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

Material Reviews

Cottus Gobio

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Hook: Mustad R 74 # 2

Thread: Dyneema

Tail: Siberian squirrel tail hair

Body : Squirrel tron dark hares ear dubbing

Rib: Fine copper wire

Wing: Pine squirrel zonker strip

Collar: Natural red fox body hair spun in dubbing loop

Gill covers: 2 Ring neck pheasant “church window” feathers coated with Bug Bond

Head: Natural kangaroo body hair spun in dubbing loop and clipped to shape

Eyes : Epoxy eyes

The original zonker pattern was tied by the American fly tyer Dan Byford in the 1970s and was quickly recognized the world over, as a big fish fly and extremely easy to tie, yet a realistic imitation for most smaller bait fish. The original pattern used a lead or tin sheet that was folded and glued over the hook shank and then cut to shape to make the underbody.   The flexibility of the Zonker as a bait fish imitation pattern is only limited to your own imagination. There are a huge amount of rabbit fur strip materials on the market in just about every colour imaginable, not to mention fox, squirrel, mink etc, the combination possibilities are endless. Another advantage with the zonker, unlike buck tail and feather wing streamers, is that it is an extremely robust pattern. If tied correctly the fly will normally outlive the hook, although the eyes are somewhat vulnerable to the small sharp teeth of trout. This can be improved by attaching the eyes with super glue and coating them with Bug Bond or head cement.

When fishing this pattern or any long tailed streamers in general for that matter. Many fly fishermen are of the thought, that when fishing a long tailed streamer the fish tend to “Nap” at the tail and won´t take the fly properly! This can be the case for smaller trout but generally speaking a large trout will take this pattern hard and fast. If you do experience napping at the tail when fishing, stop the retrieve dead, and let the fly sink a little for two or three seconds, nine times out of ten the attacking fish will pick it up on the drop.

1Secure your Mustad R 74 # 2 hook horizontal in the vice.

1
Secure your Mustad R 74 # 2 hook horizontal in the vice.

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3
Cut a good bunch of Siberian squirrel tail with clear markings. Stack the hair and tie in for the tail. The tail should be approximately the same length as the hook shank. If you would like to add weight to your fly, this is the time to do it.
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4
Now tie in a length of medium copper wire, at the tail base for the rib.

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

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6
Once you have wound the dubbing forward in a tapered body, about one cm from the hook eye, brush out the fibers with a tooth brush. This will give more body and movement to the finished streamer.

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7
Cut a zonker strip from a pine squirrel hide. Make sure that the strip is tapered to a point at the tail of the strip.

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

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9
Place the zonker strip up on top of the body of the fly so that it´s the same length as the tail. Now wind on the copper wire rib.

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10
Take care not to trap the fibers of the squirrel as you go. There should be no more that six turns of copper wire between the tail base and the end of the body.

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11
Once you have reached the end of the body tie off the copper wire and the zonker strip. Remove the excess and tie down.

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12
Now place a strip of natural red fox body hair still on the hide in a paper clip or the Marc Petitjean magic tool as used here.

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

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14
Wind on the fox dubbing brush making sure that you comb the hair back and up with each turn, this will form the over wing of the streamer. If you have some fox hair that has accumulated on the underside of the throat trim this away, this same depth as the body.

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

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16
Now tie these in, concave out, as shown. One each side to form the fins. These also give a wobbler effect on the streamer when fished.

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17
Make another dubbing loop. Here I have used natural kangaroo body hair. If you dont have kangaroo you can use another coarse natural hair.

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18
Now wind on the dubbing brush forward tight into the rear of the hook eye. Again taking care not to trap and tie down the hair as you go.

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19
Whip finish. Before you begin to trim and form your streamer head, brush out the fibers with a tooth brush to open the hair and give more volume. Trim the head to shape.

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20
Select two epoxy fly eyes, these should be a little larger than the natural for the size of the streamer. This will give a slightly more efficient attractor factor.

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21
The finished streamer.

