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

Sjøørret fluer

Melt Glue Zonker

 

An excellent technique for tying uniform and transparent bodies on Zonkers.

Please remember to subscribe to the feather benders You Tube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYb8DCVlYijoCYgvx_v2EuQ


Sea Bass Herring

This is an old one but still a good one, not only for bass but just about anything that will chase minnows.

Please remember to subscribe to the feather benders You Tube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYb8DCVlYijoCYgvx_v2EuQ


Proppen

This simple tie is without doubt my most productive sea trout pattern!

Please remember to subscribe to the feather benders You Tube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYb8DCVlYijoCYgvx_v2EuQ

 


3 minute Glass Eel

This pattern is an absolute must if you fish for sea run browns. Extremely quick to tie and very realistic. This pattern I developed to imitate the small glass eels that in the past couple of years arrived in huge numbers around our coast line, and the sea trout feast upon them. If you use the blue/ silver mix legs from the squid bait these also make a great sand eel pattern.

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For the Tobis (sand eel) pattern I use two longer legs tied in at the side of each other this give great movement when fished.


Stingsild bucktail streamer

 

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

Stingsild Buck-tail streamer

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

Thread      Dyneema

Body         Holographic tinsel

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

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

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

Topping   Five or six strands of peacock herl

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

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

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1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trim down the brass eyes with wire cutters as shown.

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

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

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

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Once dry the wing will hold its shape.

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A batch of Stingsild soon ready for the salt!


“The foil speaks, the wise man listens”

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After many requests regarding my Gammarus pattern and where to obtain the foils heres a up dated re post with a little more info.

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This photo was taken last week, while on a fishing trip to Shetland. Some of the small Lochs had huge amounts of gammarus and the fish refused everything else! Every fish we took in such Lochs where full to the gills with these small fresh water shrimp. Having a good imitative pattern proved to be seriously effective!

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The fish that where feeding on Gammarus where in exceptional condition!

Some of you may have seen, that a couple of weeks ago I received some shrimp foils from ‘the fly people’ in Germany to test, they where very successful. After playing a little with them I reversed one and tied a gammarus pattern as this is one of my post productive for salt water sea trout. When Lutz, from the fly people saw my pattern, he asked what I would change on the shrimp foil to make it a gammarus foil ? I went straight to the drawing board and made him a sketch. Yesterday these prototypes arrived.

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 This is a photo I took while fishing of the contents of a sea trout’s stomach, need I say more !

There where only six foils on the sheet so I haven’t had so much practice or opportunity to play around with the design but this is the result so far. If you would like more info about the foils or to order some, you can send an e mail to: theflypeople@web.de

Hook:  Mustad C67SNP-BR # 12-6 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=326

Tying thread:  Olive

Feelers:  Pheasant tail fibers

Rib:  Fine copper wire

Shell back:  Gammarus foil http://www.theflypeople.com/

Shell back coating:  Bug Bond  http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/

Under body: Virtual nymph Seals fur http://www.virtual-nymph.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=1&Itemid=26

Legs:  Pheasant tail fibers

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Secure your hook in the vice, make sure its horizontal.

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Run tying thread along the whole hook shank and down into the bend.

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Make a small dubbing loop at the tail of the hook.

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Load a Petitjean magic tool with pheasant tail fibers, you only need a few for the beard so use the smallest tool.

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Wax your tying thread, and run your tying thread to the hook eye. Spin the pheasant tail fibers in the dubbing loop.

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Wind on the dubbing brush, making sure that you brush all the peasant tail fibers out with each turn so you dont tie them down wrongly. Tie off the dubbing brush.

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Select the right size foil for your hook size.

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Remove the foil from the sheet.

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Tie in the foil by the small tag at the base of the feelers.

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Make another dubbing loop a little larger this time and hang out of the way on your vices material clip.

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Tie in a length of fine copper wire. This should be a few mm up from the dubbing loop as shown. This is so your first turn of rib will be in the correct position in respect to the foil later.

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Dubb the whole body with seals fur. First a couple of turns under the copper wire and the over. The gammarus body should taper from thick to thin as you approach the hook eye.

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Spin a larger amount than before of peasant tail fibers in the rear dubbing loop. Remember to keep them short. Wind in an open spiral to form the legs.

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Tie of the dubbing brush at the head of the fly and brush down the legs each side of the body.

