Hook Mustad S74SZ # 2/0-4/0
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.
March 25, 2014 | Categories: Fly Fishing, Fly fishing photography, Fly Photography, Fly Tying, Material Reviews, Step by Step, Uncategorized | Tags: big flies Pike jig, brass beads, Bug Bond, cock hackles, E-Z Body, Fly Fishing, Fly Tying, gjedde flyer, Helter Skelter, hooks, Icelandic sheep, pike flies | Leave a comment
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.
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.
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
The Eyes are available along with a good
selection of Mustad streamer hooks from
Chris Helm at:
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.
Hook: Mustad S74SNP # 1 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=195
Beard: Buck Tail
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
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.
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
March 12, 2014 | Categories: Fly Fishing, Fly fishing photography, Fly Photography, Fly Tying, Material Reviews, Step by Step | Tags: bøstemark flue, Fly Fishing, hooks, marabou, Rag worm fly, Realistic, sea trout flies, spring, the worm | 1 Comment
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 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=195
Under body: Melt glue
Over Body: Mylar tubeing
Wing/tail: Fur zonker strip
Eyes: Prizma tape eyes.
February 19, 2014 | Categories: Fly Tying, Sjøørret fluer, Step by Step, Uncategorized | Tags: crazy glue, Fly Tying, hooks, Melt Glue, Mustad, sea trout flies, sjøørret fluer, Step by Step, Zonker | Leave a comment
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.
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.
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.
February 12, 2014 | Categories: Fly Fishing, Fly Tying, Material Reviews, Step by Step, Uncategorized | Tags: Bug Bond, deer, Deer hair, Deer Hunting, dubbing, Fly Fishing, Fly photgraphy, Fly Tying, Materials, May fly | 7 Comments
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.