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Virtual Nymph

My first attempt with some of the great Virtual Nymph products I received at the weekend and Bug Bond. Not 100% happy with the results, but when I have played a little more, I will be making the full step by step for this Stone fly nymph.

Hook:  Mustad Slow death 33862NP-BR  http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=2196

Thread:  Dyneema

Tail:  Porcupine guard hairs

Underbody:  Natural seal fur Dubbing

Body:  Natural nymph skin

Wing cases Virtual nymph stone clinger wing-buds and heads coated with Bug Bond

Legs:  Turkey biots coated with Bug Bond

Antenna:  Porcupine guard hairs

Check out the products on: http://www.virtual-nymph.com/ and  http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/ http://www.veniard.com/section188/


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Porcupine guard hairs

Porcupine guard hairs

I just received some fantastic Porcupine Guard Hairs from Virtual Nymph http://www.virtual-nymph.com/
I have played around a little already with them and this is some of the best ribbing material I have come across. I will be posting some patterns using these and some other innovative VN products later this week. Check out their website, loads of great materials: http://www.virtual-nymph.com/


Dyna King Ultimate Indexer

The new Dyna King Ultimate Indexer

The Dyna King Ultimate Indexer review:

It all started with the thought of purchasing a new vise for the photography of salt water flies for my new book. I needed one that had full rotation in all directions, horizontally, vertically, up and down and in and out. But I also needed a vice that would look the business with a salt water hook in it in front of the camera. After much research and the exchanging of e mails with fellow tyers around the world, with, I must say mixed responses! I ordered the Dyna King Ultimate Indexer. Dyna King have an excellent reputation in the fly tying world and although I am no stranger to their products, for some strange reason, I have never owned a DK vice. On arrival a few days later I couldn’t wait to try it. This is one good looking vice! After a short while of adjusting and getting use to UI, I was quick to realize that the jaws supplied with the vice where faulty! Could this be right ? I tried and played some more with adjustments but, I couldn’t get a single hook of any size to ‘hold fast’ in the jaws. I am sure you can imagine my disappointment! I contacted Dyna King and relayed my observations, they where quick to respond. New jaws arrived just a few days later.

After tying now for a few weeks with the DKUI, I feel the majority of my initial concerns have been resolved, but there are still a couple of, I feel eliminatory design faults that remain.

1. When adjusting the critical hight of the vice through raising the shaft in the set collar the overall stability of the vise is compromised, thats is to say it ‘rocks’ ever so slightly but annoyingly about 0.5 mm from side to side. Its only when the shaft is entirely inserted into the set collar that it retains stability. Dyna King informed me that this can be resolved by purchasing a extension for the shaft.

2. The base lock screw even when tightened fully isn’t tight enough to secure the vice shaft from swinging slightly if extra pressure is placed on a jawed hook through pulling the tying thread towards or away from you. They also commented on this point and said : To secure the shaft 100% they would have to place a notch in the shaft to accompany the base lock screw.

These two points being noted, the vice is becoming more of a pleasure to work with as I slowly get use to adapting my tying style to using it. Hand crafted out of high grade stainless steel, brass and aluminum the Ultimate indexer is a fine piece of quality engineering.

Dyna King Ultimate Indexer specifications:

Hook range: 22 – 8/0

Jaw tip to end  21.6 cm

Height, Jaw tip to desk 17.8 cm   (fully inserted in base collar)

Weight, with Pedestal 3176 g.

Weight, with Clamp 1360 g.

Also included with your vise is simple but precise plastic snap on Centering gauge which allows you to center your hook shank to the axis of vice body rotation.

Instructional DVD featuring Al Beatty demonstrating tying techniques, as well as the features of this vise.

RRP. $ 499.00  http://www.dyna-king.com/

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360 Rotation and Indexing Feature:
This allows the spindle and jaws to be rotated a full 360 degrees to one of eight stopping points, so the fly can be viewed and tied from every position. The indexer can be released by simply unscrewing the brass indexing knob under the bearing housing.
The bobbin cradel can be positioned into any possible angle required by the tyer.

The bobbin cradle can be positioned into any possible angle required by the tyer.

