Posts Tagged ‘fly tying tips


Fly Tying: Prep and Tidying Up

I am a messy tier. Recently, I decided to tie some unweighted Woolly Buggers, mostly in the traditional earth (under water) tones. I had dark olive, light olive, brown, mottled brown and black marabou with the comparable hackle and sparkle chenilles, oh and the varied hooks.

As the days progressed, I tied with each color and combinations of colors but what I did was fail to stay with one pattern and tie enough of them and then put all those materials away and then go to the next color scheme. Instead, I mixed and matched and experimented and buried myself in marabou etc. Throw in the fact that Penny the Cat finagled her paws into a ziplock back and seized a Hoffman Chickaboo cape and a disaster ensued.  

I have been tying for a long time. This is silly stuff, that should be worked through after a couple seasons, but again the ‘get organized and prepped in advance’ admonition proves itself again.

Above, I have prepped the hooks and beads for some weighted Woolly Buggers. And, I am going to only pull from the ziplock bags the exact colors for the tail, body, hackle for each flight of Buggers. Think ahead, plan, tie and put away what you don’t need out for the next pattern.

 Oh, head cement. I had so much crap on the table top, I momentarily buried an open jar of head cement. I found it, as it tumbled over onto a nice dyed, barred grizzly half cape. What a weekend! Regrouping, lesson learned…again.


No Tell Motel Fly Tying

On the road. Near good waters, but no time to fish. All the gear is with me. Trout, Steelhead…I have it all save my pontoon boat. Sitting on a beaten down mattress. No high end here. Those nights in $130.+ rooms are gone. Lower rates. Lower expectations. Not even a muffin in the morning. Near the railroad tracks. Near the ebb and flow of vacationing transients. 

Year ’round, I have some form of  fly tying materials with me. I usually forecast ahead what I would need to have with me for Spring, Summer or Fall tying. I load up my little containers with materials for whatever I have not tied enough of earlier (usually after that long Winter tying binge).

Now I know this is really only applicable to the guy primarily confined to a vehicle or checking luggage on a flight. I drive the I-5 Corridor between Portland and Medford. I stay in motels, not hotels. More often than not, my outdoor experience is having the room window open to better hear the sirens.

I rarely wet a line. But regardless, I do keep tying, imagining and planning. If you can tie in a No Tell Motel, with all the noise, door slamming, yelling and trains rumbling by, you can certainly tie just about anywhere else, except maybe in an upriver, afternoon wind.

When the economy turns, if ever, I will be able to stay at a place with that skinny bacon, instant scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy. Geeze, those were the days.  


Fly Fishing: Colorful Attractions

Throwing Something Colorful At Them (SwittersB~PP)

As a beginning fly fisher (fly tier), you might want to explore the use of color to attract fish. This is standard thinking for Steelhead gear guys: egg color, spinner blade/body color, Corky-Birdie Drifter color. Steelhead, Pike, Saltwater fly fishers put a lot of emphasis upon color as well. Trout fisherman of old did more than we do today. So much of today’s fly pattern/presentation is focused upon sub-surface, natural tones of color, as it should be. But, as some of you might recall, Red was a common attractor color incorporated into many older patterns as a body or tail color.

 I came upon an old (1964,  S.I. Vault) article by Peter H. Boyle that is interesting re his experiments with Bass and Color, Movement & Flash. It is always worth a read to add variables to your arsenal of presentation to provoke a strike. Boyle’s research is indeed interesting and there is that old standby color, red,  for shallow water presentations.

 Photo by PP at Salmon Creek, Middle Fk. Willamette River watershed.

Fish Eyes 1 

Fish Eyes 2

Fish Eyes 3

Fish Eyes 4


Fly Tying: Fish Envy?

Worse than anatomical envy is fish envy? As I perused FB tonight, I observed one pic after another of large steelhead and trout. Big fish, big flies? I mean it is so enticing, so powerful a draw. And yet, there I sit. Squinting even with my 2x googles. Bobbing back and forth to come into focus on a size 24 hook. Tying the simplest fly of a single strand of Krystal Flash drawn out to take the kink out. A simple tiny craft yarn was used for the thorax. Tying a small fly (midge), of late, has become a tying right of passage. Yet those slabs…… Fish envy is a nagging attack on your self worth. Look at April Vokey with yet another beautiful fish, then look down at the dime. Hmmm? Identity crisis and at my age.


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: 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.


Fly Tying Tip: Clean Dubbing Pic/Needle

“The point of the dubbing needle can quickly become covered with a build-up of varnish, epoxy and head cement.  This can be scraped away with a blade, but I keep my needles clean with another method. I have a 35 mm film canister that I have filled with wire wool. All you need to do is push your built-up dubbing needle through the canister top down into the wire wool a few times and your needle is as new!” (Mustad Fly Tying Helpful Hints)


Fly Tying: Good Tips Here



Soft Hackle~Flymph Wings (Smaller Hooks and Oversized Feathers)

Sometimes, particularly with Partridge and hen hackle, the hackle barbs will be too long after you wrap the wing. Generally you only want the tips of the wing to extend just back to the bend at most. The below technique allows you to use bigger feathers and still get the advantage of the feather’s markings. Mallard, Teal, Gadwall as well as Partridge come to mind.



Traveling Vise (small c clamp & thick picnic table)

I have resorted to cutting the post of a less expensive vise and inserted it into a purchased pedestal. This is not a bad idea (assuming the probable rock) and spares the hacksaw to the vise. Perhaps somewhere there is a creative sort that makes a larger C clamp for the typically thick picnic table?

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