Stripping Peacock Quills

as a sequel to Agitating the Barbules, today’s tying materials tips and tricks treat from Tim Flagler shows us how easy it is to strip peacock herls to get those easy to make, realistic and yummy segmented bodies for our flies.
when using the bleach method note the finer points to avoid under or over treating the herls and whichever method you choose, that further colouring is as simple as using permanent markers. awesome indeed, enjoy !

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about CDC feathers. (but where afraid to ask the guy at the fly shop)

by Hans Weilenmann via Martin Joergensen at GFF ‘Global Fly Fisher’

in what’s the most comprehensive description of what makes these feathers so unique, Hans’ Tying with CDC article is a must read for any fly tier.

calc_cdc-type1-drawing-384

“The description “Cul de Canard” was reputedly coined in the late 1950s by French tier Henry Bresson for one of his patterns. The description has contributed to some confusion, especially when it was literally translated into English as “duck’s butt” or “duck’s arse” feathers.
CDC’s history in fly tying and fly fishing begins in central Western Europe in the 1920s and the dry flies used by fishermen living in the Swiss Jura Mountains near the French border. These patterns, generally referred to as Moustique (Mosquito) patterns, remained unchanged until well into the late 1970s.”

(just to set things straight, the feather’s official name is Croupion de Canard or ‘duck’s rump’. Bresson’s somewhat clever-quirky sense of humour later turned the name of his famous fly into Cul de Canard or, ‘duck’s ass’: cul being a rather vulgar term (at least in those times) for those lovely globes we cherish so much)

calc_feather-2-3-584

historical and frenchytude niceties aside, the Understanding CDC chapter is where we get to the nitty gritty with such goodies as the four feather types, why applying floatant to them renders them useless, harvesting, tips and tricks and how to select the right feather for its intended use.
fly shops all-too-easily sell us any old sort of cdc feather even if they’re all from the preen gland they vary greatly in stem size (flexibility and strength), fibre position and length.  safe to say this explains why so many anglers sometimes have difficulties getting the results that seemed so simple at first.

cdc types H.Weilenmann-GFF

“Understanding CDC
While the natural oils on the feather assist in repelling water, the hydrophobic properties and the structure of the CDC feather are fundamental to its floatability.
Feathers are completely made up of the protein keratin. They are built to be as light as possible in order to make the bird fly easily, yet are extremely strong and waterproof at the same time. Keratin in many ways resembles manmade plastic. One aspect is that it does not soak up moisture, or indeed oil. The oil can only coat the feather parts, not become an internal part of it.”

click either image to access the complete article on GFF. included at the bottom of the page is a step-by-step and video tutorial of Hans’ notorious CDC and Elk. enjoy !

Copper wire and hare’s mask pupa

just to go out a little bit on a limb here and maybe mostly as a way of expressing my growing overall mehness at the view of so-called ‘realistic’ flies, specially the recent trend of ‘kit flies’, where wings, backs, legs, heads and whatnot are factory made and just applied on a hook by sheepishly following the manufacturer’s instructions…
today’s little gem by Roy Christie via Hans Weilenmann’s most excellent Fly Tier’s Page is a gentle yet humble slap in the face reminder that effective fly design is more about what the fish wants than what the tier wants. specially when that want is mostly geared towards getting a lot of likes on facebook…

copper_wire_hares_mask

Fly: Roy Christie, Photograph: Hans Weilenmann
Hook: #16 -18 wet
“Thread”: dark copper wire
Thorax: hare’s mask
Note: Take a pinch of hare’s mask guard hair. Dub it on a fine piece of dark copper wire. wrap wire along hook & finish.

first shown to me by Roy in situ on a wee burn in Northern Ireland a few years ago, outside of being an excellent trout tempter because it looks like an emerging mess which is what emerging pupae messes happen to look like, the other too-cool and charming aspect of this design is you simply carry a matchbox-sized container with some hooks, wire and dubbing on the water and make them as needed without any tools, which in turn gives us more time at home to spend pressing the ‘dislike’ button to realistic and kit fly posts on facebook instead of tying flies.

Roy'n Me weeburn 2010

Roy tells me the fly on the image is ages old so, if we squint a little when looking at it we’ll loose the ghastly barb’s details…

FREE AND NOT FOR PROFIT

via today’s just-pressed logo

this introduction note by Pete Tyjas caught my fancy as this topic goes hand in hand with the little 60 or so posts of the ‘brainwashem’ young’ series here on TLC designed to attract our younger friends to our passion. i can’t really figure out the ‘why’ aspect but i like the idea that each one of us does a little something once in a while to share fly fishing to someone else. sure, its quite possible we all might be eaten soon by zombies but on the other hand, we might defeat those ugly/stinking-sticky/disgusting creatures and get to continue on with our normal fly fishing lives. something tells me it’s probably worth doing.


” I’ve had some interesting conversations recently about the average age of fly anglers in the UK. It sounds like it comes in near to retirement age and has given cause for concern.

I have worked professionally in fly fishing for over ten years now and when I first started I am pretty sure these numbers were being quoted back then. Before this I have to be honest and say I had no idea.

