the unrecognizable shape in the middle is two female mayflies doing their egg-laying dance. what’s surrounding them is a beautiful Pyrenean stream.
Stuff, Stuff and Stuff and it’s all good Stuff.
in this charming, pleasant, good-natured little video by Chris Sanford we’ll see a few tying tips and tricks:
-whipping out the paintbrush-
“A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”
“any fish that wouldn’t find this sexy just doesn’t deserve to be caught”
i overheard that quote stream-side years ago but it’s hard to find a better use for it than with this fly designed by Rick Takahashi.
here’s a sweet version of Rick’s pattern in this great tutorial from INTHERIFFLE.COM
don’t let this fly’s name fool you (at least the baetis part) as a little color and size tweaking will turn it into an equally effective whatever-mayfly.
for the original recipe on Hans Weilenmann’s Danica.com click the pic at the top of the page.
Tak’s image courtesy of AlpineAnglers
a super-sweet step-by-step by tutorial Barry Ord Clarke
we’ve already seen several variations of detached-bodied flies and here’s another simple to make version yielding adaptable, resistant and gorgeous results.
very well explained and photographed, what may at first seem a little daunting to the neophyte, “This is a simple but but effective mayfly pattern that fly tiers of any level can tie with a little practice. Once you have mastered this technique all you have to do is change the size and colour to match most mayfly hatches.
The chioce of colours and sizes of fly to be used when tying this pattern is determined by what mayfly you intend to imitate and under what conditions. In still water fishing, trout can be extremly sellective when feeding on mayflies, they have good time to check them out before sucking them in.”
we’ll note that although this tutorial is intended for mayflies, the same basic technique enables us to create extended bodies for any other insect by simply changing or mixing colors, dubbing types, proportions, adding tails or not. we can even add legs in the same manner we’d place rubber or feather-fibre legs in between the dubbing wraps. the possibilities are pretty much endless.
on a personal note, i hope these step by steps will encourage tiers to delve back into the realm of creating flies instead of assembling the increasingly popular ‘ikea-style’ fast-food flies from pre-made, paint-by-number kits. not only are they generally more realistic/enticing to the fish (as opposed to what the angler might think a bug looks like and behaves) but allow greater variances to fit one’s specific needs (matching the specific bugs where you fish instead of some bugs from the other side of the globe), they’re a whole heck of a lot cheaper and most importantly, increase the angler’s satisfaction of successfully creating something oneself worthy enough to trick our slimy friends.
click either pic to access this great tutorial. enjoy !
via Alun Rees at The Enigmatic Angler
what a charming, lovely find. much more than just a fly fishing movie, this very rich one hour film divided in four chapters gives us a view of a not-so-far past on southern england chalk streams, their ecosystems, their habitants, flies, gorgeous under and above water film and photos studies of insects and fish and all sorts of other goodies.
i’ll pass on the ‘educated trout’ aspect but greatly applaud their somewhat early adoption of catch and release. give yourself an hour to kick back, forget the week-end stress and allow yourself to be emerged in these beautiful streams. enjoy !
thanks Alun !
- Casting a Voice (thelimpcobra.com)
- Spey Casting: the Snap-Slip-Spey (thelimpcobra.com)
- the Origami Wing (thelimpcobra.com)
- Double Tapered vs Weight Forward Fly Lines – Which is really better? (thelimpcobra.com)
- The Trout Fly Dresser’s Cabinet of Devices (thelimpcobra.com)
“This is not a fly fishing film, just relax for a few minutes” will do my friends, thanks for sharing the love.
be sure to watch it in full screen & HD. enjoy !
(somewhat) related articles
by Jens Pilgaard via flytying.dk
“This way of using the feathers own structure added another dimension into the final results by bringing natural curves and lines into my flies that I had never seen before. I was amazed by the similarity of the wings from real insects and the artificial ones made out of a single feather. Shortly after this I discovered, that this way of using the feathers gave me some unforeseen advantages that I could use, not only in my super realistic flies, but also in my fishing flies.”
fast, simple and gorgeous and all you need to make one is a feather, tweezers and a few fingers. as pointed out be sure to only use one feather per fly to avoid horrendous, frustrating tippet/leader twist whilst casting. paired wings may appeal to the angler but fish can’t count !
