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

Step by Step

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

Tie these in as the sides.

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.

The finished Helter skelter pike streamer.

Making a fur hackle and dubbing tutorial

Once again this is a request I have had from several fellow bloggers for the fur hackle spinning technique. Although similar too the spinning deer hair article, there are a few pointers you should be aware of when mastering this technique.


Just about all natural and synthetic furs, feathers and hairs can be used as one form of dubbing or another. Before you start its worth considering what type of hair or material is suitable for the type of fly you are tying. There are several factors regarding the choice of natural materials.

1. Dry fly, nymph, wet.

2. Sinking, floating.

3. Ridged or pulsating.

4. Neat or scruffy.

When you are using natural materials you should consider what kind of animal, lifestyle, and climate it derives from. If choosing a dubbing for a small dry fly the  under fur from otter, beaver and coypu have, because of their aquatic lifestyle a super fine under fur which is impregnated with natural water repellant oils, rather like the fur equivalent of CdC. On the other hand if you would like a long pulsating, sinking hackle choose a soft finer hair from an opossum or a rabbit that will absorb water but remain mobile and lively when fished. For nymphs there is of course the classic spiky hares ear dubbing. So to achieve optimal function and design of the the pattern you intend to tie, consider the above before starting.


1. Here I am using an old fashioned bull dog paper clip to hold the fur but for perfect dubbing spinning I can recommend the Marc Petitjean Magic tool. Marc’s magic tool is made from transparent plastic, the advantage with this is that you have much more visual control over the length and lie of the material being used. The above material is a regular hare zonker strip. Place this in the clip so the fibers are 90 degrees to the clip and at this stage you also determine the length of the hackle required.


2. Now with long straight scissors cut off the base and hide from the strip leaving only 2 or 3 mm of fur out from the clips jaws.


3. The finished loaded clip. You should now take care not to apply pressure to the clip and open it before needed. Otherwise all the material will shift or fall out.


4. Make a dubbing loop. If the material you are using is dense ( thick guard hairs and under fur) you will need to make a loop of double tying thread as above. But if the material is fine, a finer loop of split tying thread is sufficient. Also its important that where the two sides of the loop meet the hook shaft that they are touching. If you have them open, one strand of thread on each side of the hook shank the loop will not close correctly, and the material spun will loosen and fall out.


5. Move your bobbin forward towards the hook eye and attach your dubbing spinner.


6. If you are using Dyneema or another thread that is un-waxed, you will need to apply a little dubbing wax to the thread to gain ultimate traction.


7. Once you have placed the material in the loop carefully remove the clip in one smooth movement while keeping tension on the spinner to hold the dubbing loop tight and closed.


8. While keeping tension, spin the dubbing loop clockwise until all the material is secured and flares like a regular hackle.


9. You can now wind on your fur dubbing loop in a traditional hackle style. Taking care to brush back the fibers of each turn before making the next.


10. With this technique you can make as many turns of fur hackle as required. If you make only two turns you have a perfect fur hackle collar or you can cover the whole of the hook shank. If you would like a very spiky dubbed body for a nymph you can cover the whole hook shank and then trim it all down to the body shape you would like.


11. For a buggy nymph dubbing you would need a material that will sink and command a little more volume that a fine dry fly body. This is hares ear. Pull some stiff short fibers from the ears of the hare and some softer more dense hair and fur from the mask.

If you would like to use a fine material make use of a dubbing rake.  When pulled through the fur on a skin, this will collect only the finer under fur.  If you don’t have a dubbing rake you can also just pluck out the fibers with your fingers.


12. Now place the under fur  in the palm of your hand and with the finger of your other hand rub the dubbing around in a clockwise motion.  This will blend the dubbing evenly, making it easier to work with.


13. Select a small amount of dubbing and place it between your index finger and the tying thread as shown.  When I am teaching people to tie flies one of the most frequently asked questions is – how much dubbing shall I use ?  Most fly tyers apply way too much dubbing to the tying thread at one go, so I say, take what you think you should use, half it, and then half it again, and normally you arrive at a usable amount.


14. Now its time to roll the dubbing material onto the tying thread.  With the tying thread and dubbing resting on your index finger place the tip of your thumb on top of this so as to trap the material and the thread between your finger and thumb.


