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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8

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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9

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

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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12
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.

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/


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.

11
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.

16
View from above of the finished thorax.

18
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.


Edson Tiger

The modifide Edson Tiger with the Brass Eyes.

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/


The word has it, that the worm is 14 days early this year!

The rag worm fly is without doubt one of the most difficult patterns to tie, but the rewards can be great!

The ragworms wedding as it is known, is called the springs most exciting adventure for the sea trout fisherman. And if you are lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, there is no danger for you not connecting with fish. Although ragworms are on the sea trouts menu the whole year round, its in the spring under the annual swarming that the sea trout will go on a feeding frenzy and gorge themselves on the worms.

The real deal.

There are many patterns known to sea trout fishermen to imitate the worm, some better than others, some simple to tie and some, not so simple to tie. I believe the original pattern from the tying bench of innovative Swedish fly tyer Robert Lai is still for me, without a doubt the best. Robert´s pattern is probably one of the most challenging patterns, many fly tyers will ever learn to tie, but the rewards are great.  No other worm pattern swims and pulsates in the water like his, imitating the natural swimming worm as closely as humanly possible with feather and steel.

Although we are not 100% sure, and thats not for lack of theories! But the spring swarming is due to the worms spawning season and seems to be triggered by two main factors. A rise in water temperature 6-7 degrees, and the arrival of a new lunar phase, (full moon) from anywhere  around mid March and into April.  The female ragworm broods her eggs within her long flattened body and as the eggs develop her body becomes brittle and eventually splits, releasing the eggs. The male ragworms are attracted to the egg laying by following pheromones, that are also released by the females. After spawning, both male and female ragworms die.

Ragg worm swarming can be very local in most situations, and it’s not easy to know where. Then you should look to the sky, beacause the greedy and forever hungry sea gulls can show you the way.  If you can see that screaming sea gulls are flocking and circle around a area of coast, this shows you where to fish – just like the pelicans when tarpon fishing. Consider  also when the strong spring sun has been high in the sky all day and warming up the shallow’s, especially with dark muddy bottoms. Most sea trout fishermen, including myself, prefer sight fishing during the day looking for rises as you fish systematically, possible holding spots in small bays and inlets as the tide rises and falls. But if you are, as most sea trout fishermen, hoping to connect with  larger fish that are normally wiser and more sceptical about entering the shallower coastal waters during the hours of daylight. These shallow areas retain the days heat during the first couple of hours of darkness.  It’s during this period that larger sea trout dare to venture into the shallows to feed.  You should fish at least a couple of hours into the night.

The pattern I have tied here started off, 15 years ago, as a direct copy of Robert´s original pattern, but over the years it has changed a little, but this had more to do with receding memory on my part, than anything to do with developing the pattern. But the basic original principal is still there and the pattern still works. There are a few rules one must follow when tying this pattern. The tail hook should be small and light in weight. Because the worm has an extremely flexible body, a larger and heavier tail hook has a tendency to “Hang-up” on the body under casting, which results in you fishing a ball of marabou with the hook out of-line.  A heavier tail hook also reduces the  animation and swimming motion of the worm by restricting the tail from lifting when the bead head sinks.  Another point is the central core of the fly, not the loop that you spun the marabou onto but the Dyneema spine that holds the front hook to the tail hook.  This is Alfa and Omega regarding the success of tying this pattern. If the spine is not securely attached to the front hook, you can risk loosing, not only the business end of your worm but also fish. So make sure that you tie this in as well as you can and don´t be afraid to use super glue.  The Latin name for the common ragworm is Nereis diversicolor, meaning they are quite variable in colour, but typically reddish brown and turning more on the green side during the spawning season.  So the rule for colour is that there is no rule, you can tie the worm in any colour you like! Personally I have found the two most successful colours for me are the one shown here and bright orange. And don´t forget that ragworms are on the sea trout menu the whole year, so don´t restrict your fishing with it just to the spring, it´s also a deadly pattern for regular trout fishing.

Hook Tail: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 8

Hook Head: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 6

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Central Core: Dyneema

Tail: Black and Olive brown marabou

Body: Black and Olive brown marabou

Head: Brass or Tungsten bead

1
Secure your salt water # 8 tail hook in the vice.

2
Cover the hook with a foundation of Dyneema tying thread. I use Dyneema because it is salt water resistant and weight for weight stronger than quality steel.

3
Select some fine tapered olive and black marabou and tie in the tail. Colour your Dyneema with a black waterproof felt pen.

4
Load two paper clips or a Marc Petitjean magic tool, one with black marabou and one with olive. Make sure that the marabou fibres are not too long.

5
Once you have loaded your paper clips make a dubbing loop that is 2.5 times the length of your paper clips. Make sure that you dubbing loop begins tight against the tail of the fly. Colour the dubbing loop black with a waterproof felt pen.

6
Holding the loop open with your left hand place in the black marabou.

7
Now you have to take care! Once the black marabou is trapped in between the dubbing loop make sure you dont release the tension. Otherwise all the marabou will fall out.

8
Whilst keeping the tension in the first marabou by holding the dyneema loop with your left forefinger and thumb place in the olive marabou approximately 1 cm further down the loop. Now retain the tension in the loop and let the bottom half hang over your forefinger. Spin the bottom half of the loop tight.