“Last but not least I find it very satisfying to be able to tie a fly that is beautiful as well as functional. It sorts of gives me a greater pleasure of performing my hobby whether it is sitting tying the flies or fishing with them on a nice and sunny day in June.”
in the end that’s what it’s all about. feeling good, confident and most of all having fun throughout the whole process of fly fishing with all it’s various elements. does it really matter in terms of fish-catching efficiency if a dry fly has realistic wings ? not really and there are innumerable successful patterns to prove this but, if the angler ‘believes’ in the fly, if it has that special mojo, then it magically catches more fish. that’s hardly scientific but catching more fish generally tends to bring more happiness to the angler and that’s scientific !
click on either pic to access the full step-by-step. enjoy !
some love to start off your week from André Brun.
i hope he keeps this up, it’ll turn into a hatch…
more from the ‘new faces’ series of fly tying videos, this one shows us not only a nice fly but it’s very well explained even though there are no words.
the various methods are straightforward, of special note however is the oh-so simple method of splitting the tail fibers by using a piece of tying thread. my swedo-buddy Jon Hanson showed me this little trick years ago but he usually uses a piece of flash material instead of thread, giving it a little ‘bubble effect’: nice touch.
Thomas gets extra-bonus points for using a barbless hook, a LAW vise (pure jealousy, oh yes… ) and setting this all to a little bouncy tune that matches the female egg-laying dance she does just before passing on to mayfly heaven. enjoy !
by Jim Lees
knowing Jim personally, ‘extended-body’ wouldn’t be the first thing i think of when thinking of him but that’s maybe the sign of a great fly dresser: always expect the unexpected !
fishing buddies Marc and Jim at the IFFF 2011, Killyleagh, N. Ireland. (the guy in the back is holding up the pub)
“In most circumstances I’m not a huge fan of extended body flies but where I happily make an exception and where extended bodies really excel is with flies like the Daddy Long Legs or Danica Mayfly. With those flies you’re not sacrificing hook size or performance when you have the hook shank contain just the thorax of the fly.
buying bodies. that just doesn’t sound right… better to go the Jim way by clicking the pic to access this great step by step tutorial.
once done, be sure to check out this post where Jim explains how to mount these sexy tubes. (somehow, that sounds a lot better)
by Arnt Mollan at Mollan Media
here’s an absolutely gorgeous 49 minutes of magic to start off your week. enjoy !
woW… yesterday i received a note from Carl McNeil stating i was one of the winners of a Swift Epic Unidirectional S2 Fast Glass fly rod blank from a photo contest on Facebook. made in New Zealand by CTS these modern high performance fiberglass blanks seem very promising to say the least. (click the pic above for specs)
needless to say i’ve been jittering around since with visions of fly lines dancing in the air and millions of big and strong jumping fish as the result of each cast !… (well, maybe just one monster fish per cast but it’s fun to have grandiose thoughts)
since it’s not a finished rod some magic’s going to need to happen before this little 7’6″ 4wt darling comes to life and this is what i have in mind.
a custom build similar to this beauty by George Minculete of TightLoop rod building in Romania. i’ve emptied four buckets of drool so far today !
expect a full review of this new rod and it’s build within the coming months.
and mostly, a million thanks to Jeannie and Carl McNeil for selecting my photo !
by Louis Rhead 1916
it’s hard to tell how much humor was originally intended by the author but here’s an amusing 177 page blast from the past with all sorts of goodies such as:
Trout flies in April- When insects first appear
Why it is best to copy nature
Shiny Devils and
Artificial frogs that wiggle their legs and float
once past the silly giggles we’ll notice that Rhead was quite the modern and even avant-garde angler, completely understanding the successful fly fisher will not solely fish with surface flies but also larval and nymphal imitations and that typical ‘trout-insects’ aren’t the only food item our slimy friends like to eat.
he also didn’t have any qualms criticizing his peers when need be and thought that sticking needles into insects wasn’t the best way to study a living creature.
a really nice informative and entertaining read, click either image to access the complete e-book on internetarchive.org.
