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.
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.
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.
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.
Secure your dry fly hook in the vice with the hook shank horizontal.
Attach your tying thread and cover the whole hook shank.
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.
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.
Repeat this technique with another bunch of hair.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Take a piece of sand paper and carefully sand off the soot and smooth out any un-even parts.
The result should look something like this, and feel rather like a cork.
To imitate the gas bubble of the hatching pupa’s shuck I like to use Spirit Rivers UV2 Sparkle Yarn.
You only need a small amount of the yarn.
Split your tying thread and spin the yarn into a dubbing brush.
Wind the yarn to form a vail over the whole surface of the deer hair body.
Sin a little hares hear hair into another dubbing brush.
Wrap this on as a collar make sure that its spiky and buggy.
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.
Whip finish and your deer hair pupa is finished.
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.
August 11, 2016 | Categories: Fly Tying, Fly Tying Course, Mustad hooks, Step by Step, the best caddis fly pattern | Tags: Caddis, CdC, Deer hair, Deer hair pupa, Dry Fly, Fly Tying, hooks, Step by Step | 1 Comment
This simple tie is without doubt my most productive sea trout pattern!
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August 11, 2016 | Categories: Best sea trout flies, Deer hair, Fly Tying, moose mane, Mustad hooks, sea trout, Sjøørret fluer, Sjøørretfluer, Step by Step | Tags: Best sea trout flies, Deer hair, Fly Tying, Havsørringflugor, hooks, Mustad, salt water, Sea trout fishing, sea trout flies, sjøørret fluer, Step by Step | Leave a comment
Burrowing Mayfly Nymph
Hook Mustad R73 9671 # 8-12
Tying thread Dyneema
Tail Olive ostrich herl
Body Olive brown Antron dubbing
Rib Olive Ostrich herl
Thorax Olive brown Antron dubbing
Wing case Floss or Antron body wool
Legs Olive CdC
Although many nymph patterns today are intended to imitate a much greater spectrum of aquatic foods, rather than the nymphal stage of one specific, this pattern imitates the final nymphal stage of the largest burrowing mayflies Ephemera guttulata (Green Drake) and Ephemera simulans (Brown Drake) and the European relatives Ephemera danica and vulgate.. These nymphs prefer soft organic or sandy and muddy bottoms, where they can live more or less buried for up to several years, only appearing occasionally to feed on decomposing vegetable and plant matter. They have been known to burrow as deep as fifty feet. These large nymphs that range from 12-32 mm in length, can be easily recognised by the breathing gills along the sides of the rear body, and over sized fore legs that are adapted for burrowing. The gills however are not only used for breathing but also function as a ventilation system for the tunnel they burrow keeping water flowing through it, which in turn keeps it open. If the nymph leaves its burrow or stops the undulating movement of the gills, the burrow collapses shortly afterwards. These nymphs, are for most of their life, unavailable for the trout, but one of these on your leader at the correct time can make the difference between great sport and no sport. When the time is right and they leave the safety of their burrows, swimming quickly with an undulating body movement, (something that ostrich herl and CdC imitate beautifully) towards the surface, trout can feed on this ascending nymphal stage for several hours before turning on to the subimago winged stage. The weight that is placed under the thorax of the nymph helps emulate this undulating swimming action when pulled through the water with short pauses.
When it comes to tying these large nymphs your hook choice should reflect the natural body length, so a 3XL or a 4XL hook in a size 8-12 works well. The dubbing used for the rear body and the thorax should be one that absorbs water and not a water repellant dry fly dubbing. Another trick that helps to get the nymph down is after you have tied it on your leader give it a few seconds in the water and then squeeze it hard between your finger and thumb to press out any trapped air that may be caught in the dubbing and CdC. I also like to use a UV treated dubbing and Ostrich herl. Although I have not had the same marked results that show trout prefer the UV patterns in fresh water, unlike the results I have had in salt water, it does no harm in giving the pattern that extra edge that may make a difference. Previously I have used golden pheasant centre tail fibres for the wing case but these have proved to be a little too fragile for the small sharp teeth of trout, so I have substituted it with Antron body wool.
