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

Posts tagged “Deer hair

Shove,Shave,Singe and Sand Technique

 

 

My Shove, Shave, Singe and Sand technique for the tightest deer hair bodies.
Probably the most frequent question I am asked at shows and demos is how do I get my small deer hair bodies so tight. Well heres my secret in full step by step tuition.

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This is one of my very early patterns the deer hair pupa that was inspired by a meeting with the late Gary LaFontaine many years ago and his own deep sparkle pupa pattern. The first requirement for tight bodies is the correct deer hair.

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Although I acquire most of my own spinning hair from late season hunting here in Norway the best hair I can recommend is the spinning hair from Natures Spirit and the natural roe deer hair from Veniard’s. The hair should be dense, straight with little under fur and fine well marked tips. Although the tips are not required for this pattern they are useful to have for sculpting nicely marked wings on others.IMG_0065

You will also need a hair stacker, a good hair comb, a Wilkinson razor blade, I specify Wilkinson because I have tried many cheaper blades over the years but it’s a false economy, I have found none that are as sharp and last as long. You will need a lighter and some fine sand paper.

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1
Secure your dry fly hook in the vice with the hook shank horizontal.

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2
Attach your tying thread and cover the whole hook shank.

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3
Cut and clean a small bunch of deer hair by combing out all the under fur and shorter hairs. Stack this bunch not by the tips as usual but by the butt ends as shown.

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4
Tie this bunch in just a little down the hook bend. Make sure that each wrap of tying thread is tight and doesn’t trap any hairs unevenly.

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5
Repeat this technique with another bunch of hair.

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6
Take a hair packer, the one I am using hear is a Brassie on larger patterns I use Pat Cohen’s Fugly packer. Place this over the hook shank and push and twist at the same time, you may need to hold your thumb and finger of your left hand at the rear of the hair so you don’t push it along the hook shank. This will pack the hairs tight into each other.

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7
Once the required amount of body is covered with tightly packed deer hair, whip finish and remove your tying thread. Now comb the hair to release and free any hairs that may not be standing 90 degrees from the hook shank, this is important for perfect results.

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8
Take a razor blade between your finger and thumb and bend it to the shape of the body and slowly push it through the deer hair from the front towards the rear of the hook. If you haven’t done this before take your time it takes a little practice.

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9
The body at this stage doesn’t have to be perfect, just sculpt it to a basic body shape. You can use your scissors here too if you feel more comfortable using them.

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10
Now take your lighter and carefully ‘singe’ the deer hair body, take your time or the whole thing will go up in smoke if you get too close and burn it! This will even out the whole body.

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11
Take a piece of sand paper and carefully sand off the soot and smooth out any un-even parts.

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12
The result should look something like this, and feel rather like a cork.

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13
To imitate the gas bubble of the hatching pupa’s shuck I like to use Spirit Rivers UV2 Sparkle Yarn.

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14
You only need a small amount of the yarn.

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15
Split your tying thread and spin the yarn into a dubbing brush.

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16
Wind the yarn to form a vail over the whole surface of the deer hair body.

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17
Sin a little hares hear hair into another dubbing brush.

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18
Wrap this on as a collar make sure that its spiky and buggy.

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19
Take a natural beige CdC hackle and place in a magic tool clip. Spin this into another dubbing loop and wind at the head of the fly again as a vail over the body.

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20
Whip finish and your deer hair pupa is finished.

PS.
As a note on fishing this pattern I find the most effective methods is in combination with a floating line and a heavy sinking leader. When pulled it will dive and float slowly up to the surface when you stop the retrieve, creating the desired affect of a ascending pupa.


Proppen

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

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Large dark olive trio

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Large dark olive

The large dark olive (Baetis rhodani) are probably the most widespread of all the European may flies, being Multivoltine, where water temperature allows, having two or more generation cycles per year, makes it even more important to the trout and fly fishermen alike! When designing fishing flies its not the very small details that count, although aesthetically pleasing to the fly tyer, and an important part of our craft! its a combination of several that will be the deciding factor for the fish. Size, colour, silhouette, footprint, behavior.

One of the earliest hatches here in Norway that I tend to fish is on the Trysil river with my good friend Espen Eilertsen owner and head guide of Call of the wild Drift boat fishing.
Although the weather was warm, a light shower that lasted an hour or so had just tapered off and there where Rodanis mayflies hatching everywhere, and when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere, but this being the first day of the hatch, the famous Trysil grayling were not as eager as the gulls to take advantage of the a la carte menu. I couldn’t believe that fish where not rising! The whole river surface was covered with duns, popping up and floating like regatta of small sail boats down river. Espen reassured me that this was normal and it always takes a little time for them to start feeding on the surface when the hatch first begins. The first few hours of the hatch, they generally concentrate where the food is most plentiful and thats below the surface. Taking nymphs and emergers as they rise to the surface.

For the next three hours we had only been in contact with a few fish and drifted just about every type of river condition from shallow rapids to fast flowing channels to flat calm slow drifts, and the Clacka drift boat in combination with Espen´s expert handling of the craft is impressive, performing perfectly as a sturdy fishing and casting platform at all times. We drifted through breath taking Alaskan type landscape, with steep rising pine and spruce covered mountains on each side of us, that you only get full wide screen effect of from mid-river, the speed of the boat slowing down as we could see in the distance where the river opens out and widens into a large basin.

Fishing a LDO nymph on the point and an emerger on a dropper that was easy to see on the dark water, drifted perfectly 7-8 meters from the boat, quickly approaching two rolling grayling in the next pool, that we had had our eyes on for the last 80 meters or so, drift. When without warning another, previously unseen fish rose from the depths of a dark pool and enthusiastically disappeared with my dropper. Espen lowered the oars and began pulling, to slow our decent and dropped the anchor. I lifted my rod and it immediately assumed the golden arch position with the grayling diving deep into the pool. After a short battle my first grayling of the season was released.

After a little fly and leader attention, Espen was holding the boat steady and suddenly says ” nine o clock, 15 meters ” I lift my rod and make a couple of false casts to shake of the dry fly floatant and lie my line down in the nine o clock position, “perfect” says Espen. The fly drifts perfectly along with several naturals, one of which is 60 cm or so ahead of mine, when it slowly enters the steady risers feeding window and “sup” its gone. Mine is next in line ! and like a text book account of how it should be, the fish obliges and leaves only small rings in the surface where my fly once was. If there was only a slight breeze these rises would be impossible to see. I automatically lift the rod and my line tightens, I can feel immediately that this fish is of another class from the ones I have had contact with so far. The fish dives and enters the strong under current using his majestic dorsal fin to his advantage and holding his position deep on the bottom. After 2 or 3 minutes he succumbed to the overwhelming power of space age carbon. What a beautiful fish, 38 cm of grayling, a new personal record on dry fly.

