Recently I have been trying these absolutely fabulous multi hair stackers from Andi Lofflmann in Bavaria. They are not the cheapest hair stackers on the market, but when you get one in your hand you quickly understand why! They are so beautifully made. I have found them very useful when tying many flies of the same pattern, you can prepare the deer hair for four flies at once. Or when you are tying a pattern that requires several bunches of hair, you can stack them all at once.
Andi’s small and medium multi stackers
I believe they are available in three sizes, S,M,L, and the Price for the small one is 42€ but these are things of beauty and will last you a lifetime!
For orders and more info contact: email@example.com
This is a photo I took recently of a not so often fly tying related tool. Does anyone know what it is?
Magic head flat-wing
An extremely easy yet effective pattern for Bass and salt water sea trout.
The modern flat-wing stile of salt water streamer was developed by the American fly tyer and artist Kenny Abrames. He recommends at these streamers are fished on the drift or with a extremely slow retrieve or a combination of both! When fished in this manner the flat-wing creates the illusion of volume with a rippling swimming movement even if they are so slightly dressed. Its important that have constant contact with your stripping hand and the fly line and let the current and wind take care of presentation. Rhody Flat wing a variant of the original was developed by Bill Peabody, a well know fly tyer from Rhody Island in USA. This pattern was made for stripped bass, but has also proved to be an excellent pattern for many other salt water species two of these are our own sea bass and sea trout. One of the great design features of the modern flat-wing is the tying possibilities to taylor to personal requirement’s for size and materials. But remember they should be lightly dressed, if over dressed they will loose their fantastic swimming qualities.
If you are fishing areas with little or no current you can use a Marc Petitjean Magic Head. The magic head can be used in several different ways. You can fold the head backwards over the streamer head like a silicone fish head. But its when you pull the magic head out over the hook eye like a dog cone collar it becomes a very different fly! This creates a side to side swimming action rather like a wobbler that you wouldn’t believe was possible, before you see it for your self. If not really magic, it has an extremely high attractor factor.
Hook: Mustad S7oSZ, # 8-2http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=191
Head: MP Magic head http://www.petitjean.com/online/fr/magic-head/147-magic-head.html
Tying thread: Dyneema
Tail: White buck-tail, one long olive saddle hackle and five strands of Gliss N Glo https://spiritriver.com/materials/tying-essentials/uv2-tying-materials/uv2-bucktails
Body: Mother of pearl Body braid
Underwing: Gold buck-tail
Overwing: Green, bucktail blandet sammen
Throat: White buck-tail
Topping: Seven or eight long peacock herl fibres
Cheeks: Synthetic Jungle cock
Secure your hook in the vice with the shank horizontal.
Choose the appropriate magic head size for the hook you are using.
Slide the magic head over the hook eye as shown.
If you are using a down eyed hook or have difficulty in getting the magic head over the hook eye, firstly place the points of some scissors into the cone to open the collar a little.
Then reverse the cone while still on the scissors.
Place the cone over the hook point and slide up the hook shank.
Attach your tying thread to the hook shank.
Secure the cone, firstly with a few loose turns of thread and then tighter as you go.
Cut a small bunch of long white buck-tail the one I am using here is Spirit River UV2 buck-tail.
Tie in the buck-tail as shown for the tail.
Select a long olive saddle hackle.
Tie in the saddle hackle on top of the buck-tail.
Select the desired colour of Gliss N Glow.
Tie in a few strands a little longer than the buck-tail.
Cut a short length of body braid.
Tie this in at the tail base and wrap your tying thread forward towards the hook eye.
Wrap the body braid over about 2 thirds of the hook shank and tie off.
Flip the vice over and tie in another small bunch of buck-tail for the throat.
Flip the vice again and tie in the first bunch of gold buck-tail for the wing.
On top of the gold buck-tail tie a little smaller bunch of green buck-tail.
From just under the eye of a peacock tail feather select your peacock herl. Try and tie these in so that they all flow the same way.
For fishing flies I prefer to use synthetic jungle cock, this one from Veniard’s is by far the best I have come across.
Tie one JC each side of the magic head.
Whip finish and varnish the head.
The finished flat wing with a wet profile.
Here’s a classic dry fly for Friday, I’ll be posting the full step by step for the Royal Wulff later today.
Hackle traditionally arouses the greatest passion amongst fly tyers. Cock (rooster) capes of particularly good or rare colour and those with sufficiently short barb length to enable small dry flies to be tied have always been prized.
In the 60s and 70s it was a common complaint that good dry fly capes where scarce – to the extent that many of the “traditional” natural colours were virtually unobtainable. Dyeing and other methods such as blending two hackles were used to replicate difficult colours specified in old patterns.
Things have improved dramatically since then, due to the efforts of specialist breeders and modern techniques of fowl husbandry. Many traditional colours have re-apaered in qualities that far exceed anything that was obtainable in the past. These developments come at a price however and the tyer will have to pay for top quality cock cape or saddle from the best known American ‘genetic’ hackle farms.