Secure your 3 XL or 4XL nymph hook in the vice making sure that its horizontal.
Attach your tying thread and cover the whole shank until the thread is hanging between the hook barb and point.
When it comes to weighting flies I like to use a lead free alternative.
Wind on a short length of lead free wire under the thorax, covering approximately one third of the hook shank.
Once the lead free wire is wound and packed tight trim off the surplus.
For the tails of the nymph you will need some olive ostrich herl, here I like to use a UV treated herl to the the nymph an extra edge.
Select three herl’s with even tips. Tie inn the first herl on top centre of the hook shank. Again this should be about one third of the hook shanks length.
Now tie in the other two herl’s one each side of the centre tail.
Tie down the remaining herl along the whole hook shank and cut away the excess herl.
Now select another long herl with nice long fibres for the ribbing that will represent the nymphs gills.
Now spin some Antron dubbing tightly onto the tying thread. Make sure that this is tight so the finished body is dense.
Continue with the Antron dubbing and build up a tapered rear body along 2/3 of the hook shank.
Wind on the ostrich herl as a rib over the rear body part, making sure that the herl fibres stand out at 90 degrees from the hook shank. About 6-7 tight even turns, and tie off at the thorax.
Remove the excess herl and carefully trim off the herl fibres, only on top of the body as shown. This is not necessary but gives a little more realistic look to the nymph.
The trimmed rear body should now look like this from the side.
And like this from above with the gills prominent along each side of the body.
Now cut four lengths of floss or Antron body wool and tie these is as shown along the the top of the thorax these will form the wing case later.
Trim off the ends of the floss behind the hook eye and tie down. Wind the tying thread back towards the rear body.
Dub the whole thorax quite heavily and return the tying thread once again to the junction between the thorax and the rear body. Take care that you leave about 2-3 mm space behind the hook eye to tie off the wing case later.
Place a large CdC hackle in a magic tool clip, notice how the CdC fibres taper in length from long on the left side getting shorter to the right.
Transfer the CdC to the second Magic tool clip ready for use.
Now spin the CdC with the longest fibres at the top of the dubbing loop, these are to be wound in the thorax first for the longest legs.
Wind on the CdC dubbing brush in open even turns through the thorax to form the leg hackle.
Taking hold off all four pieces of floss, fold them over the thorax and secure with a couple of turns of tying thread. Once the floss is correctly placed pull once again to tighten up the wing case and secure properly with a few more turns of tying thread.
Trim off the excess floss and tie down the ends. If you are using Dyneema or another GSP thread you can colour it black with a permanent felt marker.
Whip finish and remove the tying thread. Finish off with a drop of varnish.
The finished olive mayfly nymph.
The finished brown mayfly nymph.
The finished grey mayfly nymph.
Although the recent tendency for tying and designing sea trout flies has gone more towards imitation patterns, some of which are extremely realistic, I am constantly drawn back to some more traditional styles of tying, that never stop producing fish. This is one of them! This extremely simple pattern is so effective on autumn sea trout that for the past few years at least a couple of dozen have to be tied for my box. During the summer months the Mickey Finn, another classic buck-tail streamer, is an outstanding pattern on bright sunny days, but falls short when fished in the autumn. I wanted a pattern that would fish as well in the dark grey autumn months, this was the result.
Stingsild Buck-tail streamer
Hook Mustad S71SS salt water streamer # 4-6 http://mustad.no/catalog/na/product.php?id=193
Body Holographic tinsel
Throat White buck-tail https://www.spiritriver.com/materials/hair-fur/select-bucktails
Underwing Four strands of gold Gliss n Glow https://www.spiritriver.com/materials/flash/gliss-n-glow
Wing Light brown buck-tail with darker brown buck-tail over https://www.spiritriver.com/materials/hair-fur/select-bucktails
Topping Five or six strands of peacock herl
Eyes Edson brass eyes http://www.whitetailﬂytieing.com/
Insert your salt water streamer hook in the vice with the hook shaft horizontal.