Normally the style of rise observed, will give a good indication to what stage of the insects life is being taken! With emergers the fish almost seem to be anesthetized slowly and repeatedly sucking in the water under the target, or the surface film is pushed up in a small mound without the fish actually breaking the surface. When rising to dun’s the rise is more enthusiastic, slashy and splashy. When rises are sparse or the fish are playing hard to get, just taking one or another emerger. You can search pocket water or fish dead drift with an appropriate single nymph or even combined with a emerger dropper. This ribbed abdomen technique is an old one that I have revitalized with the help of Bug Bond and spirit based felt pens. Moose mane hair is not from the beard that hangs on the neck but the longest hair that can be found on the back of the upper neck. Being a elk hunter I have access to a huge amount of select material each autumn, but the skins being the size they are I only take smaller patches of the best and most useful hair for curing. These hairs are remarkably strong, practically unbreakable when pulled between the fingers!

Hook: Mustad R72 nymph
Tying thread: Dyneema
Tail: Fine deer hair
Body: Moose mane hair two dark and one light coated with Bug Bond
Wing case: Virtual nymph Felxibody
Thorax: Virtual nymph medium olive and black seal fur mix
Legs: Bronze mallard

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1
Secure your 2 X long nymph hook in the vice, so the hook shaft is horizontal.

 

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2
Attach your tying thread a few mm behind the hook eye and run all the way back to the rear of the shank.

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3
Select 3 fine and quite stiff deer hairs. The ones I have used here are from a roe deer mask. Tie them in as shown in the form of a trident.

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4
Take a tiny drop of Bug Bond and place on the three deer hair bases. Give this a zap with the UV torch. This will keep the three tails in place.

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5
Take a patch of moose mane. The natural mane is a mixture of what they call salt and pepper coloured hair. If you can get hold of un treated (washed or tanned) moose mane this has much more durable hair.

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6
Select two long dark hairs and one long light.

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7
Tie in the hairs. Tie in the light one first at the base of the hook shank and then the dark hair.

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8
Now take both hairs at once, make sure that they are parallel with each other and not twisted. Wind them on tight and even over the whole body of the nymph. Make sure they dont cross each other while winding on!

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9
Tie off at the thorax.

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10
Once you have cut away the excess give the whole body a fine coat of Bug Bond UV resin.

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11
When you have cured the first coat colour the body with a olive waterproof felt pen.

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12
Give the whole body a final coat of Bug Bond. This time you can apply a little more to give the nymph body a taper .

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13
Now wind your tying thread a little back over the rear body as shown and tie in a small strip of olive flexibody for the wing case. Make sure this is central to the body and on top of the hook shank.

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14
If you wish to add a little weight to the fly, now is the time before you dub the thorax. Spin a little olive seals fir dubbing and wind on over the base of the flexibody.

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15
Select a small bronze mallard hackle and cut out the central stem and remove the down, as illustrated.

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16
Place the bronzed mallard over the body so the fibers cover each side of the nymph body. Make a couple of loose turns of tying thread to hold these in place. Then you can pull on the hackle stem to adjust the length of the legs before tying down.

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17
Once the legs are tied in remove the excess and make a couple more turns of tying thread tight into the dubbing so the legs flare out at an angle.

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18
Take a little more olive seal fur and mix with a little black seals fur then dub the remaining thorax. Make sure that you leave enough room for the wing case and head.

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19
Fold over the flexibody strip for the wing case and secure with 2 or 3 tight turns of tying thread tight back towards the thorax. Make sure the wing case is nice and tight over the thorax.

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20
Carefully trim off the remaining flexibody and tie down. Whip finish and varnish.

Large dark olive emerger

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Hook: Mustad C49S
Tying thread: Dyneema
Tail: Fine deer hair
Body: Moose mane hair one dark one light coated with Bug Bond
Wing: Bronze mallard, CdC and deer hair
Legs: Coq de Leon fibers

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1
Secure your emerger hook in the vice, so the hook shaft is horizontal.

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2
Attach your tying thread a few mm behind the hook eye and run all the way back to the rear of the shank.
Select 3 fine and quite stiff deer hairs. The ones I have used here are from a roe deer mask. Tie them in as shown in the form of a trident.

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3
Take a patch of moose mane. The natural mane is a mixture of what they call salt and pepper coloured hair. If you can get hold of un treated (washed or tanned) moose mane this has much more durable hair.

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4
Select two long hairs one dark and one light.
Tie in the hairs. Tie in the dark one first at the base of the hook shank and then the light one.

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5
Now take both hairs at once, make sure that they are parallel with each other and not twisted. Wind them on tight and even over the whole body of the fly. Make sure they dont cross each other while winding on! Tie off at the thorax.

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6
Trim off the excess and give the whole body a coat with Bug Bond.

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7
Colour the body with a waterproof felt pen.

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8
Tie in a small bunch of bronze mallard for the wing.

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9
Spin a small amount of Olive CdC in a dubbing loop.

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10
Wind on the dubbing loop to form the thorax making sure that most of the dubbing sits on top of the hook shank.

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11
Now a small bunch of fine deer hair for the over wing. Try and use deer hair with nice markings.

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12
Now take a few fibers of olive or yellow Coq de Leon and tie these in for the legs on the underside of the thorax.

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13
Spin another small amount of CdC and wind on to form the head.

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14
Whip finish and varnish.

 

Large dark olive dry

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Hook: Mustad R30
Tying thread: Dyneema
Tail: Coq de Leon
Body: Moose mane hair one dark one light coated with bug Bond
Wing: Grey duck wing quill sections
Hackle: Golden Badger


Fly tying course # 10 Muddler Minnow

 

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Unquestionably the most famous of all streamers, and the model for many others.

 

Hook: Mustad R73NP-BR # 10-4

Thread: Dyneema (waxed)

Tail: Mottled turkey

Body: Flat gold tinsel

Rib: Copper wire

Underwing: Grey squirrel tail

Wing: Mottled turkey

Collar/Head: Spun and clipped natural deer hair

 

A few notes regarding the original Muddler pattern:

 

The hook used by its originator Don Gapen was a Mustad 38941 3X Long streamer, this was one of the long flies. When tying slip wings its important to use waxed thread. The Dyneema I use in most my patterns is too smooth for for wet fly style wings and has to be waxed in order not to slip. 

The original recipe is as above but excluding the copper wire rib. The rib is a later addition. The original was tied with metal tinsel that required no protection from the small sharp teeth of trout but later as plastic tinsel became the norm the wire rib was added to protect the tinsel and add additional strength.  When spinning large bunches of deer hair I recommend, if you are using regular tying thread a minimum denier of 3/0 waxed is necessary to have sufficient  strength to apply enough tension to achieve optimal flare in the deer hair.  When tying spun and clipped deer hair patterns your choice of hair is paramount. See my earlier posts regarding tying with deer hair and spinning deer hair.

If I was unfortunate enough to be be given the choice of having only one fly to fish for all species both in fresh and salt water, I would have no problem! The Muddler minnow would without doubt be my number one choice. The pattern I tie here is as close to the original as I can get.

