Posts Tagged ‘Ostrich Herl


Stillwater Dragon Fly…


rainbow trout-SwittersB-photography-fly fishing-SwittersB-2

Oregon Rainbow Trout, Caught/Released by SwittersB

The abdomen of the dragon fly pattern is densely wound marabou (staggered colors) in a dubbing loop. The shaggy body is then trimmed with scissors or a razor blade (I prefer scissors). A wound hackle for legs and pheasant tail fibers for the wing case over the top of the plastic dumbbell eyes. The head here is dubbing but can be wound marabou fibers or ostrich herl fibers. I do not weight this pattern but prefer to take it subsurface with an Intermediate sink line fishing the shoreline of lakes out to the drop.


Stillwater Chomper Pattern Redux

Earlier this week, I tied up a couple Chomper patterns and was not overly pleased with the results: too much materials and the resultant bulky fly. Today, I used the amounts suggested by Tim Rolston and I am pleased with the simpler, cleaner fly.

A single ostrich herl, 14/0 thread and a narrow, mottled shellback. Simpler, cleaner and I can’t wait to try it. The pattern is similar to many other ‘scud’ like patterns. The important part here is the material: Ostrich Herl. No head cement, no raffia, smaller thread, less bulk…nicer.


Stillwater Pattern: Chomper

Last week, I was extolling the virtues of Ostrich Herl as a fly tying material. Tim Rolson, of South Africa, remarked that the Chomper was a worthy pattern, that incorporated the Ostrich Herl. Tim mentioned that the Chomper pattern was less recognized in the U.S. A little research showed that a UK fly fisher, Richard Walker, is noted with developing the pattern.

So, this morning to the vise I went. I tied two Chomper flies. Neither one was satisfying. But, both would probably catch fish. But some observations are in order from my tying effort. I will use the two pictures to elaborate.

This first effort on a size 14 nymph style hook, had the raffia back strap and the olive Ostrich Herl body. The thread was 8/0. I have never been a big fan of Raffia, especially now that synthetic materials make a more durable part and they do not necessitate the addition of some adhesive. In this instance, I selected 5 herls. I tied them in ahead of the already secured raffia at the bend. Once wound forward, I secured the herls. A rather plump body resulted. I pulled the raffia over the top and secured it. The piece of raffia was too large. The resultant thread head was too large because of the bulky raffia and 5 herls. Then I added a coating of glue over the top of the raffia. In the process, I had some end up on the ostrich. A rather sloppy, little pudge ball.

With this Chomper, I used less raffia and only 3 Osrich Herls. The fly presents a more slender, less bulky fly. The herl has room to move. But, again, I was messy in the application of the head cement over the raffia.

The point of the fly is to showcase the merits of Ostrich Herl as a lively material that attracts attention. That is a given, I believe. Beyond that I would use a different material besides raffia for the backstrap. Any of the newer, synthetic materials used for Czech Nymphs and Scuds would suffice. I intend to tie up a dozen more in olive and in black and substitute for the raffia synthetic or feather fibers even with no lacquer). Sizes 14 will work and I may opt for 14/0 thread in olive as well. Thanks Tim for the suggestion re the Chomper. Photo’s a bit blurry. Oops!


Ostrich Herl For Fly Tying

Ostrich Herl can be used for the tail, legs, abdomen/gills, thorax, wing case or antenna on various patterns. It pulses, waves and shimmies. It is fairly durable too. Yes, I am experimenting with various photo backgrounds for the fun of it. 


Fly Tying: Ostrich Herl Body Material

A few years ago, I started using Ostrich Herl for the abdomen of The Orb Emerger (Callibaetis pattern). I also used Ostrich Herl for the tail and as emerging wings. I like the results. I have to believe there is a subtle yet recognizable movement to suggest life in motion. So far, I have only used this pattern on lakes over Chironomid and Callibaetis hatches with some success.

Here, I used a mallard fiber tail and then wrapped up tan and black ostrich herl. I wound a single strand of pearl krystal flash up through the wrapped ostrich herl. Right at the head of the thorax area, I did a sparse dubbing of peacock ice dub.

The same Ostrich Herl components. I just messed with the photo composition a bit for a different effect. That thorax head looks buggy though.


Fly Tying: Ostrich Herl (Gills)

I have had a liking for Ostrich Herl since I incorporated it into The Orb, a Callibaetis mayfly emerger pattern. Today, I came upon a pattern displayed at the Hatches fly tying forum in 2006, tied by Mihostanev. It is a perfect example of ostrich herl incorporated into the abdomen to suggest gills and/or just life. I intend to experiment with the pattern to tie some manner of Caddis larva/pupa for the upcoming October Caddis emergence this late Summer, into Fall.

Hatches Forum 2006, Caddis Larva by Mihostanev

We will see if I can set aside enough time to tie, and what my effort looks like when I am done! Ostrich herl ranks up there with peacock, marabou and (well the preferred list goes on and on).


Fly Tying: Ostrich Herl

Ostrich herl is a great fly tying material. It can be used for an abdomen with pulsing gills or a lively thorax area. I have used it for the tails on The Orb.  It comes in assorted colors and barbules lengths.

Ostrich Herl Thorax & Ab w/ Krystal Flash Rib (SwittersB)

The Orb (Callibaetis Emerger)


Fly Tying: Wrapping Ostrich Herl (Take A Look First)

Ostrich Quills Are Flat and Not Even

“Look at the ostrich quill before tying in. The fibers may not be even on both sides. Because the quill shaft is flat, you can tie it in so that the longer fibers will stick out from the hook shank when you begin to wrap it. Also, the fibers are curved and will bend forward or backward. Determine how you want the fibers before you tie the quill to the shank.” Wotton


Fly Tying: Hex Nymph by John Palacios

Hex Nymph by John Palacios


This pattern shows the use of ostrich herl. I have promoted this material before and think it is a great material to suggest life. Here it is used for the tail and gills of the abdomen of a Hex nymph.


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