Run your tying thread along the hook shank until you come to a place between the hook point and barb.
At the tail of the hook tie in a length of holographic flat tinsel. Unlike salmon and exhibition flies this tinsel body should be uneven, I want to achieve the most reflective multi faceted surface as possible. So the foundation of thread doesn’t have to be flat!
This is also a fishing fly so strengthen the tinsel body by coating the thread foundation with varnish before you start wrapping the tinsel.
Wrap the tinsel over the whole length of the body and wipe off any excess varnish that may flow on to the tinsel. tie off.
Turn your fly up side down and tie in a small bunch of prepared white buck-tail. This should extend about one half of the hook length beyond the hook bend.
Trim off the excess buck-tail and tie down the butts with a few turns of tying thread.
Tie in four short lengths of gold Gliss n Glow on top of the hook shank.
Now clean and stack a small bunch of light brown or tan buck-tail and tie in on top of the Gliss n Glow.
Repeat stage 9 but with a darker brown buck-tail That extends a little longer than the light brown.
Cut five or six lengths of peacock herl from just under the eye on a peacock tail feather. Tie these in in one bunch for the topping, again a little longer than the buck-tail wing.
Take two Edson brass eyes, you can substitute these with jungle cock but the effect is not the same.
Trim down the brass eyes with wire cutters as shown.
Secure the eyes one each side of the head with a few turns of tying thread. Before you continue to tie in the eyes apply a drop of varnish to hold everything in place.
Wrap the head with tying thread and whip finish. Coat the head with black varnish. Now wet your fingers and soak the entire wing and pull it back to give it shape.
Once the wing is wet and shaped let it dry, it only takes a few minutes.
Once dry the wing will hold its shape.
A batch of Stingsild soon ready for the salt!
This is a simple but but effective mayfly pattern that fly tyers of any level can tie with a little practice. Once you have masterd this technique all you have to do is change the size and colour to match most mayfly hatches.
The chioce of colours and sizes of fly to be used when tying this pattern is determined by what mayfly you intend to imitate and under what conditions. In still water fishing, trout can be extremly sellective when feeding on mayflies, they have good time to check them out before sucking them in.
Body form: Upholsterers needle
Hook: Standard dry Mustad 94840 # 16-10
Tail: Peccary or moose hair
Body: Flyrite dubbing
Wing: CDC fibres
After many requests regarding my Gammarus pattern and where to obtain the foils heres a up dated re post with a little more info.
This photo was taken last week, while on a fishing trip to Shetland. Some of the small Lochs had huge amounts of gammarus and the fish refused everything else! Every fish we took in such Lochs where full to the gills with these small fresh water shrimp. Having a good imitative pattern proved to be seriously effective!
The fish that where feeding on Gammarus where in exceptional condition!
Some of you may have seen, that a couple of weeks ago I received some shrimp foils from ‘the fly people’ in Germany to test, they where very successful. After playing a little with them I reversed one and tied a gammarus pattern as this is one of my post productive for salt water sea trout. When Lutz, from the fly people saw my pattern, he asked what I would change on the shrimp foil to make it a gammarus foil ? I went straight to the drawing board and made him a sketch. Yesterday these prototypes arrived.
This is a photo I took while fishing of the contents of a sea trout’s stomach, need I say more !
There where only six foils on the sheet so I haven’t had so much practice or opportunity to play around with the design but this is the result so far. If you would like more info about the foils or to order some, you can send an e mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hook: Mustad C67SNP-BR # 12-6 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=326
Tying thread: Olive
Feelers: Pheasant tail fibers
Rib: Fine copper wire
Shell back: Gammarus foil http://www.theflypeople.com/
Shell back coating: Bug Bond http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/
Under body: Virtual nymph Seals fur http://www.virtual-nymph.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=1&Itemid=26
Legs: Pheasant tail fibers
Secure your hook in the vice, make sure its horizontal.