The upper third of the shaft has a angle adaptor fitted that allows the jaws to be raised and lowered.

The upper third of the shaft has a angle adaptor fitted that allows the jaws to be raised and lowered.

The jaws length can be adjusted by loosening the body friction screw.

The distance of the jaws from the vise body can be adjusted and rotated by loosening and tightening the body friction screw.


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/


The Midas touch, confessions of a nymph-omaniac.

Bling, bling, Midas nymphs are the right way to go for winter grayling.

The Midas nymph is my rendition on a more common pattern called the copper John, which uses copper wire instead of gold oval tinsel amongst other things. The interesting thing about the copper John, according to Bruce Olsen sales manager for Umpqua Feather Merchants, The worlds largest manufacturer of commercially tied flies, the copper John is the best selling trout fly in the world. “We sell them by the tens of thousands” Bruce says, and thats just the original copper version. When you add in all the colour variant of that pattern, the numbers get to be absolutely staggering.”

 

Thousands of anglers around the world cant be wrong. If you haven’t tied and fished with the copper John, its probably time you did!

Head: Gold brass bead head

Hook: Mustad S6ONP-BR # 16-10

Tying thread: Dyneema

Tail: Golden pheasant topping

Body: Medium gold oval tinsel coated with Bug Bond  http://www.veniard.com/section188/  http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/

Thorax: Peacock  herl

Legs: Goose biots

Wing case: Medium oval gold tinsel

 

After having great success with bead head nymphs for both trout and grayling, over a period of time a pattern began to develop. Since the introduction of bead heads in the early eighties, we all know how well they fish, but if I was fishing with exactly the same weighted nymph, but tied with a black bead head instead of a gold one, the amount of takes where not dramatic, but noticeably reduced! So my natural chain of thought is that its the gold head which was the main attractor factor. Why not try a nymph that is totally gold !  After my initial attempts, I quickly discovered that the tinsel body and thorax where extremely venerable to small sharp teeth, and had a very short lifespan. But a coat or two with Bug Bond or Epoxy sorted that out.  This is a relatively new pattern and I have only fished it seriously last season, although the results where good, its still too early to say how good! Tie some up and try for yourself, you won’t be disappointed! This spring it will also be tested on sea trout…

 

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

2
Run the tying thread over the whole length of the hook shank.

3
Tie in one or two small golden pheasant toppings as the tail.

4
On the underside of the hook shank tie in a good length of medium gold oval tinsel. The oval is better, round tinsel has a tendency to slip down the body.

5
You can now dub a tapered underbody. If you would like to add extra weight you could build up the under body with lead wire.

6
Now wind on the tinsel in tight even turns to form a segmented nymph body. Stop with good room for the thorax.

7
You can now give the body a good coat with Bug Bond. This not only protects the tinsel but also gives it extra “bling”. Cut four lengths of gold oval tinsel and tie these in to form the wing case, tight into the body.

8
Now apply a little more dubbing to bring the thorax up-to the required diameter.

9
At the base of the body tie in a good long peacock herl and move your tying thread froward to the bead head.

10
Make four or five turns with the herl and tie off. But dont trim off the remainder of the herl
you will need this later.

 

 

11
Take two goose biots and tie these in one each side of the thorax for the legs.

12
Cover the rest of the thorax with a few turns of peacock herl and tie off behind the bead head.

13
Now fold over the tinsel wing case and secure with a couple of loose turns of tying thread, trim off the tinsel wing case about three mm above the two loose turns of tying thread. This is so when you tighten the loose turns, the trimmed ends will disappear under and into the bead head.

14
carefully give the wing case a coat of Bug Bond, making sure that it doesn’t get onto the peacock herl thorax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Deer Hair Immerger.

The deer hair Immerger.

Presentation is alfa and omega when fishing emergers.

This incredibly simple pattern, truly, it only takes a few minutes to tie! makes emergers into immergers. This technique places your pattern right below the surface film (immersed) as if the insect is actually climbing out of the shuck onto the surface.

