
Move your tying thread to the rear of the hook shaft and make another dubbing loop. Don´t forget to colour the dyneema black. Spin in some olive marabou.

27
Wind on the last dubbing loop, making sure that you stroke the marabou fibres back with each turn.

28
Take a few black marabou fibres and tie these in over the olive ones. Whip finish and apply a tiny drop of super glue through the eye of the bead.

29
Cut off the point of the front hook with a strong pair of pliers. Be careful with your eyes when doing this as the point comes off like a bullet.

Proof of the pudding!


Fly Tying with a gun.

A melt glue pistol can be purchased for the price of a pint!

 

Tying with melt glue does require a little more practice and patience than most regular materials. But the results can be rewarding! 

Virtual Minnow. realistic bait fish patterns are quick and easy to achieve with melt glue.

Melt glue is a material that one has to get used to using. Once its mastered, it can be put to use not only in developing new patterns but also as a substitute in existing ones. Melt glue guns come in various sizes from hobby to industrial, I find the hobby size not only the cheapest but also the easiest to employ. Another advantage with the hobby gun is the amount of different glue that is available.

Glue sticks are available in many colours and types,

Although I do use coloured glue, in most patterns I use the transparent or “regular” glue that can also be coloured with waterproof felt markers. The regular glue is also much easier to handle and shape than the coloured. In most cases, It has a lower melting temperature and a shorter drying time than the glues with added colour and glitter.

Molding bait fish bodies takes a little practice but the results are perfect every time.

Ant bodies take only a few seconds!

 

After tying with melt glue for over a decade and a half, nowadays Iuse my gun most to apply the glue, for patterns where a large amount of glue is required. Otherwise I melt the glue direct from the “glue stick” with a lighter, or I first cut the required amount of glue from the stick with scissors, hold one end of the glue fragment with needle nose tweezers and warm the other end with the lighter and apply it to the hook. I then continue to melt and form the glue with the lighter on the hook. The clear glue can also be coloured by applying a foundation of coloured tying thread over the hook shank before you apply the glue.

 

Transparent caddis pupa with olive melt glue.

Grayling Heroe trout egg is a combo of melt glue and Bug Bond.


Bug Bond Thunder Creek.

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

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

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

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

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

4
Turn your hook up side down in the vice.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Grayling Heroe-Trout egg

The ‘Grayling Heroe’ trout egg inspired by mr Bug Bond himself, David Edwards.

Apparently trout roe patterns have been working well for they Grayling guys in the UK recently. This ones for you.

I will be posting the full step by step for this quick and easy Bug Bond patterns soooon!


The worm that turned!

The rag worm fly is without doubt one of the most difficult patterns to tie, but the rewards can be great!

The ragworms wedding as it is known, is called the springs most exciting adventure for the sea trout fisherman. And if you are lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, there is no danger for you not connecting with fish. Although ragworms are on the sea trouts menu the whole year round, its in the spring under the annual swarming that the sea trout will go on a feeding frenzy and gorge themselves on the worms.

The real deal.

There are many patterns known to sea trout fishermen to imitate the worm, some better than others, some simple to tie and some, not so simple to tie. I believe the original pattern from the tying bench of innovative Swedish fly tyer Robert Lai is still for me, without a doubt the best. Robert´s pattern is probably one of the most challenging patterns, many fly tyers will ever learn to tie, but the rewards are great.  No other worm pattern swims and pulsates in the water like his, imitating the natural swimming worm as closely as humanly possible with feather and steel.

Although we are not 100% sure, and thats not for lack of theories! But the spring swarming is due to the worms spawning season and seems to be triggered by two main factors. A rise in water temperature 6-7 degrees, and the arrival of a new lunar phase, (full moon) from anywhere  around mid March and into April.  The female ragworm broods her eggs within her long flattened body and as the eggs develop her body becomes brittle and eventually splits, releasing the eggs. The male ragworms are attracted to the egg laying by following pheromones, that are also released by the females. After spawning, both male and female ragworms die.

Ragg worm swarming can be very local in most situations, and it’s not easy to know where. Then you should look to the sky, beacause the greedy and forever hungry sea gulls can show you the way.  If you can see that screaming sea gulls are flocking and circle around a area of coast, this shows you where to fish – just like the pelicans when tarpon fishing. Consider  also when the strong spring sun has been high in the sky all day and warming up the shallow’s, especially with dark muddy bottoms. Most sea trout fishermen, including myself, prefer sight fishing during the day looking for rises as you fish systematically, possible holding spots in small bays and inlets as the tide rises and falls. But if you are, as most sea trout fishermen, hoping to connect with  larger fish that are normally wiser and more sceptical about entering the shallower coastal waters during the hours of daylight. These shallow areas retain the days heat during the first couple of hours of darkness.  It’s during this period that larger sea trout dare to venture into the shallows to feed.  You should fish at least a couple of hours into the night.