Run tying thread along the whole hook shank and down into the bend.
Make a small dubbing loop at the tail of the hook.
Load a Petitjean magic tool with pheasant tail fibers, you only need a few for the beard so use the smallest tool.
Wax your tying thread, and run your tying thread to the hook eye. Spin the pheasant tail fibers in the dubbing loop.
Wind on the dubbing brush, making sure that you brush all the peasant tail fibers out with each turn so you dont tie them down wrongly. Tie off the dubbing brush.
Select the right size foil for your hook size.
Remove the foil from the sheet.
Tie in the foil by the small tag at the base of the feelers.
Make another dubbing loop a little larger this time and hang out of the way on your vices material clip.
Tie in a length of fine copper wire. This should be a few mm up from the dubbing loop as shown. This is so your first turn of rib will be in the correct position in respect to the foil later.
Dubb the whole body with seals fur. First a couple of turns under the copper wire and the over. The gammarus body should taper from thick to thin as you approach the hook eye.
Spin a larger amount than before of peasant tail fibers in the rear dubbing loop. Remember to keep them short. Wind in an open spiral to form the legs.
Tie of the dubbing brush at the head of the fly and brush down the legs each side of the body.
Now fold over the foil and tie down so it sits tight over the whole body of the shrimp.
Now wrap the copper wire rib in between each plate segment on the foil. But as you go brush out the leg fibers with each turn so you dont trap them and tie the down flat. Tie off the copper wire at the head of the fly.
You can now colour your shell back if required with a waterproof felt pen.
Give the whole shell back foil a coat with Bug Bond. If your careful you can do each segment at a time to give it a more three dimensional effect. Rough up the fibers in the feelers and legs with a tooth brush.
The finished Gammarus.
February 20, 2016 | Categories: Fly Tying, Sjøørret fluer, Step by Step | Tags: Bug Bond, Gammarus, Realistic, sjøørret fluer, sjøørretfiske, steg for steg, Step by Step, The fly People | Leave a comment
The Royal Wulff
As the name says, the man behind the famous series of patterns was Lee Wulff and the most famous of all is the Wulff that is Royal!
The fattest pattern of the Wulff family is just as good fished as a searching pattern as it is as a adult may fly. It just presses all the right buttons, It floats high, its visible even at a great distance in rough water and looks like a mouthful of whatever trout are eating. Although a great pattern, I hardly ever see people tying it!
Why is that? It’s a cracking looking fly. Don’t they think it works? or do they find it too difficult to tie? It is a fly that proportions are everything, get one of them wrong and the whole fly looks like the victim of a cruel medical experiment. So take your time in choosing and preparing your materials before starting and preserver to get the wing size and shape right first. Once you have these right the rest is easier to measure and tie correctly.
Hook: Mustad http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=175
Wing: Whit calf tail hair
Tail: Moose body hair http://www.funkyflytying.co.uk/shop/categories/moose/138/
Body: Bright red silk floss and peacock herl
Hackle: Red brown cock hackle
Secure your 1XF (1 extra fine ) dry fly hook in the vice with the hook shank horizontal.
Attach your tying thread just behind the hook eye and wrap it about half way along the hook shank.
Take a white calf tail and separate a large bunch of hair. Tease the bunch out from the rest of the tail at 90 degrees from the tail bone as shown. This will even the tips of the hair. Cut off taking care not to damage the rest of the tail.
For stacking calf tail I like to use a super large stacker. This keeps the hair loose which evens the tips better.
Stack the tips. Remove from the stacker and brush out any short hair and under fur. Stack once more.
You should now have a nice bunch of even tipped tail hair for the wings.
The wing should be a little longer than the hook shank.
Tie the wing in on top of the hook shank about a quarter of the way behind the hook eye as shown.
