Fly Tying- Making an Easy flat Lead Tape substitute

“If you can’t find Lead Tape/Foil then why don’t you make your own using a Seam Roller….. ?”

Davie McPhail‘s question/suggestion says it all. first of all, flat lead tape, whether sticky-back or not isn’t always easy to find and it’s more expensive than it should be. on the other hand, round profiled lead wire is easily abundant and quite cheap, specially when bought in larger spools.
secondly, unless we’re going for a bulky build-up of the fly’s profile, flat lead has several advantages the round stuff can’t do. flattening round wire doesn’t change it’s weight which means that for the same amount/weight of wire we can get either get a slimmer profile and not end up with a small, short, squat obese nymph… or, add approximately twice the weight of round wire with subsequent layers of the flat stuff without getting a fatter profile than a single wrap of round. (i hope that makes sense… :lol: )

finally, the flat stuff lets us be more creative and specific as to how much weight we add to the fly while easily controlling the profile that we want: its all good.

tip- although a seam roller works best and is worth the purchase in the long run, any burnishing-type tool, an old Bic pen or even a hammer will work great in a pinch. lead is soft and takes little pressure to deform.

Davie’s on a how-to/tying tips and tricks roll these days so, here’s a first for us to eat up, enjoy !

ps- don’t forget that lead is poisonous. don’t go picking your nose, scratching your eyes, eating fried chicken while having sex and licking your fingers after without washing your hands first, Ok ?

Fly Tying- More on Biots

today’s tying tutorial treat comes to us from Romania via buddy  Lucian Vasies, one of my favourite all-time trout-type fly tiers.

we’d previously seen a more-than-nice introduction to this great fly body material in What are biots ? and Lucian’s just-out article comes in to seal the deal and help you get the most from these feather parts. here’s a few extracts:

-when you strip the barb from the stem of the feather you will notice that the structure is not symmetrical. The base is transparent and the upper part is more opaque. Also you’ll see a small gap at the base . This gap is a reference for us in tying process.

The opposite part of the gap is not so transparent and in section has a “T” shape. The barb has a small fin/burr. This fin will provide you a very nice segmentation and you can see it in the photo bellow between arrows:”

and here are a few results on the different ways to use biots. need i say more ?
well, yes because i can’t help it… as noted in the article and easily seen and demonstrated in the images above is one of the biot’s fantastic properties: its translucency.
be sure to keep that in mind and use it to its full advantage by strategically selecting an appropriately toned thread or other material under-wrap to reflect light through the wound biot. in the examples above the underbody used was white thread but the possibilities are endless. if you really want the colours to ‘pop’ you could always lay a base of flashabou or similar mirrory-like material and  conversely, you can always tone down and dull or subtly change the biot’s colour by again selecting a primary thread base colour to let it show through the biot. here’s a colour wheel chart to help you mix and match. as we see on the chart, if we have a yellow biot placed over a blue underbody we’ll have a greenish/olive result. 

’nuff said ! click either pic for the complete article. enjoy !

Fly Tying- Deviating Charlie’s Nuke Egg

some people like egg patterns and some people don’t but what i’m seeing in Charlie Craven’s great step-by-step tutorial is a tying technique that’ll be of interest to any fly fisher. (except for the die-hard dry fly purist… )

Charlie's Nuke Egg

– as is, the Nuke of course looks like a very yummy fish egg still encapsulated by its embryonic sac but if we play with the basic pattern, use an as-close-to-clear as possible egg yarn and say, add two big black eyes we’ll have a fantastic alevin imitation.
– if we don’t add the veil and use that same egg construction shape and stack several close together along the hook shank and then trim to shape once the yarn is all fluffed out we have a really interesting, super-easy, translucent, lively and very attractive streamer body.
– the very same egg shape would make a much nicer head for egg-sucking leeches than the typical chenille.
– this stuff doesn’t hold water for long so we can easily build up a bulky fly body and still have something easy to cast.
– i’m sure there’s plenty of other uses to this technique i haven’t thought of but by now i’m equally sure you’ll see that it’s not just about egg patterns.

click the pic for Charlie’s complete step-by-step. enjoy !

Tim’s Little Black Stone

by Tim Flagler via TightLineVideo

hard to think of a nicer, simpler, great surface footprinted, Wonder-Winged, low-riding adult stonefly pattern.
harder yet to think of anything else i could add to what looks like the end-all stonefly imitation except for… enjoy !

ps- well ok, just one thing. try not to crowd the hook eye so much with excess materials when you’re tying your own… :lol:

Fly Tying- April tells us all about her Rhea

first, here’s the beast.
3 Rheas well, three of them…

as for the telling all about part, here’s April Volkey giving what’s in my mind/experience the finest and most thought-out fly tying material how-to-use demonstration i’ve ever seen.
it’s not about constructing a specific pattern but about exploring the endless possibilities and hands-on practical aspects of this long, durable and very lively fibre and incorporating it to all manner of salmon, steelhead flies or basically any kind of wet fly or streamer whether it be for fresh or saltwater. be sure to watch it in HD, enjoy !


as for the beast itself, click on the threesome for more info.