Taking my Fender emerger one step further by extending the deer hair parachute post which places the entire hook, and tippet point entirely under the surface…

All you need:

Hook: Mustad C49S  http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=177

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Body: Moose hair coated with Bug Bond  for Bug Bond see links: http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/   http://www.veniard.com/section188/

Post: Deer hair wrapped in moose hair coated with Bug Bond

Parachute hackle: Deer hair

1.
Tie your bicolored moose hair body. You can see the full step by step for this in my earlier post ‘Fender parachute’.

2.
Cut and stack a small bunch of deer hair central in the thorax.

3.
Turn your hook so the deer hair post is at 90 degrees and make some wraps of tying thread to reinforce the post base.

4.
Tie in two moose mane hairs, one black one white, along the length of the post finishing under the parachute hair.

5.
Once you have wrapped the moose hair emerger post, tie off the moose hair, remove the excess and return your hook to the regular position.

6.
Coat the post with Bug Bond and tie in two long peacock herl’s, by the points at the rear of the thorax.

7.
Wrap the peacock herl over the whole thorax and tie off. Remove the excess.

8.
Using your index finger press the deer hair post down to form the parachute hackle.

9.
Carefully place a small drop of Bug Bond in the center of the deer hair hackle. Make sure it penetrates the deer hair.

10.
Give the Bug Bond a zap with the UV light to cure.

11.
You may wish to add one more drop to hold the deer hair hackle in place.

12.
The finished deer hair immerger, in the correct posture.

13.
Front view.

14.
View from underneath.

Only deer hair and Bug Bond…


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.


All in one… a three minute dun mayfly pattern.

This pattern I developed out of necessity during a unexpected Vulgata hatch.

To find a simpler dun mayfly imitation  will be difficult.  All you need in the way of materials is one long fibered CdC feather and a short foam cylinder and a hook.

I named the fly “All In One” as the whole fly is tied with the same one CdC feather. You need to practice a little if the techniques I us are unfamiliar too you, but with a little practice or after you have tied a half dozen or so, it only takes about two minutes to tie this simple but effective pattern.  All in one floats fantastic as the whole fly is made from CdC and foam.

1
Secure your hook in the vice so the jaws of the vice hold the hook at the bottom of the bend, and that the straight part of the Klinkhamer hook is horizontal.

2
Choose a long fibered CdC feather and comb all the fibres back as illustrated about 1 cm from the feather tip.

3
Tie in the CdC feather at the rear of the horizontal part of the hook shaft.

4
Cut a short length of foam cylinder and tie this in as a regular parachute post.

5
Attach your hackle pliers to the stem of the CdC feather and carefully wind this around the foam post as you would a regular parachute hackle.

6
Comb the CdC fibres that cover the hook eye back so they are not in the way and tie down the CdC feather.

7
Trim off the points of the CdC parachute hackle and use the surpluss to dub the thorax. You dont need much.

8
Finish with a couple of whip finishes and your All in One is finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Make a fast Buck.

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Buck-tail’s are not only great patterns to tie and fish but are making a huge comeback.

Here are a few of the most recent I have tied, I will follow-up this post soon with an in depth article about tying these beautiful flies and the use of Buck-tail.

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The worm that turned!

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 Tying with a gun.

A melt glue pistol can be purchased for the price of a pint!

 

Tying with melt glue does require a little more practice and patience than most regular materials. But the results can be rewarding! 

Virtual Minnow. realistic bait fish patterns are quick and easy to achieve with melt glue.

Melt glue is a material that one has to get used to using. Once its mastered, it can be put to use not only in developing new patterns but also as a substitute in existing ones. Melt glue guns come in various sizes from hobby to industrial, I find the hobby size not only the cheapest but also the easiest to employ. Another advantage with the hobby gun is the amount of different glue that is available.

Glue sticks are available in many colours and types,

Although I do use coloured glue, in most patterns I use the transparent or “regular” glue that can also be coloured with waterproof felt markers. The regular glue is also much easier to handle and shape than the coloured. In most cases, It has a lower melting temperature and a shorter drying time than the glues with added colour and glitter.