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Now fold over the foil and tie down so it sits tight over the whole body of the shrimp.

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Now wrap the copper wire rib in between each plate segment on the foil. But as you go brush out the leg fibers with each turn so you dont trap them and tie the down flat. Tie off the copper wire at the head of the fly.

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You can now colour your shell back if required with a waterproof felt pen.

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Give the whole shell back foil a coat with Bug Bond. If your careful you can do each segment at a time to give it a more three dimensional effect. Rough up the fibers in the feelers and legs with a tooth brush.

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The finished Gammarus.


Sea trout flies now available!!

In connection with the launch of my new sea trout patterns book 25 of the patterns featured are now available exclusively from ‘Skitt Fiske’ on the following link.

http://www.skittfiske.no/Avdelinger/FISKEUTSTYR/Fluer/Sjøørret-/havabborfluer/Barry-Ord-Clarke-Series

 

Fluebinderens-bibel-2-omslag-v1.7 copy


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.


Stingsild bucktail streamer

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

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

Stingsild Buck-tail streamer

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

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

Body         Holographic tinsel

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

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

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

Topping   Five or six strands of peacock herl

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

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

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1

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

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

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

IMG_58164

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trim down the brass eyes with wire cutters as shown.

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

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

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

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Once dry the wing will hold its shape.

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A batch of Stingsild soon ready for the salt!


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.


Video

Sea Bass herring

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


Video

Another video tutorial for the Melt Glue Zonker or Virtual Minnow

Tomorrow, a good freind who works as a camera man for NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Company) will help me rig a perminent fly tying Video set-up in my studio, so as soon as its finished I will start producing fly tying Video tutorials several times a week. In the meantime, heres one of my old ones.

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The original zonker pattern was tied by the American fly tyer Dan Byford in the 1970s and was quickly recognised the world over, as a big fish fly and extremely easy to tie, yet 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.   This melt glue body technique gives the zonker a new life. If viewed by a fish in reflected light the shine and flashing of the maylar mixed with the animation of the pulsating fur strip, makes it a first class bait fish attractor pattern.  But when viewed by a fish in a back-lit situation ( in  silhouette ) this pattern really comes to life,  with the light penetrating through the transparent melt glue / maylar body and fur guard hairs.

Hook: Mustad S74S SS Salt water R74 freshwater # 6  http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=195

Under body: Melt glue

Over Body: Mylar tubeing

Thread: Dyneema

Wing/tail: Fur zonker strip
Eyes: Prizma tape eyes.


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/


Fly tying course # 21 The virtual Minnow

This is a great method of making perfect strong minnow bodies, that make a good baitfish attractor in both reflected and back light situations.

The original zonker pattern was tied by the American fly tyer Dan Byford in the 1970s and was quickly recognised the world over, as a big fish fly and extremely easy to tie, yet 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.   This melt glue body technique gives the zonker a new life. If viewed by a fish in reflected light the shine and flashing of the maylar mixed with the animation of the pulsating fur strip, makes it a first class bait fish attractor pattern.  But when viewed by a fish in a back-lit situation ( in  silhouette ) this pattern really comes to life,  with the light penetrating through the transparent melt glue / maylar body and fur guard hairs.

Hook: Mustad S74S SS Salt water R74 freshwater # 6

Under body: Melt glue

Over Body: Mylar tubeing

Thread: Dyneema

Wing/tail: Fur zonker strip

Eyes: Prizma tape eyes.

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. Along with the vast array of tubing materials available the combination possibilities are endless.

I was first shown this melt glue body technique in 1993 by the innovative Danish fly tyer Dennis Jensen who developed it for salt water sea trout fishing in Denmark. He used a home made mould constructed from plastic padding. He would insert the hook in the mould and then inject melt glue into it and wait a few seconds for it to dry before removing it. The result was a perfect and identical minnow body every time.  Dennis also made very clever subtle body colour changes to his flies by wrapping the hook shank first with tying thread in fluorescent orange, green or blue.  Orange when he was imitating sticklebacks, green for other small fish and eels and blue when fishing in deep water.

This technique shown here requires no mould. It does take a little practice to master and a few minutes longer, but still produces the same effect.

Another advantage with the zonker, unlike bucktail 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 and Mylar tubing are somewhat vulnerable to the small sharp teeth of trout. This can be improved by coating the eyes and Mylar body with varnish 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.

