Presentation is alfa and omega when fishing emergers.
This incredibly simple pattern, truly, it only takes a few minutes to tie! makes emergers into immergers. This technique places your pattern right below the surface film (immersed) as if the insect is actually climbing out of the shuck onto the surface.
Taking my Fender emerger one step further by extending the deer hair parachute post which places the entire hook, and tippet point entirely under the surface…
All you need:
Hook: Mustad C49S http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=177
Tying Thread: Dyneema
Post: Deer hair wrapped in moose hair coated with Bug Bond
Parachute hackle: Deer hair
February 12, 2014 | Categories: Fly Photography, Fly Tying, Material Reviews, Step by Step | Tags: Bug Bond, Deer hair, Dry Fly, Emergers. immerger, Fly Tying, May fly, moose hair, quill bodies, Realistic, small flies, Step by Step | 3 Comments
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
January 24, 2014 | Categories: Fly Fishing, Fly Tying, Material Reviews, Sjøørret fluer, Step by Step | Tags: Bug Bond, E-Z Body, Fleye Foils, Fly Tying, hooks, Materials, Realistic, salt water, sand eel, sea trout flies, sjøørret fluer, Step by Step, streamer | 1 Comment
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
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.
Fly tying course # 20 already! For the many of you that have been following the course, although this fancy dry is a little challenging, if you have practiced, you should be more than capable of tying the stimulator. The only thing to remember is the proportions. If you get one wrong they will all be wrong!
The original pattern is from the American fly tyer Randall Kaufmann and is probably one of the most popular flies in North America. Originally tied to imitates the adult giant stonefly, but will fish just as well as a hopper or caddis fly.
This well dressed pattern is for fishing rough fast flowing water, where it can be seen easily at distance and it floats like a cork. Stimulators are versatile, and although look difficult, are relatively easy to tie, again, it’s all about proportions! By varying the size and colour, you can imitate most adult stoneflies. The Stimulator can also be tied with rubber legs, like Madam X. This is a great attractor pattern that will bring fish up to the top, when most other patterns fail! When fishing use the same presentation as a caddis fly, streaking the stimulator over the water’s surface, especially in windy areas. Stimulators float well in rough water, but on calmer drifts, I find it fishes better if you trim the hackle on the underside so that it floats a little lower in the water, and strip it hard with short pauses through the surface over possible fish lies.
Hook: Mustad curved nymph # 6 -12
Tail: Elk hair
Body: Golden yellow Antron floss Body Hackle: Golden Badger or Furnace
Wing: Elk hair and crystal hair fibers Dubbing
Thorax: Golden Stone
Secure your curved nymph/ terrestrial hook in the vice.
Run the tying thread along the hook shank until it hangs level with the barb of the hook.
Cut and clean a small small bunch of elk hair in for the tail, this doesn’t flare as much as winter deer hair. Tie in directly above the hook barb.
Tie the elk hair down along the hook shank as shown. This will give you a good foundation and volume for your floss body.
Tie in the hackle at the base of the tail. The best is to use a good saddle hackle so you have the volume required.
About one third of the way along the hook shank tie in a length of golden yellow Antron floss.
Run the floss back towards the tail base and forward again building up a tapered body as you go. Tie off the floss.
Wind the hackle, palmered style, about 7 or eight even turns. When you reach the thorax tie off and remove the excess hackle.
Cut another bunch of elk hair, this time a little larger for the wing. Before you stack it be sure to remove ALL the under fur and shorter hairs. You may have to stack it a few times to achieve this.
If you stack the elk hair for the wing in a small diameter stacker the hair will ‘fall’ into its natural curve.
Before you tie in the elk hair wing, tie in two or three strands of golden yellow crystal hair.
Now tie in the elk hair, first with a couple of loose turns of tying thread and then tighter as you wind forward towards the hook eye. Trim off the excess deer hair and cover the butt ends with tying thread.
Prepare and tie in a grizzle cock hackle at the base of the wing. This hackle should be long enough for six or seven turns.
Dub the thorax with golden stone dubbing in a cone shape as shown. Make sure that you make a few turns of dubbing around the base of the wing, this will lower it and give the correct profile.
Wind on your grizzle hackle in nice even turns. Tie off and whip finish. Your completed golden stimulator!
The G & H Sedge or Goddard Caddis
The G & H sedge, as it was originally named was created by John Goddard and Cliff Henry. John Goddard who died last December was one of the great innovators of fly tying. This is a small tribute to one of, if not, his most famous patterns.
