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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 July, 2014

Elk Hair Caddis

A video tutorial of how to fish the Elk Hair Caddis. The full step by step for tying the EHC will be published shortly, Enjoy.

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Elk Hair Caddis Step by step

Elk Hair Caddis

Hook Mustad R30 # 16-10 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=175

Thread Dyneema http://www.virtual-nymph.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=1&Itemid=26

Body Olive dubbing

Hackle Brown Cock

Wing Bleached elk

This classic caddis pattern is from the tying bench of well know American fly tyer Al Troth.

This is probably the most well known caddis pattern in existence, and rightly so. The EHC as it is also known is one of the best adult caddis patterns that you could use.  I myself have fished this pattern for at least 30 years, and every season it never fail to provide me with great sport.

Most of the materials are readily available but in the past few years the bleached elk hair has become more difficult to obtain.  Al Troth himself recommends that you use the thigh hair from a cow elk, bleached, this I have found impossible to obtain but any good quality bleached elk does a good job.  If you find like me that the bleached elk cannot be obtained, regular elk will also do a good job, it’s just a little more difficult to see at a distance on the water.

You can fish this pattern dry so that it just floats high on the hackle points, you can fish it half drowned so that it gurgles like a popper when retrieved and you can even fish it wet just under the surface. A brilliant all round pattern.

1

1

Attach the tying thread and run it along the hook shank until it hangs level with the hook barb.

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2

Prepare the hackle and tie in at the base of the hook shank.

3

3

Attach the dubbing to the tying thread and begin to build up the body of the fly.

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4

Once you have dubbed the whole body make sure you leave enough space for the elk wing head (2 mm behind the hook eye) secure the dubbing with a few turns of tying thread.

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5

Using a hackle plier wind on the hackle, palmered style along the whole of the dubbed body.

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6

Tie off the hackle and trim off the access.

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7

With the use of a small hair stacker even thew ends of a small bunch of elk hair. You can also remove the under wool at this stage.

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8

Remove the hair from the stacker and lie it along the top of the hook as shown to measure the correct length of wing required.

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9

Still holding the hair in place , change hands and make two loose turns of tying thread around the head of the fly, and pull tight. Make a couple more turns of tying thread to secure the wing.

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10

You can now trim of the surplus elk hair butt ends to make that distinctive EHC head.

Tie off the tying thread and remove.

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11

The finished Elk Hair Caddis.


Tying the Muddler Minnow

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Unquestionably the most famous of all streamers, and the model for many others.

Hook: Mustad R73NP-BR # 10-4

Thread: Dyneema (waxed)

Tail: Mottled turkey

Body: Flat gold tinsel

Rib: Copper wire

Underwing: Grey squirrel tail

Wing: Mottled turkey

Collar/Head: Spun and clipped natural deer hair

 

A few notes regarding the original Muddler pattern:

 

The hook used by its originator Don Gapen was a Mustad 38941 3X Long streamer, this was one of the long flies. When tying slip wings its important to use waxed thread. The Dyneema I use in most my patterns is too smooth for for wet fly style wings and has to be waxed in order not to slip. 

The original recipe is as above but excluding the copper wire rib. The rib is a later addition. The original was tied with metal tinsel that required no protection from the small sharp teeth of trout but later as plastic tinsel became the norm the wire rib was added to protect the tinsel and add additional strength.  When spinning large bunches of deer hair I recommend, if you are using regular tying thread a minimum denier of 3/0 waxed is necessary to have sufficient  strength to apply enough tension to achieve optimal flare in the deer hair.  When tying spun and clipped deer hair patterns your choice of hair is paramount. See my earlier posts regarding tying with deer hair and spinning deer hair.

If I was unfortunate enough to be be given the choice of having only one fly to fish for all species both in fresh and salt water, I would have no problem! The Muddler minnow would without doubt be my number one choice. The pattern I tie here is as close to the original as I can get.

