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

Fly Fishing

The Bee’s Knees!

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The feather benders home grown and hand crafted fly tyers wax scull’s.

It’s not that long ago that pre-waxed tying thread was not readily available, and tyers, especially of the more classic stile patterns resorted to various types of wax to make tying more easy and the natural threads such as cotton and silk more durable. Because the majority of tying threads available today are pre-waxed, the practice of waxing your own tying thread has been somewhat neglected or almost forgotten for most fly tyers.

Apart from the obvious advantages as mentioned above, waxing your own thread makes easy work of applying and attaching materials to the hook, creating better friction between thread and material and anchoring them in place with only a couple of wraps of thread. Its also extremely useful when dubbing, if a little is applied to the thread before spinning your dubbing it will render the thread ‘Tacky’ and make the adhering of the dubbing material easier.

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After recently starting keeping bees, primarily for honey production, I have also a surplus of natural bee’s wax which when mixed with three other totally natural ingredients is the recipe for my own exclusive tyers wax. A limited amount of sculls will be available for next to no cost, so if you are interested in obtaining one of these hand made tyers waxes, please contact me on, barrycl@online.no


British Fly Fair International Weekend

It’s that time of year again and this weekend I will be tying at The British Fly Fair International http://www.bffi.co.uk/ I will be tying Salt water patterns for Bass and sea trout. I will also be doing a demo in the fly tyers theatre on Sunday at 11.00. If you have a free day and are in the area it’s a great show with loads of great tyers, so please call in and say hello. You can check out the program and exhibitors on the link above.

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Bradshaw’s Fancy

Keeping on a grayling theme heres one of my absolute favourites, Not only to fish with but also to tie. All these patterns from bygone days are remarkably simple, but still require a degree of  technique to master them precisely.

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One of the peculiar characteristics of the grayling is that they have a preference for flies dressed with a hot spot of red in their make-up, probably the most famous is the red tag, but here are a few more, older patterns that still get the job done.

Bradshaw’s Fancy

Hook: Mustad http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=178
Thread: Veevus Red 12/0
Tag: Red floss silk
Body: Peacock herl
Hackle: Grey Cock hackle
Peak: Red floss silk
Head: Red

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Secure your dry fly hook in the vice with the hook shank horizontal.

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2

Attach your tying thread and cover the whole hook shank.

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3

For the tag and peak, choose a nice deep red silk floss.

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4

Cut 3 or 4 , depending on size of hook you are using, short strands of silk floss and place them together. Tie in the floss over the full length of the hook shank.

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5

Now take 2 or 3 strands of peacock herl, the best ones for bodies are directly below the peacock eye on the tail feather. These are normally stronger than further down the feather. Tie these in by the points at the base of the tag.

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6

Now wrap the peacock herl in tight even turns along the whole hook shank taking care not to twist or overlap them. This will give the best results.

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7

Make a whip finish and remove the excess peacock herl. Now select and prepare a grey cock hackle and tie this in 90 degrees to the hook shank.

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Now wind on your hackle in even turns each wrap tight into the previous. Tie off and remove the excess hackle.

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Whip finish and remove the tying thread. Trim down the tag and the peak to the desired length. Place a drop of clear varnish on the head.

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The Red Tag

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The Double Badger

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The Grayling Steel Blue Bumble

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The Grayling Witch

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The treacle Parkin

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Sturdy’s Fancy

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And last but not least the Gloire De Neublans, this was Charles Ritz’s number 1 grayling pattern.


Wooly Bugger tutorial

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Wooly Bugger

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Hook                          Mustad S74SNP-DT # 6-4
Head                          Brass or Tungsten bead
Tying thread             Dyneema
Tail                             UV2 White Marabu and Crystal hår
Body                           White chenille
Hackle                        White cock or saddle hackle
Most fly fishermen have at one time or another fished with or a variant of the wooly bugger. This is without doubt one of the modern classics, that has only grown in popularity, and not without reason! The Wooly bugger is known as a fish catcher the world over. Its often named when a fishermen is asked, if you could fish with only one fly, what would it be ?

