Fly Tying- More on Tying Thread Twist

good things come and go and the UKFDUKFlyDressing forum recently and very unfortunately did just that.
it’s hard to put a rating on fly tying forums but i always really appreciated this one, there was so much to learn from very talented tiers, excellent tips and tricks and step-by-steps and always a helping hand for anyone with a query.

along with Dennis Shaw’s amazing A Complete Dubbing Techniques Tutorial and several other tying goodies previously posted here on TLC, today’s nicey is about thread twist.
this twisting is inevitable but we can control it, create more, reduce it and use either one to our advantage depending on what we want or need. knowing this an invaluable aid to any tier. in a sense it’s just as important as any other tying technique and one all tiers of all levels should be familiar with.
once again, thanks again to the whole UKFD crew for sharing such good stuff throughout the years and allowing me to keep some of it alive here.
on with the show, enjoy !

Don’t get in a Twist by Tango

The majority of threads have a clockwise twist. For a right handed tyer when you wrap the thread around the hook you put another full twist in for every turn taken around the shank. This tightens or cords the thread even more. You must learn to use this to your advantage i.e. when tying in materials/whip finishing/making a rib from thread.
No twist in thread

Wrapped to bend and a twist in there, not much but it affects the behaviour of the thread.
If you leave the twist in and try and take a soft turn over the materials the thread will want to lie to the right, this makes it difficult to get the thread where you want it.
Spin the bobbin anticlockwise and it takes the twist out, this make the thread lie straight and it goes where you want it to.
You can also spin the bobbin more to put an anticlockwise twist in the thread, this makes the thread lie to the left, you can use this to make the soft loop over your fingers and slide the thread down to the tie in point.

Why bother?
If you leave the twist in there and whip finish the thread bunches and knots, this usually results in the thread snapping and the whip finish coming undone.

It really does make it easier to tie in materials.

When to take the twist out?
Before tying in materials, whip finishing, splitting thread for dubbing and when you want the thread to lay flat – this reduces bulk.

Pearsall’s silk has an anticlockwise twist, to split this thread you need to spin the bobbin clockwise. There may be more.

When to put twist in?
When you “post” upright wings it will take fewer wraps than untwisted thread.
When making a rib from thread, you won’t see a flat wrap.

For a left handed tyer it does the opposite, it takes the twist out of the thread, with some threads this can weaken it.

There is also two types of thread, BONDED and UNBONDED, bonded thread (i.e. Uni-Thread) will not lay flat but still suffers from the effects of twist. Also bonded thread will not split so you cannot use it for split thread dubbing technique, MP Magic tool techniques etc.


Fly Tying- a Perfect Embryo

here’s a super-nifty tying trick from Gilbert Rowley

i’m neither pro nor con when it comes to egg patterns. as far as today’s tutorial goes, i’ll even completely disassociate from the fact that its an egg imitation and focus in on the rather ingenious idea of covering up a bead or beads whilst creating a body shape.
eggs are pretty much round but one of the beauties of using UV resins is it can be built-up and shaped at will; more on one side, less on the other. UV resin can be cured in successive steps and doesn’t need to be applied in one go. with that in mind we can easily recreate shapes like these or any others we can think of while still adding a fair amount of weight to the fly.
tungsten body shapes

and that’s where Gilbert’s tutorial really shines, at least in my eyes: an inspiration on simple, inexpensive, modular, creative use of weight and fly shape. enjoy !

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…