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.
hydrphsy
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

before
pycnocentrodes_huia_rubymontage_b_650

and after
maxresdefault

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.

Fly Tying- Herman’s Roy-style Reversed Parachute micro caddis

Herman as in deGala and Roy as in Christie !

i of course don’t mean any disrespect as i really like this video and Herman’s demeanour but ! apart from the bright green egg sack, to be honest, i can’t for the life of me see this fly as anything caddisy… but (again) ! lets have a closer look at this fly’s other component, one we can easily transfer over to countless other dry/emerger/floating nymph patterns; the Christie-style Parachute hackling method.

no style is an end-all but this one really stands out from the crowd on several levels, most notably by its ‘puffed-up in a ball’ fibre positions but also overall strength and resistance to fish teeth and other abrasions.
more ‘traditional’ hackling around the hook shank has the fibres oriented vertically when the fly is resting at the surface whereas others where the hackle is wound on a post such as the Klinkhammer or Christie styles have them horizontally, parallel to the water’s surface.
generally speaking, vertical fibres will have only their tips in contact with the water’s surface, thus the fly’s body is suspended above the surface whereas horizontal fibres are splayed out on the water. the latter leaves a bigger imprint on the surface but also does a better job at suspending what’s beneath it, in this case, the fly’s body or ‘floating nymph’ as it where.

as to it’s sturdiness, what makes this one so close to the proverbial bullet-proofness is that the hackle stem is enclosed within the nylon loop. should one segment be torn, the rest still hold their place, something traditionally wound hackles can’t claim. one little nick and the fly needs to be changed.
i don’t loose a lot of flies so how they hold up through time is important. (i’m also very lazy when it comes to tying sessions, or rather, it’s hard for me to actually start tying flies. once i’ve started i can’t stop and it’s not like flies are precious but i just don’t know when i’ll feel like tying again so the ones that have hatched are expected to last. i’ve digressed enough….) anyhow !

a while back we’d already seen Roy’s Reverse Parachute step-by-step and complete video tutorial and while Herman’s version isn’t a night and day variant, something about it makes the whole nylon post and hackling method seem simpler, something that should be of great interest for the person wanting to learn and try out this hackling method.

my guess is the ‘simpler’ part might have to do with using a Gallows tool to hold the nylon post vertically and tight whereas Roy does without. i’ve been tying mine for years without the tool and it of course works very well but i’ll give it a try soon as i suspect it makes winding the hackle easier and more importantly, easier to keep the winds compacted close to the hook before tightening the loop.
in a pinch, you can make a little metal hook from a paper clip and attach that to a rubber band, the lot suspended from your tying light or have someone hold the nylon post while you wind the hackle. it only takes a few seconds, plus its a good way to put your partner/spouse/sexdwarf/roommate/butler or whomever’s handy to good use… ummmm, enjoy !

some previously seen yums. i loves yums !

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 !

Fly Tying- the Double-Decker

no, not this goofy thing,
doubledecker
this one !
DDecker McPhail

nice and nifty and what i like best: lotsa fishing friendly, fish attracting profile with a highly non-bug-species-specific generic aspect.

take special note of Davie’s method of breaking away the wing’s waste hairs by increasing thread tension at the tie in point while tearing the fibres with the other hand. this is a brilliant, fast and tool-less solution for getting a great tapered body without having to cut away and ending up with an unsightly abrupt bump.
why the double wings ? the same amount of deer hair over a larger surface stabilises the fly on the surface, specially in faster flows or choppier water and is more translucent, something that’s gotta be more realistic or at least, less put-offish to the fish below than some dense lump. the larger surface will also help the angler track the fly without having to resort to adding some gaudy fluo pink shit to the fly…

lastly, this winging method of course reminds us of Bob Wyatt’s infamous* Deer Hair Emerger and i can’t help but think that a double-wing version added to it would be the bee’s knees, once again, specially in the faster waters or when it might be a little hard to see the fly or even as a ‘stronger floating’ indicator fly with a nymph or wet hanging below it. good stuff huh ?

thanks again Davie for giving us another great tutorial. enjoy folks !

* yeah, yeah, i know. once a kid always a kid…

Tying a Troutline Catgut Biothread Nymph

these little beauties from Lucian Vasies are the chocolate covered marshmallow-filled fish candy hot dogs of the nymph world, some of the handful of freshwater fly patterns that fit in the “If a fish won’t take them flies they don’t deserve to be caught… “ category and better yet, they’re a super-easy and super-fast pattern to tie. hard to beat on all levels, aye ?
micro-french-nymphs-for-trout-and-grayling-tied-with-troutline-catgut-biothread

“The Micro Nymph tied bellow with Catgut Biothread is a fly used in East Europe for his realistic look and for “easy to be tied” fact. A fly like this is efficient for his generic aspect and can be considered a search type of pattern. In fact this pattern is tied with body made of different types of threads but catgut gives a special look . The translucency is very unique and gives a realistic aspect to all flies ( nymphs or emergers ) tied with this fantastic material.”
step-4body-of-nymph-tied-with-troutline-catgut-biothread

click either pic for the complete step-by-step and HERE to source Biothread.
bon appétit , 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 !