9
Once you have spun the bottom half, while keeping the tension in the loop, lift and pull your dubbing spinner off your finger and the upper half of the loop will spin automatically, catching the black marabou. You can now spin the whole loop to tighten the marabou securely.

10
While holding the loop out stretched and tight use an old tooth brush (not a metal dubbing brush! this will fray and weaken your Dyneema) to open out any trapped marabou fibres.

11
Hang your dubbing loop in a material spring or clip, so that it doesn´t unwind while you are working on the rest of the fly. Using a even stronger Dyneema, cut a 30 cm length and double it. Place the looped end through the tail hook eye as shown.

12
Now thread the two ends of the core Dyneema through the loop in the hook eye.

13
And pull tight. You can now place a little drop of super glue on the knot.

14
Colour the core Dyneema with a black waterproof felt pen and then lie it down on top of the spun dubbing loop.

15
While holding the Dyneema core and the dubbing loop in your right hand, catch the centre of the dubbing loop with the hook end of a whip finish tool.

16
Fold the dubbing loop over as shown towards the tail hook.

17
While holding the dubbing spinner in place with your left hand remove the whip finish tool from the loop. You will now see the loop spin automatically together. Secure the dubbing loop to the tail hook by tying down a small section, and then folding over the dyneema and tying down again (see stage 23). Repeat this until you are sure it is secure. Remove the access dyneema tying thread and carefully apply a drop of super glue to the whippings . Taking care not to get it on the marabou.

18
Find the core loop again and attach your whip finish tool. Now you should be able to slide the marabou dubbing loop down the core a little. Remove the hook from your vice.

19
Place a bead onto the # 6 shrimp hook and secure in the vice. Once in the vice place a few wrapping of lead wire behind the bead head. This extra weight gives a much better swimming action.

20
Using your thumb nail push the lead wire into the bead head.

21
Attach your tying thread and secure the lead wire and bead head.

22
Tie in the core of the fly as shown.

23
Once the first part of the core is attached apply a drop of super glue.

24
Fold over the core and tie down again. Apply another small drop of super glue.

25
Once you have secured the core slide the dubbing loop up and tie this down. Once you are happy that everything is in place apply another small drop of super glue.

26
Move your tying thread to the rear of the hook shaft and make another dubbing loop. Don´t forget to colour the dyneema black. Spin in some olive marabou.

27
Wind on the last dubbing loop, making sure that you stroke the marabou fibres back with each turn.

28
Take a few black marabou fibres and tie these in over the olive ones. Whip finish and apply a tiny drop of super glue through the eye of the bead.

29
Cut off the point of the front hook with a strong pair of pliers. Be careful with your eyes when doing this as the point comes off like a bullet.

Proof of the pudding!


Fly fishing for trout and grayling in Norway

Gamefish cover

For more information, availability and prices, about fishing for trout and grayling in some of Norway’s best rivers see, www.fishspot.no  or contact Gudmund on  post@fishspot.no

Click on photos for larger image and text.

Gamefish page 1

www.fishspot.no

Gamefish page 2 River Borgund

www.fishspot.no

Gamefish page 3 Galten Smith

www.fishspot.no

Gamefish page 4 Gjerfloen

www.fishspot.no

Gamefish page 5 Hol

www.fishspot.no

Gamefish page 6 Hemsil

www.fishspot.no

Gamefish page 7 Telstad

www.fishspot.no

Gamefish page 8 Smithseter

www.fishspot.no

Gamefish page 9 Rena

www.fishspot.no

Gamefish page 10 Vestsjøberget

www.fishspot.no


Fender Parachute

My good friends hunting dog, Fender and just one of the many animals and huge amounts of materials he secures for my fly tying every year.

Fender secures more meat wrapped in materials for the winter.

This is a quick and simple parachute technique that requires only deer hair and Bug Bond.

Hook: Mustad C49

Tying thread: Dyneema

Body: Moose mane hair

Hackle: Roe deer hair and Bug Bond

Thorax: Underfur from deer or moose winter coat.

1.
Secure your emerger hook in the vice with as much of the bend clear of the jaws.

2.
Run your tying thread from just behind the hook eye down deep into the bend.

3.
Select some long Moose mane hairs.

4.
You will need two long hairs from the moose mane, one white and one black.

5.
Tie in the moose hairs by the points at the base of the hook bend.

6.
Build up a slight forward taper on the fly body with tying thread.

7.
Take both hair at once, with the black hair at the bottom and begin to wind on in even tight turns.

8.
Continue over the whole hook shank until you come to the thorax. Tie off.

9.
Trim off the surplus hair and tie down ends. Although these moose mane hairs are remarkably strong you can give the body a coat with Bug Bond.

10.
Cut and stack a small bunch of deer hair. Tie this in as a parachute post.

11.
At the base of the hairs from a winter coat of a moose or deer there is a dense under fur. Remove enough to dub the thorax.

