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

Archive for September, 2013

Fly Tying Course # 20 The Stimulator Dry Fly

Stimulator-“Something that causes and encourages a given response” IMG_5163

Fly tying course # 20 already! For the many of you that have been following the course, although this fancy dry is a little challenging, if you have practiced, you should be more than capable of tying the stimulator. The only thing to remember is the proportions. If you get one wrong they will all be wrong! 

The original pattern is from the American fly tyer Randall Kaufmann and is probably one of the most popular flies in North America. Originally tied to imitates the adult giant stonefly, but will fish just as well as a hopper or caddis fly.

This well dressed pattern is for fishing rough fast flowing water,  where it can be seen easily at distance and it  floats like a cork. Stimulators are versatile, and although look difficult, are relatively easy to tie, again, it’s all about proportions!  By varying the size and colour, you can imitate most adult stoneflies. The Stimulator can also be tied with rubber legs, like Madam X. This is a great attractor pattern that will bring fish up to the top, when most other patterns fail! When fishing use the  same presentation as a caddis fly, streaking the stimulator over the water’s surface, especially in windy areas. Stimulators float well in rough water, but on calmer drifts, I find it fishes  better if you trim the hackle on the underside so that it  floats a little lower in the water, and strip it hard with short pauses through the surface over possible fish lies.

Hook:   Mustad curved nymph # 6 -12

Thread:  Dyneema

Tail:   Elk hair

Body:  Golden yellow Antron floss Body Hackle: Golden Badger or Furnace

Wing:   Elk hair and crystal hair fibers Dubbing

Thorax: Golden Stone

Hackle: Grizzle

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Secure your curved nymph/ terrestrial hook in the vice.


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Run the tying thread along the hook shank until it hangs level with the barb of the hook.



Cut and clean a small small bunch of elk hair in for the tail, this doesn’t flare as much as winter deer hair. Tie in directly above the hook barb.


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Tie the elk hair down along the hook shank as shown.  This will give you a good foundation and volume for your floss body.

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Tie in the hackle at the base of the tail. The best is to use a good saddle hackle so you have the volume required.

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About one third of the way along the hook shank tie in a length of golden yellow Antron floss.

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Run the floss back towards the tail base and forward again building up a tapered body as you go. Tie off the floss.

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Wind the hackle, palmered style, about 7 or eight even turns.  When you reach the thorax tie off and remove the excess hackle.

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Cut another bunch of elk hair, this time a little larger for the wing. Before you stack it be sure to remove ALL the under fur and shorter hairs. You may have to stack it a few times to achieve this.

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If you stack the elk hair for the wing in a small diameter stacker the hair will ‘fall’ into its natural curve.

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Before you tie in the elk hair wing, tie in two or three strands of golden yellow crystal hair.

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Now tie in the elk hair, first with a couple of loose turns of tying thread and then tighter as you wind forward towards the hook eye. Trim off the excess deer hair and cover the butt ends with tying thread.

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Prepare and tie in a grizzle cock hackle at the base of the wing. This hackle should be long enough for six or seven turns.

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Dub the thorax with golden stone dubbing in a cone shape as shown. Make sure that you make a few turns of dubbing around the base of the wing, this will lower it and give the correct profile.

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Wind on your grizzle hackle in nice even turns. Tie off and whip finish.  Your completed golden stimulator!



Foils rush in where angels fear to tread

Keeping on the salt water theme for sea trout, heres another sand eel pattern that mixes the new with the old.


When designing bait fish patterns, a few things I consider are the shape and silhouette of the fish to be imitated. This is important as you never know if the fish will see it, when fished, in a reflected or backlight situation. The size and colour, and last but not least movement. All these can be achieved with a careful selection of materials. I sometimes also like to give the patterns a three dimensional effect. I achieve this through building layers. This is made much easier with Bug Bond.

Observe the bait fish that you wish to imitate, take a close look at it, there are many great websites that have fantastic photography, illustrations and films of these bait fish. Try and decide the most distinguishing features and characteristics of them. Once you have done this choose materials that best represent these features in colour and movement.  After a while you better understand the materials you work with and the choices become easier.

Hook    Mustad Big Game light # 6-4

Thread   Dyneema

Underbody   Craft fur

Body    Buck tail topped with peacock herl

Sides   Green and blue grizzle cock hackles

Cheeks  Fleye foils

Head tube   E-Z Body

Head  Bug Bond

Eyes   Tape eyes

Place you Big Game light hook in the vice, keeping the hook shank horizontal.