The dry fly cape is a tyers most prized possession, I have seen friends trip right out over obtaining that special cape or saddle in that very unique colour. There is a whole load of mystique that surrounds the hackle, without doubt the most used material in fly tying, no matter how you look at it, it has so many applications, tails, dry fly and streamer wings, quill bodies, feelers, palmered, parachute, paraloop and traditional hackles just to name a few. But what do you look for when choosing dry fly hackle?
You should always remember that all hackle is a natural product and no two capes or saddles are the same.
When choosing any cape particularly one with a hefty price tag it is well worth selecting very carefully. Capes come from individual birds each with distinctive characteristics. One cannot expect the sort of uniformity one would find in bags of sugar from a supermarket. Although the only option for some tyers, internet purchases of hackle should be avoided at all cost.
If it is possible, however, it is a far better proposition to visit a specialist dealer with an extensive stock of quality hackle through which you can rummage. So if you have a local store or one you visit often, ask to be updated as to when they expect their next big order coming in. Do not simply take the first of the rack in the shop, but look through the whole pile and pick the best of the bunch. Most high quality hackle comes in re-sealable bags and one can only really gauge a capes quality by taking it out of the packet and man handling it, preferably in natural light. Only through close visual and tactile scrutiny can one fully appreciate the qualities in a cape and hackle. Indeed this is true of all natural fly dressing materials.
An appreciation of quality hackle comes only with practice and viewing and handling many kinds and grades of hackle over time. Some of the most important points to look for are:
This is usually the first consideration. The best capes have even and uniform colour that conforms to one of the colour designations referred to later. It is worth noting however that where a cape lacks uniformity of colour or is of a ‘nondescript’ colour it may still be of excellent quality in all other respects. Such capes are often less expensive and can be used as they are or used for dyeing.
The healthiest and strongest birds produce the best conditioned feathers. Dr Tom Whiting owner of Whiting farms has said that when choosing birds for breeding he considers not only colour and quality but also the character of the birds. No matter how good a colour a bird may appear to have a poor spirited bird will not get a good deal in the pecking order thus its health and condition – and therefor feather quality are unlikely to be the best. Such a bird rarely produces top quality hackle or makes a contribution to the bloodline.
The overt appearance of a cape is often a good first indicator of general condition if not ultimately of quality. Birds in good health and condition seem to ‘glow’ and the individual feathers are clean and springy. Poor condition often manifests itself as a tatty pecked appearance with thin spots possibly indicating poor diet infestation or disease.
It is clearly desirable for a cape to have as many feathers of a useful size as possible. Some indication of feather density can be gained just from feeling between finger and thumb the thickness (depth) of a cape where the back of the cape starts to widen (shoulder) proper. Bending the cape at this point will make the feathers fan and stand proud from the skin and separate. By doing this individual hackle can be examined and some assessment made of the numbers and size distribution.
The best quality capes have high numbers of hackles with barbs short enough to tie the tiniest dry flies. These capes demand the highest prices. So if you are tying larger patterns its clearly pointless buying expensive hackle in mostly size 22-28’s. Indeed if ones tying mainly involves size 10-16 then a lower grade cape will not only be cheaper but may have better and more hackle in the size needed.
Usable hackle length:
You should look closely at the characteristics of individual hackles. The best cock hackles furnish the highest barb count and density along the shaft (stem) and which provide the longest portion of ‘usable hackle’.
This portion is called the ‘sweet spot’ and is where ideally all the barbs on each side of the shaft are of a uniform length. The hackle shaft, the backbone of the hackle should also be fairly thin and flexible to allow easy bending for wrapping around the hook shank. Hackle shafts that are too thin will break easier and those that are to thick are inflexible and bulky when tied in. Hackle stems that are brittle – possibly through age or poor drying technique – are almost useless.
This Whiting Platinum Dry fly saddle has some individual hackles over 65cm in length!
The best hackles have a long sweet spot and high barb density along the shaft, allowing more hackle to be wound onto the hook with the minimum turns of hackle. The longest sweet spots to be found are on some of the super grades of saddle hackle. These are so long that many densely hackled flies can be tied from a single hackle.
I just had to share this magic little film from The stroud water research centre.
Learn about water research at the Stroud Water Research Center – The education department teams up with our scientists to help spread cutting-edge knowledge from our labs in school, community, and professional development programs.
Mayflies are an indicator species for clean streams and rivers. Most mayflies lay their eggs immediately after mating and the eggs then take anywhere from 10 days to many months to hatch. Cloeon cognatum is an exception because it is ovoviviparous, which means that a mated female holds her eggs internally until embryonic development is complete (about 18 days), after which she lays them in water and they hatch immediately. This female was dropped onto the water surface moments before the video started. Video credit: David H. Funk