12.
Dub the thorax behind and forward of the post.

13.
Place your finger tip in the centre of the deer hair post and press down until the deer hair flattens out.

14.
Place a small drop of Bug Bond in the center of the deer hair parachute hackle.

15.
Give the Bug Bond a zap with the UV light.

16.
The finished Fender emerger, made only from deer hair and Bug Bond.

17.
The view from below. Its a perfect quick and simple parachute hackle.


E-Z Sand Eel

A great pattern for salt water sea trout and Sea Bass.

I am currently working with salt water patterns for Northern Europe so I will be publishing a good selection of modern patterns for sea trout and bass in the coming week.

Hook Mustad S70SNP-DT Big Game Light # 4-6 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=191

Thread Dyneema

Body E-Z body tube http://www.e-zbody.com/

Tail 15 strands of Flashabou 

Eyes Fleye Foils http://www.theflypeople.com/

Head Bug Bond http://www.veniard.com/section188/

The original pattern this is based on is form the vice of my late, old friend Jack Gartside. This is not only an extremely effective pattern but also requires the minimum materials and once you have mastered the technique is very quick to tie.

Like the most effective coast wobblers that represent Tobis this pattern is a darter, and has next to no movement in the materials, but like a fleeing sand eel it “darts” in a short fast “zig zag” movement.  Another “problem” for many fly fishermen is that the hook on this pattern is mounted at the head of the fly, leaving a good length of body for the sea trout, sea bass to bite at without being hooked.  This can be the case with smaller fish but larger fish tend to take this pattern contant.  Also a interesting little experiment that I have undertaken a few times is, if you are cleaning a fish that you see has been feeding on sand eels just have a look at which way the head of the sand eel is facing in the stomach of the fish, nearly always, has the sand eel been swallowed head first!  The attach point for pradatory fish is the eyes and these new Fleye foils from Bob Popovics make very realistic sand eel and bait fish patterns.

Sand eels shoal in very large numbers, but are seldom seen during the day in the shallows as they lie buried in the sand, away from predators.  They first appear during the evening, when they come out to feed through the night.  But despite there nocturnal habits sand eel patterns can be fished around the clock the whole year.

You can also try other colour combinations, but keep in mind the general rule of the lightest colour on the stomach and the darkest colour on the back.

Secure your salt water hook in the vice. I like to use a Mustad C70SNP Big game light for this patter beacause of its wide gape and short shank.

Take a length of medium E-Z Body tubing about 6-7-cm long. Measure the the tubing along the hook shank, so that you know where to insert the hook eye into the tube.

Make a opening in the tube where you are going to thread it onto the hook shank.

Thread the tube onto your hook as shown.

Slide the tube back and attach your tying thread behind the hook eye.

Thread a long loop of mono through the E-Z body tube towards the tail.

Thread the bunch of Flashabou through the mono loop and pull this through the tube and out at the hook eye.

Tie down the Flashabou just behind the hook eye.

Tie in the end of the tube and make a neat tight head.

Select your chosen Fleye Foil product. I have used small 25 mm. sand eel foils.

Remove the Fleye Foils from there card and stick them in place, one each side of the eel head and tie down using the small attachment on the foils.

Once you have whip finished and removed your tying thread, turn your fly in the vice so you can tie down the tail at the base of the E-Z body tube. Once secure give it a small drop of Bug Bond just to hold it in place. Remove tying thread and reset hook the correct way in the vice.

The sand eel should now look like this. You can trim the Flashabou tail down to your required size and shape.

You can now colour your sand eel if wished with water proof felt markers.

Carefully coat the foils and head of the eel with Bug Bond and cure with the UV light as you go.

If you want a more three dimentional effect make small colour ajustments with felt pens after every coat of Bug Bond. This builds up layers and gives more depth.

If you ‘open’ the tail of Flashabou and place a tiny drop of Bug Bond at the base and cure! the tail will remain flaired and open.

One of the great things about E-Z body tube is that it remains flexible.

Fleye Foils. Orders and info at: http://www.theflypeople.com/

Bug Bond. Orders and info at: http://www.veniard.com/section188/

E-Z Body Orders and info at: http://www.e-zbody.com/


Image

Rute und Rolle

Rute und Rolle

For all my German friends. In 2014, I will have deliverd fly tying step by step articles for the the top German Magazine ‘Rute und Rolle’ every month for the past twenty years! In december this year they will publish a whole special fly tying issue, with over 40 of my step by step patterns and a free pack of five of my favorit Mustad hooks.

Danke Rute und Rolle!


Essential sea trout patterns for the autumn

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

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

IMG_90811 Proppen

I’ll start with my most successful pattern. I dont know how many of these I have tied in the past couple of years, but it is in the thousands! Just about everyone who has ordered the fly from me come back for more.  You can see the full step by step and fishing techniques:  http://thefeatherbender.com/2013/04/09/proppen-without-doubt-my-most-productive-sea-trout-fly-2/

IMG_09422 The Awesome Opossum

A larger shrimp pattern for attracting larger fish. The AO has also worked extremely well for me the last few seasons when larger patterns and more movement are required to trigger fish into taking. Although a more technical pattern to tie it’s well worth learning the technique: http://thefeatherbender.com/2013/01/23/just-foiling-around/