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 1
Secure your 3XL streamer hook in the vice making sure that the hook shank is horizontal.
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2
You will need two mottled turkey feathers one from each wing. Cut two small slips one from the same position from each wing feather for the tail.
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Attach your tying thread and run it the full length of the hook shank so that it hangs vertically between the hook point and barb. Place the two small wing slips ‘back to back and tie in on top of the hook shank for the tail as shown. This is done by holding the two slips in the left hand while you make one loose turn of tying thread around the slips and between your finger and thumb. Tighten by pulling your tying thread ‘upwards’ This will stop your wing slips from slipping around the hook and keep them central and straight.
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4
Trim off the surplus slip butts diagonally and tie in a length of fine copper wire at the base of the tail. Now cover the hook shank with an even coat of tying thread. This is important to get a tinsel body of the same thickness.
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Tie in your flat tinsel about 1 cm behind the hook eye. Wind the tinsel in even close fitting turns all the way back to the tail and the back to the tying in position behind the hook eye. Tie off.
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Cut off the excess flat tinsel and then wrap the copper wire rib in the opposite direction to the flat tinsel, in even open turns. Tie off.
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Cut a medium bunch of hair from a grey squirrel tail and remove the under fur and shorter hairs. Stack the hair in a hair stacker. Now measure the hair wing along the hook shank so that it is the same length as the slip tail. Trim the hair wing to length. Now before you tie the hair in place a small drop of varnish on the cut end of the hair bunch, this will glue it in place and also make it more durable. Tie in on top of the hook shank.
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Cut two larger mottled turkey wing slips for the wing. Again one from each wing feather.
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Tie these in the same way as the tail on top of the squirrel tail underwing.
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Select some good dense natural deer hair from the winter coat. See my earlier post on European Roe deer.
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Cut a good generous bunch. This is where many tyers make the mistake of too small a bunch and having to add more bunches later, to make the whole head. The head should be made of only one bunch of deer hair. Clean the hair by removing the under fur and shorter hairs and stack in a hair stacker.
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Place the bunch of deer hair with the tips facing back towards the tail, these will be the collar of the head. While holding the bunch in place make two loose turns of tying thread around the bunch, then tighten by by pulling upwards and the hair will flare. Once the hair is flared make several other tight wraps with a ‘zig zag’ movement as you go towards the hook eye. This will push the deer hair from side to side as you wrap and stop you from trapping the hair and tying it down flat!
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Tie off and whip finish. You can now begin to trim your muddler head to the basic shape. See my deer hair tutorial.
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You can choose here if you would like a cone shaped head. You can see on this image that some hair ends are burnt! see my deer hair tutorial for the full step be step of this technique.
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Or a round clipped head. This style will move more water when stripped.
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The finished Muddler minnow.

Fly tying course # 5 Dry Fly Adult caddis

X Caddis

X Caddis

X Caddis

Dont forget! If you have any questions please dont hesitate to ask. Just post your question at the foot of this page.

If you would like to receive a message when the next stage of the course is published, just add your e mail address at the top right of this page. Thanks, The feather bender.

This next fly in the course is the X Caddis. This is a no hackle dry fly that floats extremely well because of the natural buoyancy of the deer hair and Antron tail.

Hook: Mustad R50 94840 # 10-18

Thread: Dyneema

Tail: Cream coloured Poly yarn or Z-Lon

Body: Light Olive Antron dubbing

Wing/head: Deer hair

I can´t recommend the X-caddis enough. No grayling or trout fisherman should be without this pattern in their fly box. The original from John Juraceks and Craig Mathews was intended as a hatching caddis fly that is skating across the surface trying to escape from the nymphal skin that is trailing behind it, before it flies to freedom.  This pattern has taken fish for me all over the globe, in all kinds of conditions and not only during caddis hatches but also under extremely selective feeding during mayfly hatches and midge fishing. The high flared deer hair wing and head, position the low profile no hackle body, so perfectly in the surface film that grayling just can´t resist it.  I have had most success with this pattern in the smaller hook sizes from # 16-18. When tying these smaller sizes I prefer to use the finer hair from the roe deer mask.  This hair is nicely marked and extremely fine even for the smallest patterns, and only flares to 45 degrees unlike the more buoyant body hair that will flare to 90 degrees.  Although you can tie the X-caddis in various body colours I have found the one shown here the most effective.

If you would like to receive a message when the next stage of the course is published, just add your e mail address at the top right of this page. Thanks, The feather bender.

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1

Make sure that when you secure your hook in the vice that the hook shank is horizontal. Cover the hook shank with a layer of tying thread.

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2

Cut a very small piece of cream coloured crimped polypropylene yarn or Z-Lon (material from John Betts) Tie this in where the hook bend begins as shown. You dont need much, this is going to represent the nymph skin trailing behind the hatching caddis. It should be about half the hook shaft length.

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3

Wind your tying thread back to the tail base. Spin a thin dubbing string onto the tying thread and wind tightly forward.

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4

Wind the dubbing forward so that you get a slightly increasing body thickness as you approach the hook eye. Leave 2-3 mm behind the hook eye so you have room for the wing and head. Make a whip finish, but dont remove the tying thread.

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5

Cut a small bunch with fine deer hair and even the points in a hair stacker if you have one. If you dont have a hair stacker try and get the points of the hair as even as possible. Holding the hair measure the wing by holding the hair on top of the hook shank. The wing should be a fraction longer than the body.

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6

While still holding the deer hair make two loose turns of tying thread around the wing and hook shank, still holding the deer hair, then tighten by pulling down. Make 5 or 6 tight turns of tying thread as shown.

X Caddis

7

With a pair of sharp scissors cut off the excess deer hair over the hook eye with one neat cut as shown. Make a couple of whip finishes and your X caddis is ready. You can also put a tiny drop of varnish just on the whippings.


Elk Hair Caddis Step by step

Elk Hair Caddis

Hook Mustad R30 # 16-10 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=175

Thread Dyneema http://www.virtual-nymph.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=1&Itemid=26

Body Olive dubbing

Hackle Brown Cock

Wing Bleached elk

This classic caddis pattern is from the tying bench of well know American fly tyer Al Troth.

This is probably the most well known caddis pattern in existence, and rightly so. The EHC as it is also known is one of the best adult caddis patterns that you could use.  I myself have fished this pattern for at least 30 years, and every season it never fail to provide me with great sport.

Most of the materials are readily available but in the past few years the bleached elk hair has become more difficult to obtain.  Al Troth himself recommends that you use the thigh hair from a cow elk, bleached, this I have found impossible to obtain but any good quality bleached elk does a good job.  If you find like me that the bleached elk cannot be obtained, regular elk will also do a good job, it’s just a little more difficult to see at a distance on the water.

You can fish this pattern dry so that it just floats high on the hackle points, you can fish it half drowned so that it gurgles like a popper when retrieved and you can even fish it wet just under the surface. A brilliant all round pattern.

