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

Archive for August, 2013

Fly Tying Course # 19 The G & H Sedge

The G & H Sedge or Goddard Caddis

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The G & H sedge, as it was originally named was created by John Goddard and Cliff Henry.  John Goddard who died last December was one of the great innovators of fly tying. This is a small tribute to one of, if not, his most famous patterns.

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The dressing and style of tying I demonstrate here, is taken from the 1977 re-print of his 1969  book ‘Trout flies of still-water’.  

Original recipe

Hook:  Long-shank 8-10

Tying Silk: Green

Underbody: Dark green seals fur

Body: Natural deer hair 

Hackle: Two rusty dun cock hackles

Antennae: The two stripped butts of the hackles.

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1.

Secure your hook in the vice, ensure that the hook shank is horizontal.

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2.

Attach your tying thread and run the whole way down to the end of the shank.

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3.

Make a short dubbing loop for spinning the seals fur under belly of the fly.

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4.

Apply a little dubbing wax to the tying thread and spin just a little dark green seals fur tight in the dubbing loop. You only need a dubbing brush a little longer than the hook shank.

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5.

The G&H sedge requires good dense winter hair from the roe deer.

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6.

once you have cut a small bunch of deer hair carefully remove the underfur with a dubbing comb or old tooth brush. This is very important! If you dont remove the under fur you will restrict the spinning and flaring ability of the hair.

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7.

Now using a hair stacker even the butts of the hair bunch NOT the points. Once even place the hair stacker on top of the hook shank and tie in the deer hair. Keeping the seals fur dubbing brush out of the way.

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8.

Once the first bunch is tied in, repeat with a little smaller bunch. But note, if you would like to tie the original G&H you dont pack the stacked hair, just keep it tight but open.

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9.

Tie in another even smaller and shorter bunch of deer hair.

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10.

And now the last and smallest bunch. Make sure that you leave enough space for the hackle and head between the hook eye and deer hair.

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11.

Make a whip finish before you start trimming. If you find it easier you can remove the tying thread here for the trimming and re attach it later.

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12.

I find the easiest way to trim the G&H is by using long straight scissors that i rest on the hook eye at the correct angle and trim around the whole body. Take care not to cut the dubbing brush!

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13.

Once the body is the correct shape turn your fly up side down in the vice and draw the dubbing brush over the underside of the body.

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14.

Tie down the dubbing brush and remove the excess. Whip finish. Turn your fly the correct way in the vice again.

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15.

Using long flat scissors make one cut at the rear of the fly at a slight angle.

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16.

Prepare two rusty dun cock hackles by stripping the stems and tie in as shown. Make sure that the stems are long enough for the antennas.

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17.

Bring both the hackle stems forward and tie down over the hook eye. Before you begin winding on the hackles make a few wraps of tying thread over the hook shank and hackle stems to make a good even foundation. This will ensure the hackle stands correct when wound.

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18.

Wind on you hackles one at a time. First the rear  hackle should be wound a couple of turns backwards into the deer hair body and then forward to the hook eye and tied off. The second hackle is the wound in between the first but just forward. Whip finish.

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19.

Carefully trim off all the hackle points on top of the hook at the same angle as the deer hair body. The finished G&H sedge.

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20.

This is a more modern version of the G&H with a tight packed deer hair body and full traditional dry fly hackle.

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Fly Tying course # 18 Flying Mutantz

Flying Mutantz

After much response regarding my Mutantz pattern I published last year, here is the new and improved Flying Mutant that has fished extremely well for me this year, with a few new techniques that can be applied to other patterns. 

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On the warmest summer days the temperature rises in the south facing ant hills and triggers the annual swarming.  Ants are not good flyers, so they leave the nest in large numbers to increase the chances of establishing a new colony. When they take to the wing they are at the mercy of the wind and end up where it takes them.

If they are unlucky and land on water, in any numbers! the fish go into a feeding frenzy. In extreme situations I have experienced that the trout will take just about any fly that is presented for them. But other times they can be so selective that they will only take the perfect pattern with the right silhouette, colour and behavior. Therefor its important to to have a good imitation too hand, and a more realistic ant imitation than this is difficult to find. Without of course going way over the realistic boundaries and tying a ultra realistic pattern.  This is after all a fishing fly! Here I have made the two most characteristic body parts with melt glue, that shine just like the natural in the summer sun. You can also colour one half black and the other red, I have found that this works under most swarming situations for both black and red ants.