00023 The Virtual Minnow

I have been using this pattern since the mid nineties and is a great go-to pattern when nothing is happening in the surface and blind fishing is the order of the day. One of the great things with this pattern is its flexibility of size and colour, the combinations of wing and body colour and size are endless. http://thefeatherbender.com/2013/02/28/the-virtual-minnow-a-zonker-with-a-twist/

IMG_0662

4 Foil Gammarus

This gammarus pattern probably represents the most common food stuff of the sea trout, no matter the time of year you will always find these small shrimps on the sea trout menu. This is one of my more recent patterns, so I haven’t really had much time fishing it, but the results so far are promising! For the full step by steps on a couple of variations: http://thefeatherbender.com/2013/01/24/the-revers-foil-gammarus/  http://thefeatherbender.com/2013/02/19/the-foil-speaks-the-wise-man-listens/

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

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


Marc Petitjean – CdC deer hair caddis

It’s been a while, but I am back, and posting more patterns after a busy season photographing and fishing, where I have been testing new patterns and materials that I will be writing about later.  I have also visited some new destinations that I am sure, will blow your socks off! I will reveal more later.  On arriving back from my travels, there is a mountain of new materials, tools and books waiting for me to review so keep tuned as I will be going through the best of these as and when I get time. Marc also extends the deer hair wing of this pattern and fishes it as a large stone fly .

For now, here is the Marc Petitjean CdC deer hair combo caddis that I promised you earlier this summer.

MP CdC & Deer hair Caddis

Hook: For smaller sizes 16, 14, 12 short shank dry fly hook for 10,8 long shank dry fly hook

Thread: MP Split second thread

Body: Three CdC hackles

Wing: Deer hair

Hackle: CdC 

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Marc playing a wild brown taken on his CdC Deer hair caddis.

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Marc developed this CdC deer hair caddis to imitate a adult skating caddis pattern that would float high and dry. I have often noticed that when fishing adult caddis patterns, trout tend to prefer the patterns that float extremely high on the water, almost not touching the surface. So if a pattern I am fishing becomes waterlogged and begins to fish heavier in the surface, I dry it off or change it! Marc’s idea behind this pattern was to combine the two best floating materials available (CdC and deer hair) to achieve long lasting float-ability and fishability.

IMG_7149

1

Secure your hook in the vice with the hook shank horizontal-

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Run the tying thread along the hook shank until it hangs vertical with the hook point.

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Cut a small bunch of deer hair from the winter coat and remove the under fur. Marc doesn’t stack his deer hair in a hair stacker but just  holds the points as level as possible to save time. Tie in the deer hair as shown on top of the hook shank and tight into the rear of the hook eye.

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Select three similar sized CdC hackles, you decide the colour combination.

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Tie all three in by the points at the rear of the hook shank. Attach a MP CdC hackle plier to all three.

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Trim off the ends of the hackles close into the hackle plier before winding.

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Now while holding the CdC hackle fibers in place with one hand make two twists only of the hackle plier to form the CdC dubbing rope. If you make more than two twists the hackles will break!

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Now with each wrap of CdC dubbing rope make one twist of the hackle pliers by rolling it in your fingers. Marc calls this wrap and roll. Remember to hold each turn in-place on the hook shank.

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Continue wrapping and rolling until the body is complete.

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Once you have covered the whole body, carefully tie off the CdC hackles.

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Once secure trim off the hackle buts.

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With a pair of straight scissors trim off the extending CdC hackle fibers from the body.

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The finished result, a segmented CdC caddis body.

IMG_716614

Prepare a magic tool with two CdC hackle loaded and place in a split dubbing loop of tying thread. This will form the hackle.

IMG_716715

Once the CdC fibers are loaded in the magic tool spin your bobbin to make a dubbing brush.

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Make two or three turns of CdC hackle close into the body and forward towards the head of the fly.

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Now pull the deer hair wing back over the body, keeping all the deer hair fibers on top of the hook shank and away from the sides of the pattern.

IMG_717318

While holding the wing in place, make two or three turns of CdC dubbing brush over the deer hair to form the head and wing.

IMG_717419

You can see that a small ball of deer hair is formed at the head of the fly.  Whip finish.

IMG_717620

The finished MP CdC deer hair caddis that floats high and dry…


Proppen-Without doubt my most productive sea trout fly….

Proppen, over a thousand sea trout can’t be wrong!!

This is my variant of one of the best salmon flies in recent years. It is, without doubt my most productive fly for salt water sea trout fishing.  There is something about this pattern that sea trout just can’t resist.

On many occasions when there are sea trout feeding or on the move, and they just follow the fly and won’t take, this small fly works most of the time.  Fished on a long fine leader and floating line just under the surface with a very slow figure of eight retrieve, the takes are savage and powerful, driving the tiny hook home immediately. Many fishermen are skeptical to fishing such small patterns, but if you give this one a try, I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

When nothing else will work, proppen saves the day…

Proppen

Hook: Mustad 60329NBLN # 10 Carp Power

Thread: Dyneema

Feelers: 4  Stripped cock hackles

Beard: Deer hair summer coat

Body: Moose hair coated with Bug Bond and coloured with waterproof felt pen

1
Secure your hook in the vice as shown.

2
Select four stiff light coloured cock hackles

3
Strip off all the fibers.

4
Attach your tying thread to the hook shank

5
Tie in the four stripped cock hackles evenly spaced around the hook shank.

6
Cut a small bunch of deer hair from a summer coat, this wont flare as much as the winter coat hair. And even the points in a hair stacker.