Molding bait fish bodies takes a little practice but the results are perfect every time.

Ant bodies take only a few seconds!

 

After tying with melt glue for over a decade and a half, nowadays Iuse my gun most to apply the glue, for patterns where a large amount of glue is required. Otherwise I melt the glue direct from the “glue stick” with a lighter, or I first cut the required amount of glue from the stick with scissors, hold one end of the glue fragment with needle nose tweezers and warm the other end with the lighter and apply it to the hook. I then continue to melt and form the glue with the lighter on the hook. The clear glue can also be coloured by applying a foundation of coloured tying thread over the hook shank before you apply the glue.

 

Transparent caddis pupa with olive melt glue.

Grayling Heroe trout egg is a combo of melt glue and Bug Bond.


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.


Grayling Heroe-Trout egg

The ‘Grayling Heroe’ trout egg inspired by mr Bug Bond himself, David Edwards.

Apparently trout roe patterns have been working well for they Grayling guys in the UK recently. This ones for you.

I will be posting the full step by step for this quick and easy Bug Bond patterns soooon!


The worm that turned!

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!


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.


A Shrimp for all seasons

Circle shrimp

From late autumn until early spring the majority of bait fish around our coastline leave the shallows and head out for deeper water where they will be protected from the bitter cold of winter. Many of the species of shrimp that can be found on the other hand move into deeper tidal pools and onto shelves were the coastline is steeper.

Therefor shrimps are on the coastal sea trout’s menu the whole year round, and are found in great numbers all over Northern Europe’s coastline.  These are particularly important to fly fishermen because they mature in the shallows where we do most of our fishing, and all sea trout fishermen should have at least a couple of good shrimp patterns in there fly box at all times.

The most effective colours for shrimp patterns in my experience are Red, Pink, White and Orange.  Sometimes it can be rewarding to tie some very small shrimp flies in sizes 10-12-14 and in more natural mundane colours. Shrimps of all shapes and sizes are without doubt one of the most important food sources for salt water sea trout. Unlike other important seasonal foods like rag worms, sand eels and small bait fish, that the sea trout feed on throughout their first years in salt water.

 Where, When & Why ?

A perfect small translucent shrimp pattern fished blind, is not the most easy prey for a sea trout to notice in a large body of water. But if you fish something that   “ stands out in a crowd ” a little colour and movement,  increase the chances of it being noticed and picked-up proportionally.  Natural selection takes a favorable view of effective and adaptable feeding, a proficient predatory fish when feeding will maximize energy intake and minimize energy consumption. Predators quickly learn to avoid areas where there is little or no food. These rules also apply to the fish adapting their feeding locations and habits to the different seasons.  So its paramount that the effective fly fisherman is aware of this and adapts his techniques, flies and strategy to that of the sea trouts feeding habits. This is especially important during the winter months when food is few and far between. Look for the signs, deeper bays with vegetation and structure, where prey can have sufficient food and cover from predators. If there is ice on the surface, pockets of open water generally indicate warmer water or flow. Both these elements will attract prey and predators alike.

Fast or Slow ?

Shrimp have three very different ways of locomotion. When foraging for food or resting on the bottom they use their front walking legs (periopods) for moving short distances on vegetation and other structure. When migrating or moving over larger distances they use their swimming legs (pleopods) These are located under the abdomen and undulate (like a Mexican wave) when swimming, and can be used to propel the crustacean in all directions slowly. But when alarmed or fleeing from a predator they use a contraction of their strong abdomen muscle which results in a powerful rapid snap of the tail plates (uropods) propelling the shrimp quickly backwards.

With this in mind one has a better understanding of the type of retrieve required to imitate a swimming or fleeing shrimp. Your retrieve will not only decide the speed of your fly but also its action in the water. If you know your prey and choose the correct retrieve, your overall chances of connecting will increase. If you choose the incorrect retrieve even the right pattern may not result in a take or even a follow.