 

If you omit the wings and dont dress the fly, it has a in built drowning affect.  Right after an ant has crash landed on the water and it begins to struggle the rear body part (abdomen)  begins to sink, while it’s legs and wings hold it afloat a short while.  If you are going to fish this pattern ‘dry’ I recommend that you that you impregnate it well with a  floatant.

 

IMG_2618Melt glue  can be obtained, not only in black and red but a whole load of colours.

 

Hook: Mustad R50X NP-BR # 12-18 http://www.mustad.no/catalog/emea/product.php?id=2285

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Body: Black melt glue

Wing : White or blue dun CdC

Hackle: Black cock

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1.

Take a black melt glue stick and using a craft knife blade cut a small disc from the end of the stick.

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2.

Once you have tied a few Mutantz the size of the disc needed will become more apparent to the hook size used.

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3.

Cut the disc in half and then cut 1/3rd from the remaining 2/3rds. These two parts will make the larger rear half of the body and the smaller head.

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4.

Secure you dry fly hook in the vice. Make sure that the hook shaft is horizontal.

Make sure that you have the glue for the rear part of the body close at hand. Warm the hook shank with a lighter. This doesn’t take much time just a second or so. This quick warm up of the hook will not effect its tempering! 

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5.

While the hook is warm, stick the glue piece to the hook in the correct position for the rear of the ant body.

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6.

When the bit of black glue is stuck to the hook prepare your vice for rotation and keep one hand on the rotation handle of your vice. You can now proceed to warm and melt it slowly with the lighter. Dont use a direct flame on the glue this will overheat it and cause it to run and not flow, just hold the flame close to the glue. Once the glue is warm and begins to melt it will naturally flow around the hook shaft. 

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7.

While the glue is viscous you will have to rotate your hook to get the melt glue body distributed correctly around the hook shank and achieve the perfect body shape. Make sure that the rear body segment doesn’t hang too low and too far forward that it closes the hook gape and impairs hooking. Depending on what type of glue you are using the hardening time is only a few seconds. Once you have become more apt in using melt glue you can shorten the hardening time by blowing on the glue while rotating.

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8.

The rear of the body is now finished.

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9.

Once the rear part of the body has set you can repeat the process. But take car not to warm the front of the hook shank too much! this will also heat the rear again.

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10.

Attach the smaller piece of melt glue just behind the hook eye.

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11.

Once the glue is attached carefully warm the glue with the lighter and repeat the process for the head.

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12.

The finished ant body parts.

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13.

This is an easy technique I developed to form quick and perfect CdC wings every time. Take a small diameter tube fly tube and cut about one cm of tube.

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14.

Select a CdC hackle with long fibers and stroke the fibers 90 degrees from the shaft of the hackle.

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15.

Now stroke the rear fibers back and hold in position. 

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16.

Trim off the point of the CdC hackle as shown.

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17.

Place the short tube section over the shaft of the CdC hackle.

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18.

Slide the tube back along the hackle stem to form the wing.

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19.

Attach your tying thread to the hook shank and wind back towards the rear body part.

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20.

Now with the tube still over the hackle offer the wing up to the hook shank and tying thread.

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21.

Tie in your CdC wing with a few turns of tying thread.

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22.

Once secure trim off the excess CdC and the point of the hackle.

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23.

Repeat the process for the second wing. One of the advantages with this type of wing is that the open fibers of the CdC hackle will allow air to pass through it when casting, unlike hackle point wings that have a tendency to work as propellers when casting and twist the tippet.

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24.

Now select a cock hackle and draw put the end fibers.

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25.

Trim off the fibers, leaving only a small amount. This will give the tying thread more purchase.

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26.

Tie in the the hackle at the wing base.

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27.

Wind the hackle quite dense forward to the ant head and tie off.

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28.

Whip finish and remove the excess hackle and tying thread.

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29.

The Mutant from above.

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30.

The Mutant from below. 

 

 

 


Fly Tying Course # 17 Chernobyl Ant

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This pattern was the product of Rainey Riding’s imagination after the Chernobyl atomic plant accident.

Resembling an ant, only in the weirdest imagination, this is a great stimulator pattern.

The CCFS (closed cell foam sheet) used in this ant floats like a cork, and the 8 rubber legs dance a jitter bug across the surface of the water.