Plug inn your melt glue gun as it takes a few minutes to reach temperature.
Meanwhile secure your hook in the vice, making sure that the hook shaft is in a relatively horizontal position.
When your melt glue gun is warm, run a small amount of clear melt glue along the top of the hook shank as shown. You may find that when you try to remove the melt glue gun you get a long strand of glue that stretches from the hook to the gun. This can be avioded or resolved by wrapping the strand quickly around the hook shank behind the eye of the hook. This pattern as described sinks slowly but well when fished, but if you would require a faster sinking pattern you can attach one or two lead strips along the hook shank before you apply the melt glue body.

When the glue is dry ( use 10 second melt glue) carefully apply a little more to form the under body and belly of the minnow. If your glue is too runny you can shape the body with a wet finger and thumb. This also quickens the drying process.

Continue forming your body to the required shape and size.

If you are not satisfied with your minnow body shape, warm up the glue with a lighter (taking care not too burn it) and re model again with wet finger and thumb. When the glue has dried you can even shape it first with by trimming the glue body with scissors and then take off the sharp cut edges by warming it again with the lighter.

Attach your tying thread right behind the melt glue body at the base of the tail.

Cut a 5-6 cm length of the Mylar tubing and remove the string core. Mylar tubing comes in a variety of materials, sizes, diameters, weaves and colours. Not all Mylar tubing works for this particular pattern, so its advisable to experiment a little before hand. The originator Dennis Jensen used a clear mother of pearl Mylar wich gives a wonderful transparent effect to the body. This can also be achieved to a degree by eliminating the Mylar tube all together and just using the raw melt glue as the finished body (see illustration 17). Now thread the sleeve over the melt glue minnow body.

Tie this in, fraying 1cm if wished, to give a little more flash at the tail base.

Select a strip of zonker fur (I have used red fox for this pattern) and prepare the tail end by cutting it to a even point. Taking care not to cut or damage the fur.

Part the fur with the help of a dubbing needle and moist fingers at the desired position and then tie it in over the foundation wrappings used to secure the Mylar sleeve as shown. I use a simple materials clip to hold the fur strip in place. Finish off with 2 or 3 half hitches and remove the tying thread. Apply a drop of cement to the tail whippings, taking care not to get any on the fur strip.

Place the zonker strip back over the tail of the fly, and secure in a material clip if needed, this will keep the fibres out of your way and make the next step easier. To attach your tying thread, make a couple of loose turns around the maylar sleeve so as to catch it just in the right position for the head. Now before you tighten these pull the access maylar through the tying thread so as to tighten the sleeve around the body, and then pull up on your bobbin holder so as to tighten the tying thread and secure the Mylar tube in place.

Once you have trimmed off the access maylar use your lighter again to burn off the rest. This is the advantage of using Nylon tying thread, it has a much higher burning point than plastic, so this should remain intact.
Pull the zonker strip over the body and while holding it tight separate the fur at the required position and tie in, but only with a couple of tight turns, tight in too the melt glue body.

Carefully trim off the zonker strip and burn the head once again with the lighter. If done correctly you will see the remaining head of tanned hide, shrink and disappear under the tying thread,( giving a small neat finished head) whip finish.

If you have used Dyneema thread you can now colour the head red with a waterproof flet pen.

Glue on your chosen colour and size of Prisma tape eye and then varnish both tail and head whippings.

The colour combinations for this pattern are endless…


Fly tying course # 14 The ribbon shrimp

Sorry for taking so long for my next installment for the tying course but I am very busy right now photographing sea trout fishing as the season is underway.  This is a simple but extremely realistic salt water shrimp pattern I designed for salt water sea trout fishing in Northern Europe.

IMG_6917Ribbon Shrimp

Hook Mustad Shrimp C47SNP-DT http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=189

Eyes: Easy shrimp eyes http://www.easyshrimpeyes.dk/

Feelers/Body: Organdie decretive ribbon  If you’re looking for pre-dyed “organdie” it’s available in the UK from http://www.ribbonoasis.co.uk  in a good range of colours and widths, just go to the site and search for “organza”, different name same product. 

Shell back Bug Bond http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/

From late autumn until early spring the majority of bait fish around the coastline of Northern Europe 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 and falls abruptly away into deeper water.

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Therefor shrimps are on the coastal sea trout’s menu the whole year round, and can be found in great numbers.  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.

Where, When & Why ?