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 1
Secure your 3XL streamer hook in the vice making sure that the hook shank is horizontal.
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2
You will need two mottled turkey feathers one from each wing. Cut two small slips one from the same position from each wing feather for the tail.
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Attach your tying thread and run it the full length of the hook shank so that it hangs vertically between the hook point and barb. Place the two small wing slips ‘back to back and tie in on top of the hook shank for the tail as shown. This is done by holding the two slips in the left hand while you make one loose turn of tying thread around the slips and between your finger and thumb. Tighten by pulling your tying thread ‘upwards’ This will stop your wing slips from slipping around the hook and keep them central and straight.
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4
Trim off the surplus slip butts diagonally and tie in a length of fine copper wire at the base of the tail. Now cover the hook shank with an even coat of tying thread. This is important to get a tinsel body of the same thickness.
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Tie in your flat tinsel about 1 cm behind the hook eye. Wind the tinsel in even close fitting turns all the way back to the tail and the back to the tying in position behind the hook eye. Tie off.
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Cut off the excess flat tinsel and then wrap the copper wire rib in the opposite direction to the flat tinsel, in even open turns. Tie off.
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Cut a medium bunch of hair from a grey squirrel tail and remove the under fur and shorter hairs. Stack the hair in a hair stacker. Now measure the hair wing along the hook shank so that it is the same length as the slip tail. Trim the hair wing to length. Now before you tie the hair in place a small drop of varnish on the cut end of the hair bunch, this will glue it in place and also make it more durable. Tie in on top of the hook shank.
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Cut two larger mottled turkey wing slips for the wing. Again one from each wing feather.
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Tie these in the same way as the tail on top of the squirrel tail underwing.
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Select some good dense natural deer hair from the winter coat. See my earlier post on European Roe deer.
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Cut a good generous bunch. This is where many tyers make the mistake of too small a bunch and having to add more bunches later, to make the whole head. The head should be made of only one bunch of deer hair. Clean the hair by removing the under fur and shorter hairs and stack in a hair stacker.
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Place the bunch of deer hair with the tips facing back towards the tail, these will be the collar of the head. While holding the bunch in place make two loose turns of tying thread around the bunch, then tighten by by pulling upwards and the hair will flare. Once the hair is flared make several other tight wraps with a ‘zig zag’ movement as you go towards the hook eye. This will push the deer hair from side to side as you wrap and stop you from trapping the hair and tying it down flat!
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Tie off and whip finish. You can now begin to trim your muddler head to the basic shape. See my deer hair tutorial.
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You can choose here if you would like a cone shaped head. You can see on this image that some hair ends are burnt! see my deer hair tutorial for the full step be step of this technique.
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Or a round clipped head. This style will move more water when stripped.
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The finished Muddler minnow.

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.


Edson Tiger

The modifide Edson Tiger with the Brass Eyes.

I have had some questions about the Edson brass eyes and where they can be obtained.  All the info is in this article alone with contact and purchase details.

One of the great classic American streamers, developed by the well know fly tier  Bill Edson in 1929. The Edson Tiger dark & light where influenced by a streamer called “Dick´s Killer” that Edson received from fellow fly tier Dick Eastman of New Hampshire in 1928.  The original patterns tied and sold by Edson where with jungle cock cheeks, but later he replaced the jungle cock with small teardrop brass plates which was apparently done, not only because of the increasing price of the already expensive jungle cock but also difficulty in obtaining a regular supply of it. But soon after the introduction of the metal cheeks they became so popular with his customers that they replaced the jungle cock on all his streamer patterns. But truth be told,  the metal cheeks added a whole new dimension to how the patterns fished. With extra flash and weight in his streamers, there where few other patterns at this time that offered this. Although this pattern is almost a century old it still accounts for many a trout and has proven an excellent late season pattern for salt water sea trout fishing here in Scandinavia. A couple of years ago while tying at the Dutch fly fair, I was lucky enough to meet Chris Helm, who had for sale, the Edson Brass eyes.