It was a shock when I first heard this and it still is. Look at the scene in the US or Scandinavia for instance which seems to be booming. Fly fishing in these places is seen as cool, hip and trendy and works hand in hand with the whole “great outdoors” thing.

In the UK we generally don’t have access to big expanses of wilderness but we are lucky to have large areas of wild fishing where you might not see another angler. I count myself lucky to have one such example on my doorstep – Dartmoor.

Not everyone has though and it is where our reservoirs and put and take stillwater fisheries fill a gap. Small stillwaters also work well for the occasional angler who wants a few rainbows for the pot too.

But what of those of us whose lives revolve around fly fishing? We dream about it, tie flies when we can’t go, read books and enjoy magazines to fill the void. Are we a minority?

Not so long ago I was starting to think this but now I am not so sure. We have great schemes like Get Hooked which introduces youngsters to all forms of fishing, Mayfly in the classroom and numerous days run by the likes of the Environment Agency and Salmon and Trout Association. I wonder how many schemes like this were being run 30 years ago?

It seems to me that the dynamic has changed a little and there is a wide range of activities that parents take their children to. When I was younger I’d play football in the winter and cricket in the summer and do some fishing for carp too. That was about it. Nowadays, there are musical instrument lessons, horse riding, ballet, football, rugby amongst many other pastimes, along with tennis which also is enjoying a resurgence too. All along with the often-mentioned computer games.

Fishing has always been there in the background and sometimes the love for it is lost for a while and then rediscovered a little further down the line. It might be one of the reasons the average age of anglers is higher but since embarking on ESF I have met plenty of fly anglers in their 20s to 40s who fish hard, sleep in cars, chase the hatches and live for fly fishing.

It has left me far from despondent about the state of fly fishing and those entering it. We have to be honest and say it is a niche pastime but I have been greatly encouraged to see not one but two new TV shows featuring fly fishing in the last few months. One of those was on terrestrial TV too which is surely a positive. Kudos to TV execs for making such a bold choice.

So, we enter 2014 and I can’t wait to go fishing in the company of friends and hope I get the chance to bring more people into our great pastime.

Good fishing! “

Pete Tyjas


and that’s just the front page of this great online magazine. be sure to check out all the rest by clicking the logo above or HERE 

Increasing the Visibility of Dry Flies

most tiers don’t know this super-easy and super-efective tip so here goes.
as Lucian Vasies points out:
“A simple and very efficient method to increase the visibility for small CDC dry flies tied on #16-22 : adding a small bunch of white CDC barbs in front of the wing.
In certain cases I use yellow or pink instead of white, especially at sunset when the light and the shadows become metallic.”

this great tip has a double purpose: hatching insect wings may have colour tones but they mostly remain transparent so, what i also like about this method is when seen from below (always pretend you’re a fish !), the white ‘veil’ behind the main wing brings out it’s translucency: a realistic visual effect to the whole ensemble instead of an unnatural stark silhouette.
if it helps, think about the white veil as the white canvas that a painter will then apply other colours and varying shades of grey to.
now, as suggested above, if we want to add different coloured veils to increase visibility in say, low-light conditions or when fishing a heavily-bubbled flow we can judiciously plan the wing colours to compliment each other.
it’s well worth the effort and the fish will thank you for it.

one
2two
3

three !

4

click either image for the full step by step tutorial, enjoy !

‘whoever said a mayfly tail couldn’t be sexy was wrong.

Markus Hoffman hollow tailExtended Mayfly Quill Body by Markus Hoffman

i’ve seen a number of pre-made rubber hollow bodies aiming towards the same effect, but they where so ugly that using them felt more like an insult to fly tying but mostly to the fish.

and then comes Markus’ ever-creative mind that gives birth to this ingenious, simple, quick, realistic, transparent, lively looking, for-sure floating (because of all the trapped air when tied in) and just too friggin’ yummy mayfly abdomen for a fish to pass up.
by using the same pin and uv resin technique but using different sized and shaped pins and varying tail materials or not even placing a tail at all, under-body colours and rib materials we’ll end up with a whole range of delicious extended bodies to suit any hatching bug.
something tells me this  technique will be remembered and passed on for a while. simply brilliant, good on ya Markus. thanks !

Oh, you’ve got green eyes Oh, you’ve got blue eyes Oh, you’ve got shrimp eyes.

it’s New Wave and Shrimp Eye Day here in the south of France, so without further ado, to start off the festivities here’s a brilliant burnt-mono shrimp eye tutorial by Curtis Fry at Fly Fish Food.

“I’m sure most anyone has seen or has created their own monofilament eyes. It’s not rocket science, but there are still a few things I’ve found that make it easier yet keep a bit of realism in the mix.

mono_eyes Curtis Fry FFF

So for this method, you’ll need: ” to click the pic above for the complete materials list and awesome how-to video with some very interesting tips and tricks to make your own great looking shrimpy eyes.
keep in mind that mono-eyes can be used for streamers, damsel and other nymph imitations as well as for dry flies: the big and bulging adult mayfly eyes come to mind but that’s far from all. use the same technique and vary sizes and colours to suit.

as for the New Wave, i’m not really into this soft and sticky stuff but since it’s about Shrimp Eyes….  enjoy !