Fly Tying- Some new twists on an Old Cahill

by Tim Flagler via TightLineVideo

a nifty little yellow floating nymph bug indeed ! this little fellow would have come in super-handy a few weeks back in the UK when the Yellow Mays where coming off.
of special tying note and as starters, we’ll revisit a nice and easy way to get splayed mayfly tails with the main course consisting of a really unique manner to create a non-wobbly, stiff, easy to use hackle post with an even more ingenious manner to permanently secure the parachute hackle in just three ultra-simple steps. ya gotta love such brilliant ideas, enjoy !

post note (and just to be unnecessarily picky… )
– personally, i’d leave a few more tail fibres on each side of the fly to a) leave a bigger footprint on the surface that can also hold more floatant and b) even though Coq de Leon fibres are pretty strong, trout teeth are even stronger and the extra fibres usually means having at least a few left if one or several get torn off after a catch.
– i’d also use less UV resin when strengthening the post and over a shorter length to get a shorter overall post but like i wrote, that’s just being picky.

Fly Tying Videos- Tim’s Caddis Larvae

by Tim Flagler at tightlinevideo
man, i really love Tim’s tutorials. everything about them; the well and thoroughly thought out descriptions, high film quality, crisp and clear instructions and overall pleasant learning atmosphere make these videos a real gem and this new one’s one of the best he’s produced.
based on a simple go-to caddis larvae suggestive pattern, we’re also treated to fantastic thread control and split-dubbing techniques well worth paying special attention to.  this video deserves to be bookmarked as a reference and is a super-fine video backup to the very same techniques brought up in Dennis Shaw’s more-than-fantastic A Complete Dubbing Techniques Tutorial. enjoy !

this little image gives a nice, simple and generalised visual reference of the bug’s key elements for the tier to keep in mind when tying these imitations.
should you want to have a slightly more visible segmentation, don’t hesitate tying a few flies with a darker thread that matches the thorax’s dubbing. the darker thread will show through the abdomen a little when wet.
as always, adapt colours and fly size to match your local bugs. lead or standard wire wrapped around the shank will help the fly get down in faster/deeper waters. if you do add weight, use a little less dubbing to preserve the correct proportions or the finished fly will look like a fast-food junky…

Fly Tying- Mix dubbing easily

a nifty, super-easy to understand tutorial from my buddy and über fly tier Holger Lachmann.

after re-reading Denis Shaw’s fantabulous A Complete Dubbing Techniques Tutorial i noticed that even though the flea comb is shown and used for other purposes, it isn’t used for mixing different types or different shades of material so Holger’s video fills this little gap perfectly. while there are several very good alternatives when mixing larger batches of dubbing, the standard for smaller amounts is simply using our fingers to pull, separate and regroup the materials.
this of course works very well but some materials, notably synthetics that tend to intertwine more than naturals make this task a little more difficult and that’s where the flea comb shines.

a lot of tiers simply buy pre-mixed blends that are readily available and that’s more than fine but in a way, they’re missing out on the possibility of customising the final result’s appearance and in the long run, perhaps its effectiveness in fooling the fish. another aspect of interest when mixing your own is the possibilities are endless. many, many ‘household’ or rather, not-out-of-a-fly shop things can be used to make dubbing, further enhancing creativity which is in my opinion a very big bonus to our craft because its another area where we can put in our own little personal touch while greatly reducing costs.
its all good. enjoy !

a Disco Shrimp

even if it isn’t even half as discoish as the infamous ‘discodildo on a hook’  what remains is a really nifty shrimp imitation well worth having for when its time to dredge river and stream beds for as noted in the title, grayling, but also trout, barbel, carp, masheer (i caught my first masheer in Malaysia on a shrimp/scud imitation), yellowfish and whatever else species you might have in your part of the world that eat freshwater shrimp and most do.
maybe more than the pattern itself, what caught my attention where several really good tying tips and tricks that are more than worth looking at carefully for tiers of all levels.
several of these methods can easily be taken over to other fly patterns, such as:
– controlling latex back widths by varying tension and stretching it well before cutting off so the little uncut part of the strip retracts.
– cutting the brush fibres of a toothbrush to make a nifty dubbing puller. serrated blade scissors work very well for this. apart from my usual tying tools, two that get used a lot are toothbrushes, one left as-is for general brushing and fly grooming (yeah, i know that sounds a little weird but weird is good !) and one trimmed as in the video.
the trimmed brush, with its longer fibres does a better job with bushier flies such as this shrimp or streamers than the standard velcro on lolly-stick tool.
– flattening the finished fly with pliers to finish its shape. i do this regularly with nymphs. sometimes in the vertical way as with this shrimp, sometimes on the horizontal as with crawling/stone clinger mayfly nymph imitations. using the striations of the pliers is also a cool way to add texture to varnished or uv resined flies.

i probably forgot a few tips but i’m sure you’ll find them in this great tutorial. enjoy !

Fly Tying Tips and Tricks- Threading a Bobbin Holder

by Martin Joergensen at The Global FlyFisher we’ve had several great tips from Martin in the past and here’s another that just might alleviate a bit of frustration when at the tying bench. not all bobbin holders are created equal and threads will all have different properties making for a different threading process dependant of what we’re using. getting to this seemingly simple result isn’t always as simple as it might seem… bobbin threading GFF with several methods and just about everything one might need to know on this bobbin holder threading subject, here’s another most tiers don’t know yet that i can imagine becoming the norm in the future: dental floss threaders. floss threader GFF click either image to access the complete article. thanks again Martin !