Still trapping the thread and material between your finger and thumb push the tip of your thumb towards the tip of your finger, clockwise, thus rolling the material around the thread. You must do this several times up and down the thread to attach the material, forming a kind of dubbing rope.  You should also remember one of the most common mistakes with attaching dubbing is that the fly tyer will roll the dubbing firstly clockwise and then anti clockwise when replacing the thumb back into the beginning of the rolling stage, this unwinds the dubbing.  Also don’t try and make more than a few cms of dubbing rope at one time, this will also unwind as you wind it onto the hook shank.


15. Once your dubbing rope is ready you can now begin to wind it onto the hook shank to form the body.  When you have wound on the first length of dubbing, repeat the process until the desired size of body is achieved.  If you would like to taper the body, as in most nymphs begin with a thin dubbing rope, and the apply more dubbing each time making a thicker rope.


16. Once the nymph body is finished tie off behind the hook eye.


17. If you would like an even more buggy effect use a brush ( I use an old tooth brush ) to pull out the fibers to make a buggy body.


18. The brushing gives a soft and mobile, yet spiky nymph body.


19. But if you would like a fine slim body without too many fibers you can trim these off with a fine pair of scissors.


20. The finished trimmed cigar shaped body. Good luck! If you have any questions regarding dubbing dont be shy.

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:

Crayfish Master class.

Although I don’t fish with super realistic patterns, I do enjoy tying them every now and then. If you are starting from scratch, as I did with this crayfish, it takes a little time to actually work out the fundamentals, scale, hook size, proportions, materials and techniques.

I always start with a morphology  image from the visual dictionary, this gives you the basic shape, scale, body segment and leg count. Once this is established I select the materials and then try and plan the correct order to put them together. This can be rather like building a piece of IKEA furniture without the instructions, you get half way and realize that you have left something out! and have to start again.


But for those of you that would like to have a go, I have photographed each step of this pattern, trying not to miss anything out and explaining each stage as I go. Although it looks complicated, its not difficult, but does take some time. You can tie it in stages tie up the legs one day, the claws another etc. So give it a go!

If you have any questions post them in the comments box at the foot of the article and i will try and answer them ASAP.

Good luck.

Hook: Mustad S74SNP # 1

Tying thread: Dyneema

Beard: Buck Tail

Legs & claws: E-Z Body coated  in Bug Bond

Underbody: Dubbing

Eyes: EP Crab eyes

Body shell: Closed cell foam coated in Bug Bond

Tail: Three Cock ring neck pheasant neck feathers

Feelers: Stripped cock hackle stems


Cover the hook shank with a foundation of tying thread

Tie in a bunch of buck tail for the beard. This should be a mixture of natural brown and white

Take some E-Z body small and medium tubing and cut to length for the legs and claws

Holding the medium tubing and tying thread end in your left hand, make the first joint. Once this is done finish with a half hitch and remove the thread for the next joint. You can coat each joint with Bug Bond or varnish as you go

Bug Bond is perfect for coating the whippings on each joint

Once you have coated the claw with Bug Bond you can cut it to shape

Now move onto the next joint

Once you have made all the joints for the left claw you can now move onto the right one

I have made one claw a little larger than the other just to give it a more realistic feel

Make sure that when you tie in the first claw that the positioning and scale are correct. once its tied in coat the whippings with varnish

When tying in the claws the ends of the E-Z body tubing can be flattened with flat nosed pliers first

Now you can tie up all the walking legs. Before you do this seal the ends by burning them with a lighter, taking care they dont catch fire

Tie in the joints of all eight walking legs

When you start tying in the legs make sure that you position them correctly as realistic as possible

All eight legs in place, remember that the two rear legs should be facing backwards

Select two large brown cock hackles and strip off the fibers to make the antennas

Tie these in as shown. If they are too long they can be trimmed down later

Spin some dubbing onto the tying thread and start at the front and dubb in between the legs, making sure you get the right thickness and taper

Cut a piece of foam sheet for the exoskeleton. This can be measured against the hook for the correct size

Place the foam in the correct position and tie in the first segment between the third and fourth pairs of legs

From the underside this first segment should now be dubbed and the tying thread moved behind the rear legs

Now make the next segment over the foam

Dubb the next underbody segment while lifting the foam

Continue dubbing and tying the segments as in stage 23 until you are finished

The underbody should now look like this

From the neck of a pheasant skin select three church window hackles for the tail

Strip of the fibers at the base of the hackles

Tie in the first tail plate as shown

The second tail plate

And the third central and on top of the first two

You can now colour the crayfish with a waterproof felt pen

Take two crab eyes and trim the ends to a point. This will help attach them to the foam

First make two small holes for the eyes with a dubbing needle in the foam. Then dip the ends of the eyes in super glue and attach

Your crayfish should now look like this

You can now coat the whole crayfish with Bug Bond

The finished beast

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

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

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

The real deal.