Lucian’s G – Nymph

by Lucian Vasies

my, that’s a pretty G !

G Nymph 1

i’d probably start blushing if asked which exact mayflies nymphs have gills like these,
contrasting-nymph-1but i have a hard time blushing  so it’s enough to say that some bugs have them and some bugs don’t. however,  these lovely G Flies most certainly have them and for the moment, that’s about all that matters. i guess.
todays step-by-step is a silent one and i like that. it makes us have to visually anchor the tying process by paying attention to all the little details and maybe best of all, transcends all languages. with demonstrations like this there’s no need for words. thanks Lucian.

G Nymph 2

can’t get enough…G Nymph 3

click either image for the complete step by step and materials list. enjoy !

How to Dress It and How to Use It.

not much to not like with a title like that..,
Salmon Fly-dressit, use it
but with topics such as: Underwater Experiments, The ‘Instrument of Satisfaction’ (my favourite !),  Diagnosis of Flies, Symmetry of Flies, The ‘Line-of-Pull’, Holding the Hook (tying these lovely flies by hand) and gorgeous plates like this, that it’s kinda turned into a love affair.

salmonflyhowtodr00kelsrich_0055
this one’s a really special find that i hope you’ll enjoy as much as i did. click either pic to access the complete 510 page book online on OpenLibrary or HERE to download it in pdf file or Kindle and other nifty ways to read it later when offline.

How to Tie Flies without saying a word.

from How to Tie Flies by E. C. Gregg, 1940

From How to Tie Flies, by E. C. Gregg, 1940

and if you think that’s cool and want more, click the pic to access the complete book on gutenberg.org. enjoy !

the Sunburst Spey

a steelhead/salmon fly tying tutorial by Davie McPhail

D MP sunburst spey (fly)

once in a while a fly comes along that has a special certain ‘oh my, that’s really yummy – slurp !’ effect and this little number does just that. whether it’s the color scheme, proportions, tying neatness or this or that or whatever it is; it’s hitting that special spot that says ‘any fish would be daft to refuse this’. enjoy !

D MP sunburst spey materials

more leg-knotting

we’d already seen different methods of knotting different materials with the goal of giving them the characteristic bent shape that just about every bug’s joints have:
Knotting your legs by hand
-
 bend Ze legs and keep Zem bent
- sexy legs simply

in this new how-to video, Davie McPhail shows us yet another method, this time using tweezers making it easier to make multiple knots on the same fiber(s) while keeping it all on the feather’s quill. nice and handy for storage and easier later on to select the right size when at the tying bench. towards the end of the clip we’ll notice how he uses the same method but with mallard feathers instead of the usual pheasant tail.  hopefully this will inspire the creative tier to experiment with other materials. enjoy !

Once and Away

once_and_awayFly: Hans van Klinken, Photograph: Hans Weilenmann

” After a few attempts I decided on a tying a fly that I thought might be successful. It was with considerable interest that I tried it out. My confidence in it was established within the first few casts. In the same time as it had taken me to catch fish on the previous day I caught many more. I called the fly the “Once and Away”, since I had a great deal of difficulty in getting the pattern to float again after it had been dragged down by a fish. When I came home. I change the dressing to a better-looking and more durable pattern. To find a reasonable solution was not at all easy and drove me almost crazy. Finely after three months it was the thoughts behind the Rugged Caddis and Culard, which give me the answer. It is still funny to say and confess that just a simple cutting operation on the fly design cost me months to find out. Again I developed a pattern were CDC has been used against all rules. “

just goes to show that some rules are better bent…
here we have the origin of the ShuttleCock style of emergers from it’s creator, Hans Van Klinken of ‘KlinkHammer’ fame (and many more). featured along with the complete step-by-step of the original pattern is the story behind this most excellent fly and its design. great inspiring stuff indeed ! (and a reminder that duck roadkill should never be ignored)

click the pic for the full tutorial on Hans Weilenmann’s excellent site Danica.com, enjoy !

fly tying step-by-steps: the Failed/Emerging Buzzer

failed buzzer1

by Alan Bithell

“This isn’t a pattern of my own invention. Many years ago Alan Roe arrived home from work late. On looking in the refrigerator for something to eat he saw a box containing 4 packs of Birds Eye Cod in Parsley Sauce. Grabbing it he put two in the microwave for dinner. Between the packs he found a sheet of thin foam packing material. After his dinner he sat for a couple of hours thinking that there must be a fly tying application for this foam sheet. This pattern is what he came up with.”

thank goodness for supermarket food !
in what has to be a sure-fire, hard-core fish-slurping fly, what makes this one stand out is the wing material. standard, thin sheeted transparent foam sure looks the deal at the vice but a) doesn’t float for long and b) gets torn to shreds after just a few fish, usually one. Tyvek on the other hand, has a strengthening backing, keeps its transparency and alleviates all the problems mentioned above. the creative tier will find all sorts of uses for this: wing cases, streamer bodies, shucks and indicators just to name a few.

nice way to tie it on !

failed buzzer2to start your own wrapping click either image for the complete step-by-step, materials list and source. enjoy !