Right from when this pattern first saw the light of day its been changed, and modified at vices all over the world and is now to be found in an uncountable amount of colours and variants, some I may say better than others!

I myself use the pattern in only four colours, white, black, grizzle and a combination of the latter. More recently I have also began using more UV and Fluorescent materials especially in my salt water patterns. This has not only made the flies more attractive but has also increased catches in salt water markably. But try not to exaggerate these materials or their use, it can easily go into overkill. So remember less is more!

This is an extremely simple pattern to tie and requires a minimum of materials, but as I have mentioned many times before, its all about proportions! Spending time getting this right from the beginning will produce great looking flies only after you have tied a few. I am not saying that scruffy buggers won’t catch fish, quite the opposite, but there is more to fly tying than catching fish! What fly tyer doesn’t want his flies to look great?

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1
Its important to match the size of your bead head to the hook size being used, or to the swimming action required of the pattern. Slide the chosen bead onto the hook shank and secure the hook, horizontal in the vice.
Attach your tying thread and run all the way back to the hook bend. This will give a good foundation for the rest of the fly.

 

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2
For the tail I like to add another dimension by using UV2 marabou.

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3
Select a nice bunch of marabou with fine tapered points for the tail. The tail should be approximately the same length as the hook. Tie in the marabou along the whole length of the hook shank tight into the bead head.

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4
Now you can tie in four or six strands of Crystal flash material around the tail. These should be a tad longer than the marabou tail. If you require even more weight, now is the time to add it.

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5
Cut a length of chenille and once again tie this in the whole length of the hook shank, keeping your tying thread behind the bead head. Make sure that the chenille is correctly secured at the marabou tail base, if not the chenille will slip when tightened and wrapped!

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6
Now wrap the chenille in tight even turns all the way forward to the bead head and tie off. Remove the excess chenille and make a couple of whip finishes to secure it correctly.

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7
Select an appropriate sized cock or saddle hackle with extra webby fibres and tie this in directly behind the bead head as shown. Make a whip finish. Now tightly wind your tying thread back towards the tail base making sure that each turn of thread falls in-between each segment of wound chenille.

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8
Attach a hackle plier to the point of the hackle and wrap the hackle palmer style in the opposite direction to the wrap of your tying thread. That means if you wind your tying thread clockwise, the hackle should be wound anti-clockwise. Again taking care to wrap precisely in each segment of chenille. Once the tail base is reached tie off the hackle with a few turns of tying thread.

 

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9
Now carefully wind your tying thread forward through each segment of chenille over the hackle, taking care not to tie down the fibres. Wrapping the tying thread and hackle in opposite directions will make the fly stronger and extend it’d fishing life. Make a couple of whip finishes.

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10
Remove the tying thread. Now place a large drop of varnish or head cement, whichever you prefer on the point of a dubbing needle. Now place the drop of varnish on the junction between the hook eye and the forward bead opening. You will see the varnish disappear into and under the bead head, repeat this two or three times until no more varnish is sucked into the bead. This will make a invisible finish and saturate the tying thread and materials under and behind the bead.

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11
Remove any excess varnish from the hook eye by pulling through a hackle.

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The finished and correctly tied wooly bugger. If you would like to correct the palmered hackle into a perfect position, moisten it with a little water and slip a drinking straw over the body of the fly until dry. When its removed everything will be in place.

 


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.

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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/


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

 

1
Place your hook in the vice as shown.

2
Select some nice Coq de Leon hackle fibers.

3
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.

4
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.

5
Now run the tying thread forward and build a slightly tapered under body to shape the quill over body.

6
Choose a good strong herl from a peacock tail feather and strip off the fibers.

7
Tie in the stripped quill on the underside of the hook shank at the tail base.

8
Wind on the quill the right way! One side of the quill has better markings than the other. Tie off at the wing base.

9
Remove the surplus quill and give the body a coat with Bug bond.

10
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.