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I first encountered the Chernobyl ant many years ago, while visiting a fly fishing shop in Toronto Canada, called Skinners. I enquired about good patterns for Brook trout in the north, they said that I would only need one fly, the Chernobyl Ant… When I was shown the pattern, I immediately thought… Oh a typical American larger than life, synthetic affair.

But while fishing for Brookies in the north, I must admit that it wasn’t the only pattern that worked, but it was without doubt, the one that worked best.

This is not at all a complicated pattern to tie, but it must be tied in the correct order and manner. This is not only a great surface attractor for Brook trout but must species that surface feed. So try it on rainbows and salt water sea trout as a night lure.

Chernobyl Ant

Hook: Mustad R79NP-BR  9 X long # 6-8 http://www.mustad.no/catalog/emea/product.php?id=2290

Thread: Dyneema or other gel spun thread

Under body: Yellow CCFS  http://www.veniard.com/product1537/section141/closed-cell-foam-sheet

Over body: Black CCFS  http://www.veniard.com/product1537/section141/closed-cell-foam-sheet

Legs: Barred rubber legs Medium http://www.veniard.com/product2574/section172/

Hi-Vis indicator: Yellow razor foam

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1

Cut two strips of CCFS about 6 mm wide and 7 cm long.

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2

Before you secure your streamer hook in the vice thread the lower yellow foam onto the hook as shown.

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3

Swing the foam around to one side and attach your tying thread, running it all the way so it hangs just over the barb of the hook.

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4

Swing the foam around so that it lies under the hook shank. Squeeze the foam around the hook shank and make 5 or 6 turns with tying thread to make the first body segment. Be careful not to pull too tight or you will cut the foam!

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5

Place the black foam strip on top of the yellow and tie in on the same position again with 5 or 6 turns.

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6

Take a long length of rubber legs and fold it in half.  Tie this in on top of the black foam, this time you can increase the pressure of the tying thread.

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7

Using scissors cut the front loop of the legs in the centre.

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8

Now grip the two legs on the side nearest to you and carefully pull down until they ‘snap’ into position between the groove between the black and yellow foam. Repeat with the legs on the back side.

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9

While holding both the black and yellow foam back, as shown, wind your tying thread about 5 mm along the hook shank.

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10

Now lift up the yellow foam and make 5 or 6 turns of tying thread to complete the first body segment.

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11

Repeat stages 9 and ten for the next body segment.

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12

Continue until you have made 5 or 6 evenly sized body segments finishing 5 mm behind the hook eye.

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13

Now pull down the black over body foam and secure with tying thread in the same position as the last body segment.

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14

Tie inn another set of legs following the same procedure as before.

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15

If you would like to make your Chernobyl ant easier too see at a distance or in low light, you can tie inn a small section of bright foam as shown, as a Hi-Vis indicator. Holding both ends of the Hi-Vis indicator trim it down to size, and whip finish.

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16

Trim the tail and head of your ant as shown here.

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17

Your finished Chernobyl Ant is ready to dance.


Fly tying course # 16 The model Nymph

Pheasant tail Nymph variant

Apologies, apologies, and more apologies dear friends… Its been a busy summer and posting has had to take a lesser priority in the last few weeks, for photography and fishing.  But I am back and will be posting regularly again! 

My first post is # 16 in the fly tying course and is the model nymph, the basic pattern for most, if not all nymphs.  For those of you that are new to the website, you can find the previous 15 courses in earlier posts. If you have any questions regarding this or other posts, materials, hooks or anything fly tying related please dont hesitate to contact me, and i’ll do my best to help.

Cheers

The feather bender

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The original pheasant tail nymph came from the vice of legendary English fly tyer and fishermen Frank Sawyer around 1930. He designed the pheasant tail nymph to imitate may fly nymphs (Baetis) on the southern English river Avon, where he was river keeper. Sawyer’s original pattern used only pheasant tail fibers and fine copper wire instead of normal tying thread, to give the pattern extra weight. Although this is an excellent imitation of the swift swimming Baetis nymphs in little larger sizes it also works as an all round nymph for blind fishing.

With only only three materials, and tying thread needed for this pattern it still helps to choose the right materials. At first glance, one pheasant tail feather, looks like any other pheasant tail feather, or does it? Take a look at the pheasant tail feathers I chose at random from my materials, and you will see they are very different! Not only does the background colour and shading on each tail differ immensely but the black chevrons vary from light to dark and thin to thick. But probably the most important factor is fiber length. Normally the best marked feathers with the longest fiber length are found center top of the tail.