Attach you tying thread to the front third of the hook shank.


Tie in a length of tapered craft fur. Its important that you brush out the fibers of the craft fur before you tie it in. The craft fur will give a little movement to the body of the fly when fished.


Now a nice bunch of straight whit buck tail under the craft fur.  The generic name for deer tails has become ‘buck tails’ even if they have come from a doe deer which generally have a little shorter fibers, so be sure when buying buck tail choose the ones with nice long straight hair. The buck tail tied in this way will help support the craft fur and keep it in position.


Now cover the craft fur with a bunch of brown buck tail. Once this is done you can place a drop of varnish on the whippings just to strengthen them.


On top of the buck tail tie in four or five lengths of peacock herl. The best herl for this is found just under the eye of the peacock tail feather. Make these a little longer than the buck tail.



Select two green cock hackles and tie in on the sides.


Vail the green hackles with two blue dyed grizzle hackles a little shorter than the the green ones.


Whip finish and remove your tying thread. Take a short length of E-Z Body and thread this over the head of the fly.


Re attach your tying thread and tie down the E-Z Body behind the hook eye.


Take another three or four strands of peacock herl and tie in for the topping.


Select the correct size of Fleye foil for the hook size.


Using the short tab on the foil, tie them in, one each side.


Whip finish and remove the tying thread. Holding down the peacock herl topping apply a little bug bond to the head.


Cure the Bug Bond with the UV light. You can then build a few thin layers of Bug Bond over the whole head until you achieve the correct size and shape.


Apply the tape eyes and give one last coat of Bug Bond. Once the fly is finished, wet your fingers and soak the wing, while stroking it backwards. This will hold the wing in the correct shape and dry this way ready for use.

Essential sea trout patterns for the autumn

Hip, Hip and Hurrah ! The autumn sea trout season is just around the corner, and as I can see from the search engine terms on the blog, I am not the only one itching to get back into the salt. No less than 70% of all searches at the moment, are regarding sea trout flies and sea trout fishing in the salt !


So I bow to popular demand and will be publishing a few posts over the next few weeks covering essential patterns for salt water sea trout fishing. Visitors that find themselves on other parts of the globe dont dismay!  Although many of these patterns where designed specifically for fishing in Norther Europe, I am in no doubt that not only the techniques will be of interest, but there is no reason that they will also work on other species in both fresh and salt water. 

IMG_90811 Proppen

I’ll start with my most successful pattern. I dont know how many of these I have tied in the past couple of years, but it is in the thousands! Just about everyone who has ordered the fly from me come back for more.  You can see the full step by step and fishing techniques:

IMG_09422 The Awesome Opossum

A larger shrimp pattern for attracting larger fish. The AO has also worked extremely well for me the last few seasons when larger patterns and more movement are required to trigger fish into taking. Although a more technical pattern to tie it’s well worth learning the technique:

00023 The Virtual Minnow

I have been using this pattern since the mid nineties and is a great go-to pattern when nothing is happening in the surface and blind fishing is the order of the day. One of the great things with this pattern is its flexibility of size and colour, the combinations of wing and body colour and size are endless.


4 Foil Gammarus

This gammarus pattern probably represents the most common food stuff of the sea trout, no matter the time of year you will always find these small shrimps on the sea trout menu. This is one of my more recent patterns, so I haven’t really had much time fishing it, but the results so far are promising! For the full step by steps on a couple of variations:

If you have any questions regarding sea trout patterns, techniques or materials please dont hesitate to send me a message.

I will be posting four more patterns for sea trout over the weekend, so sign up to receive each post as they are published.

The Autumn is upon us.

Hi, I am now back from a weeks fishing with Marc petitjean and Neil Patterson on the Kvennan beat of the river Glomma here in Norway.  We had a great week with lots of grayling on dry fly, up-to 45 cm. I will be posting a full rapport from this trip later.

Heres a snap of Neil doing his thing…


And Marc doing his…


Just to keep you up to date, hunting has started here and the first opportunity I get (the next deer I shoot) I will be doing a step by step tutorial on skinning and preparing the most useful parts of the skin and deer mask. I will also be reviewing some groovy new tools and materials.


With regard to the salt water sea trout fishing here in Scandinavia and the start of the autumn season, I will also be doing a piece, most likely tomorrow, on the patterns every sea trout fisherman shouldn’t go fishing without.  I will also be posting the next stage in the fly tying course.


The feather bender