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- whipping up a fluff cat

by Matthew Pate via HMHFlyFishing

at first glance, this Cat might look like any other bunny-leech type streamer/lure/attractor fly but on second look there’s that green skirt made of Chrystal Hackle or Pseudo Hackle, a fine-fibred synthetic wrapped as one would a feather hackle in between the tail and body that sets this pattern apart from typical B-Leeches for two reasons-
firstly, the green fibres blend in with the bodies’ bunny hair acting as a subtle yet strong trigger point for the fish to see from a distance.
and secondly, because its a little stiffer than bunny fur (what isn’t… ) the green skirt puffs out the bodies’ hair a little and gives a bigger profile to the body when wet and this bigger body in turn makes the tail wiggle more.
it’s a hydrodynamic turbulence thing and for us fishers it a really good thing as this lets the tail waggle sexily without having to speed up line retrieve and this gives the fish plenty of time see and get dazzled and seduced by all this tail action !

designed as a stillwater lure, a little tweaking here and there like adding bead-chain eyes or dumbells or a lead wire underbody to add more weight and in different sizes and colours to match your area makes this basic design a really basic fly for just about any waters. well tied and well explained, we can tell Matthew doesn’t just slap on materials onto a hook. take note of all the finer details in this fly’s construction and you won’t go wrong. enjoy !

Fly Tying videos- Stew’s Glassy Spider

by Hans Weilenmann

a direct descendant of Stewart’s Black Spider, Hans’ variant will be it’s perfect companion for when fish aren’t interested in fashionable black and want something less Gothy yet still yummy.
hard to find simpler to tie, don’t hesitate to also make up a few in various brown or olive tones and as always in different sizes. enjoy !

Fly Tying Tutorials- the Silver Invicta

The Invicta was originally known as The Pride of Devon, The Silver Invicta is a variation of the original Invicta fly pattern. The Invicta Caddis wet fly pattern was first mentioned in James Ogden’s book “Ogden on fly tying” which was published in 1879.

that’s 136 years of being a classic fly that not only greatly appeals to fly fishing and tying history buffs but more importantly, to fish. designed to imitate a drowned caddis with its long wing and hackles that imitates legs and a yellow tail to probably imitate eggs, this pattern also works very well as a small bait imitation. primarily designed with still waters in mind used with various retrieves or ‘dead-drifted’ across a wind-swept feeding lane, i’ve had great success with this fly in rivers fished either across with little steady pulls of the line or with the standard ‘down-and-across’ swing.
sure to raise a few hackles from the purists and spurred from the at-the-time reluctance/apprehension i had to try to include matched wing slips to my flies, i’ve had great success by replacing said wing with marabou, fox hair, fine deer hair, swiss straw or simply taking a bunch of fibres from a feather that ‘looks about right’, folding them once or twice and tying the lot on top. although matched wing slips are beautiful at the vise or in the box and are a great way to get a lot of Facebook likes… i’m personally convinced they offer no ‘fishable’ advantage as they’ll just get matted and out of that lovely shape once wet and specially after a fish or two have nibbled on it for a bit.

as always with Davie McPhail’s tutorials, today’s treat not only shows how to tie this lovely Invicta properly but there’s also several tying tips and tricks that transfer over to many-many other patterns. enjoy !


Belly Scratcha !

just looking at these two pics should dispense the need for any further commentary…

Belly Scratcher Minnow FlyFishFood

we’ve all seen a lot of awesome streamer patterns but in my opinion, if ever there was a ‘good as good gets’ little fish imitation with all the right elements then i haven’t seen it yet. as we clearly see on the top image, beads strung on a wire well away from the hook shank will force the fly to ride hook-point up, help to not snag so much on the river bed or debris and track straight. the weight is still in the front part of the pattern but the ballast’s placement provides a more horizontal swim than dumbbell eyes can give. specifically built for rivers on a floating line, i can see the basic design working anywhere. as noted in the vid, simply add more or less beads depending on your specific depth and current speed needs or if you want to fish them with sinking lines.

baby belly scratcher FFF

here’s the tying tutorial but be sure to click either pic to access the complete article on yet another fantastic tutorial from the bearded bros at FlyFishFood. enjoy !

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- A new twist: The Burned Chenille Cased Caddis


and after

there are many ways to create a caddis case, here’s just a few:
– the standard spun and trimmed or burned deer hair which looks pretty nice but doesn’t help the fly sink much as its a buoyant material (and i really don’t like doing this kind of stuff with deer hair. in fact, i don’t like tying with deer hair at all !)
– dubbing which is a lot more pleasanter to work with but never quite looks like a caddis case. (that probably doesn’t matter fishing-wise, its just not an appealing look and doesn’t strike that fly ‘confidence’ thingy; that all-important selection sense that dictates which fly to use)
– some even glue teeny-tiny stones to a support to form a very realistic case but that’s way too anal for this guy…

– and then, as we’ll see in the first minutes of the video, a technique that at first looks like a delirious joke that then transforms into the lovely tube-blob in the pic above and to make it all even better, this happens with our second favourite element: fire !

i just tried this method (just the case part), its super quick, about a minute to tie in and form the whole ‘body’ and very easy.
after that i tried a different method of melting on a second body by removing it from the vise and holding the hook with forceps leaving more room to work (melt) with. this helped to make the body more symmetric, specially the butt end near the vise jaws.
(an added bonus here is you won’t ruin or discolour the anodisation of your vise’s jaw)
second variant was to wet my fingers with gooey saliva to smooth out the body instead of using a needle. this works really well to get a quite perfect shape but you have to get your timing right or you end up with a cased finger combo !…

enough words, on to this great tutorial by Hammer Creek Fly Fishing.  enjoy !

a Nice and Nifty Knotted Knaddis Nymph

another super-nice tying tutorial for a more-than-realistic-enough caddis larvae imitation by Hammer Creek Fly Fishing

hammer creek knotted nymph

well explained and pleasant to listen to, we’ll get to easily assimilate the simple construction process of the woven body, a method easily transposed to many other insect types and patterns with any variety of different weaving materials. the mind’s the limit.
as noted at the end of the video and something i really like, is the light coat of varnish over the whole back portion of the fly to “melt everything together” giving the finished result ‘that special touch’ and a lovely translucency. enjoy !

on a personal note although not meant as criticism, i’d recommend not starting the body so far down the bend of the hook as this greatly reduces effective hook space (its fish-holding properties) or better yet, simply using a bigger sized hook with the same fly material proportions or finding a different hook with a wider gape such as the awesome Competition Demmon G600 BL.