7
Tie in the deer hair as a beard over and around the cock hackles.

8
Trim off the surplus deer hair and tie down.

9
Tie in two long moose mane hairs, one black, one white.

10
Wrap the moose hairs around the body simultaneously and tie off behind the hook eye.

11
Whip finish and remove the tying thread.

12
Give the body a coat with Bug Bond.

13
Give the body a quick zap with the UV light to cure the Bug Bond.

14
Colour the body with a waterproof felt pen and give it another coat with Bug Bond.

15
The finished fly ready for the salt.

Four feelers in all directions.


Edson Tiger

The modifide Edson Tiger with the Brass Eyes.

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/


Top tips for sea trout fishing

Top sea trout tips

Fyn 21

When the spring sun has begun to warm the winter cold salt water, it’s not only you that begin to feel the effects of spring.  The coastal sea trout that have gone the whole winter in energy saving modus, are now ready for the spring feast. For most of the coldest part of winter the sea trout are as little active as possible and hold to areas that are warmest. They can be difficult to tempt on regular fly fishing equipment, but a good colorful  large streamer, fished slowly can work a winter fish up.

Right now when the water temperature begins to rise, they will become much more active in their pursuit for food.  The sea trout is an aggressive predator and during spring and early summer has a need to fatten themselves up after winters fast. This is why they are best to fish for now.

But you are still not guaranteed success, even if the sea trout is hungry and hunting. So I have put together a few tips -that work- for you that wish to fish for sea trout from now into the summer.

1

Find the fish:

Success for sea trout fishing relies on finding the fish. And in the winter and spring you have to  look for warmer water, 4 degrees or more. If it is 12 or 14 degrees in the water in June it makes little difference for the sea trout, but in March-April 4 degrees is much warmer than 2 degrees.  It doesn’t need big changes in temperature to get the sea trout going. Shallower south facing, sun rich bays and beaches with a  flow in the water. Here it doesn’t take much more for the sea trouts menu to awaken from the winters sleep.

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Because the temperature is important a thermometer is also important for the serious sea trout fisherman.

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If it is an extra cold, spring brackish water areas generally hold fish, because the salt content of the sea here is smaller, the sea trout like this ! Also look for structure in the water large stones islands or cliffs. These structures collect and store heat from the sun, this will warm the surrounding water.

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2

As a rule, No rules:

We don’t know the reason why, but in some cases you can experience fantastic fishing just on the edge of frozen water or floating pack ice. But in most cases it’s small fish, that should be returned that are in shoals.

AoF

3

Rag worm swarming:

The rag worms wedding as it is known, is called the springs most exciting adventure for the sea trout fisherman. And if you are lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, there is no danger for you not connecting.  You can find rag worms the whole year in the stomach contents of sea trout, but in the spring under large swarming you can find that they fall out of the mouth of the sea trout that have gorged themselves, when you land them.

winter sea trout

4

When doe’s the swarming happen ?

The chances of experiencing a large swarming are best after the water has gone up in temperature above 6-7 degrees and around the full moon in April, but this is not a fast rule, and last year we experienced swarming, during a warmer day on a full moon in early March.

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Sea gulls show the way:

Rag worm swarming can be very local in most situations, and it’s not easy to know where. Then you should look to the sky’s, because the greedy and forever hungry sea gulls can show you the way.  If you can see that screaming sea gulls are in a flock and circle around a area of coast, this shows you where to fish – just like the pelicans when tarpon fishing.

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When darkness falls:

Think that the sun has been high in the sky all day and warming up the shallow’s, especially with dark muddy bottoms. These shallow areas retain the days heat during the first couple of hours of darkness.  It’s during this period that larger sea trout dare to venture into the shallows to feed.  You should fish at least a couple of hours into the night. Try using streamers or Muddlers that will give a little movement in the water. Fish slowly and listen for splashes.

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Fish shallow:

During darkness, night or early morning sea trout hunt in much shallower water than most fishermen think.  In small bays and harbors, rocky shoreline and long shallow beaches. Here you can encounter fine fish in water not deeper than you need nothing more the rubber boots. But remember in such water they are also spooked easy.

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When is the best time ?

There are many different thoughts about the best time to fish for sea trout.  The best advice is to fish when you have chance to fish.  Those that fish the most catch most fish and get the most experience.  The sea trout is effected by the moon and it’s fases, and some times fishing can be best on a spring tide, and other times in periods with extreme low water in the high pressure periods you can experience during late spring.

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High & low tide:

There is also many thoughts about this, if fishing is better at high or low tide in the sea.

During winter it’s most rewarding to fish at the warmest part of the day, between 11:00 – 14:00, no matter high or low tide.  When the water warms, in most cases it’s best to fish a couple of hours before high water  into a couple of hours after.

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When is high and low tide ?