1
Secure the circle hook in the vice.

2
Run the tying thread along the hook shank until it hangs over the barb of the circle hook.

3
Tie inn two lengths of lead wire side by side on the underside of the whole of the hook shaft length. This will ensure that the shrimp fishes a little deeper and the right way up. Tie in a short bunch of Ultra hair as shown on top of the hook shank. This should be approximately 10 cm long. You can trim it down to the size and taper required later.

4
Once you have trimmed it down to size you can tie in a small bunch of twinkle or crystal hair to add a little sparkle. This should be a little longer than the Ultra hair.

5
Burn the ends of two lengths of mono and dip in black varnish and then coat with Bug Bond. These should be prepared before hand as they take some time to dry. Alternatively you can use fly eyes.

6
Tie in the eyes one each side of the ultra hair as shown. these should be about one third of the beard length.

7
Select two hackles for the claws. This detail can be left out if wished, but its a useful technique to know for other shrimp and crab patterns.

8
Strip off the fibers from the shaft of the hackle and carefully cut away the point of the hackle to form a claw shape of the correct size in correspondence to the hook size being used.

9
I use Bug Bond a UV cure resin to coat the claws. If you dont have Bug Bond you can alternatively use epoxy, it just takes a little more time to dry.

10
Coat the claws in Bug Bond and give them a few seconds under the UV light, until cured.

11
Tie in the finished claws one each side at the bottom of the shrimp beard as shown.

12
Cut a length of crystal chenille and tie in at the base of the shrimp head.

13
Wrap the chenille around the whole length of the hook shaft to form the body. You should take care as to comb the fibers forward each turn, so you dont trap them with the following turn and get a nice full body.

14
Tie off the Crystal chenille and trim off the fibers on top of the hook shank as shown.

15
Now tie in two long Ultra hair fibers, just behind the hook eye.

16
Tie in another bunch of Ultra hair fibers at the tail of the fly. These should be just a little longer than the existing bunch.

17
Firstly make a whip finish and remove your tying thread.
Now place a drop of Bug Bond on the Ultra hair just behind the hook eye. Unlike epoxy Bug Bond doesn’t dry unless exposed to a UV lamp of natural day light.

18
Give the Bug Bond a blast with the UV light for a few seconds. Now while holding all the long ultra hair fibers down with your left hand apply a small amount of Bug Bond or epoxy to form the shell back. Be sure not to use too much epoxy as this will make the pattern top heavy and fish up side down. You may have to hold the ultra hair in place a short while until it sets.
Repeat this process until the whole shrimp shell back is adhered to the chenille body and forms a nice transparent shell that tapers off just beyond the shrimps eyes.

19
To give a little extra touch to the pattern pull the two long fibers between your finger and thumb nail, as you would do with ribbon on a christmas gift to curl it. Your finished circle shrimp ready for the salt.


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/


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/


Mayflies and More

A Fly tyers’ Guide to the Chalkstreams

Mayflies and More

A fly tyers Guide to the Chalkstreams

Chris Sandford

Chris is better known in the UK for his many years work as an actor and his numerous appearances on TV and in Film.  More recently for his international angling TV series, Just Fishin’ on the Discovery channel.

Mayflies and More, is an elegant, well presented little book and DVD combo, that covers the tying techniques for ten modern patterns, that Chris recommends for the English chalk-streams. Although these patterns will work just about anywhere else as well!

If you are relatively new to fly tying and wish to try something a little more challenging than a red tag, or even a well seasoned tyer for that matter, Mayflies and More, is a joy.

The DVD reflects Chris’s background in TV and film, through a clearly professional production and execution, unlike the majority of the fly tying DVD’s produced to date! Chris, also has the on-screen charisma, to make these ten patterns, not only fun to tie, but also to keep you entertained throughout. It also gives extra clarity to the already clear and well presented step by step images and text in the book. These are simple but extremely worthy patterns to tie and include in your fly box.