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The dry coated quill body.

12
Select two small well fibered CDC hackles. Trim them both down with curved scissors as shown.

13
Tie in your two CDC wings pointing slightly forward.

14
Spin a little CDC in a dubbing loop behind the wings.

15
Wind on the CDC, firstly behind the wings and then between and forward finishing behind the hook eye.

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View from above of the finished thorax.

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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.

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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 !

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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

1
Place a bead head on hook and your hook in the vice.

2
Attach tying thread to hook and run a foundation of thread along the whole hook shank.

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

4
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.

5
Once they are secure you can pull on them to split the double legs into single.

6
Carry on with the same procedure, mixing the colours as you go along the hook shank.

7
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.

8
Attach more rubber legs until you have covered all but 3-4 mm of hook shank.

9
Now you can trim the house / larva case.

10
Continue all around the body of the fly until you have the desired size and shape.

11
Spin a couple of CdC hackles in a dubbing loop, just behind the bead head.

12
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.

13
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.

14
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.

15
The finished elasticaddis.

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


Helter Skelter Pike Fly jig.

My Helter Skelter pike jig works on all the pikes attractor senses!

Hook Mustad S74SZ # 2/0-4/0

Thread Dyneema

Body E-Z Body XL filled with 3-5 beads

Under wing White buck tail

Wing Chartreuse and white Icelandic sheep

Over wing Lime green Big fish fiber

Sides Grizzle cock hackles coloured yellow

Eyes Large mobile eyes and bug bond or epoxy

I developed the Heltor skeltor to maximize all the attractor elements possible in one fly.

The Icelandic sheep and big fly fiber are extremely mobile in water, but their effect is enhanced by the weight of the brass beads that roll back and forth in the body tube giving not only a sporadic jerky swimming action but also rattle against each other sending out an audial signal to predators. Not forgetting the eyes which are an attack point, are oversized for additional predator impact. If you keep all these factors in mind when designing predatory patterns you wont go wrong.

1
Secure your hook in the vice. Attach your tying thread at the bend of the hook as shown.

2
Cut a length of E-Z body XL and singe the fibers at one end with a lighter. This is important as it will give purchase for the tying thread and stop it slipping off the tube.

3
Thread the E-Z body over the hook shank until you come to the tying thread.

4
Tie the end of the E-Z body down. Make sure this is secure.

5
Whip finish and remove your tying thread. You must now apply varnish or bug bond to the tying whippings. Trim the E-Z body down to about 4 mm longer than the hook eye and seal the fibers again.

6
Draw back the E-Z body tube and attach your tying thread 4-5 mm behind the hook eye.
Now insert 3-5 large beads inside the E-Z body cavity. These have several purposes. They not only give weight and sound by rattling against each other while fishing, but they also influence the swimming action of the fly. As you retrieve, the beads roll back and forth in the belly of the streamer making it tip up and down and extremely attractive.

7
Tie down the E-Z body tube to seal the the body.

8
Tie inn a under wing of white buck tail, this will support the finer more mobile over wing material.

9
Now tie in a length of white Icelandic sheep, the wrong way as shown. This will give a little volume to the head section. This should be a little longer than the buck tail under wing.

10
Now fold over the white Icelandic sheep. You will see that the head of the fly will be lifted, like a pompadour.

11
Cut a length of chartreuse or yellow Icelandic sheep and tie this in the correct way over the white wing.

12
Cut a smaller bunch of lime green big fish fiber keeping the crimped ends, these again will give volume just above the head of the streamer.

13
Colour two large grizzle hackles yellow with a waterproof felt pen.

14
Tie these in as the sides.

15
Using a drop of super glue attach two large mobile or dolls eyes, one each side and central to the hook eye. Once the eyes are attached you can then fill the opening between both eyes over and under the hook eye with Bug Bond or Epoxy.

16
The finished Helter skelter pike streamer.