In the good old days you could buy a tide time table from the news agents but now you can find them for Norway on  http://sehavniva.no/om/api/

http://www.imr.no/forskning/forskningsdata/temperatur_flodevigen/draw.map?boey=1

 

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Only for early birds:

From early April it can prove to be rewarding if you fish early in the morning. Early means a couple of hours before sun rise, so you must have a alarm clock and a good dose of self discipline.  Even if it is cold, you may be lucky enough to find large sea trout who cruise shallow water after being out hunting at night.

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All nighters:

If you are not a early bird by nature, you can also try your luck from the end of March  into  April between 19:00 – 23:00 especially if you have high tide within this time period. And so it will continue out towards the summer, but try fishing in deeper water with flow in it.
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Bad weather:

Even if warm is the key word with sea trout fishing in the spring, fishing can fantastic in bad weather.  Don’t look out the window and decide to stay home because it’s blowing and raining.  Under the cover of bad weather and high waves shy and big fish come into the shallows to feed.  This type of weather can be a fishing fest for spin fishermen.

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Shore wind collects food:

When the wind blows from the sea against the land all the food in the top few meters of water will blow towards land and collect near the shore. And where there is most food, there are sea trout.  This wind direction produces the best fishing.

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Sunny and wind still:

Use a fine clear line or leader on clear sunny and wind still days.  Smaller flies also produce more fish in good weather.  Sometimes sea trout can be selective on such days, where only the very smallest flies will work.  This is when only fly fishing will work, with tiny flies 16-18 and a long fine leader and very slow retrieve.

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Sea trout are shy:

Start fishing before you come down to the waters edge, and for no price begin to wade before you have fished the shallows thoroughly.

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Slow or Fast:

It doesn’t matter what you fish with, a rule of thumb is, slow in winter and through out spring. It’s here that fly fishing has the edge, use a very slow figure of eight retrieve.

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Variation:

Even if the rule is slow in cold spring water, you can experience that the opposite is more effective.  For example: a rag worm should be fished slowly, so that it swims like it’s flowing in the water. If you experience that fish follow and will not take, it some times works if you place your rod under your arm and make a “roly poly” retrieve using both hands. The best rule is try what is the norm, then try to vary your retrieve until you find what is right.

Don’t pull your spoon or fly out of the water when it is 5-6 meters from land. You will get much better results if you fish your spoon/fly all the way into land.  Sea trout like to follow the bait a few meters before they take, and the very last meter is the most dangerous for the sea trout.

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Keep on the move:

Its said that the most important piece of equipment while sea trout fishing is the car!

Trout in a river are like trout eating at a restaurant, they sit and wait for the food to come to them. Sea trout on the other hand race from restaurant to restaurant. Especially in the spring months the sea trout is eating on the move. If you dont find fish move a little.

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Take your time:

If you dont find the sea trout, let the sea trout find you! Take many breaks while out fishing, make sure you have coffee with you and something to eat.

While you sit and take a break, dont take your eye’s off the water it’s now you may spot the rise of a passing sea trout, or a silver flash from the side of one hunting.

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There is always hope:

If you really want to catch more and bigger sea trout, there is only one expert tip that is 100% guaranteed to work, “Dont give up” even if you are not catching. The more you fish, the more you will catch!


E-Z Sand Eel

A great pattern for salt water sea trout and Sea Bass.

Hook Mustad S70SNP-DT Big Game Light # 4-6 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=191

Thread Dyneema

Body E-Z body tube http://www.e-zbody.com/

Tail 15 strands of Flashabou 

Eyes Fleye Foils http://www.theflypeople.com/

Head Bug Bondhttp://www.veniard.com/section188/

The original pattern this is based on is form the vice of my late, old friend Jack Gartside. This is not only an extremely effective pattern but also requires the minimum materials and once you have mastered the technique is very quick to tie.

Like the most effective coast wobblers that represent Tobis this pattern is a darter, and has next to no movement in the materials, but like a fleeing sand eel it “darts” in a short fast “zig zag” movement.  Another “problem” for many fly fishermen is that the hook on this pattern is mounted at the head of the fly, leaving a good length of body for the sea trout, sea bass to bite at without being hooked.  This can be the case with smaller fish but larger fish tend to take this pattern contant.  Also a interesting little experiment that I have undertaken a few times is, if you are cleaning a fish that you see has been feeding on sand eels just have a look at which way the head of the sand eel is facing in the stomach of the fish, nearly always, has the sand eel been swallowed head first!  The attach point for pradatory fish is the eyes and these new Fleye foils from Bob Popovics make very realistic sand eel and bait fish patterns.

Sand eels shoal in very large numbers, but are seldom seen during the day in the shallows as they lie buried in the sand, away from predators.  They first appear during the evening, when they come out to feed through the night.  But despite there nocturnal habits sand eel patterns can be fished around the clock the whole year.

You can also try other colour combinations, but keep in mind the general rule of the lightest colour on the stomach and the darkest colour on the back.

Secure your salt water hook in the vice. I like to use a Mustad C70SNP Big game light for this patter beacause of its wide gape and short shank.

Take a length of medium E-Z Body tubing about 6-7-cm long. Measure the the tubing along the hook shank, so that you know where to insert the hook eye into the tube.

Make a opening in the tube where you are going to thread it onto the hook shank.

Thread the tube onto your hook as shown.

Slide the tube back and attach your tying thread behind the hook eye.