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

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

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

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

Hook Tail: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 8

Hook Head: Mustad Shrimp C47SD # 6

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Central Core: Dyneema

Tail: Black and Olive brown marabou

Body: Black and Olive brown marabou

Head: Brass or Tungsten bead

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Tie in the core of the fly as shown.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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!


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.


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 Hoodlum’ sea trout streamer

The Hoodlum


After approximately four years in testing my Hoodlum sea trout streamer has passed with flying colours!

Although a little fancy this streamer was inspired by the sparser flat-wing patterns that have been so effective on Scandinavian salt water sea trout.  There are several techniques and materials involved but once mastered, it doesn’t take long to tie.  


The front placed heavy single hook gives the Hoodlum a dynamic and realistic swimming action in the water that is irresistible.  As you can see in the above image an endless amount of colour combinations are possible, the most effective under testing where blue & white and orange & white but let your imagination go wild and create your own!

Hook: Mustad 60543NP # 4-6

Tying thread: Dyneema

Tail: UV2 white buck-tail

Tail flanks: Two white and two blue grizzle hackles

Flash: Blue Fringe wing

Body: Blue body braid

Wing: Blue and black buck-tail with two cree saddle hackles

Throat: UV2 White buck-tail

Topping: Peacock herl

Horns: Two strands of Blue tip dyed Lady Amherst pheasant tail fibers

Cheeks: Jungle cock.

IMG_64301 Secure your hook in the vice.


2 Attach your tying thread about half way along the hook shank.


3 Cut a small bunch of white buck-tail. I use Spirit rivers UV2 buck-tail to give the effect of a translucent underbody.



Clean the buck-tail of all short hair and underfur. Tie in as shown.


5 Select and prepare two white webby cock hackles the same size.


6 Flank each side of the buck-tail with the white cock hackles. Once tied in apply a little varnish to the whippings.


7 Now flank the white hackles with two blue grizzle hackles, one each side.


8 Fringe wing is a relative new material from Veniards. Its like lite brite hanks but easier to handle.


9 The base of the Fringe wing is welded, this makes it easy to cut and tie in. Cut a fine strip from the edge of the weld.


10 The result!


11 Now tie in the Fringe wing on top of the hook shank over the tail.


12 Wrap the short body with a blue body braid. Make sure that you have enough room for the wing and head of the fly.


13 Prepare a bunch of long blue buck-tail and tie in as shown.


14 place a little shorter bunch of Black buck-tail on top of the blue wing.


15 Take a bunch of white buck-tail the same length as the blue wing and tie in for the throat.


16 Select two long cree or similar saddle hackles and tie in on top and at the sides of the wing, extending a little longer than the tail.


17 From the base of a peacock eye, select six or seven herls, pull all these off together! This will keep them attached to each other and make tying in easier.


18 Tie in the peacock herl in the center of the wing as a topping.


19 This is Spirit Rivers tip dyed Lady Amherst tail, remove only two long fibers.


20 Tie in the two Amherst horns one each side of the wing. This makes the fly ‘pop’ when finished.


21 Tie in two jungle cock eyes and whip finish. The fly look a little large right now!


22 Once you have given the head of the fly a coat of varnish wait for it to dry.  Once dry, holding the fly by the hook eye hold it vertically under the tap in warm running water too soak it! Once drenched as above place your fly flat to dry. 


23 When dry all the materials will hold their correct position as above.


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.

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

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

Select some long Moose mane hairs.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

Dub the thorax behind and forward of the post.

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

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

Give the Bug Bond a zap with the UV light.

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

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

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

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Body: Moose hair coated with Bug Bond  for Bug Bond see links:

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

Parachute hackle: Deer hair

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The finished deer hair immerger, in the correct posture.