1

1

Attach the tying thread and run it along the hook shank until it hangs level with the hook barb.

2

2

Prepare the hackle and tie in at the base of the hook shank.

3

3

Attach the dubbing to the tying thread and begin to build up the body of the fly.

4

4

Once you have dubbed the whole body make sure you leave enough space for the elk wing head (2 mm behind the hook eye) secure the dubbing with a few turns of tying thread.

5

5

Using a hackle plier wind on the hackle, palmered style along the whole of the dubbed body.

6

6

Tie off the hackle and trim off the access.

7

7

With the use of a small hair stacker even thew ends of a small bunch of elk hair. You can also remove the under wool at this stage.

8

8

Remove the hair from the stacker and lie it along the top of the hook as shown to measure the correct length of wing required.

10

9

Still holding the hair in place , change hands and make two loose turns of tying thread around the head of the fly, and pull tight. Make a couple more turns of tying thread to secure the wing.

11

10

You can now trim of the surplus elk hair butt ends to make that distinctive EHC head.

Tie off the tying thread and remove.

12

11

The finished Elk Hair Caddis.


Tying the Muddler Minnow

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Unquestionably the most famous of all streamers, and the model for many others.

Hook: Mustad R73NP-BR # 10-4

Thread: Dyneema (waxed)

Tail: Mottled turkey

Body: Flat gold tinsel

Rib: Copper wire

Underwing: Grey squirrel tail

Wing: Mottled turkey

Collar/Head: Spun and clipped natural deer hair

 

A few notes regarding the original Muddler pattern:

 

The hook used by its originator Don Gapen was a Mustad 38941 3X Long streamer, this was one of the long flies. When tying slip wings its important to use waxed thread. The Dyneema I use in most my patterns is too smooth for for wet fly style wings and has to be waxed in order not to slip. 

The original recipe is as above but excluding the copper wire rib. The rib is a later addition. The original was tied with metal tinsel that required no protection from the small sharp teeth of trout but later as plastic tinsel became the norm the wire rib was added to protect the tinsel and add additional strength.  When spinning large bunches of deer hair I recommend, if you are using regular tying thread a minimum denier of 3/0 waxed is necessary to have sufficient  strength to apply enough tension to achieve optimal flare in the deer hair.  When tying spun and clipped deer hair patterns your choice of hair is paramount. See my earlier posts regarding tying with deer hair and spinning deer hair.

If I was unfortunate enough to be be given the choice of having only one fly to fish for all species both in fresh and salt water, I would have no problem! The Muddler minnow would without doubt be my number one choice. The pattern I tie here is as close to the original as I can get.

IMG_7299

 1
Secure your 3XL streamer hook in the vice making sure that the hook shank is horizontal.
IMG_7301
2
You will need two mottled turkey feathers one from each wing. Cut two small slips one from the same position from each wing feather for the tail.
IMG_73023
Attach your tying thread and run it the full length of the hook shank so that it hangs vertically between the hook point and barb. Place the two small wing slips ‘back to back and tie in on top of the hook shank for the tail as shown. This is done by holding the two slips in the left hand while you make one loose turn of tying thread around the slips and between your finger and thumb. Tighten by pulling your tying thread ‘upwards’ This will stop your wing slips from slipping around the hook and keep them central and straight.
IMG_7303
4
Trim off the surplus slip butts diagonally and tie in a length of fine copper wire at the base of the tail. Now cover the hook shank with an even coat of tying thread. This is important to get a tinsel body of the same thickness.
IMG_73045
Tie in your flat tinsel about 1 cm behind the hook eye. Wind the tinsel in even close fitting turns all the way back to the tail and the back to the tying in position behind the hook eye. Tie off.
IMG_73056
Cut off the excess flat tinsel and then wrap the copper wire rib in the opposite direction to the flat tinsel, in even open turns. Tie off.
IMG_73067
Cut a medium bunch of hair from a grey squirrel tail and remove the under fur and shorter hairs. Stack the hair in a hair stacker. Now measure the hair wing along the hook shank so that it is the same length as the slip tail. Trim the hair wing to length. Now before you tie the hair in place a small drop of varnish on the cut end of the hair bunch, this will glue it in place and also make it more durable. Tie in on top of the hook shank.
IMG_73078
Cut two larger mottled turkey wing slips for the wing. Again one from each wing feather.
IMG_73089
Tie these in the same way as the tail on top of the squirrel tail underwing.
IMG_731010
Select some good dense natural deer hair from the winter coat. See my earlier post on European Roe deer.
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Cut a good generous bunch. This is where many tyers make the mistake of too small a bunch and having to add more bunches later, to make the whole head. The head should be made of only one bunch of deer hair. Clean the hair by removing the under fur and shorter hairs and stack in a hair stacker.
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Place the bunch of deer hair with the tips facing back towards the tail, these will be the collar of the head. While holding the bunch in place make two loose turns of tying thread around the bunch, then tighten by by pulling upwards and the hair will flare. Once the hair is flared make several other tight wraps with a ‘zig zag’ movement as you go towards the hook eye. This will push the deer hair from side to side as you wrap and stop you from trapping the hair and tying it down flat!
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Tie off and whip finish. You can now begin to trim your muddler head to the basic shape. See my deer hair tutorial.
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14
You can choose here if you would like a cone shaped head. You can see on this image that some hair ends are burnt! see my deer hair tutorial for the full step be step of this technique.
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Or a round clipped head. This style will move more water when stripped.
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The finished Muddler minnow.

Tying The Humpy

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This popular western pattern comes in many variants of colour, wing and tail materials, hackle and single and double hump.  The Humpy is also tied in two styles, short and fat and the long and slim version I am tying here.  Although made to imitate nothing in particular, except a juicy mouth full, this has a reputation of being a difficult fly to tie, but as I have mentioned in earlier step by step posts, follow the procedures and proportions and you will soon be banging them out by the dozen. 

Hook: Mustad R50 # 10-16

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Tail: Natural deer hair

Body: Floss

Shell back: Deer hair

Hackle: Furnace cock

Wings: Deer hair

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SEcure your hook in the vice making sure the hook shank is horizontal.

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Attach your tying thread and run the full length of the hook shank, stopping at the bend.

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Take a small bunch of natural deer hair. Here I am using European roe deer hair from the summer coat, its much finer and flares less than hair from the winter coat. The deer hair tail should be approximately two times the hook gape in length, unlike feather fiber tails that are 2.5 times the hook gape length.  When tying this in the wraps of tying thread near the tail base should be firm but not tight! If you tighten too much at the tail base the hair will flare. Tie down about 2/3 of the hook shank.

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Trim off the excess hair at an angle so you get a tapered end.

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The tapered end will make it easier to tie in the other materials later.

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Cut another bunch of deer hair, clean and stack in a hair stacker. This is the crucial point of proportions! The wing and shell back are all made from the same bunch of deer hair so its important that you get this right. From the center of the hook shank to half a hook shank length longer than the tail.