Chris Helm doing his thing at the Dutch fly fair

If you contact Chris and purchase these eyes to add that extra dimension to you Tigers they do need a little work doing to them before they are ready to tie in. Using a pair of sharp wire cutters, these are not difficult to cut, they are made from brass after all, but sharp cutters make for a neater finish. You need to trim the side of the eye that is square into a point. Once this is done I use emery paper to sand the edges of the point to a fine taper, otherwise you will get a distinct mark under the tying thread where the the eye is secured.

Hook: Standard streamer # 6

Tag: Flat gold tinsel

Tail: Barred wood duck

Body: Peacock herl

Wing: Yellow buck tail

Topping: Red hackle fibers

Cheeks: Jungle cock or Edson Brass Eyes

Head:  Yellow varnish

Secure your streamer hook in the vice. Attach your tying thread and run this along the hook shank.  Tie in a length of flat gold tinsel for the tag, this should be just three or four turns.

Once you have tied off your tag and removed the surplus you can tie in three or four long strands of peacock herl at the base of the tag.

Select a wood duck flank feather with good barring and cut out a slip, line up all the bars if uneven and fold in half. This will give barring on each side of the tail. Tie off.

Run the tying thread back to the tail and twist together the peacock herl and tying thread to strengthen it and wind on to form the body. Tie off the peacock herl.

Select and clean a small bunch of yellow buck tailf or the wing. Stack the hair in a hair stacker. This should be no longer than the tail end.

The topping is a small bunch of red hackle fibers tied in on top of the wing as shown. It should be approximately one-third of the total wing length.

Now tie in the jungle cock cheeks, one each side. Make sure that both jungle cock eye´s are equal in size and well balanced. Whip finish.

All that is left to be done now to finish your EdsonnTiger is varnish the head yellow.

The Eyes are available along with a good

selection of Mustad streamer hooks from

Chris Helm at:

http://www.whitetailflytieing.com/


Stingsild bucktail streamer

In the autumn in Northern Europe after the long hot summer when the coastal waters begin to cool down again, its at this time of year you dont want to be without a stickleback imitation!

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Although the recent tendency for tying and designing sea trout flies has gone more towards imitation patterns, some of which are extremely realistic, I am constantly drawn back to some more traditional styles of tying, that never stop producing fish. This is one of them!  This extremely simple pattern is so effective on autumn sea trout that for the past few years at least a couple of dozen have to be tied for my box.  During the summer months the Mickey Finn, another classic buck-tail streamer, is an outstanding pattern on bright sunny days, but falls short when fished in the autumn. I wanted a pattern that would fish as well in the dark grey autumn months, this was the result.

Stingsild Buck-tail streamer

Hook          Mustad S71SS salt water streamer # 4-6  http://mustad.no/catalog/na/product.php?id=193

Thread      Dyneema http://www.funkyflytying.co.uk/shop/products/veevus-gsp-thread-dyneema-/1266/

Body         Holographic tinsel

Throat    White buck-tail https://www.spiritriver.com/materials/hair-fur/select-bucktails

Underwing   Four strands of gold Gliss n Glow https://www.spiritriver.com/materials/flash/gliss-n-glow

Wing      Light brown buck-tail with darker brown buck-tail over https://www.spiritriver.com/materials/hair-fur/select-bucktails

Topping   Five or six strands of peacock herl

Eyes    Edson brass eyes  http://www.whitetailflytieing.com/

Head    Black  http://www.veniard.com/section154/cellire-head-cement-and-thinners

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1

Insert your salt water streamer hook in the vice with the hook shaft horizontal.

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Run your tying thread along the hook shank until you come to a place between the hook point and barb.

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At the tail of the hook tie in a length of holographic flat tinsel. Unlike salmon and exhibition flies this tinsel body should be uneven, I want to achieve the most reflective multi faceted surface as possible. So the foundation of thread doesn’t have to be flat!

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This is also a fishing fly so strengthen the tinsel body by coating the thread foundation with varnish before you start wrapping the tinsel.

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Wrap the tinsel over the whole length of the body and wipe off any excess varnish that may flow on to the tinsel. tie off.