You may think that a perfect small translucent shrimp pattern fished blind, may not be the easiest prey for a sea trout to notice in a large body of water! and if you fish something that “ stands out in a crowd ” a little colour and movement, it may increase the chances of it being noticed and picked-up.

The most rewarding colours for shrimp patterns, in my experience are red, pink, orange and olive.  Occasionally, it can be worthwhile, tying some very small shrimp flies in sizes 12-14-16 and in more neutral  mundane colours, such as grey and white. Shrimps of all shapes and varying sizes are without doubt the most important all year round food sources for salt water sea trout. Unlike other seasonal foods like rag worms, sand eels and small bait fish, that the sea trout feed on throughout their first years in salt water.

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 familiarizing themselves with the best feeding locations and habits that coincide  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, or the classic leopard bottom, with dark spotted patches of vegetation on a lighter backdrop of sand, where prey can have accessibility to sufficient food and cover from predators. The natural collection points of wind lanes of all shapes and sizes are also worth working. These collect plankton and other small forage that attract shrimps and bait fish. If there is ice on the surface, which is quite a common occurrence in the winter months, on Scandinavian coastal waters, pockets of open water generally indicate warmer water or flow. Both these elements will attract prey and predators alike.

Fast or Slow ?

Most species of shrimp have three very different ways of locomotion. When foraging for food or resting on the bottom they use their front walking legs for moving short distances on vegetation and other structure. When migrating or moving over larger distances they use their swimming legs. These are located under the abdomen and undulate 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 propelling the shrimp quickly backwards away from danger.

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.

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Organdie ribbon can be bought at most craft or sewing stores.

Whilst tying flies at one of the large European fairs, I saw a similar material as Organdie  being used for nymph gills, When I returned home it wasent difficult to find at my local sewing shop just for a couple of pounds, and as far as I can see its exactly the same material as the one marketed by a large fly tying supplier but for just a third of the price. I have also experimented with colouring the ribbon with waterproof markers but the colour washes out for some reason in salt water, but dying may be an option, that I have yet to try.

This is an extremely quick and easy pattern, that only takes a few minutes to tie if you use Bug Bond as the shell back, if you use epoxy it does take a little longer in curing time.

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1

Secure your shrimp hook in the vise with the shank horizontal.

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2

Cut a length of Organdie ribbon approximately 15 cm long, depending on the size of hook you are tying on. With a pair of long sharp scissors make a cut along the edging of the ribbon as shown.

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3

Now repeat this on the other edge of the ribbon. You will now be able to pull out the short  woven lengths of Organza.

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4

Pull out enough to make a bunch of strands long enough for the shrimps beard.

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5

Attach your tying thread to the hook shank and run back so that it hangs between the hook point and barb.

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6

Tie in approximately one third of the length of fibers that you prepared for the beard.

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7

Trim off and tie in the full length of the remaining fibers  on top of the shorter.

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8

Trim these off to form a tapered beard.

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9

Now use the two edge strips that you cut from the ribbon and tie these in for the feelers, one each side of the beard.

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10

Take the length of ribbon and with long straight scissors divide the ribbon diagonally from one corner to the other. Then you should have two strips of ribbon from the one cut for two flies.

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11

Pull out all the fibers that run the length of the ribbon.

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12

Tie in the ribbon hackle at the widest end just behind the beard. This will create a tapered body, large at the front and smaller at the tail.

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13

Position and secure both your shrimp eyes, these should be quite long. After tying down secure with a little super glue or varnish.

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14

Now you can wind on your ribbon hackle forward to the hook eye forming a christmas tree like effect on the shrimps body. Tie off and whip finish just behind the hook eye.

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15

Coat the back of the shrimp with Bug Bond and cure with the UV light. You may have to make two or three coats to build up the shell back.

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16

The very easy but life like result ready for the salt.


Fly tying course # 12 The Matuka streamer

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This is one of my own patterns for sea trout fishing, The Matuka Tobis. All types of hackle can be used for the wings, so experiment.

The Matuka style streamer originated from New Zealand and unlike traditional feather wing streamers where the wing is allowed to flow freely, the wing on the Matuka is attached to the body with the rib. The dimensions of this pattern can be played with and adjusted to your own taste. You can use larger hackles and make the tail longer or use hen hackles and make the pattern higher in the wing, you can combine hackles to create a different colour effect, for example, tie in two large blue hackles as the center of the wing and then two smaller green hackles one each side. The body doesn’t have to be tinsel, but can be made from chenille or any kind of dubbing. So use your imagination and create some tasty Matuka’s.