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Once measured trim the ends square, Tie down the ends of the tail you cut at and angle and wrap your tying thread to the middle of the hook shank.

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Keeping all the deer hair on top of the hook shank tie in as shown. This can be tied in much tighter than the tail as you want it to flare.

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Now wrap your tying thread forward over the trimmed ends of deer hair making sure that you build up a nice even cigar shaped body with tying thread. This is important if your under body is un even, it will be difficult to get a good looking finish later with the floss. A little over half way of the hook shank tie in a length of floss.

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Wind your floss back tight into the tail base making sure that you cover all the wraps of tying thread. Then you can wrap the floss back towards the thorax. When winding floss make sure that you dont twist it, each wrap of floss must retain the fibers flat, otherwise you will get lumpy humpy…

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Tie off the floss and trim away the excess. Keep your tying thread tight into the floss body.

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Take the shell back hair, taking care that you dont take any of the tail hair with it, and fold tightly over the floss body. Take care that all the deer hair fibers are parallel and not crossing each other.

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Tie down the shell back keeping the hair about half way up the body. You can now see the importance of the correct proportions to obtain the correct wing length.

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Now tie down the wing about half way between the body and the hook eye.

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Fold the wings back and make five or six turns of tying thread tight into the wing base. This will hold the wings up right.

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Your wing hair should now fan out from side to side and stand 90 degrees from the hook shank.

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Now prepare and tie in a hackle. Many variants of the humpy require two hackles to achieve the correct chunkiness, but I prefer when possible to use one long saddle hackle. Tie in the hackle tight into the body behind the wing. Wrap your tying thread back towards the hook eye.

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18

Now separate the deer hair into two equal wings. make a couple of wraps of tying thread around each wing base just to keep them collected and erect.

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Side view of your split wings position, pointing slightly forward.

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Make the first wrap of hackle tight into the body, but not too tight that the hackle points go off at an angle, the hackle points should stand 90 degrees from the hook shank. Wind the hackle tight and dense forward making as many turns as possible, the humpy requires a real chunky hackle. Tie off.

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Whip finish, but before your complete your whip finish but have only  a short length of tying thread again before you tighten, place a small drop of varnish on the tying thread, and then finish your whip finish ! This will stop you getting varnish on the hackle.

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The view from the bell tower.


Fender Parachute

My good friends hunting dog, Fender and just one of the many animals and huge amounts of materials he secures for my fly tying every year.

Fender secures more meat wrapped in materials for the winter.

This is a quick and simple parachute technique that requires only deer hair and Bug Bond.

Hook: Mustad C49

Tying thread: Dyneema

Body: Moose mane hair

Hackle: Roe deer hair and Bug Bond

Thorax: Underfur from deer or moose winter coat.

1.
Secure your emerger hook in the vice with as much of the bend clear of the jaws.

2.
Run your tying thread from just behind the hook eye down deep into the bend.

3.
Select some long Moose mane hairs.

4.
You will need two long hairs from the moose mane, one white and one black.

5.
Tie in the moose hairs by the points at the base of the hook bend.

6.
Build up a slight forward taper on the fly body with tying thread.

7.
Take both hair at once, with the black hair at the bottom and begin to wind on in even tight turns.

8.
Continue over the whole hook shank until you come to the thorax. Tie off.

9.
Trim off the surplus hair and tie down ends. Although these moose mane hairs are remarkably strong you can give the body a coat with Bug Bond.

10.
Cut and stack a small bunch of deer hair. Tie this in as a parachute post.

11.
At the base of the hairs from a winter coat of a moose or deer there is a dense under fur. Remove enough to dub the thorax.

12.
Dub the thorax behind and forward of the post.

13.
Place your finger tip in the centre of the deer hair post and press down until the deer hair flattens out.

14.
Place a small drop of Bug Bond in the center of the deer hair parachute hackle.

15.
Give the Bug Bond a zap with the UV light.

16.
The finished Fender emerger, made only from deer hair and Bug Bond.

17.
The view from below. Its a perfect quick and simple parachute hackle.


Deer Hair Immerger.

The deer hair Immerger.

Presentation is alfa and omega when fishing emergers.

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

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

All you need:

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

Tying Thread: Dyneema

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

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

Parachute hackle: Deer hair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13.
Front view.

14.
View from underneath.

Only deer hair and Bug Bond…


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

cells.

Image

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

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

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

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

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

pressure  of tying thread.

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

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

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

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

flies. 

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

with darker barred tips on the winter coat. 

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The best hair for spinning is found

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

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

dying, or for patterns that require white deer hair.

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

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

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

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

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

skin, you wont be disappointed.

My top tools for deer hair:

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Hair stackers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anglo – Swedish caddis:

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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. 

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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.

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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!

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

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Place a terrestrial hook in the vice.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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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.


Fly Tying Course # 20 The Stimulator Dry Fly

Stimulator-“Something that causes and encourages a given response” IMG_5163

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

Thread:  Dyneema

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

Hackle: Grizzle

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Secure your curved nymph/ terrestrial hook in the vice.

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Run the tying thread along the hook shank until it hangs level with the barb of the hook.

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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.

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Tie the elk hair down along the hook shank as shown.  This will give you a good foundation and volume for your floss body.

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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.

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About one third of the way along the hook shank tie in a length of golden yellow Antron floss.

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Run the floss back towards the tail base and forward again building up a tapered body as you go. Tie off the floss.

IMG_5140 8

Wind the hackle, palmered style, about 7 or eight even turns.  When you reach the thorax tie off and remove the excess hackle.

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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.

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If you stack the elk hair for the wing in a small diameter stacker the hair will ‘fall’ into its natural curve.

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Before you tie in the elk hair wing, tie in two or three strands of golden yellow crystal hair.

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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.

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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.

IMG_5150 14

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.

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Wind on your grizzle hackle in nice even turns. Tie off and whip finish.  Your completed golden stimulator!


Fly Tying Course # 19 The G & H Sedge

The G & H Sedge or Goddard Caddis

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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.

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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’.  

Original recipe

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.

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1.

Secure your hook in the vice, ensure that the hook shank is horizontal.

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2.

Attach your tying thread and run the whole way down to the end of the shank.

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3.

Make a short dubbing loop for spinning the seals fur under belly of the fly.

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4.

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.

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5.

The G&H sedge requires good dense winter hair from the roe deer.

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6.

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.

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7.

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.

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8.

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.

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9.

Tie in another even smaller and shorter bunch of deer hair.

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10.

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.

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11.

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.

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12.

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!

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13.

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.

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14.

Tie down the dubbing brush and remove the excess. Whip finish. Turn your fly the correct way in the vice again.

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15.

Using long flat scissors make one cut at the rear of the fly at a slight angle.

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16.

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.

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17.

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.

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18.

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.

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19.

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.

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20.