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Turn your fly up side down and tie in a small bunch of prepared white buck-tail. This should extend about one half of the hook length beyond the hook bend.

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Trim off the excess buck-tail and tie down the butts with a few turns of tying thread.

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Tie in four short lengths of gold Gliss n Glow on top of the hook shank.

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Now clean and stack a small bunch of light brown or tan buck-tail and tie in on top of the Gliss n Glow.

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Repeat stage 9 but with a darker brown buck-tail That extends a little longer than the light brown.

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Cut five or six lengths of peacock herl from just under the eye on a peacock tail feather. Tie these in in one bunch for the topping, again a little longer than the buck-tail wing.

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Take two Edson brass eyes, you can substitute these with jungle cock but the effect is not the same.

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Trim down the brass eyes with wire cutters as shown.

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Secure the eyes one each side of the head with a few turns of tying thread. Before you continue to tie in the eyes apply a drop of varnish to hold everything in place.

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Wrap the head with tying thread and whip finish. Coat the head with black varnish.  Now wet your fingers and soak the entire wing and pull it back to give it shape.

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Once the wing is wet and shaped let it dry, it only takes a few minutes.

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Once dry the wing will hold its shape.

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A batch of Stingsild soon ready for the salt!


Dyneema tying thread

Right now I am at the cottage by the sea  busy writing the  new book on ‘Patterns for salt water sea trout’ Heres one of the Hoodlum images.  All 50 patterns in the book will be presented like this with full stage by stage tying instructions. The book is due for publication in March next year.

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Over the past few weeks I have had many questions regarding the tying thread I use and where it can be obtained heres the details.

I will also re post the piece I did on tying with Dyneema.

http://www.funkyflytying.co.uk/shop/products/veevus-gsp-thread-dyneema-/1266/

Veevus GSP Thread (Dyneema)
£3.50
A superb quality GSP thread in different thread weights.
The 30 denier is the thinnest strongest thread for its size i know.
In the heavier sizes its perfect for Saltwater flies and for spinning deer hair.
You also get 75 meters of thread per spool which is more then most other companies offer.

Three sizes available.
30 Denier (thinnest)
100 Denier (Great allrounder)
150 Denier (Saltwater and Deerhair)
Available in Black and White


Antelope wanted!

Hi, I am trying to find some klipspringer antelope hair of the salt and pepper mottled kind, is there anyone that can help me locate some?


Techniques for traditional dry’s

Techniques for traditional dry’s

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Its often said “If you can tie a good dry fly, you can tie just about anything” this makes dry flies sound extremely difficult, they are not. There are many other patterns that look much simpler but are much more challenging for the tyer to master. 

The key to good dry flies:  

Quality materials

Proportion

Attention to detail

Follow the step by step instructions

Practice

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Follow these rules and you will be tying great dry flies in no time.

Although you dont need perfect, great looking flies to catch fish, a well proportioned dry fly will float better and fish better in many cases giving a much more correct footprint on the water. There is also the wow factor, a well tied box of flies is always a great talking point amongst friends and other fishermen!

The techniques shown here are normally only learned after many years of tying and observing other more experienced tyers. If we where talking about a play station game, they may be thought of as cheats! Here you are given a condensed lesson in tying the classic dry fly.  If you learn the correct way right from the start you wont carry on making elementary mistakes. So study, learn and practice these techniques, and apply them to other patterns with a similar style.

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.

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1

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

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2

Attach your tying thread and cover the hook shank with a even foundation of thread.

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3

Take a golden pheasant tippet feather and cut out a small section as shown. Keeping the tippets on the feather shaft will give you perfect aligned tips and also keep the tippets the right way while you tie them in.

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4

Lie one side of the tippet section on top of the hook shank and adjust to the correct length, see proportions chart. Tie in.

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5

Trim off the tippets 2/3 of the hook shank length or where you will tie in the wings. If you cut them off shorter you will have an un even underbody later. Tie down the tippet butts. Now make two small ridges with tying thread at the wing tying in point, about 1 mm apart.