The pattern I have tied here started off, 15 years ago, as a direct copy of Robert´s original pattern, but over the years it has changed a little, but this had more to do with receding memory on my part, than anything to do with developing the pattern. But the basic original principal is still there and the pattern still works. There are a few rules one must follow when tying this pattern. The tail hook should be small and light in weight. Because the worm has an extremely flexible body, a larger and heavier tail hook has a tendency to “Hang-up” on the body under casting, which results in you fishing a ball of marabou with the hook out of-line.  A heavier tail hook also reduces the  animation and swimming motion of the worm by restricting the tail from lifting when the bead head sinks.  Another point is the central core of the fly, not the loop that you spun the marabou onto but the Dyneema spine that holds the front hook to the tail hook.  This is Alfa and Omega regarding the success of tying this pattern. If the spine is not securely attached to the front hook, you can risk loosing, not only the business end of your worm but also fish. So make sure that you tie this in as well as you can and don´t be afraid to use super glue.  The Latin name for the common ragworm is Nereis diversicolor, meaning they are quite variable in colour, but typically reddish brown and turning more on the green side during the spawning season.  So the rule for colour is that there is no rule, you can tie the worm in any colour you like! Personally I have found the two most successful colours for me are the one shown here and bright orange. And don´t forget that ragworms are on the sea trout menu the whole year, so don´t restrict your fishing with it just to the spring, it´s also a deadly pattern for regular trout fishing.

Hook Tail: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 8

Hook Head: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 6

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Central Core: Dyneema

Tail: Black and Olive brown marabou

Body: Black and Olive brown marabou

Head: Brass or Tungsten bead

1
Secure your salt water # 8 tail hook in the vice.

2
Cover the hook with a foundation of Dyneema tying thread. I use Dyneema because it is salt water resistant and weight for weight stronger than quality steel.

3
Select some fine tapered olive and black marabou and tie in the tail. Colour your Dyneema with a black waterproof felt pen.

4
Load two paper clips or a Marc Petitjean magic tool, one with black marabou and one with olive. Make sure that the marabou fibres are not too long.

5
Once you have loaded your paper clips make a dubbing loop that is 2.5 times the length of your paper clips. Make sure that you dubbing loop begins tight against the tail of the fly. Colour the dubbing loop black with a waterproof felt pen.

6
Holding the loop open with your left hand place in the black marabou.

7
Now you have to take care! Once the black marabou is trapped in between the dubbing loop make sure you dont release the tension. Otherwise all the marabou will fall out.

8
Whilst keeping the tension in the first marabou by holding the dyneema loop with your left forefinger and thumb place in the olive marabou approximately 1 cm further down the loop. Now retain the tension in the loop and let the bottom half hang over your forefinger. Spin the bottom half of the loop tight.

9
Once you have spun the bottom half, while keeping the tension in the loop, lift and pull your dubbing spinner off your finger and the upper half of the loop will spin automatically, catching the black marabou. You can now spin the whole loop to tighten the marabou securely.

10
While holding the loop out stretched and tight use an old tooth brush (not a metal dubbing brush! this will fray and weaken your Dyneema) to open out any trapped marabou fibres.

11
Hang your dubbing loop in a material spring or clip, so that it doesn´t unwind while you are working on the rest of the fly. Using a even stronger Dyneema, cut a 30 cm length and double it. Place the looped end through the tail hook eye as shown.

12
Now thread the two ends of the core Dyneema through the loop in the hook eye.

13
And pull tight. You can now place a little drop of super glue on the knot.

14
Colour the core Dyneema with a black waterproof felt pen and then lie it down on top of the spun dubbing loop.

15
While holding the Dyneema core and the dubbing loop in your right hand, catch the centre of the dubbing loop with the hook end of a whip finish tool.

16
Fold the dubbing loop over as shown towards the tail hook.

17
While holding the dubbing spinner in place with your left hand remove the whip finish tool from the loop. You will now see the loop spin automatically together. Secure the dubbing loop to the tail hook by tying down a small section, and then folding over the dyneema and tying down again (see stage 23). Repeat this until you are sure it is secure. Remove the access dyneema tying thread and carefully apply a drop of super glue to the whippings . Taking care not to get it on the marabou.

18
Find the core loop again and attach your whip finish tool. Now you should be able to slide the marabou dubbing loop down the core a little. Remove the hook from your vice.

19
Place a bead onto the # 6 shrimp hook and secure in the vice. Once in the vice place a few wrapping of lead wire behind the bead head. This extra weight gives a much better swimming action.

20
Using your thumb nail push the lead wire into the bead head.

21
Attach your tying thread and secure the lead wire and bead head.

22
Tie in the core of the fly as shown.

23
Once the first part of the core is attached apply a drop of super glue.

24
Fold over the core and tie down again. Apply another small drop of super glue.

25
Once you have secured the core slide the dubbing loop up and tie this down. Once you are happy that everything is in place apply another small drop of super glue.

26
Move your tying thread to the rear of the hook shaft and make another dubbing loop. Don´t forget to colour the dyneema black. Spin in some olive marabou.

27
Wind on the last dubbing loop, making sure that you stroke the marabou fibres back with each turn.

28
Take a few black marabou fibres and tie these in over the olive ones. Whip finish and apply a tiny drop of super glue through the eye of the bead.

29
Cut off the point of the front hook with a strong pair of pliers. Be careful with your eyes when doing this as the point comes off like a bullet.

Proof of the pudding!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,520 other followers