Once tied in trim off the excess at an angle tapering back towards the hook bend. Lift the hair and make a few tight turns of tying thread under the front of the hair.
Separate the bunch into two even bunches and make a few figure of eight wraps of tying thread to separate them.
Now make a few circular wrap of tying thread at the base of each wing as you would on a parachute post. This will stiffen the wings and hold them in place.
Once the wings are secure and in the correct position (90 degrees ) from the hook shank, apply a drop of varnish to the wing base wrappings.
Now tie down the remaining calf tail hair towards the tail.
Select some nice moose body hair, preferably straight, dark, and stiff with nice tapers.
Cut a bunch of about 20 hairs. Remove the under fur, short hairs and any hairs that are not black.
Stack these in a small hair stacker so the tips are nice and even.
The tail should be the same length as the hook shank tie the tail in and try to keep the body relatively even. The wraps of tying thread at the tail base should not be too tight, this will over flair the tail making it fan out.
Select three long strands of peacock herl. These should be tied in at the base of the tail by the tips of the herl.
19 Run your tying thread up the hook shank. You can if wished keep your tying thread at the tail base and twist it with the herl before wrapping to make it stronger and more durable.
Make a few turns of peacock herl, the amount can vary after what size hook you are using. And tie off.
Wrap the remaining herl with tying thread along the hook shank to the forward position of the next herl segment, this should be just over half way along the hook shank.
Select some bright red silk floss.Real silk floss is much easier to use than a synthetic floss!
Tie in a length of floss as shown.
Carefully wrap the floss over the abdomen taking care not to twist it, this is worth taking time over if you haven’t done much floss work before. Once you have built a nice even tapered abdomen tie off the floss at the base of the peacock herl.
Again make a few wraps of peacock herl a little thicker this time and tie off.
Select and prepare a couple of red/brown hackles. One hackle unless a saddle hackle will not be enough to give the dense sense of hackle. The hackles should be a little longer than the hook gape but a little shorter than the wing hight.
Tie in your hackles tight into the peacock herl at 90 degrees from the hook shank.
Now wrap your hackles one at a time taking care not to cross them. try and keep the hackle fibres 90 degrees from the shank, both above and below. Tie off the hackles and whip finish.
Finally give the head of the fly a drop of varnish.
Keeping on a grayling theme heres one of my absolute favourites, Not only to fish with but also to tie. All these patterns from bygone days are remarkably simple, but still require a degree of technique to master them precisely.
One of the peculiar characteristics of the grayling is that they have a preference for flies dressed with a hot spot of red in their make-up, probably the most famous is the red tag, but here are a few more, older patterns that still get the job done.
Hook: Mustad http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=178
Thread: Veevus Red 12/0
Tag: Red floss silk
Body: Peacock herl
Hackle: Grey Cock hackle
Peak: Red floss silk
Secure your dry fly hook in the vice with the hook shank horizontal.
Attach your tying thread and cover the whole hook shank.
For the tag and peak, choose a nice deep red silk floss.
Cut 3 or 4 , depending on size of hook you are using, short strands of silk floss and place them together. Tie in the floss over the full length of the hook shank.
Now take 2 or 3 strands of peacock herl, the best ones for bodies are directly below the peacock eye on the tail feather. These are normally stronger than further down the feather. Tie these in by the points at the base of the tag.
Now wrap the peacock herl in tight even turns along the whole hook shank taking care not to twist or overlap them. This will give the best results.
Make a whip finish and remove the excess peacock herl. Now select and prepare a grey cock hackle and tie this in 90 degrees to the hook shank.
Now wind on your hackle in even turns each wrap tight into the previous. Tie off and remove the excess hackle.
Whip finish and remove the tying thread. Trim down the tag and the peak to the desired length. Place a drop of clear varnish on the head.
The Red Tag
The Double Badger
The Grayling Steel Blue Bumble
The Grayling Witch
The treacle Parkin
And last but not least the Gloire De Neublans, this was Charles Ritz’s number 1 grayling pattern.