Booklet & DVD £19.80

Copies: Unlimited

Extent: 32 pages plus DVD

Size: 210mm x 148mm

Binding: Booklet with inset DVD

Illustrations: Photographs throughout

DVD Running Time: 70 minutes

To order:

Chris Sandford Mayflies & More

Check out a preview of the DVD on the link below:

Chris Sandford talks about “Mayflies & More …


Summer coat: The summer coat of the European Roe has fine tapered hair, is ideal for wings and tails for many traditional dry fly patterns.

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Winter coat: The dense buoyant hair from the winter coat of the European Roe.

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A cross section of a single winter coat deer hair photographed at X 40, showing the air filled cells.

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European Roe Deer Hair, tools and top tying tips part 1

This is one of my most popular posts, that I made when I first started blogging, but here it is again in three parts, updated with new techniques  and images.

Deer hair is normally described as hollow, This doesn´t mean that it´s hollow

like a drinking straw, but that each hair is built up of hundreds of small air filled

cells.

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This type of hair structure is most defined in deer from areas with an

extreme winter climate. The result, the colder it is, the better the spinning

qualities, with some exceptions. The hair from our own reindeer and the north

american caribou. In order to achieve optimal insulation, these hairs hold so

many air cells that they have a tendency to be brittle, and break under the

pressure  of tying thread.

A cross section of European Roe deer hair which I photographed with the help of a microscope at X40. You can see that the hair isn't hollow as most people believe, but filled with many small air filled cells.

A cross section of European Roe deer hair which I photographed with the help of a microscope at X40. You can see that the hair isn’t hollow as most people believe, but filled with many small air filled cells.

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The winter coat of the Norwegian roe deer has many air filled cells and is ideal for spinning, packing and clipping. 

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While the hair from the summer coat is somewhat stiffer and extremely fine. A first class hair for tails and winging dry

flies. 

The colour varies from light red brown on the summer coat to dark grey

with darker barred tips on the winter coat. 

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The best hair for spinning is found

on the back of the roe along the spine. This hair is extremely dense, not at all

brittle, and floats like a cork. The chalk white hair on the rump is excellent for

dying, or for patterns that require white deer hair.

You should also be aware that the roe mask has a diversity of hair that is

difficult to equal. Here you will find hair in many different lengths, shades of

brown and coarseness. Ideal for dry´s from # 10 and down to the very smallest

comparaduns. Anyone who ties caddis flies shouldn’t be without a roe mask.

If you know a hunter or a game keeper, try and secure yourself a whole roe

skin, you wont be disappointed.

My top tools for deer hair:

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Hair stackers:

These are a must if you want neat, tidy and well balanced flies. I use three,  a small one for tails and wings, a medium one for heavier wings and spinning and a long one for streamers, tubes and salt water patterns.  The stacker you choose should be well engineered. Its extremly important that insert and inner tube are flush and that the stackers are heavy and robust.

4 Cut a large bunch of deer hair. The most common mistake in tying this popular pattern is to use too little deer hair. Remove all the under wool and short hairs with a dubbing comb.

Friction free Comb:
This is also a very important tool for removing the underwool and shorter hair from bunches of deer hair before stacking.  The comb I use is made from  deer antler wich is friction free, plastic or metal combs have a tendency to load with static , causing the deer hair to stick to it.

14 With an old toothbrush, remove all the soot from the head.

Toothbrush:
This is a great tool for so many things! Removing under wool from hair bunches, brushing out hair after spinning but before trimming, and removing soot after singeing. I wouldn’t tie deer hair flies without this.
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Scissors:

Throughout my many years tying flies, I quickly understood that one of the most important tools are the scissors you use. During this time I have accumulated several dozen pairs of scissors, in all forms, shapes and sizes, but if I am honest, I have only four scissors that are constantly in use. 

1. A pair of small extra fine pointed cuticle scissors for all the small detailed work and thread.

2. A General purpose serrated scissors for cutting tinsel, wire and heavier gauge materials.

3. A pair of long bladed straight scissors for larger jobs like preparing materials for dubbing loops.

4. A medium pair of sharp pointed serrated scissors for deer hair work.

Tomorrow I will be publishing the best techniques for making deer do what you want it to do!