The dressing and style of tying I demonstrate here, is taken from the 1977 re-print of his 1969 book ‘Trout flies of still-water’.
Hook: Long-shank 8-10
Tying Silk: Green
Underbody: Dark green seals fur
Body: Natural deer hair
Hackle: Two rusty dun cock hackles
Antennae: The two stripped butts of the hackles.
Secure your hook in the vice, ensure that the hook shank is horizontal.
Attach your tying thread and run the whole way down to the end of the shank.
Make a short dubbing loop for spinning the seals fur under belly of the fly.
Apply a little dubbing wax to the tying thread and spin just a little dark green seals fur tight in the dubbing loop. You only need a dubbing brush a little longer than the hook shank.
The G&H sedge requires good dense winter hair from the roe deer.
once you have cut a small bunch of deer hair carefully remove the underfur with a dubbing comb or old tooth brush. This is very important! If you dont remove the under fur you will restrict the spinning and flaring ability of the hair.
Now using a hair stacker even the butts of the hair bunch NOT the points. Once even place the hair stacker on top of the hook shank and tie in the deer hair. Keeping the seals fur dubbing brush out of the way.
Once the first bunch is tied in, repeat with a little smaller bunch. But note, if you would like to tie the original G&H you dont pack the stacked hair, just keep it tight but open.
Tie in another even smaller and shorter bunch of deer hair.
And now the last and smallest bunch. Make sure that you leave enough space for the hackle and head between the hook eye and deer hair.
Make a whip finish before you start trimming. If you find it easier you can remove the tying thread here for the trimming and re attach it later.
I find the easiest way to trim the G&H is by using long straight scissors that i rest on the hook eye at the correct angle and trim around the whole body. Take care not to cut the dubbing brush!
Once the body is the correct shape turn your fly up side down in the vice and draw the dubbing brush over the underside of the body.
Tie down the dubbing brush and remove the excess. Whip finish. Turn your fly the correct way in the vice again.
Using long flat scissors make one cut at the rear of the fly at a slight angle.
Prepare two rusty dun cock hackles by stripping the stems and tie in as shown. Make sure that the stems are long enough for the antennas.
Bring both the hackle stems forward and tie down over the hook eye. Before you begin winding on the hackles make a few wraps of tying thread over the hook shank and hackle stems to make a good even foundation. This will ensure the hackle stands correct when wound.
Wind on you hackles one at a time. First the rear hackle should be wound a couple of turns backwards into the deer hair body and then forward to the hook eye and tied off. The second hackle is the wound in between the first but just forward. Whip finish.
Carefully trim off all the hackle points on top of the hook at the same angle as the deer hair body. The finished G&H sedge.
This is a more modern version of the G&H with a tight packed deer hair body and full traditional dry fly hackle.
After much response regarding my Mutantz pattern I published last year, here is the new and improved Flying Mutant that has fished extremely well for me this year, with a few new techniques that can be applied to other patterns.
On the warmest summer days the temperature rises in the south facing ant hills and triggers the annual swarming. Ants are not good flyers, so they leave the nest in large numbers to increase the chances of establishing a new colony. When they take to the wing they are at the mercy of the wind and end up where it takes them.
If they are unlucky and land on water, in any numbers! the fish go into a feeding frenzy. In extreme situations I have experienced that the trout will take just about any fly that is presented for them. But other times they can be so selective that they will only take the perfect pattern with the right silhouette, colour and behavior. Therefor its important to to have a good imitation too hand, and a more realistic ant imitation than this is difficult to find. Without of course going way over the realistic boundaries and tying a ultra realistic pattern. This is after all a fishing fly! Here I have made the two most characteristic body parts with melt glue, that shine just like the natural in the summer sun. You can also colour one half black and the other red, I have found that this works under most swarming situations for both black and red ants.
If you omit the wings and dont dress the fly, it has a in built drowning affect. Right after an ant has crash landed on the water and it begins to struggle the rear body part (abdomen) begins to sink, while it’s legs and wings hold it afloat a short while. If you are going to fish this pattern ‘dry’ I recommend that you that you impregnate it well with a floatant.
Hook: Mustad R50X NP-BR # 12-18 http://www.mustad.no/catalog/emea/product.php?id=2285
Tying Thread: Dyneema
Body: Black melt glue
Wing : White or blue dun CdC
Hackle: Black cock
Take a black melt glue stick and using a craft knife blade cut a small disc from the end of the stick.
Once you have tied a few Mutantz the size of the disc needed will become more apparent to the hook size used.
Cut the disc in half and then cut 1/3rd from the remaining 2/3rds. These two parts will make the larger rear half of the body and the smaller head.