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1

Secure your streamer hook in the vice with the hook shank horizontal.

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2

Run your tying thread all the way back to the hook bend.

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3

Tie in a good length of fine copper wire. It handy to keep this length long so its easier to handle.

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4

If you are tying a tinsel body, its important to keep the under body of tying thread nice and smooth. This can be done by rubbing a small piece of closed cell foam up and down the hook shank to smooth out the tying thread.

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5

Cut a good length of flat tinsel with the cut end at an angle as shown.

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6

Tie this in on the underside of the hook shank where the throat hackle will be placed later. If you are using two sided tinsel as here, the side you dont want as the body (silver) should be tied in facing you as shown.

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7

The tinsel is now ready to wrap.

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8

Wrap the tinsel in tight even turns all the way back to the hook bend, make sure that you cover all the underbody and no tying thread is left showing. Now wrap the tinsel back towards the hook eye and tie off as neatly as possible. 

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9

Select two hackles of your choice. These should be the same size.

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10

Place the hackles back to back and measure the wing against the hook shank to the correct length.

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11

Strip off the two matching sides as shown of the hackles to the correct length. This should be done as precisely as possible.

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12

Check they are correct and adjust them if necessary.

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13

Before you tie them in you can flatten the hackle stems with a pair of flat nose tweezers just in front of the hackle fibers. This will help stop them slipping on the hook shank and remain in the correct position.

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14

Tie the hackles in at the front of the hook.

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15

Now, using a dubbing needle from the rear you can open the fibers of the wing in the correct place for each wrap of ribbing. Make the turns of rib evenly spaced and tight.

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16

Once the whole body is ribbed tie off the tinsel.

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17

Trim off the excess hackle stem ond tinsel. Prepare a hen hackle as shown for the throat.

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18

Tie in the hackle at the base of the wing and wind your tying thread forward behind the hook eye.

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19

Wrap your hen hackle taking care to brush back the fibers with each turn. Tie off.

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20

For this next little trick you will need a small piece of card, I use a backing card that once had braid on it. Fold the card in two and cut a hole in the center, large enough to go over the hook eye.

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21

Whip finish.

Wet your fingers with a little saliva and stroke the hen hackle back from the sides into the required position.

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22 Once your happy with the position of the hackle, place the card as shown over the hook eye and clamp into position. Let this stay like this for a couple of minutes.

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23

Once you remove the card the hackle will be nicely positioned and remain that way.

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24

Varnish the head.


Clouser deep Minnow (Variant)

Clouser Deep Minnow (variant)

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Bob Clouser is a well known fly tyer from Middletown USA. He designed the Clouser minnow with the goal of making a pattern that would represent a fleeing bait fish, with a jig motion. The key to achieving this is locating the eyes in the right position on the hook shank. When you retrieve the fly it rises and when you pause if falls or dives. It never stops moving. I am calling this a Variant because I dont believe it to be 100% the original Clouser deep minnow, but I may be wrong!  Anyway its a great sea trout and bass pattern that should be tied and tried.

Hook: Mustad S71SNP-DT # 6  http://mustad.no/catalog/na/product.php?id=193

Thread Dyneema

Eyes Bidoz sea eyes (original has red with black centre) http://bidoz.com/shop/en/eyes/57-sea-eyes.htm l

Belly White buck tail

Flash Spirit River Crystal Splash

Back Brown buck tail 

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1

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

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Run tying thread about 1/3 along the length of the hook shank.

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The eyes I use are bidoz sea eyes, they have a small rebate that fits nicely around the hook shank.

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Tie in the eyes about 1/3 along the hook shank and secure with a figure of eight wrap and a drop of super glue to stop them twisting.

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Cut , clean and stack  a length of white buck tail. The belly and wing should be approximately two to two and a half times the length of the hook.

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Once your buck tail is ready tie it on as follows. Trim the ends straight and place the buck tail diagonally at the side of the hook shank between the hook eye and eyes. Make two loose turns around the buck tail and then tighten.

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Tie down the butts as shown.

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Lift the buck tail and wind the tying thread back behind the eyes.

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Now wrap the tying thread over the buck tail back about level with the hook point and then forward again. Making sure that the buck tail remains on top of the hook shank.