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So remember when buying pheasant tails dont just take the first one you see in the shop, look through them all and find the best for the flies you intend to tie. Examine the feather, is the tip all dirty and worn ? if so its probably come from a domestically bred bird. The best tail feathers are generally from wild birds. Check if the feather is clean and has a nice glossy sheen to it and all the fibers are in place. You should also avoid tail feathers with insect damage. This can easily be seen as a thin transparent line that runs 90 degrees from the feather shaft through the fibers, where the insect has eaten the feathers barbules.

Hook: Mustad S82NP # 18-10

Thread: Olive

Tail: Pheasant tail fibers

Abdomen: Pheasant tail fibers

Rib: Fine copper wire

Thorax: Peacock herl

Wing case: Pheasant tail fibers

Legs: Pheasant tail fibers

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1

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

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2

Attach your tying thread and run a foundation over the whole hook shank, until the thread hangs approximately vertically  with the hook barb.

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3

Firstly find a tail feather with nice long fibers. To get all the points of the pheasant tail fibers even for the tail, take a small bunch in between your finger and thumb and slowly pull them away from the shaft of the feather until all the points are level.

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4

Now still holding the bunch tight so the points remain level cut them away from the feather shaft with one swift cut.

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5

Tie in the tail fibers on top of the hook shank. Three turns of tying thread over the tail and two under. The tail should be approximately 2/3 of the hook shank length.

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6

Cut a 10 cm length of fine copper wire.

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7

Tie in the copper wire the whole length of the hook shank, finishing just before the tail base.

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8

Before you start to wind on the abdomen take your copper wire and swing it under and onto the back side of the hook, as shown. Before you commence wrapping the peasant tail fibers to form the abdomen make sure that ALL the fibers are parallel with each other! Not twisted.

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9

Once you have wrapped the fibers 2/3 the length of the hook shank Tie them off as shown with 4 or 5 tight turns of tying thread over the fibers and the two in front of the the fibers on the hook shank. This will lock the tying thread and stop it from slipping.

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10

Take the copper wire and firstly take one turn in the opposite direction you wound the fibers, around the tail base tight into the abdomen, and then 4 or 5 open turns to form the rib. Once you come to the remaining tuft of fibers at the thorax make several tight turns of wire along the remaining hook shank. Stopping about 3 mm from the hook eye.

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11

Trim off the tuft of fibers and cover the bare copper wire with a layer of tying thread.

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12

Now cut another bunch of tail fibers and tie them on a little way into the abdomen on top of the hook shank.

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13

Cut two peacock herls from just under the eye of the peacock tail feather. The herl found here is much stronger than lower on the tail feather.

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14

Trim off the excess fibers from the wing case. Tie in the peacock herls, point first and cover the ends with tying thread towards the hook eye.

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15

Take both peacock herls at the same time and wrap them over the whole thorax making sure they dont twist and cross each other. Tie off behind the hook eye and cut off the excess.

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16

Cut a small bunch of pheasant tail fibers and tie in as shown, just behind the hook eye on the side of the thorax.

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17

Trim off the excess fiber and repeat step 16 on the other side of the thorax.

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18

Now take the bunch of pheasant tail fibers you tied in for the wing case, and fold them over the thorax. Again taking care to make sure that all the fibers are parallel and dont cross over each other.

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19

Trim off the fibers over the hook eye, about the same length as the hook eye and whip finish. Remove the tying thread and coat the whippings with a small drop of varnish.

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20

The finished pheasant tail nymph as seen from above, note the symmetry in the tail, body wing case and legs.


Running with scissors.

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Throughout my many years tying flies, I quickly understood that one of the most important tools are the scissors you use. During this time I have accumulated several dozen pairs of scissors, in all forms, shapes and sizes, but if I am honest, I have only four scissors that are constantly in use. 

 

1. A pair of small extra fine pointed cuticle scissors for all the small detailed work and thread.

2. A General purpose serrated scissors for cutting tinsel, wire and heavier gauge materials.

3. A pair of long bladed straight scissors for larger jobs like preparing materials for dubbing loops.

4. A medium pair of sharp pointed serrated scissors for deer hair work.

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A few weeks ago I received these Stainless Steel Dovo Embroidery Scissors from Chris Helm at whitetail fly tying in the US.  They have a Pewter satin finish and fine points for close and accurate work. The scissors measure 4″ – 10 cm in overall length and have double serrated blades that are so sharp they are sticky! 