” The Quill Gordon is undoubtedly one of the worlds most well known dry fly patterns. The flies tied by Gordon back in the day looked quite different to the version we are accustomed to today. The other day I was looking through some of my books and came across a few pictures of flies tied by Theodore Gordon himself, and realized… “
funny thing is i’m not particularly attracted to the historical aspect of fly fishing or tying but i just can’t get enough of David’s flies. from one of the best tiers specializing in the Catskills style, the fly below leaves me breathless.
for more awesomeness and modern variants of the Quill Gordon click the pic. enjoy !
beyond actual assembly methods, preserving the intended proportions of a fly is one of the finer skills a tier can acquire.
there are numerous ‘hands on’ methods such as using the bodkin needle or other tool or even a ruler or drawing compass to compare lengths, widths and heights but in my mind the best tool is the mind’s eye.
“to see things with the mind”, to envision proportions by superimposing little boxes, triangles circles or ovals as in the image below frees us from the boundaries of gadgets and superfluous tools leading to a more intuitive approach to tying and fly design.
if there was only one adage to adopt in our craft the better one would probably be:
Less is More…
give it a try sometime. as in all things regarding adapting the way we see and think about the things around us, it may take a little patience and persistence but it’s a fun and rewarding challenge.
these thoughts where inspired by Dave Wiltshire’s fantastic CDC Loop Emerger pictured above.
“Tied in a range of styles and with different materials, this fly has a hugely buggy appearance and suggests that struggling and vulnerable stage as a fly makes the change from nymph to dun.I like to tie the tips long and allow them to project over the eye, giving an even busier profile. In conjunction with the wing, this makes a fantastic footprint.”
to access the step by step for this pattern and its variations click the pic and while you’re there be sure to check out a whole slew of other fluffy goodies at Dave’s River Fly Box. enjoy !
my first reaction was “oh my……” , but on second look (and third and forth etc, etc) what comes out is a fly that is pretty uniquely designed around strong trigger/attractor points and that makes it stand out not only to the fish but also from the average dry fly lot.
all this spread-outness created by the separated tails and legs will of course leave a strong footprint on the water’s surface but when combined with the poly-wing, makes for a fly that lands ‘on it’s feet’ and stays that way, stabilized by it’s effective overall width, something very interesting in rolling waters. the wing itself will make it visible to the angler miles away making it a good indicator fly for fishing a nymph or two beneath it if you’re in a searching situation.
good and BigFooty stuff for sure, enjoy !
of particular interest, this video shows us a nice, simple and nifty way to create an extended-body generic mayfly pattern. i’ve seen this style many times before and i don’t know if Matt is the creator of this method but this tutorial indeed demonstrates this technique best.
as an option, other tiers will slick-down the body with varnish or uv resin to make the finished body thinner to match their local bugs. as might be expected, this thinner, coated version will only help this part of fly sink as a sealed material can not soak up fly floatant but sometimes that’s not such a bad thing as the half in/half out appearance could suggest an emerging fly struggling to break through the water’s surface tension. as Matt’s use of rabbit dubbing on the video suggests that the thorax would be underwater, the tier wishing to have a higher floating fly can easily substitute for other coarser materials such as hare, seal’s fur or even foam. enjoy !
via the Imago Blog
always having strong issues about fishing for wild spawning fish, this little piece by Alex Gustafsson struck a resonant tone.
Is it bird, is it a plane??
No my friends, it´s just a simple mayfly.
One, simple mayfly!?
This is what I saw when after 48 hours of intense salmon fishing. (or really just casting tube flies with a two handed rod in a famous river were there supposedly could be a few salmons swiming.)
I found myself starring at it as it danced up´n down over the water and it just came to me, f**k this s**t. What am I doing here.
Why do I chase a fish thats here to spawn and not for eating. Why? It just dont make any sense.
I want to chase fish that eat, eat mayflies. I want to chase trout, grayling or why not arctic char.
I guess I just got a bit lost in the hunt for bigger and stronger fish that finally put me in that river with a big ass rod, chasing fish that dont eat.
Ok, the idea of catching a fresh salmon that just came up the river is fantastic. But still, seeing that mayfly reminded me of who I am as a flyfisherman.
