Posts Tagged ‘Fly Tying: Materials & Tools


Fly Tying Materials: The Hoarding Gene?

I recently remarked over on the blog, Hoarding Woes, that some people involved in craft activities can display hoarding tendencies. I pulled out all my fly boxes, to display, as a hint of what enormous quantities of materials I have in so many containers that I make amazing discoveries all the time …”Oh, I forgot I even had that, those, these, them …”  

So, when my good friend Jim called to say, “I am cleaning out my barn and I have all these materials from Ralph (good friend, avid fly fisher that died 15 years ago) that I want to get rid of…” I said, without hesitation, ‘Sure, I’ll take it’. It was described as “some animal pelts, capes, yarns and a whole bunch of stuff.” 

My son was kind enough to go load it up while I was out of town. I came home to my garden shed loaded up. And, a tipping point has been reached: I really have no decent place to put it all. I am full up now. What was I thinking? And, so it goes….. I have a new boat load of 1970’s fly tying materials with some animal pelts that Ralph harvested somewhere over out of Prineville. The good thing is I feel a bit uneasy about this acquisition so maybe I am not quite so much a hoarder?


Fly Tying & Fishing: Hooks

For the beginner there is a confusing array of hooks to tie flies with. Here is a Nice Hook Tutorial at Bish & FishLike most fly tiers, you will determine your own hooks that are satisfying to tie with. But, the ‘code’ on the box or bag is important to note. Bish provides some clarification for the beginning tier and offers some thoughts on that small, bothersome notch…the barb.


Fly Tying: Emerger Wing Forward

A few unique concepts for the beginning tier: A wing canted forward out over the front of the eye of the fly; a wound hackle inverted so the tips also face forward; a sparkle/shimmering material for tail to suggest nymphal case. The forward tilting wing is something the late Gary LaFontaine offered up. The inverted wound hackle is used in Tenkara fly patterns; the tail material is more frequently used for mayfly emergers and stillborns.


Fly Tying: “Inveigle” Dry

Inveigle: ‘to acquire by ingenuity or flattery’   ‘to entice, lure, or ensnare by flattery or artful talk or inducements’     ‘To win over by coaxing’

This dry fly pattern was tied on a size 14 light wire hook. I used black, 14/o Sheer thread. The tail is Guinea feather barbs. The body (abdomen) is a light dubbing of olive super fine. I tied in an underwing of olive CDC followed by an overwing of white CDC. I tied in a Grizzly feather of dry fly quality in front of the CDC wing. Then  I dubbed a bit of the same dubbing in front of the CDC wing. The hackle was wound three time toward the eye and tied off. A thread head was completed to finish the fly. I am certain this fly will Inveigle the heck out of the trout.


Fly Tying: Bead~Hook Comparison Charts

BEAD to HOOK Matching

Bead to Hook Chart

A review with past posts re what size bead is most often best suited to what size of hook…variations ok.


Fly Tying: Rainbow Beads

These rainbow metal beads give a variable color as the fly swings or tumbles. Assuming the fly is high enough in the water column for the various colors on the bead’s spectrum to show with available light, I like the possibilities…

Same bead from different angles yields different color casts to the flies. There are several different sources for the metal beads.


NW Fly Tying Expo 2011 Albany, Oregon (Observations)

I went yesterday, and I wish I could attend today as well. But, alas, not to be. My humble assessment of the show is that it was well managed and well attended. The usual tiers captured observers several deep and there was much to be gained. I have to say, this year, I slowed down and sat down. I know that is the intent. In years past, I spent more time visiting with acquaintances I ran into and buying stuff than sitting and gaining the available knowledge.

This year, I learned several ideas and walked away the better for it. Special thanks to Marlon Rampy, Skip Lynch (and his secret box), Jessica Sall, Ron Eagle Elk, Jim Ferguson, Robert Paxton and Carl Sanders to name but a few that provided their unique take on how to tie flies. I also noticed most tiers readily gave away their trout fly creations, unlike years past.

Speaking of buying stuff…there were assorted vendors there. I bought some of the discounted materials for sure, and visited every booth, but the two booths that capture my attention are Steve Korbay @ Fly Tying Specialties and a combo team out of Medford with Mike Barnum & Dan Kellogg. They combine their efforts at Tyers Tool Shop.

Steve Korbay of Fly Tying Specialties (SwittersB)

Steve Korbay, the owner of Fly Tying Specialties has positively unique materials focused around the Czech Nymph concept, but transferable to all manner of nymph/pupa patterns. Unique, exciting products for the tier. I seriously bust the allowance visiting Steve’s booth. Check them out on line if you can’t meet them at a show. I believe Steve is headed to Idaho Falls next.

I also stopped by Mike Barnum’s table of unique tying tools hand crafted by Mike. Last year, I did the same. I took pictures to highlight the emerging business and got home only to realize I had neglected to put the card in the camera! This year, I was determined to redeem myself. I think Mike thought I was a bit obsessive in my intent to capture a shot this time.

Mike Barnum (Barnum’s Machine Shop, 1684 Spring Street, Medford, Oregon 1-541-772-5315) has created some nifty little tools. They are unique in design, hand crafted and nice. Expensive? Well, comparatively I spose. But, you are buying these tools as a special treat, as I did. Mike makes nice tools and his vise is amazing.

Mike’s partner, of sorts, Dan Kellogg of the Tyers Tool Shop, also creates a fine collection of tying accessories that are well designed and worth a try.  Great show, great time, great company!


Fly Tying: Goggles/No Goggles

I tied two flies, not identical but close enough, on a size 14 hook. Although the differences are not that apparent there are a few obvious differences (pattern on right): I rolled the tail, wrapped the abdomen with more gaps and generally did not see the mistakes as I tied. With the goggles (ok, magnification specs) I tended to see as I tied my mistakes and unwound more often. What I know/see is that I am tying slower. That is ok, as I don’t tie that many patterns at a sitting anymore (maybe 10 to 15 at a sitting, often less). Most of my patterns are trout patterns and simply easier to tie, even if on a much smaller hook.

Goggles on the Left....No Goggles on the Right

I am enjoying this new fly tying tool (magnification specs/goggles). I have enormous respect for those tiers that tie with such precision. I will be satisfied to improve the basic elements of my tying: proportions, cleaner starts and finishes and everything in between.


Fly Tying: A Brace of Wet Flies

A little experimentation with Flexi-Floss and heavier wire ribbing for a more pronounced segmentation effect. The wet flies were tied on a size 14 and a size 16 Mustad 3906 hook. Love this hook. The verdict is out on how the body material will impress fish. To the naked eye it looks ok and as usual to the macro it looks a bit troubled. I would normally use a finer copper ribbing but I thought I would see how the larger ribbing came across. For those that like a cleaner appearance, the patterns look a bit clunky. Yet, I bet they will fish just fine. A dubbed thorax separated the abdomen from the Starling wing. It a simple fly to tie; could even be simpler. Any number of combination exist for the simple wet fly, soft hackle, flymph….call it what you will in your fair corner of the earth.

I know...a bit weak in the bum.


Fly Tying: Ostrich Herl

I was experimenting with two kinds of ostrich herl here. I have used ostrich herl before for The Orb, a Callibaetis emerger pattern. I just thought the pic worth sharing for the qualities of this material. It would have a lot of life to it for a tail, for the gills along the abdomen or up in the thorax area for emerging wings or legs. Long strands incorporated into spey flies are frequently used for increased animation-agitation.

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