This is a more modern version of the G&H with a tight packed deer hair body and full traditional dry fly hackle.


Fly tying course # 11 The Humpy

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This popular western pattern comes in many variants of colour, wing and tail materials, hackle and single and double hump.  The Humpy is also tied in two styles, short and fat and the long and slim version I am tying here.  Although made to imitate nothing in particular, except a juicy mouth full, this has a reputation of being a difficult fly to tie, but as I have mentioned in earlier step by step posts, follow the procedures and proportions and you will soon be banging them out by the dozen. 

Hook: Mustad R50 # 10-16

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Tail: Natural deer hair

Body: Floss

Shell back: Deer hair

Hackle: Furnace cock

Wings: Deer hair

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SEcure your hook in the vice making sure the hook shank is horizontal.

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Attach your tying thread and run the full length of the hook shank, stopping at the bend.

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Take a small bunch of natural deer hair. Here I am using European roe deer hair from the summer coat, its much finer and flares less than hair from the winter coat. The deer hair tail should be approximately two times the hook gape in length, unlike feather fiber tails that are 2.5 times the hook gape length.  When tying this in the wraps of tying thread near the tail base should be firm but not tight! If you tighten too much at the tail base the hair will flare. Tie down about 2/3 of the hook shank.

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Trim off the excess hair at an angle so you get a tapered end.

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The tapered end will make it easier to tie in the other materials later.

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Cut another bunch of deer hair, clean and stack in a hair stacker. This is the crucial point of proportions! The wing and shell back are all made from the same bunch of deer hair so its important that you get this right. From the center of the hook shank to half a hook shank length longer than the tail.

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Once measured trim the ends square, Tie down the ends of the tail you cut at and angle and wrap your tying thread to the middle of the hook shank.

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Keeping all the deer hair on top of the hook shank tie in as shown. This can be tied in much tighter than the tail as you want it to flare.

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Now wrap your tying thread forward over the trimmed ends of deer hair making sure that you build up a nice even cigar shaped body with tying thread. This is important if your under body is un even, it will be difficult to get a good looking finish later with the floss. A little over half way of the hook shank tie in a length of floss.

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Wind your floss back tight into the tail base making sure that you cover all the wraps of tying thread. Then you can wrap the floss back towards the thorax. When winding floss make sure that you dont twist it, each wrap of floss must retain the fibers flat, otherwise you will get lumpy humpy…

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Tie off the floss and trim away the excess. Keep your tying thread tight into the floss body.

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Take the shell back hair, taking care that you dont take any of the tail hair with it, and fold tightly over the floss body. Take care that all the deer hair fibers are parallel and not crossing each other.

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Tie down the shell back keeping the hair about half way up the body. You can now see the importance of the correct proportions to obtain the correct wing length.

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Now tie down the wing about half way between the body and the hook eye.

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Fold the wings back and make five or six turns of tying thread tight into the wing base. This will hold the wings up right.

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Your wing hair should now fan out from side to side and stand 90 degrees from the hook shank.

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Now prepare and tie in a hackle. Many variants of the humpy require two hackles to achieve the correct chunkiness, but I prefer when possible to use one long saddle hackle. Tie in the hackle tight into the body behind the wing. Wrap your tying thread back towards the hook eye.

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18

Now separate the deer hair into two equal wings. make a couple of wraps of tying thread around each wing base just to keep them collected and erect.

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Side view of your split wings position, pointing slightly forward.

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Make the first wrap of hackle tight into the body, but not too tight that the hackle points go off at an angle, the hackle points should stand 90 degrees from the hook shank. Wind the hackle tight and dense forward making as many turns as possible, the humpy requires a real chunky hackle. Tie off.

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Whip finish, but before your complete your whip finish but have only  a short length of tying thread again before you tighten, place a small drop of varnish on the tying thread, and then finish your whip finish ! This will stop you getting varnish on the hackle.

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The view from the bell tower.


Fly tying course # 10 Muddler Minnow

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Unquestionably the most famous of all streamers, and the model for many others.

Hook: Mustad R73NP-BR # 10-4

Thread: Dyneema (waxed)

Tail: Mottled turkey

Body: Flat gold tinsel

Rib: Copper wire

Underwing: Grey squirrel tail

Wing: Mottled turkey

Collar/Head: Spun and clipped natural deer hair

 

A few notes regarding the original Muddler pattern:

 

The hook used by its originator Don Gapen was a Mustad 38941 3X Long streamer, this was one of the long flies. When tying slip wings its important to use waxed thread. The Dyneema I use in most my patterns is too smooth for for wet fly style wings and has to be waxed in order not to slip. 

The original recipe is as above but excluding the copper wire rib. The rib is a later addition. The original was tied with metal tinsel that required no protection from the small sharp teeth of trout but later as plastic tinsel became the norm the wire rib was added to protect the tinsel and add additional strength.  When spinning large bunches of deer hair I recommend, if you are using regular tying thread a minimum denier of 3/0 waxed is necessary to have sufficient  strength to apply enough tension to achieve optimal flare in the deer hair.  When tying spun and clipped deer hair patterns your choice of hair is paramount. See my earlier posts regarding tying with deer hair and spinning deer hair.

If I was unfortunate enough to be be given the choice of having only one fly to fish for all species both in fresh and salt water, I would have no problem! The Muddler minnow would without doubt be my number one choice. The pattern I tie here is as close to the original as I can get.

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 1
Secure your 3XL streamer hook in the vice making sure that the hook shank is horizontal.
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2
You will need two mottled turkey feathers one from each wing. Cut two small slips one from the same position from each wing feather for the tail.
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Attach your tying thread and run it the full length of the hook shank so that it hangs vertically between the hook point and barb. Place the two small wing slips ‘back to back and tie in on top of the hook shank for the tail as shown. This is done by holding the two slips in the left hand while you make one loose turn of tying thread around the slips and between your finger and thumb. Tighten by pulling your tying thread ‘upwards’ This will stop your wing slips from slipping around the hook and keep them central and straight.
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4
Trim off the surplus slip butts diagonally and tie in a length of fine copper wire at the base of the tail. Now cover the hook shank with an even coat of tying thread. This is important to get a tinsel body of the same thickness.
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Tie in your flat tinsel about 1 cm behind the hook eye. Wind the tinsel in even close fitting turns all the way back to the tail and the back to the tying in position behind the hook eye. Tie off.
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Cut off the excess flat tinsel and then wrap the copper wire rib in the opposite direction to the flat tinsel, in even open turns. Tie off.
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Cut a medium bunch of hair from a grey squirrel tail and remove the under fur and shorter hairs. Stack the hair in a hair stacker. Now measure the hair wing along the hook shank so that it is the same length as the slip tail. Trim the hair wing to length. Now before you tie the hair in place a small drop of varnish on the cut end of the hair bunch, this will glue it in place and also make it more durable. Tie in on top of the hook shank.
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Cut two larger mottled turkey wing slips for the wing. Again one from each wing feather.
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Tie these in the same way as the tail on top of the squirrel tail underwing.
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Select some good dense natural deer hair from the winter coat. See my earlier post on European Roe deer.
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Cut a good generous bunch. This is where many tyers make the mistake of too small a bunch and having to add more bunches later, to make the whole head. The head should be made of only one bunch of deer hair. Clean the hair by removing the under fur and shorter hairs and stack in a hair stacker.
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Place the bunch of deer hair with the tips facing back towards the tail, these will be the collar of the head. While holding the bunch in place make two loose turns of tying thread around the bunch, then tighten by by pulling upwards and the hair will flare. Once the hair is flared make several other tight wraps with a ‘zig zag’ movement as you go towards the hook eye. This will push the deer hair from side to side as you wrap and stop you from trapping the hair and tying it down flat!
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Tie off and whip finish. You can now begin to trim your muddler head to the basic shape. See my deer hair tutorial.
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14
You can choose here if you would like a cone shaped head. You can see on this image that some hair ends are burnt! see my deer hair tutorial for the full step be step of this technique.
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Or a round clipped head. This style will move more water when stripped.
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The finished Muddler minnow.