So, a thank´s to mr. Bug for setting me straight this time.
like the bumper-sticker said: “If the van’s rockin’, don’t come knockin‘”…
here’s some schmultz to start off the week (and a fine example of poor casting), be sure to share this with the little one’s !
by Roy Christie
“My EasyPeasyUSD is a ‘concept’ fly for presenting an effective light pattern to fish feeding on the adult insects and the Flat Spent Spinner for the tail end of the hatch. Tie it to match the colour of the hatch.”
landing delicately, sitting low on the surface with a very ‘eat me’ profile and a very visible wing all makes this pattern outstanding for just about about any bug-eating fish. be sure to follow Roy’s recommendations below. click the pic for the step-by step, enjoy !
“treat with liquid floatant and leave to dry before losing it in a tree. ~ Roy”
” Turbonate eyes of male mayfly “
by Laurie Knight via Nikon Microscopy
go on chaps, do your best…
click the pic for more not-necessarilly fly fishing related yet groovy close-up images.
‘Another Mayfly Nymph’ by Lucian Vasies
“It is a great nymph for the beginning of the season.”
pretty humble to say the least…
southern hemisphere friends, you might want to tie a few for the weeks to come.
click the pic for the materials list and step-by-step. enjoy !
just like the tannin-stained water it came from.
i have no idea what this species is but it’s happily joined to the list of fish i’ve caught on the fly.
it took a small mayfly pattern while targeting brown trout in a lake. i did manage a few trout on bigger flies but since the takes where infrequent, when i changed to the smaller size 18 and under these little scrappy things where the only ones interested.
(the image was enhanced to show some detail otherwise it was almost completely black)
interesting fish. a nice little fighter and very pretty !
EDIT: thanks to my friends Jeroen and Chris we’ve deduced that it’s a Crucian carp - Carassius carassius.
” The crucian carp is a member of the common carp family Cyprinidae.
It is a European species, and its wide range spans from England to Russia; it is found as far north as the Arctic Circle in the Scandinavian countries, and the southern extremities defined by central France and the Black Sea. Its habitat occurs in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers. It has been established that the fish is native to England and not introduced. “
quote source: Wikipedia
photo and video by Hans Weilenmann
here’s an ingenious pattern designed by just recently passed away Bob Quigley.
it’s a half-in half out-out imitation of a crippled mayfly dun trapped in the surface with it’s two halves definitely secured in their position on the water’s surface due to each part’s respective materials.
tail and abdomen are made of the same marabou feather, soaking up water and as such, the tail will wiggle freely with the current further enhancing the ‘struggling’ aspect of the trapped mayfly. on the front end we have two high floating materials: cock hackle and deer hair. the hackle will vibrate slightly with the current and once again give this imitation a strong impression of life.
this fly has served me well throughout the years although i prefer the Tiemco 200R or Hayabusa ‘Living Larva’ hooks of the same form. i haven’t tried the Umpqua U204 but it’s open gape doesn’t install confidence, specially with a crushed barb.
a little tip for fishing it is to wet the tail/abdomen feather with water before the first cast so it settles underwater right away. also, depending on the current’s speed i’ll apply floatant differently. with fast water the whole hackle/hair part gets a good amount of floatant, on calmer waters just the top and i’ll rub the lower hackle with water or even a little tippet degreaser to help sink the ‘legs’.
as always, tie them up in different sizes and colors to match what’s coming off where you’re fishing.
another great tutorial from Hans i hope you’ll enjoy !
Hexagenia (Hex) (i think…)
Drowned (i know)
interestingly enough, Hex’s and other mayflies we commonly consider to have only two tails, actually have three.
the third is a little stub as seen on no. 5.
two, three or fifteen tails, alive or dead, it’s still an amazingly freaky, beautiful and complex creature.