This will make a groove for the wing shafts to be placed.

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6

Prepare two fan wing feathers by stripping off the lower fibers from the shaft. Dont worry too much about the wing tips not being too square this we will fix later.

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7

Place one of the fan wings in the groove and tie in as with a regular dry fly hackle X whipping.

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8

Now repeat with the second fan wing on the opposite side.

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9

Tie down the hackles keeping them vertical and run your tying thread to the rear of the hook shank. Take a long peacock herl. To get the peacock herl to warp correctly, tie it in by the point with the concave side to the hook shank. Again tie in the herl the full length of the body too the wing. Wind your tying thread about 1/3 of the hook shank.

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10

Wind on your peacock herl in tight even turns about 1/3 of the body length and tie off. Now carry on winding your peacock herl 2/3 of the body length.

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11

Cover the second third of peacock herl with wraps of tying thread and the a few wraps further into the wing. The wraps of tying thread over the peacock herl will give the body the required thickness.

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12

Now make the next segment of peacock herl into the wing base and tie off with a couple of turns of tying thread.

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13

Select and prepare a hackle and tie in so the hackle is vertical and then run your tying thread for ward to the hook eye.

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14

Remove the hackle stem and wind on the end of the peacock herl and tie off a couple of mm behind the hook eye. This peacock herl will give you the best foundation for your hackle. It creates a track that each turn of hackle will fall into and ensure that the hackle points stay vertical when wound.

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15

Attach a hackle plier to the point of your hackle and wind on your hackle in nice even turns, taking care that it doesn’t twist or buckle. Tie off a couple of mm behind the hook eye.

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16

Now take some flat edged scissors. While holding the wings in one hand, and holding the blade along the desired wing length position press your thumb against the blade trapping the wing points and whip off the points with a twist of the wrist. Take care that you are holding the wings tightly, otherwise you may pull them off!

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17

The finished fan wing dry.


Sea Bass herring

Heres another one of the old video tutorials while I edit the new ones!


Cottus Gobio

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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.

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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.
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4
Now tie in a length of medium copper wire, at the tail base for the rib.

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5
Dubb your tying thread with dark hares ear Antron dubbing and start making the body of the minnow.

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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.

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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.

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8
Again try and choose a squirrel strip that has nice markings and a good taper.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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13
Make a dubbing loop an spin the fox hair into a dubbing brush.

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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.

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15
Now select two ring neck pheasant church window feathers, the same size. Coat these with Bug Bond.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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21
The finished streamer.


Tying The H & L Variant

 

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Heres an American Classic to tie and try over the holidays. The H & L or House and Lot as it is also known was said to be President Dwight Eisenhower’s favorite trout pattern, especially for fishing Eastern streams. Like most of the fat boy attractors this pattern should be over dressed, a little longer, larger and fatter than normal. This pattern should float high and dry, creating and irresistible footprint when drifted  over the feeding window of any trout.  Otherwise I dont know much about the history of this pattern, if  one of you do, please post a little info if you have time, it would be good to know more. Happy holidays to you all.

Hook: Mustad R30NP-BR # 10-18

Thread: Dyneema

Tail: Calf tail hair

Abdomen: Stripped peacock herl natural

Thorax: Peacock herl

Wings: Calf tail hair

Hackle: Brown

 

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1

Secure your hook in the vice making sure that the hook shank is horizontal.

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2

Attach your tying thread and run a foundation over the hook shank until the tying thread hangs plumb with the hook barb.

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3

Cut a small bunch of calf tail hair and clean with a tooth brush. Once you have removed all the shorter hairs stack the bunch in a hair stacker.

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4a

Many fly tyers have a problem with exchanging a bunch of stacked hair from one hand to the other! Heres how you do it:

Once you have removed the bunch of hair from the stacker hold it between your right finger and thumb.

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4b

Now place your left hand thumb against the hair and your right thumb.