Front view.

View from underneath.

Only deer hair and Bug Bond…

European Roe Deer Hair, tools and top tying tips

Here it is, working with deer hair, all three parts in one post, 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



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.


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


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


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

with darker barred tips on the winter coat. 


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:


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.

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.


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.

Here are the best techniques for making deer do what you want it to do!

Anglo – Swedish caddis:


This is a hybrid pattern that combines two great patterns, the wing and head of the Swedish streaking caddis and the body of the British Goddards caddis. There are a few techniques here that are useful when tying with deer hair. 


Cut a thin strip of deer hair from a winter coat, rather like a deer hair zonker strip and attach a Magic tool clip about half way down the hair.


With a pair long straight scissors trim off the hide from the deer hair strip. You will see that there is a little under fur left in the trimmed end!


Using a tooth brush, brush out the loose hairs and under fur from the clip.


Place a terrestrial hook in the vice.


Cover the hook shaft with a foundation of tying thread. I use only Dyneema gel spun thread for tying with deer hair, if you haven’t tried it I recommend you do!


Make a dubbing loop at the rear of the hook, make sure that the two ends of the loop closest too the hook shank are touching each other! If they are not the loop will remain open and will not grip the deer hair.  Wind your tying thread forward out of the way toward the hook eye.


Un treated deer hair is quite fatty, If you wax your thread it has a much better purchase on the hair and reduces the chances of it slipping in the loop.


Place the loaded magic tool clip in the dubbing loop and trap the deer hair centrally in the loop.


Start to spin your deer hair in the dubbing loop. You can see in this image that the loop is not fully spun as you can still see the core of tying thread.


You must continue spinning the loop until the core is no longer visible and the hair is evenly spun.


You can now start wrapping the deer hair dubbing brush as you would a traditional palmer hackle along the whole hook shank.


Make sure that you brush the deer hair fibers back with each turn so as not to trap them with the next turn!


Once you have wound the whole dubbing brush tie it off and give it a good brushing with a tooth brush in every direction. This will free any fibers the have become trapped and give a better result when trimmed.


With a pair of serrated straight scissors trim the hair from the rear of the hook.


Once fully trimmed you should have a Goddard caddis type body.


For the wing you will need a generous bunch of deer hair. Remove ALL the under fur, if you dont, the hair will not spin fully.


Once cleaned stack the hair in a hair stacker. Measure the wing on the hook.


While holding the hair in place at the correct length on the body make two loose turns with tying thread around the bunch of deer hair and then tighten.


Make a few tight turns of tying thread through the remaining deer hair towards the hook eye to secure it and whip finish.


Remove your tying thread and once again give the flared deer har head a good brushing.


Now, while resting your scissors on the hook eye trim the head all the way round.


The under side of the head should be trimmed level with the body and cone shaped.


Take a lighter and singe the trimmed deer hair head. Take care not to set the whole fly on fire!


Once the head is singed give it another brush with the tooth brush to remove the soot. And there you have it , the Anglo Swedish caddis.

Here are a couple more quick techniques, for making cork like bodies from deer hair and a deer hair guard.

14This is another technique if you would like a very tight spun body. As you cover  the hook shank with spun deer hair using a finger and thumb at the rear of the hair and at the front push and twist your right hand to pack the hair tight together.

15Once the body is finished brush out all the fibers with an old tooth brush before you start trimming. This is very important!

16Trim your body roughly to the correct size.

17Now using a gas lighter, petrol lighters and candels give off too much soot. Carefully burn the surface of the hair body. Taking care not to set it on fire!

18The singeing of the hair will tighten the packing and coaterize the tips making it tight and even. Brush off the soot with a tooth brush.

19The result is a almost cork like body of perfect spun deer hair with a smooth even finish. That also floats like a cork!

This is another trick for whip finishing large deer hair flies. If you have problems getting in to the hook eye to whip finish, before starting tying cut the end off a rubber washing up glove and make a hole in the finger tip with a dubbing needle. Place the glove finger tip over the bobbin as shown.

Once you have finished your fly the bobbin and finger tip are as shown.

Now for a easy trouble free whip finish just slide the finger tip over the hook and deer hair. Remove the tip after you have whip finished and removed your tying thread.