Secure you dry fly hook in the vice. Make sure that the hook shaft is horizontal.
Make sure that you have the glue for the rear part of the body close at hand. Warm the hook shank with a lighter. This doesn’t take much time just a second or so. This quick warm up of the hook will not effect its tempering!
While the hook is warm, stick the glue piece to the hook in the correct position for the rear of the ant body.
When the bit of black glue is stuck to the hook prepare your vice for rotation and keep one hand on the rotation handle of your vice. You can now proceed to warm and melt it slowly with the lighter. Dont use a direct flame on the glue this will overheat it and cause it to run and not flow, just hold the flame close to the glue. Once the glue is warm and begins to melt it will naturally flow around the hook shaft.
While the glue is viscous you will have to rotate your hook to get the melt glue body distributed correctly around the hook shank and achieve the perfect body shape. Make sure that the rear body segment doesn’t hang too low and too far forward that it closes the hook gape and impairs hooking. Depending on what type of glue you are using the hardening time is only a few seconds. Once you have become more apt in using melt glue you can shorten the hardening time by blowing on the glue while rotating.
The rear of the body is now finished.
Once the rear part of the body has set you can repeat the process. But take car not to warm the front of the hook shank too much! this will also heat the rear again.
Attach the smaller piece of melt glue just behind the hook eye.
Once the glue is attached carefully warm the glue with the lighter and repeat the process for the head.
The finished ant body parts.
This is an easy technique I developed to form quick and perfect CdC wings every time. Take a small diameter tube fly tube and cut about one cm of tube.
Select a CdC hackle with long fibers and stroke the fibers 90 degrees from the shaft of the hackle.
Now stroke the rear fibers back and hold in position.
Trim off the point of the CdC hackle as shown.
Place the short tube section over the shaft of the CdC hackle.
Slide the tube back along the hackle stem to form the wing.
Attach your tying thread to the hook shank and wind back towards the rear body part.
Now with the tube still over the hackle offer the wing up to the hook shank and tying thread.
Tie in your CdC wing with a few turns of tying thread.
Once secure trim off the excess CdC and the point of the hackle.
Repeat the process for the second wing. One of the advantages with this type of wing is that the open fibers of the CdC hackle will allow air to pass through it when casting, unlike hackle point wings that have a tendency to work as propellers when casting and twist the tippet.
Now select a cock hackle and draw put the end fibers.
Trim off the fibers, leaving only a small amount. This will give the tying thread more purchase.
Tie in the the hackle at the wing base.
Wind the hackle quite dense forward to the ant head and tie off.
Whip finish and remove the excess hackle and tying thread.
The Mutant from above.
The Mutant from below.
This pattern was the product of Rainey Riding’s imagination after the Chernobyl atomic plant accident.
Resembling an ant, only in the weirdest imagination, this is a great stimulator pattern.
The CCFS (closed cell foam sheet) used in this ant floats like a cork, and the 8 rubber legs dance a jitter bug across the surface of the water.
I first encountered the Chernobyl ant many years ago, while visiting a fly fishing shop in Toronto Canada, called Skinners. I enquired about good patterns for Brook trout in the north, they said that I would only need one fly, the Chernobyl Ant… When I was shown the pattern, I immediately thought… Oh a typical American larger than life, synthetic affair.
But while fishing for Brookies in the north, I must admit that it wasn’t the only pattern that worked, but it was without doubt, the one that worked best.
This is not at all a complicated pattern to tie, but it must be tied in the correct order and manner. This is not only a great surface attractor for Brook trout but must species that surface feed. So try it on rainbows and salt water sea trout as a night lure.
Hook: Mustad R79NP-BR 9 X long # 6-8 http://www.mustad.no/catalog/emea/product.php?id=2290
Thread: Dyneema or other gel spun thread
Under body: Yellow CCFS http://www.veniard.com/product1537/section141/closed-cell-foam-sheet
Over body: Black CCFS http://www.veniard.com/product1537/section141/closed-cell-foam-sheet
Legs: Barred rubber legs Medium http://www.veniard.com/product2574/section172/
Hi-Vis indicator: Yellow razor foam
Cut two strips of CCFS about 6 mm wide and 7 cm long.
Before you secure your streamer hook in the vice thread the lower yellow foam onto the hook as shown.
Swing the foam around to one side and attach your tying thread, running it all the way so it hangs just over the barb of the hook.
Swing the foam around so that it lies under the hook shank. Squeeze the foam around the hook shank and make 5 or 6 turns with tying thread to make the first body segment. Be careful not to pull too tight or you will cut the foam!