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4c

Once you have trapped the hair between both your thumbs keep the pressure on.

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4d 

While keeping both your thumbs pressed together trapping the hair bunch, remove your right index finger.

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4e

Now bring your left index finger into the equation and grasp the butt end of the bunch against your left thumb.

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4f

Remove your right thumb and your hair bunch has been transfered from right to left hand without messing it up.

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5

Measure your tail length.

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6

Tie in the calf tail on top of the hook shank and about half way between the hook eye and the bend. Leave a few mm of hair flared.

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7

Trim off the flared hair at an angle.

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8

Tie down the calf hair and apply a drop of varnish to the whippings.

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9

Prepare another bunch, a little larger than the first one,  of calf tail hair and tie in as shown on top of the hook shank.

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10

Cut off the flared ends at an angle again. This will give a good foundation for a tapered body later.

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11

Before you tie them down apply a small drop of varnish to the trimmed calf tail.

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12

Now run tying thread over the whole body making a fine taper.

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13

Fold the wing back and build a small support of tying thread in front of the wing base.

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14

Split the calf tail into two equal wings and tie each one down at the wing base, making a V wing.

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15

Take a long peacock herl and strip only 1/3 of the herl from the quill. This will make the abdomen and thorax tying process all in one.

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16

Tie in the stripped end of the herl at the tail base. You can give the under body a thin coat of varnish before you start wrapping the quill.

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17

Attach a hackle plier to the herl end of the quill. Now wrap the quill in tight even turns over the rear body, when you come to the part of the quill with the herl on it, continue wrapping to form the abdomen.

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18

Once you have wrapped the herl abdomen tie off and remove the excess herl.

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19

Tie in a nice brown dry fly hackle. This ideally should be a long hackle, but if you only have short hackles you can tie in two. Make sure that your hackle is 90 degrees from the hook shank.

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20

Start winding your hackle with one or two turns through the herl thorax and then forward making the hackle as dense as possible. Tie off and remove the excess hackle.

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21

Whip finish and varnish the head. 


Tying The Brassie

The BrassieIMG_0695

Hook:  Mustad C49SNP # 6-22  http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=177

Tying thread:  Dyneema

Body:  Copper wire

Head:  Mixed hares ear dubbing

Its normal to weight nymphs with and under body of lead, but on small flies its sometimes desirable  to maintain a slim but at the same time heavy, body profile. With the Brassie copper wire of different sizes is used in respect to hook size, but you can achieve the best results with copper wire that is no thicker than the hook wire being used.  Copper wire in different colours can give extremely natural looking abdomen on pupa and larva patterns. Copper wire gives the impression of gas bubbles that hatching pupa and larva carry with them to the surface. The Brassie is especially effective in fast flowing water as a free swimming caddis larva or in smaller sizes as a midge pupa in still water.

In those situations where you wish to get down deep quick, this pattern is a must, especially when tied with a brass bead at the head of the fly. While fishing sea run char in Iceland once on the beautiful small river Fljotaa, where the holes are deep and the current strong, this pattern worked every time.

Try this in different sizes and colours, with and without brass bead heads.

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.

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1

Secure your hook in the vice.

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2

Attach your tying thread and cover the hook shank.

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3

Cut a length of copper wire. This is where many fly tyers make a mistake with this pattern.

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4

Take some flat nose pliers and flatten just 3 mm or so of the copper wire end to be tied in.

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5

The end of the copper wire should now look like this! Many tyers dont do this and get a considerably thicker body at the tail of the fly when they wrap the copper wire over the tying in point.

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6

Now tie in the flat end as shown and then wind your tying thread forward to the hook eye.

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7

Begin wrapping your copper wire in tight neat turns up the hook shank towards the thorax.

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8

Once you have covered the whole abdomen tie off at the thorax.

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9

Split and wax your tying thread. If you are not using thread that can be split make a dubbing loop and wax.

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Take a hares mask and pull enough of the spiky hairs from the ears and mix in the palm of your hand.

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Place the mixed hares ear dubbing in the waxed dubbing loop.