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10

Rotate your vice so the Clouser is up side down. Wind your thread forward taking care not to cross over the buck tail on top of the eyes.

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Take about 8 strands of Crystal Splash or flash and tie in so that the longest side extends just a little further than the buck tail belly.

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Take the remaining crystal splash and fold it back, this should be shorter and extend only a little further than the hook bend.

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Tie down the crystal splash.

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Prepare another bunch of buck tail slightly more than the first and measure it up to the belly.

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Once you have tied in your buck tail back using the same method as the belly, rotate your vice the correct way again just to see that the fly is balanced.

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Spin the vice round again and tie in three strands of peacock herl as the topping and whip finish.

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17

Stick some red and black prisma tape eyes in the small eye holes.

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Place a small drop of Bug Bond on top of the tape eyes and cure with the UV light.

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Coat the eyes once more with Bug Bond and the head, cure with the UV light.

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The finished Clouser deep minnow variant. You should try this pattern in the some other great combination colours, Blue & white, Olive & white and Chartreuse and white.


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.


Stingsild bucktail streamer

In Northern Europe the sea trout are now returning to the cooling coastal waters after a long hot summer, and at this time of year you dont want to be without a stickleback imitation!

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

Stingsild Buck-tail streamer

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

Thread      Dyneema

Body         Holographic tinsel

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

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

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

Topping   Five or six strands of peacock herl

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

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

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1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trim down the brass eyes with wire cutters as shown.

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

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

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

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Once dry the wing will hold its shape.

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A batch of Stingsild soon ready for the salt!


Foils rush in where angels fear to tread

Keeping on the salt water theme for sea trout, heres another sand eel pattern that mixes the new with the old.

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When designing bait fish patterns, a few things I consider are the shape and silhouette of the fish to be imitated. This is important as you never know if the fish will see it, when fished, in a reflected or backlight situation. The size and colour, and last but not least movement. All these can be achieved with a careful selection of materials. I sometimes also like to give the patterns a three dimensional effect. I achieve this through building layers. This is made much easier with Bug Bond.

Observe the bait fish that you wish to imitate, take a close look at it, there are many great websites that have fantastic photography, illustrations and films of these bait fish. Try and decide the most distinguishing features and characteristics of them. Once you have done this choose materials that best represent these features in colour and movement.  After a while you better understand the materials you work with and the choices become easier.

Hook    Mustad Big Game light # 6-4  http://mustad.no/catalog/na/product.php?id=191

Thread   Dyneema   http://www.whitetailflytieing.com/index.htm

Underbody   Craft fur

Body    Buck tail topped with peacock herl

Sides   Green and blue grizzle cock hackles

Cheeks  Fleye foils   http://www.theflypeople.com/index.php/24-popflyes/29-bob-popovics-fleye-foils-de.html

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

Head  Bug Bond   http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/     http://www.veniard.com/

Eyes   Tape eyes

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Place you Big Game light hook in the vice, keeping the hook shank horizontal.

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Attach you tying thread to the front third of the hook shank.

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Tie in a length of tapered craft fur. Its important that you brush out the fibers of the craft fur before you tie it in. The craft fur will give a little movement to the body of the fly when fished.

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Now a nice bunch of straight whit buck tail under the craft fur.  The generic name for deer tails has become ‘buck tails’ even if they have come from a doe deer which generally have a little shorter fibers, so be sure when buying buck tail choose the ones with nice long straight hair. The buck tail tied in this way will help support the craft fur and keep it in position.

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Now cover the craft fur with a bunch of brown buck tail. Once this is done you can place a drop of varnish on the whippings just to strengthen them.

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On top of the buck tail tie in four or five lengths of peacock herl. The best herl for this is found just under the eye of the peacock tail feather. Make these a little longer than the buck tail.

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7

Select two green cock hackles and tie in on the sides.

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Vail the green hackles with two blue dyed grizzle hackles a little shorter than the the green ones.

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Whip finish and remove your tying thread. Take a short length of E-Z Body and thread this over the head of the fly.

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Re attach your tying thread and tie down the E-Z Body behind the hook eye.

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Take another three or four strands of peacock herl and tie in for the topping.

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Select the correct size of Fleye foil for the hook size.

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Using the short tab on the foil, tie them in, one each side.

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Whip finish and remove the tying thread. Holding down the peacock herl topping apply a little bug bond to the head.