Place the black foam strip on top of the yellow and tie in on the same position again with 5 or 6 turns.
Take a long length of rubber legs and fold it in half. Tie this in on top of the black foam, this time you can increase the pressure of the tying thread.
Using scissors cut the front loop of the legs in the centre.
Now grip the two legs on the side nearest to you and carefully pull down until they ‘snap’ into position between the groove between the black and yellow foam. Repeat with the legs on the back side.
While holding both the black and yellow foam back, as shown, wind your tying thread about 5 mm along the hook shank.
Now lift up the yellow foam and make 5 or 6 turns of tying thread to complete the first body segment.
Repeat stages 9 and ten for the next body segment.
Continue until you have made 5 or 6 evenly sized body segments finishing 5 mm behind the hook eye.
Now pull down the black over body foam and secure with tying thread in the same position as the last body segment.
Tie inn another set of legs following the same procedure as before.
If you would like to make your Chernobyl ant easier too see at a distance or in low light, you can tie inn a small section of bright foam as shown, as a Hi-Vis indicator. Holding both ends of the Hi-Vis indicator trim it down to size, and whip finish.
Trim the tail and head of your ant as shown here.
Your finished Chernobyl Ant is ready to dance.
Pheasant tail Nymph variant
# 16 in the fly tying course is the model nymph, the basic pattern for most, if not all nymphs. For those of you that are new to the website, you can find the previous 15 courses in earlier posts. If you have any questions regarding this or other posts, materials, hooks or anything fly tying related please dont hesitate to contact me, and i’ll do my best to help.
The feather bender
The original pheasant tail nymph came from the vice of legendary English fly tyer and fishermen Frank Sawyer around 1930. He designed the pheasant tail nymph to imitate may fly nymphs (Baetis) on the southern English river Avon, where he was river keeper. Sawyer’s original pattern used only pheasant tail fibers and fine copper wire instead of normal tying thread, to give the pattern extra weight. Although this is an excellent imitation of the swift swimming Baetis nymphs in little larger sizes it also works as an all round nymph for blind fishing.
With only only three materials, and tying thread needed for this pattern it still helps to choose the right materials. At first glance, one pheasant tail feather, looks like any other pheasant tail feather, or does it? Take a look at the pheasant tail feathers I chose at random from my materials, and you will see they are very different! Not only does the background colour and shading on each tail differ immensely but the black chevrons vary from light to dark and thin to thick. But probably the most important factor is fiber length. Normally the best marked feathers with the longest fiber length are found center top of the tail.
So remember when buying pheasant tails dont just take the first one you see in the shop, look through them all and find the best for the flies you intend to tie. Examine the feather, is the tip all dirty and worn ? if so its probably come from a domestically bred bird. The best tail feathers are generally from wild birds. Check if the feather is clean and has a nice glossy sheen to it and all the fibers are in place. You should also avoid tail feathers with insect damage. This can easily be seen as a thin transparent line that runs 90 degrees from the feather shaft through the fibers, where the insect has eaten the feathers barbules.
Hook: Mustad S82NP # 18-10
Tail: Pheasant tail fibers
Abdomen: Pheasant tail fibers
Rib: Fine copper wire
Thorax: Peacock herl
Wing case: Pheasant tail fibers
Legs: Pheasant tail fibers
Secure your hook in the vice so that the hook shank is horizontal.
Attach your tying thread and run a foundation over the whole hook shank, until the thread hangs approximately vertically with the hook barb.
Firstly find a tail feather with nice long fibers. To get all the points of the pheasant tail fibers even for the tail, take a small bunch in between your finger and thumb and slowly pull them away from the shaft of the feather until all the points are level.
Now still holding the bunch tight so the points remain level cut them away from the feather shaft with one swift cut.
Tie in the tail fibers on top of the hook shank. Three turns of tying thread over the tail and two under. The tail should be approximately 2/3 of the hook shank length.
Cut a 10 cm length of fine copper wire.
Tie in the copper wire the whole length of the hook shank, finishing just before the tail base.
Before you start to wind on the abdomen take your copper wire and swing it under and onto the back side of the hook, as shown. Before you commence wrapping the peasant tail fibers to form the abdomen make sure that ALL the fibers are parallel with each other! Not twisted.
Once you have wrapped the fibers 2/3 the length of the hook shank Tie them off as shown with 4 or 5 tight turns of tying thread over the fibers and the two in front of the the fibers on the hook shank. This will lock the tying thread and stop it from slipping.