Fly tying course # 5 Dry Fly Adult caddis

X Caddis

X Caddis

X Caddis

Dont forget! If you have any questions please dont hesitate to ask. Just post your question at the foot of this page.

If you would like to receive a message when the next stage of the course is published, just add your e mail address at the top right of this page. Thanks, The feather bender.

This next fly in the course is the X Caddis. This is a no hackle dry fly that floats extremely well because of the natural buoyancy of the deer hair and Antron tail.

Hook: Mustad R50 94840 # 10-18

Thread: Dyneema

Tail: Cream coloured Poly yarn or Z-Lon

Body: Light Olive Antron dubbing

Wing/head: Deer hair

I can´t recommend the X-caddis enough. No grayling or trout fisherman should be without this pattern in their fly box. The original from John Juraceks and Craig Mathews was intended as a hatching caddis fly that is skating across the surface trying to escape from the nymphal skin that is trailing behind it, before it flies to freedom.  This pattern has taken fish for me all over the globe, in all kinds of conditions and not only during caddis hatches but also under extremely selective feeding during mayfly hatches and midge fishing. The high flared deer hair wing and head, position the low profile no hackle body, so perfectly in the surface film that grayling just can´t resist it.  I have had most success with this pattern in the smaller hook sizes from # 16-18. When tying these smaller sizes I prefer to use the finer hair from the roe deer mask.  This hair is nicely marked and extremely fine even for the smallest patterns, and only flares to 45 degrees unlike the more buoyant body hair that will flare to 90 degrees.  Although you can tie the X-caddis in various body colours I have found the one shown here the most effective.

If you would like to receive a message when the next stage of the course is published, just add your e mail address at the top right of this page. Thanks, The feather bender.

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1

Make sure that when you secure your hook in the vice that the hook shank is horizontal. Cover the hook shank with a layer of tying thread.

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2

Cut a very small piece of cream coloured crimped polypropylene yarn or Z-Lon (material from John Betts) Tie this in where the hook bend begins as shown. You dont need much, this is going to represent the nymph skin trailing behind the hatching caddis. It should be about half the hook shaft length.

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3

Wind your tying thread back to the tail base. Spin a thin dubbing string onto the tying thread and wind tightly forward.

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4

Wind the dubbing forward so that you get a slightly increasing body thickness as you approach the hook eye. Leave 2-3 mm behind the hook eye so you have room for the wing and head. Make a whip finish, but dont remove the tying thread.

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5

Cut a small bunch with fine deer hair and even the points in a hair stacker if you have one. If you dont have a hair stacker try and get the points of the hair as even as possible. Holding the hair measure the wing by holding the hair on top of the hook shank. The wing should be a fraction longer than the body.

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6

While still holding the deer hair make two loose turns of tying thread around the wing and hook shank, still holding the deer hair, then tighten by pulling down. Make 5 or 6 tight turns of tying thread as shown.

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7

With a pair of sharp scissors cut off the excess deer hair over the hook eye with one neat cut as shown. Make a couple of whip finishes and your X caddis is ready. You can also put a tiny drop of varnish just on the whippings.


Deer hair daddy

Many daddy patterns are somewhat delicate and easily damaged, be it by fish, or even prolonged casting, and general ware and tare.  Here’s a pattern that show you how to make your daddy’s not only more resillient, but also with added float ability.

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Tipulidae or Daddy long legs as they are more commonly known, are a familiar sight both on and off the water more or less the whole summer.  There are in fact several hundred species of daddy’s from just a couple of mm  to over 40mm long.  Although most species of daddy are terrestrial there are a few that are aquatic. Daddy’s are remarkably poor fliers and once airbourne are largely at the mercy of the wind and where it takes them, being forced to crash land on the water, blowing across the waters surface surface like tumble weed. Trailing their legs behind them, in some cases even making a bow wave as they blow and skate across the surface.  

The extended body method that is illustrated here is a good way of creating suitable sized bodies that can also represent other larger  bodied insects such as dragon flies, mayflies and of course daddy long legs, without using larger hooks, that will in turn introduce more weight, which is inaapropriate for patterns that are intended to float.  

As for the deer hair make sure that it is the best spinning hair from the winter coat. Dont just try the natural colours for the bodies of daddy’s try bright attractor colours such as bright green and yellow, these will make the difference when there are lots of daddy’s on the water and add an attractor element.

Deer hair daddy

Hook: Mustad C53SNP-BR # 12-6

Tying thread: Dyneema waxed with Veniards PFTW http://www.veniard.com/product2977/section9/

Body: Spun and clipped deer hair (winter coat)

Legs: Pheasant tail fibers

Wing & Head: Spun and clipped deer hair

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1

Secure your curved nymph / terrestrial hook in the vice.

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2

Cover the hook shank with tying thread a little down into the bend.

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3

At the tail of the fly make a dubbing loop. Its important that you make this loop with doubling your tying thread and not splitting it. The deer hair is quite dense and needs the strength of a double loop to spin it correctly! Wrap your tying thread out of the way behind the hook eye.

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4

If you are using Dyneema or another gel spun thread, you will need to wax it. This will give better purchase on the deer hair when spun.

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5

Place a length of deer hair, from the winter coat in a magic tool or a bull dog clip and cut off the hide. Place the hair in the dubbing loop.

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6

The deer hair should have at least 1 cm. through the loop on the cut side.

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7

Spin your dubbing loop until the deer hair becomes an even dubbing brush.

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8

Wind on the deer hair brush as you would a regular hackle, making sure to brush the hair back with each turn. Tie off the dubbing loop about 1 cm. behind the hook eye.

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9

Before you start trimming the deer hair brush out and trapped hairs with a stiff tooth brush.

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10

Now make a few initial trimming cuts with the scissors too form the basic body shape.