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Cure the Bug Bond with the UV light. You can then build a few thin layers of Bug Bond over the whole head until you achieve the correct size and shape.

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Apply the tape eyes and give one last coat of Bug Bond. Once the fly is finished, wet your fingers and soak the wing, while stroking it backwards. This will hold the wing in the correct shape and dry this way ready for use.


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/

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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.


“The foil speaks, the wise man listens”

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After many requests regarding my Gammarus pattern and where to obtain the foils heres a up dated re post with a little more info.

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This photo was taken last week, while on a fishing trip to Shetland. Some of the small Lochs had huge amounts of gammarus and the fish refused everything else! Every fish we took in such Lochs where full to the gills with these small fresh water shrimp. Having a good imitative pattern proved to be seriously effective!

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The fish that where feeding on Gammarus where in exceptional condition!

Some of you may have seen, that a couple of weeks ago I received some shrimp foils from ‘the fly people’ in Germany to test, they where very successful. After playing a little with them I reversed one and tied a gammarus pattern as this is one of my post productive for salt water sea trout. When Lutz, from the fly people saw my pattern, he asked what I would change on the shrimp foil to make it a gammarus foil ? I went straight to the drawing board and made him a sketch. Yesterday these prototypes arrived.

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 This is a photo I took while fishing of the contents of a sea trout’s stomach, need I say more !

There where only six foils on the sheet so I haven’t had so much practice or opportunity to play around with the design but this is the result so far. If you would like more info about the foils or to order some, you can send an e mail to: theflypeople@web.de

Hook:  Mustad C67SNP-BR # 12-6 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=326

Tying thread:  Olive

Feelers:  Pheasant tail fibers

Rib:  Fine copper wire

Shell back:  Gammarus foil http://www.theflypeople.com/

Shell back coating:  Bug Bond  http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/

Under body: Virtual nymph Seals fur http://www.virtual-nymph.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=1&Itemid=26

Legs:  Pheasant tail fibers

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Secure your hook in the vice, make sure its horizontal.

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Run tying thread along the whole hook shank and down into the bend.

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Make a small dubbing loop at the tail of the hook.

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Load a Petitjean magic tool with pheasant tail fibers, you only need a few for the beard so use the smallest tool.

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Wax your tying thread, and run your tying thread to the hook eye. Spin the pheasant tail fibers in the dubbing loop.

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Wind on the dubbing brush, making sure that you brush all the peasant tail fibers out with each turn so you dont tie them down wrongly. Tie off the dubbing brush.

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Select the right size foil for your hook size.

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Remove the foil from the sheet.

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Tie in the foil by the small tag at the base of the feelers.

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Make another dubbing loop a little larger this time and hang out of the way on your vices material clip.

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Tie in a length of fine copper wire. This should be a few mm up from the dubbing loop as shown. This is so your first turn of rib will be in the correct position in respect to the foil later.

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Dubb the whole body with seals fur. First a couple of turns under the copper wire and the over. The gammarus body should taper from thick to thin as you approach the hook eye.

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Spin a larger amount than before of peasant tail fibers in the rear dubbing loop. Remember to keep them short. Wind in an open spiral to form the legs.

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Tie of the dubbing brush at the head of the fly and brush down the legs each side of the body.

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Now fold over the foil and tie down so it sits tight over the whole body of the shrimp.

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Now wrap the copper wire rib in between each plate segment on the foil. But as you go brush out the leg fibers with each turn so you dont trap them and tie the down flat. Tie off the copper wire at the head of the fly.

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You can now colour your shell back if required with a waterproof felt pen.

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Give the whole shell back foil a coat with Bug Bond. If your careful you can do each segment at a time to give it a more three dimensional effect. Rough up the fibers in the feelers and legs with a tooth brush.

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The finished Gammarus.


Fly tying course # 14 The ribbon shrimp

Sorry for taking so long for my next installment for the tying course but I am very busy right now photographing sea trout fishing as the season is underway.  This is a simple but extremely realistic salt water shrimp pattern I designed for salt water sea trout fishing in Northern Europe.

IMG_6917Ribbon Shrimp

Hook Mustad Shrimp C47SNP-DT http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=189

Eyes: Easy shrimp eyes http://www.easyshrimpeyes.dk/

Feelers/Body: Organdie decretive ribbon  If you’re looking for pre-dyed “organdie” it’s available in the UK from http://www.ribbonoasis.co.uk  in a good range of colours and widths, just go to the site and search for “organza”, different name same product. 