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Spin the hares ear dubbing in the loop.

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Wind on the dubbing loop brushing back the dubbing with each turn to get the best buggy effect.

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Whip finish and varnish.


Tying The Humpy

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This popular western pattern comes in many variants of colour, wing and tail materials, hackle and single and double hump.  The Humpy is also tied in two styles, short and fat and the long and slim version I am tying here.  Although made to imitate nothing in particular, except a juicy mouth full, this has a reputation of being a difficult fly to tie, but as I have mentioned in earlier step by step posts, follow the procedures and proportions and you will soon be banging them out by the dozen. 

Hook: Mustad R50 # 10-16

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Tail: Natural deer hair

Body: Floss

Shell back: Deer hair

Hackle: Furnace cock

Wings: Deer hair

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SEcure your hook in the vice making sure the hook shank is horizontal.

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Attach your tying thread and run the full length of the hook shank, stopping at the bend.

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Take a small bunch of natural deer hair. Here I am using European roe deer hair from the summer coat, its much finer and flares less than hair from the winter coat. The deer hair tail should be approximately two times the hook gape in length, unlike feather fiber tails that are 2.5 times the hook gape length.  When tying this in the wraps of tying thread near the tail base should be firm but not tight! If you tighten too much at the tail base the hair will flare. Tie down about 2/3 of the hook shank.

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Trim off the excess hair at an angle so you get a tapered end.

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The tapered end will make it easier to tie in the other materials later.

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Cut another bunch of deer hair, clean and stack in a hair stacker. This is the crucial point of proportions! The wing and shell back are all made from the same bunch of deer hair so its important that you get this right. From the center of the hook shank to half a hook shank length longer than the tail.

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Once measured trim the ends square, Tie down the ends of the tail you cut at and angle and wrap your tying thread to the middle of the hook shank.

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Keeping all the deer hair on top of the hook shank tie in as shown. This can be tied in much tighter than the tail as you want it to flare.

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Now wrap your tying thread forward over the trimmed ends of deer hair making sure that you build up a nice even cigar shaped body with tying thread. This is important if your under body is un even, it will be difficult to get a good looking finish later with the floss. A little over half way of the hook shank tie in a length of floss.

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Wind your floss back tight into the tail base making sure that you cover all the wraps of tying thread. Then you can wrap the floss back towards the thorax. When winding floss make sure that you dont twist it, each wrap of floss must retain the fibers flat, otherwise you will get lumpy humpy…

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Tie off the floss and trim away the excess. Keep your tying thread tight into the floss body.

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Take the shell back hair, taking care that you dont take any of the tail hair with it, and fold tightly over the floss body. Take care that all the deer hair fibers are parallel and not crossing each other.

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Tie down the shell back keeping the hair about half way up the body. You can now see the importance of the correct proportions to obtain the correct wing length.

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Now tie down the wing about half way between the body and the hook eye.

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Fold the wings back and make five or six turns of tying thread tight into the wing base. This will hold the wings up right.

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Your wing hair should now fan out from side to side and stand 90 degrees from the hook shank.

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Now prepare and tie in a hackle. Many variants of the humpy require two hackles to achieve the correct chunkiness, but I prefer when possible to use one long saddle hackle. Tie in the hackle tight into the body behind the wing. Wrap your tying thread back towards the hook eye.

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18

Now separate the deer hair into two equal wings. make a couple of wraps of tying thread around each wing base just to keep them collected and erect.

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Side view of your split wings position, pointing slightly forward.

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Make the first wrap of hackle tight into the body, but not too tight that the hackle points go off at an angle, the hackle points should stand 90 degrees from the hook shank. Wind the hackle tight and dense forward making as many turns as possible, the humpy requires a real chunky hackle. Tie off.

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Whip finish, but before your complete your whip finish but have only  a short length of tying thread again before you tighten, place a small drop of varnish on the tying thread, and then finish your whip finish ! This will stop you getting varnish on the hackle.

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The view from the bell tower.