Thread a long loop of mono through the E-Z body tube towards the tail.

Thread the bunch of Flashabou through the mono loop and pull this through the tube and out at the hook eye.

Tie down the Flashabou just behind the hook eye.

Tie in the end of the tube and make a neat tight head.

Select your chosen Fleye Foil product. I have used small 25 mm. sand eel foils.

Remove the Fleye Foils from there card and stick them in place, one each side of the eel head and tie down using the small attachment on the foils.

Once you have whip finished and removed your tying thread, turn your fly in the vice so you can tie down the tail at the base of the E-Z body tube. Once secure give it a small drop of Bug Bond just to hold it in place. Remove tying thread and reset hook the correct way in the vice.

The sand eel should now look like this. You can trim the Flashabou tail down to your required size and shape.

You can now colour your sand eel if wished with water proof felt markers.

Carefully coat the foils and head of the eel with Bug Bond and cure with the UV light as you go.

If you want a more three dimentional effect make small colour ajustments with felt pens after every coat of Bug Bond. This builds up layers and gives more depth.

If you ‘open’ the tail of Flashabou and place a tiny drop of Bug Bond at the base and cure! the tail will remain flaired and open.

One of the great things about E-Z body tube is that it remains flexible.

Fleye Foils. Orders and info at: http://www.theflypeople.com/

Bug Bond. Orders and info at: http://www.veniard.com/section188/

E-Z Body Orders and info at: http://www.e-zbody.com/


Sea trout Flat wing

Firstly may I wish you all a happy new year!

The seasonal festivities family birthdays and goodbye ceremonies are now over and I have more time to get back to what is most important. Thats right, fishing and fly tying! So please accept my apologies for being vacant the last couple of weeks, but now I am back in the saddle with the first sea trout fly of the year. Please enjoy and much more will come soon.

Yours,

The Feather Bender.

This sea trout flat wing variant is a sure winner and an attractor of larger fish.

This sea trout flat wing variant is a sure winner and an attractor of larger fish.

The original flat wing pattern was developed by the late Bill Peabody a well known fly tyer and fisherman from Rhode Island in the US.  The original pattern was developed for stripped bass but was also found to be just as successful on many other salt water species. Recently a number of flat wing patterns have been developed for salt water sea trout and sea bass fishing in Northern Europe and have proved to be extremely effective.

One of the great things about tying these modern flat wing patterns is that the design lends itself extremely well to individual interpretation in size, colour and material use. But remember that the key word for tying flat wings is sparse, if you over dress these flies you defeat the whole point with them. Try and use materials that are light but create volume, but always consider the movement of the material in the water when fished and don´t forget its reflective and  flash qualities. Some fly tiers also make use of a tandem hook on larger patterns, attached by mean´s of a wire or mono extension with the tail hook, up side down. But I find that this in most cases completely changes the action of the fly.

Hook Mustad S71SNP-ZS # 8-2 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=193

Tying thread Dyneema

Tail Two flat wing saddle hackles and Flashabou

Body Mother of pearl Body Braid coated with Bug Bond

Under wing White buck tail and five strands of Crystal flash

Over wing Yellow Olive and blue buck tail mixed

Topping Five strands of fine peacock herl

Throat White buck tail

Cheeks Jungle cock

1. Secure your salt water hook in the vice and attach your tying thread at the rear.

1. Secure your salt water hook in the vice and attach your tying thread at the rear.

2. tie in two medium long saddle hackles flat on top of the hook shank as shown along with a few strands of flashabou or similar

2. Tie in two medium long saddle hackles flat on top of the hook shank as shown along with a few strands of flashabou or similar.

3. Cut a length of MOP Bills body braid at the base of the flat wing tail.

3. Cut a length of MOP Bills body braid at the base of the flat wing tail.

4. Wrap the body braid over the whole hook shank taking care to leave enough space for the wing and head.

4. Wrap the body braid over the whole hook shank taking care to leave enough space for the wing and head.

5. tie in a bunch of white buck tail and a few strands of crystal hair for the wing.

5. tie in a bunch of white buck tail and a few strands of crystal hair for the wing.

6. Mix a small bunch of buck tail in your chosen colours and even in a hair stacker.

6. Mix a small bunch of buck tail in your chosen colours and even in a hair stacker.

7. Tie in this bunch on top of the white under wing.

7. Tie in this bunch on top of the white under wing.

8. Tie in another smaller bunch of white buck tail for the throat of the fly.

8. Tie in another smaller bunch of white buck tail for the throat of the fly.

9. Top off the wing with four or five strands of peacock herl.

9. Top off the wing with four or five strands of peacock herl.

11. Using a dubbing needle or similar make the peacock herl curve in the right way.

11. Using a dubbing needle or similar make the peacock herl curve in the right way.

12. Select two jungle cock eyes and tie in one each side of the wing base.

12. Select two jungle cock eyes and tie in one each side of the wing base.

13. Whip finish. Colour the head of the fly with a waterproof felt pen and varnish.

13. Whip finish. Colour the head of the fly with a waterproof felt pen and varnish.

Once the flat wing has become wet you will understand how the wing and tail fall naturally into place to form a fantastic mobile bait fish imitation.

