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Archive for February 7, 2013

FisHeadz Mackerel

Mackerel 1

Back to the tying bench again, this time with a salt water pattern. I must say, Its nice to see that salt water materials being made in smaller sizes, not just for the monster warm water fish across the pond. These FisHeadz from Deer creek in the UK , are perfect in the two smallest sizes for salt water fishing in Europe, for both bass in the south and sea trout here in the North.


I still haven’t had much time to play with these, I’v only tied half a dozen flies with them, but they are that easy to use, that I’v been relatively pleased with all of them, which is unusual ! Anyway if you are tying salt water patterns you have just got to give these a go they give the flies a real edge. But beware, one of the flies I tied wasn’t up to par, and when I came to attach the fisHeadz, it was like putting lipstick on a gorilla!  Without doubt it would still catch fish, but if you want flies tied with fisheadz to look good, the rest of the fly has to be as good as the headz.

This is an extremely quick pattern to tie, the only thing you really have to be careful with is the proportions and quantities of materials.

Hook: Mustad 60004NP-NZ # 12

Tying thread: Dyneema

Wing: Ultra hair and buck tail

Sides: Blue grizzle hackle

Head: Deer Creek Blue jay sand eel headz coated with Bug Bond



Secure your salt water hook in the vice.



Take about 10 strands of transparent Ultra hair and tie in, about three times the length of the hook shaft. This stiffer synthetic hair will give the wing of the fly support and structure.



Now cut a small bunch of straight white buck tail, you only need about 15 strands, this will give the wing a little more volume but keep it light and mobil when it swims. Remove all the underfur and shorter hairs from the bunch. I didn’t stack this hair because I wanted the very tail of the pattern to be broken up, and not too uniform. Tie this in on top of the Ultra hair.



Now select two dyed blue grizzle hackles and prepare by stripping off the base of the stems and cutting both down to the correct length. Tie in one each side over the under wing.



Place your Fisheadz one each side in the correct position, they are sticky backed so they will stay there. Once right just make a couple of turns of tying thread to hold them steady.



Whip finish and remove the tying thread. Give the whole head a coat with Bug Bond and cure with the UV light.



For the last stage I have added additional hi-viz tape eyes, just to give the head a little more three dimensional feel, if thats possible?



Heres a sand eel tied with FisHeadz.


Fly tying course # 5 Dry Fly Adult caddis

X Caddis

X Caddis

X Caddis

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

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

This next fly in the course is the X Caddis. This is a no hackle dry fly that floats extremely well because of the natural buoyancy of the deer hair and Antron tail.

Hook: Mustad R50 94840 # 10-18

Thread: Dyneema

Tail: Cream coloured Poly yarn or Z-Lon

Body: Light Olive Antron dubbing

Wing/head: Deer hair

I can´t recommend the X-caddis enough. No grayling or trout fisherman should be without this pattern in their fly box. The original from John Juraceks and Craig Mathews was intended as a hatching caddis fly that is skating across the surface trying to escape from the nymphal skin that is trailing behind it, before it flies to freedom.  This pattern has taken fish for me all over the globe, in all kinds of conditions and not only during caddis hatches but also under extremely selective feeding during mayfly hatches and midge fishing. The high flared deer hair wing and head, position the low profile no hackle body, so perfectly in the surface film that grayling just can´t resist it.  I have had most success with this pattern in the smaller hook sizes from # 16-18. When tying these smaller sizes I prefer to use the finer hair from the roe deer mask.  This hair is nicely marked and extremely fine even for the smallest patterns, and only flares to 45 degrees unlike the more buoyant body hair that will flare to 90 degrees.  Although you can tie the X-caddis in various body colours I have found the one shown here the most effective.

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.



Make sure that when you secure your hook in the vice that the hook shank is horizontal. Cover the hook shank with a layer of tying thread.



Cut a very small piece of cream coloured crimped polypropylene yarn or Z-Lon (material from John Betts) Tie this in where the hook bend begins as shown. You dont need much, this is going to represent the nymph skin trailing behind the hatching caddis. It should be about half the hook shaft length.



Wind your tying thread back to the tail base. Spin a thin dubbing string onto the tying thread and wind tightly forward.



Wind the dubbing forward so that you get a slightly increasing body thickness as you approach the hook eye. Leave 2-3 mm behind the hook eye so you have room for the wing and head. Make a whip finish, but dont remove the tying thread.



Cut a small bunch with fine deer hair and even the points in a hair stacker if you have one. If you dont have a hair stacker try and get the points of the hair as even as possible. Holding the hair measure the wing by holding the hair on top of the hook shank. The wing should be a fraction longer than the body.



While still holding the deer hair make two loose turns of tying thread around the wing and hook shank, still holding the deer hair, then tighten by pulling down. Make 5 or 6 tight turns of tying thread as shown.

X Caddis


With a pair of sharp scissors cut off the excess deer hair over the hook eye with one neat cut as shown. Make a couple of whip finishes and your X caddis is ready. You can also put a tiny drop of varnish just on the whippings.