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11

Trim the remaining body hair.

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12

With a pair of finer scissors trim the body to the required body shape. Now with a lighter singe the trimmed body, DO NOT BURN!

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13

After singeing the clipped deer hair body will tighten and become very even.

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14

Turn your fly up side down in the vice.

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15

Tie the joints in six or seven pheasant tail fibers for the legs while still on the tail feather.

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16

Place the finished legs in a magic clip and trim off the tail feather shaft.

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17

For this dubbing loop you need only split your thread. Place the pheasant tail legs in the loop and spin the bobbin. The legs will flare in all directions.

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18

Wind on the legs.

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19

Cut a medium bunch of deer hair and remove the underfur. Stack the deer hair if wished in a hair stacker and tie in as a wing on top of the body as shown. Its important that you use enough deer hair in the wing too little and the fly will not fish the correct way, so more is better.

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20

The buts of the deer hair will flare and form a muddler type head.

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21

Turn the fly the correct way again in the vice, whip finish and trim the underside of the muddler head, taking care not to remove too much wing.

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22

Once the head is trimmed you have your finished deer hair daddy. Taking care you can also singe the head of the fly as with the body. With a balanced wing and head this pattern will land up side down every time.

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23

The fished deer hair daddy with a singed head. This pattern floats like a cork and can be stripped through the surface if wished like a muddler.


Tying with deer hair part 3. Spinning ultra tight bodies with deer hair.

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.


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. Repeat this after every bunch of hair is tied in.

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


Once 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.


Trim your body roughly to the correct size. You can be as detailed as you like at this stage.

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!


Now using a gas lighter, petrol lighters and candles 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.


The singeing of the hair will tighten the packing and cauterize 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!


The result is an 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.

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.

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.

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.


Techniques for tying with deer hair part 2 Spinning and burning.

Anglo – Swedish caddis:

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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. 

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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.

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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!

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

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Place a terrestrial hook in the vice.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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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.


Fly Tying Course # 20 The Stimulator Dry Fly

Stimulator-“Something that causes and encourages a given response” IMG_5163

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

Thread:  Dyneema

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

Hackle: Grizzle

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Secure your curved nymph/ terrestrial hook in the vice.

 

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Run the tying thread along the hook shank until it hangs level with the barb of the hook.

 

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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.

 

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Tie the elk hair down along the hook shank as shown.  This will give you a good foundation and volume for your floss body.

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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.

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About one third of the way along the hook shank tie in a length of golden yellow Antron floss.

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Run the floss back towards the tail base and forward again building up a tapered body as you go. Tie off the floss.

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Wind the hackle, palmered style, about 7 or eight even turns.  When you reach the thorax tie off and remove the excess hackle.

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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.

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If you stack the elk hair for the wing in a small diameter stacker the hair will ‘fall’ into its natural curve.

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Before you tie in the elk hair wing, tie in two or three strands of golden yellow crystal hair.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Wind on your grizzle hackle in nice even turns. Tie off and whip finish.  Your completed golden stimulator!

 


Foils rush in where angels fear to tread

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

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

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

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

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

Underbody   Craft fur

Body    Buck tail topped with peacock herl

Sides   Green and blue grizzle cock hackles

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

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

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

Eyes   Tape eyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Autumn is upon us.

Hi, I am now back from a weeks fishing with Marc petitjean and Neil Patterson on the Kvennan beat of the river Glomma here in Norway.  We had a great week with lots of grayling on dry fly, up-to 45 cm. I will be posting a full rapport from this trip later.

Heres a snap of Neil doing his thing…

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And Marc doing his…

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Just to keep you up to date, hunting has started here and the first opportunity I get (the next deer I shoot) I will be doing a step by step tutorial on skinning and preparing the most useful parts of the skin and deer mask. I will also be reviewing some groovy new tools and materials.

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With regard to the salt water sea trout fishing here in Scandinavia and the start of the autumn season, I will also be doing a piece, most likely tomorrow, on the patterns every sea trout fisherman shouldn’t go fishing without.  I will also be posting the next stage in the fly tying course.

Cheers

The feather bender


Fly Tying Course # 19 The G & H Sedge

The G & H Sedge or Goddard Caddis

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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.

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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’.  

Original recipe

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.

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1.

Secure your hook in the vice, ensure that the hook shank is horizontal.

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2.

Attach your tying thread and run the whole way down to the end of the shank.

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3.

Make a short dubbing loop for spinning the seals fur under belly of the fly.

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4.

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.

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5.

The G&H sedge requires good dense winter hair from the roe deer.

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6.

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.

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7.

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.

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8.

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.

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9.

Tie in another even smaller and shorter bunch of deer hair.

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10.

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.

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11.

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.

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12.

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!

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13.

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.

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14.

Tie down the dubbing brush and remove the excess. Whip finish. Turn your fly the correct way in the vice again.

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15.

Using long flat scissors make one cut at the rear of the fly at a slight angle.

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16.

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.

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17.

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.

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18.

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.

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19.

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.

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20.

This is a more modern version of the G&H with a tight packed deer hair body and full traditional dry fly hackle.


Proppen-Without doubt my most productive sea trout fly….

Proppen, over a thousand sea trout can’t be wrong!!

This is my variant of one of the best salmon flies in recent years. It is, without doubt my most productive fly for salt water sea trout fishing.  There is something about this pattern that sea trout just can’t resist.

On many occasions when there are sea trout feeding or on the move, and they just follow the fly and won’t take, this small fly works most of the time.  Fished on a long fine leader and floating line just under the surface with a very slow figure of eight retrieve, the takes are savage and powerful, driving the tiny hook home immediately. Many fishermen are skeptical to fishing such small patterns, but if you give this one a try, I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

When nothing else will work, proppen saves the day…

Proppen

Hook: Mustad 60329NBLN # 10 Carp Power

Thread: Dyneema

Feelers: 4  Stripped cock hackles

Beard: Deer hair summer coat

Body: Moose hair coated with Bug Bond and coloured with waterproof felt pen

1
Secure your hook in the vice as shown.

2
Select four stiff light coloured cock hackles

3
Strip off all the fibers.

4
Attach your tying thread to the hook shank

5
Tie in the four stripped cock hackles evenly spaced around the hook shank.

6
Cut a small bunch of deer hair from a summer coat, this wont flare as much as the winter coat hair. And even the points in a hair stacker.

7
Tie in the deer hair as a beard over and around the cock hackles.

8
Trim off the surplus deer hair and tie down.

9
Tie in two long moose mane hairs, one black, one white.

10
Wrap the moose hairs around the body simultaneously and tie off behind the hook eye.

11
Whip finish and remove the tying thread.

12
Give the body a coat with Bug Bond.

13
Give the body a quick zap with the UV light to cure the Bug Bond.

14
Colour the body with a waterproof felt pen and give it another coat with Bug Bond.

15
The finished fly ready for the salt.

Four feelers in all directions.