Once the flat wing has become wet you will understand how the wing and tail fall naturally into place to form a fantastic mobile bait fish imitation.


Confessions of a glue user…

Confessions of a glue user…

Bug Bond revolutionizing fly tying

For over two decades I have been a serious user of various types and brands of two component bonding agents and epoxy in my fly tying and rod building, all of which have their (highs and lows) advantages and disadvantages!

Although epoxy is available at most corner shops and relatively simple to use, it does take some experience working out the correct amount to mix for the specific job at hand, so there is minimum waste but also mixing the correct amount of both components to advance or reduce curing time as required. Also when mixing, you have to use a slow figure of eight motion with the mixing tool! this greatly reduces the possibility for air bubbles and results in a clear cure! In addition to this you also need to use a rotating dryer if you are tying several patterns with epoxy at the same time, or applying rod rings, to achieve an aesthetic and uniform application.

This all changed a couple of years ago while tying at the Dutch fly fair!

Mr Bond David Edwards

From my tying station, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a somewhat, suspicious  character standing on the corner of the tyers podium selling small baggies to passers by. Unlike comparable US cop TV show characters, that are dressed like rap gangsters, this guy resembled a fly fishermen! But what he was selling is just as addictive. Once you have started using, you can’t stop!

The man in question was David Edwards and his baggies contained the first production batch of Bug Bond UV fly tying resin.

Being a professional photographer my entire working life I spent hours every assignment waiting to see the results back from the processors, but with the onslaught of the digital revolution, the results where instantly available.  This I believe, is Bug Bond’s greatest advantage!

Unlike Epoxy, Bug Bond requires no mixing and for most applications, only a ten second cure, with the correct frequency UV light. Fixed finished and dried in just a few seconds.

Do’s and don’ts from a user:

When using Bug Bond there are still a few things to consider.

If you require only a thin protective coating over a material, apply your BB and cure with the UV light, simple!  But take note, that if you are applying BB to a porous material, especially one that has several layers, like the untreated tying thread on the head of a fly, any BB that is absorbed into the thread will not be exposed to the UV light, and wont cure. For this reason, I still prefer to use head cement on the heads of my flies.

If you need a thicker coat, or lets say, a larger transparent head or body on a salt water pattern, then you have to build this up layer by layer, if you apply too thick a coat, the UV light has difficulty penetrating and will cure the surface layer and can leave the center somewhat viscous, although I haven’t found one yet, I am sure that this may also have an application ? I have also found that if you are curing a larger area, like a whole hackle, its an advantage to start by applying a coat of BB on one side first and then curing with the UV light a distance from the material (30 cm), but slowly moving it closer as the curing process advances, then repeat this on the rear of the hackle. This I have found, slows the curing process a little, but gives optimal results. A hard clear, glossy and tack free finish.

You may also experience, that if you start with the UV light too close to the material to be cured, it cures too quickly, greatly  increasing in temperature  as the photo-activators cure the resin. This should be avoided, as a cure that is too fast and too intense can shrink the material being coated and result in distortion, as I have experienced through trial and error. Also on a safety point, avoid getting BB on your fingers! If you are unlucky enough to do this and accidentally cure it while holding a fly, the heat is intense.

Stronger and better hardening is achieved through using the resin at 37 F degrees (2.6 C degrees) and first with an intermittent exposure to the LED UV light and finishing with a constant exposure for 10 seconds or more. You will also discover that BB may not adhere as well to all materials. I have experienced a couple of foam types and materials coloured with some spirit based waterproof felt pens. You should also remember that this is a UV cure product, so using it in daylight will cure the bonding agent as it comes out of the tube.

Also if your curing time seems to be getting longer, remember to change the batteries  in the UV lamp!

BB has many applications

Top Tips:

With regard to production tying and hands free curing I have made a simple fly curing station. Using an old fly reel box I have covered the inside and lid with silver foil.  On one corner of the lid, I use the corner so that the box can accommodate larger flies diagonally. I cut a hole a little smaller that the diameter of the light head and built up a short tube of black card to hold the light in position.

Attaching rod rings with only BB

Inside the box I have glued a foam popper head for securing the fly while drying. Just place the hook of your fly in the foam place on the lid and switch on the light. You can then get on with another fly…

If you dont intend to use your  Bug Bond for some time, keep it in a cool dark place. David recommends the refrigerator, this keeps it fresh and prolongs life, but then you should remember to remove it and let it reach room temperature at least an hour before you are going to use it.

If you would like to add a little more flash to your BB, try mixing it with regular hobby glitter before applying or just sprinkling it onto the fly before curing! These are available in an amazing amount of colours and only cost a few pence.

On a safety note, UV lights are dangerous if miss used. They should never be pointed at the eyes and kept out of the reach of children at all times.

Curing BB with the UV light

You will quickly discover that BB and its uses within fly tying and rod building are infinite.

But like all new materials, it takes a little time and experimenting to be familiar with the boundaries, possibilities and applications.

Bug-Bond has been designed to be optically perfect and when cured correctly to have a tack free surface. Other  benefits are that it is also resistant to tainting or yellowing when exposed to sunlight and also has a degree of flexibility when cured.

For Bug Bond see links: http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/   http://www.veniard.com/section188/