Take the copper wire and firstly take one turn in the opposite direction you wound the fibers, around the tail base tight into the abdomen, and then 4 or 5 open turns to form the rib. Once you come to the remaining tuft of fibers at the thorax make several tight turns of wire along the remaining hook shank. Stopping about 3 mm from the hook eye.
Trim off the tuft of fibers and cover the bare copper wire with a layer of tying thread.
Now cut another bunch of tail fibers and tie them on a little way into the abdomen on top of the hook shank.
Cut two peacock herls from just under the eye of the peacock tail feather. The herl found here is much stronger than lower on the tail feather.
Trim off the excess fibers from the wing case. Tie in the peacock herls, point first and cover the ends with tying thread towards the hook eye.
Take both peacock herls at the same time and wrap them over the whole thorax making sure they dont twist and cross each other. Tie off behind the hook eye and cut off the excess.
Cut a small bunch of pheasant tail fibers and tie in as shown, just behind the hook eye on the side of the thorax.
Trim off the excess fiber and repeat step 16 on the other side of the thorax.
Now take the bunch of pheasant tail fibers you tied in for the wing case, and fold them over the thorax. Again taking care to make sure that all the fibers are parallel and dont cross over each other.
Trim off the fibers over the hook eye, about the same length as the hook eye and whip finish. Remove the tying thread and coat the whippings with a small drop of varnish.
The finished pheasant tail nymph as seen from above, note the symmetry in the tail, body wing case and legs.
Hi, I am back again with # 15 in the fly tying course, this time its a small mayfly Dun.
Where I live in Southern Norway the Claret Dun (Leptophlebia vespertina) and Sepia Dun ( Leptophlebia marginata) are amongst the first and the most common mayflies to hatch. Because of their tolerance of acidic water they are to be found on most forest lakes and ponds along with slow flowing rivers. These two mayflies are on the trouts menu from as early as April until the end of July and no Norwegian fly fisherman should be without a good imitation. Because of their similar size, colour and habitat this one pattern covers both. If you are fishing these hatches with this pattern I can guarantee success!
Hook: Mustad R50 94840 # 12-14
Tying thread: Dyneema
Body: Moose mane hair
Abdomen: Peacock herl
Parachute post: Poly yarn
Hackle: Back cock
Secure your size 14 dry fly hook in the vice so that the hook shank is horizontal.
Run your tying thread along the whole length of the hook shank until your thread hangs vertical to the hook barb.
Although both Vespertina and Maginata have three tails I only use two long ones. This takes less time to tie, uses less tailing material and trout cant count! But if you feel the need to be more realistic use three. Tie these in on top of the hook shank, this is important! The body of the fly will then rest in the film and not on it.
Spin your Dyneema thread clockwise so the fibers open and the thread becomes flat.
Using the flat thread cover the whole body and build up a slight taper as shown. Choose a dark, almost black long moose mane hair. The best hair from the moose for this is from the back of the neck. Tie in the moose hair by the point at the tail base.
Make the first wrap of moose hair under the two tails. This will support them and keep them high.
Now, making tight even wraps of moose hair cover the whole rear body of the fly. Tie off. Although moose mane is surprisingly robust if you wish you can give the body a coat with varnish.
Cut a short length of Polypropylene yarn for the parachute post and tie in as shown.
Flip your hook in the vice, or if you have a fully rotational vice, give it a spin and wrap the base of the parachute post 2 or 3 mm up from the hook shank.
Prepare a black hackle and tie in as shown up the post base ready for wrapping later.
Select a small fibered peacock herl, these are best and the correct size just below the eye on the tail feather.
Spin the hook in the vice again and tie in the peacock herl at the rear of the parachute post.
Wrap the herl forward to the hook eye and secure.
Colour your Dyneema with a waterproof felt marker and spin the bobbin anti clockwise to twist the fibers together and make the thread smaller. Make one whip finish.
Spin your vice again. Wind your thread through the thorax and up the parachute post.
Wind your tying thread to the base of the post and then make a few wraps of hackle, going down towards the thorax with each wrap.
Now make two turns of tying thread one to the left of the excess hackle and then one to the right. This will hold the hackle securely while you trim off the excess.
Trim off the excess hackle, taking care not to cut any of the wrapped fibers.
Make a whip finish under the wrapped hackle and around the post. Just before your tighten the whip finish apply a drop of varnish to the tying thread, when you tighten the varnish will slide into place and secure the knot without you getting it everywhere.
The finished parachute Leptophlebia that will float deep in the film.
The fish eye view.