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

Archive for June, 2014

Pseudo Spinner

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


Place your hook in the vice as shown.

Select some nice Coq de Leon hackle fibers.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

The dry coated quill body.

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

Tie in your two CDC wings pointing slightly forward.

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

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

View from above of the finished thorax.

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


















Sim Fly festival – Castel di Sangro Italy

Early tomorrow I will be leaving for the SIM fly festival in the small mountain village of Castel di Sangro in Italy.

I will be demonstrating tying small deer hair dry flies on the 21st and 22nd, along with some other great tyres at the Italian museum of fly fishing.


If you are around its well worth a visit, its a great festival, great town and the Sangro is one great river with some huge trout!

Ciao !


Elasticaddis in the house!

The elasticaddis is a Impressionistic larva house built from rubber legs.

House building caddis larva are available in most waters all year round, and are an important segment of the diet of trout and grayling.  There are many techniques that have been developed over the years from fly tying benches all over the world to imitate the house of the caddis larva, but this technique really gives the right impression.  This is a pattern I believe was developed in the US, but other than that I cant find any other information about it.  The great thing about this pattern is if you trim the rubber legs close to the body you get the impression of a caddis larva house built out of gravel, but if you spin the rubber legs not so tight and trim them a little longer it makes for a great house made of vegetation and sticks.  Also the rubber gives that extra needed weight when you need to get down deep and not least extremely durable.

You may find that this isn´t the easiest pattern to tie at the first attempt as the rubber legs seem to have a life of their own, but after a few attempts is no more difficult then any other pattern.  Try mixing colours and rubber types to achieve different effects.

Hook Mustad R72NP-BR # 12-6 with Bead head

Tying thread Dyneema

Body Rubber legs

Collar CdC

Head Course antron dubbing

Place a bead head on hook and your hook in the vice.

Attach tying thread to hook and run a foundation of thread along the whole hook shank.

Cut 3 small strips ca. 2 cm long, of double rubber legs in various colours and diameters if available.

Tie in the three rubber legs at the rear of the hook. If you are going to use heavy rubber legs, with a large diameter it is best to make a foundation of tapered loose dubbing on the hook shank first, otherwise the rubber will not flare as easy as fine rubber legs.

Once they are secure you can pull on them to split the double legs into single.

Carry on with the same procedure, mixing the colours as you go along the hook shank.

After each bunch of rubber legs is attached use the bead head to push the legs and pack them tightly. This will give a more compact body.

Attach more rubber legs until you have covered all but 3-4 mm of hook shank.

Now you can trim the house / larva case.

Continue all around the body of the fly until you have the desired size and shape.

Spin a couple of CdC hackles in a dubbing loop, just behind the bead head.

Wind on the dubbing loop brushing the CdC back over the body of the fly with each turn, so as not to trap the fibers.

Now dubb the tying thread with a little coarse dubbing with longish fibers and dubb the head of the fly tight into the bead head.

Whip finish and remove the tying thread. Using an old tooth brush brush out all the CdC and dubbing fibers, so they lie back over the body.

The finished elasticaddis.

No matter what you tie there is always room for artistic expression.

Klinkhåmer Special

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

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

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

Original recipe for the Klinkhåmer:

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

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

Spiderweb for parachute

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

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

Thorax: Three strands of peacock herl

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

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


Hans says:

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

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



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



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



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



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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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

Making a fur hackle and dubbing tutorial

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


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

1. Dry fly, nymph, wet.

2. Sinking, floating.

3. Ridged or pulsating.

4. Neat or scruffy.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

The Midas touch, confessions of a nymph-omaniac.

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

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…


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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.



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

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

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.

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