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After getting round to trying them, I am now convinced that these are without doubt, the best fly tying scissors I have ever used! The points are ultra fine and extremely sharp, making even the smallest and most delicate cutting job a joy. The double serrated blades cut precisely from the very point and through the whole length of the blades. They even cope with ease on more difficult materials such as Dyneema (Gel spun thread) and are excellent for modeling deer hair. Just opening and closing the blades oozes quality, its like closing the door on a Bentley, you can feel and hear, it doesn’t get any better than this!

 

If you are serious about your fly tying and want every cut to count these are the scissors for you!

And at $42.95 per pair they are a great long time investment.

 

These scissors are made in Germany by Solingen master grinders under the most rigid control from the finest hot-forged steel, resulting in scissors that are strong but never bulky. The forging process compacts the molecules so that the scissors stay sharp longer. These fine embroidery scissors will provide you with many years of beautiful service. 

 

For more details contact:


“The foil speaks, the wise man listens”

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After many requests regarding my Gammarus pattern and where to obtain the foils heres a up dated re post with a little more info.

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This photo was taken last week, while on a fishing trip to Shetland. Some of the small Lochs had huge amounts of gammarus and the fish refused everything else! Every fish we took in such Lochs where full to the gills with these small fresh water shrimp. Having a good imitative pattern proved to be seriously effective!

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The fish that where feeding on Gammarus where in exceptional condition!

Some of you may have seen, that a couple of weeks ago I received some shrimp foils from ‘the fly people’ in Germany to test, they where very successful. After playing a little with them I reversed one and tied a gammarus pattern as this is one of my post productive for salt water sea trout. When Lutz, from the fly people saw my pattern, he asked what I would change on the shrimp foil to make it a gammarus foil ? I went straight to the drawing board and made him a sketch. Yesterday these prototypes arrived.

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 This is a photo I took while fishing of the contents of a sea trout’s stomach, need I say more !

There where only six foils on the sheet so I haven’t had so much practice or opportunity to play around with the design but this is the result so far. If you would like more info about the foils or to order some, you can send an e mail to: theflypeople@web.de

Hook:  Mustad C67SNP-BR # 12-6 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=326

Tying thread:  Olive

Feelers:  Pheasant tail fibers

Rib:  Fine copper wire

Shell back:  Gammarus foil http://www.theflypeople.com/

Shell back coating:  Bug Bond  http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/

Under body: Virtual nymph Seals fur http://www.virtual-nymph.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=1&Itemid=26

Legs:  Pheasant tail fibers

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Secure your hook in the vice, make sure its horizontal.

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Run tying thread along the whole hook shank and down into the bend.

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Make a small dubbing loop at the tail of the hook.

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Load a Petitjean magic tool with pheasant tail fibers, you only need a few for the beard so use the smallest tool.

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Wax your tying thread, and run your tying thread to the hook eye. Spin the pheasant tail fibers in the dubbing loop.

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Wind on the dubbing brush, making sure that you brush all the peasant tail fibers out with each turn so you dont tie them down wrongly. Tie off the dubbing brush.

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Select the right size foil for your hook size.

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Remove the foil from the sheet.

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Tie in the foil by the small tag at the base of the feelers.

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Make another dubbing loop a little larger this time and hang out of the way on your vices material clip.

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Tie in a length of fine copper wire. This should be a few mm up from the dubbing loop as shown. This is so your first turn of rib will be in the correct position in respect to the foil later.

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Dubb the whole body with seals fur. First a couple of turns under the copper wire and the over. The gammarus body should taper from thick to thin as you approach the hook eye.

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Spin a larger amount than before of peasant tail fibers in the rear dubbing loop. Remember to keep them short. Wind in an open spiral to form the legs.

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Tie of the dubbing brush at the head of the fly and brush down the legs each side of the body.

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Now fold over the foil and tie down so it sits tight over the whole body of the shrimp.

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Now wrap the copper wire rib in between each plate segment on the foil. But as you go brush out the leg fibers with each turn so you dont trap them and tie the down flat. Tie off the copper wire at the head of the fly.

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You can now colour your shell back if required with a waterproof felt pen.

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Give the whole shell back foil a coat with Bug Bond. If your careful you can do each segment at a time to give it a more three dimensional effect. Rough up the fibers in the feelers and legs with a tooth brush.

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The finished Gammarus.