Shell back Bug Bond http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/

From late autumn until early spring the majority of bait fish around the coastline of Northern Europe 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 and falls abruptly away into deeper water.

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Therefor shrimps are on the coastal sea trout’s menu the whole year round, and can be found in great numbers.  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.

Where, When & Why ?

You may think that a perfect small translucent shrimp pattern fished blind, may not be the easiest prey for a sea trout to notice in a large body of water! and if you fish something that “ stands out in a crowd ” a little colour and movement, it may increase the chances of it being noticed and picked-up.

The most rewarding colours for shrimp patterns, in my experience are red, pink, orange and olive.  Occasionally, it can be worthwhile, tying some very small shrimp flies in sizes 12-14-16 and in more neutral  mundane colours, such as grey and white. Shrimps of all shapes and varying sizes are without doubt the most important all year round food sources for salt water sea trout. Unlike other seasonal foods like rag worms, sand eels and small bait fish, that the sea trout feed on throughout their first years in salt water.

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 familiarizing themselves with the best feeding locations and habits that coincide  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, or the classic leopard bottom, with dark spotted patches of vegetation on a lighter backdrop of sand, where prey can have accessibility to sufficient food and cover from predators. The natural collection points of wind lanes of all shapes and sizes are also worth working. These collect plankton and other small forage that attract shrimps and bait fish. If there is ice on the surface, which is quite a common occurrence in the winter months, on Scandinavian coastal waters, pockets of open water generally indicate warmer water or flow. Both these elements will attract prey and predators alike.

Fast or Slow ?

Most species of shrimp have three very different ways of locomotion. When foraging for food or resting on the bottom they use their front walking legs for moving short distances on vegetation and other structure. When migrating or moving over larger distances they use their swimming legs. These are located under the abdomen and undulate 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 propelling the shrimp quickly backwards away from danger.

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.

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Organdie ribbon can be bought at most craft or sewing stores.

Whilst tying flies at one of the large European fairs, I saw a similar material as Organdie  being used for nymph gills, When I returned home it wasent difficult to find at my local sewing shop just for a couple of pounds, and as far as I can see its exactly the same material as the one marketed by a large fly tying supplier but for just a third of the price. I have also experimented with colouring the ribbon with waterproof markers but the colour washes out for some reason in salt water, but dying may be an option, that I have yet to try.

This is an extremely quick and easy pattern, that only takes a few minutes to tie if you use Bug Bond as the shell back, if you use epoxy it does take a little longer in curing time.

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1

Secure your shrimp hook in the vise with the shank horizontal.

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2

Cut a length of Organdie ribbon approximately 15 cm long, depending on the size of hook you are tying on. With a pair of long sharp scissors make a cut along the edging of the ribbon as shown.

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3

Now repeat this on the other edge of the ribbon. You will now be able to pull out the short  woven lengths of Organza.

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4

Pull out enough to make a bunch of strands long enough for the shrimps beard.

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5

Attach your tying thread to the hook shank and run back so that it hangs between the hook point and barb.

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6

Tie in approximately one third of the length of fibers that you prepared for the beard.

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7

Trim off and tie in the full length of the remaining fibers  on top of the shorter.

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8

Trim these off to form a tapered beard.

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9

Now use the two edge strips that you cut from the ribbon and tie these in for the feelers, one each side of the beard.

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10

Take the length of ribbon and with long straight scissors divide the ribbon diagonally from one corner to the other. Then you should have two strips of ribbon from the one cut for two flies.

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11

Pull out all the fibers that run the length of the ribbon.

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12

Tie in the ribbon hackle at the widest end just behind the beard. This will create a tapered body, large at the front and smaller at the tail.

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13

Position and secure both your shrimp eyes, these should be quite long. After tying down secure with a little super glue or varnish.

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14

Now you can wind on your ribbon hackle forward to the hook eye forming a christmas tree like effect on the shrimps body. Tie off and whip finish just behind the hook eye.

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15

Coat the back of the shrimp with Bug Bond and cure with the UV light. You may have to make two or three coats to build up the shell back.

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The very easy but life like result ready for the salt.


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.

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Give the body a coat with Bug Bond.

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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.

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The finished fly ready for the salt.

Four feelers in all directions.