Thomas‘ new friend, Mr Mayfly
and the caddis that got away…
despite the great number of bugs under, on and around the surface, the hot air and water temperature combined with low water conditions put the fish to sleep and very few where interested in playing.
it was still a beautiful day.
simple and sweet, here’s a little breakfast puffs emerger !
since there’s no tying explanations you can find the materials list and backup photo step-by-step here.
and speaking of puffs…
it’s hard not to like this one. the deer hair will keep it afloat in fast waters and it’s smaller sunken body and shuck will get a lot of attention in calmer currents. relatively easy to tie and chock full of key emerger elements, this low sitting fly is just the ticket for any salmonid. vary sizes and colors to suit your water. enjoy !
we’ve seen Markus Hoffman’s fantabulous fly tying videos here, here and here and now we get to see the next step of his obsession with art, insects, trout and fly fishing.
it’s fascinating to watch, however if you don’t like high speed, thrashy loud music that involves monster-like screaming as a singing form, i’d seriously recommend turning down the volume… enjoy !
by Davie Wotton
here’s some absolutely wonderful insights, invaluable material information and groovy historical aspects for all those desiring to increase their knowledge of both traditional and contemporary wet flies by probably the most knowledgeable and talented person in the fly tying world. ’nuff said, enjoy !
by Markus Hoffman
Wow, Wow, Wow and Wow !
this time we’re treated to the ‘Overworked Shaved Edition’ and what a treat it is !
(yes, something special happens somewhere around the middle of the video, you’ll just have to wait and see)
i could go on and on but this little film tells it’s story on it’s own so i’ll just shut up. enjoy !
the day started with some snow and finished off staying wet all day.
if you’re in an playful mood you could always try saying that three times in a row as fast as you can !
pretty well distributed around the world, the Leptophlebiidae order of the Mayfly family comprised of 134 Genera (types) and 623 Species (groups) is not only a groovy bug to look at…
but imitations of these in the various forms of the bug’s development are fun to make and well worth having in the fly box.
often confused with Tricorythodes (trichos) because of their similar teeny size and often simultaneous hatching, here’s some nice reading on a very real and important food source for trout-type fishes.
“It is impractical to fish a Pseudo nymph imitation effectively on the bottom, due to the size and the quick and evasive manner of the natural. Pseudo nymphs are, however, very sluggish and clumsy during actual emergence, and a tiny nymph that floats in or on the surface film can be quite effective right through the hatch, even though the water may be covered with floating duns. This is mainly due to the nymph’s slow, drifting ascent, and the difficulty they experience escaping their nymphal shucks.”
how to tie them
and here’s what they sound like !
and such beautiful facts they are…
from Ulf Börjesson, Sweden
“To quote the now sadly disbanded R.E.M and the enigmatic singer Michael Stipe;
Imitation of Life
I don’t think it can be done.
so this is my fly photo.
A Yellow May.
Otherwise it’d just been a shot of an F-Fly.
A fly that imitates everything and nothing.”
more than just being able to enjoy watching these critters in their watery world, this video shows us some interesting aspects of the naturals that might be beneficial to keep in mind when recreating them at the bench.
while a lot of artificial nymph bodies are rigid, we’ll notice that the naturals bend quite a bit around the abdomen area, specially while swimming. this bend can go up as well as down, meaning that the conventional way of imitating them, with the tail and abdomen bent in a downward position is only half correct.
when they’re not swimming a good number of mayfly nymphs have an enormous amount of movement once again in the abdomen area but this time because of their breathers flapping back and forth to collect air.
many tiers have included these elements in the form of articulated bodies and ostrich herl or cdc breathers, just name a few, but there’s still a lot of possibilities left in fly design. a little imagination and experimentation with different materials just might bring on a new wave of nymph design.
of course, we can rightfully argue (and i’m one of them !) that most of the time, such details aren’t of any practical significance as many imitations that don’t really imitate anything at all are equally effective but i guess that as fly tiers, we’re all after the elusive dream of coming up with the next ‘miracle’ fly, the one that will turn on the fish when everything else leaves them indiferent !
source: Tightline Productions
in this case, it was a Manna for the trout. “It was said to be sweet to the taste, like honey.”
a couple of size 18 mayfly spents i tied several years back for the little stream that ran next to my house. the top one with a higher bouyancy for the ripples and small waterfalls and the bottom fly for the calmer spots.
it was the first time i’d tried making extended mayfly bodies and i guess from that perspective they came out pretty much ok but i can’t say much for the rest of the construction though. hook proportions are off and the heads are ugly. the sideways mount of the hook on the bottom fly seemed like a good idea when i saw the model in a book but it turns out that the wing often prevents the fish from hooking up as it acts like a weed-guard on pike or salt flies…
it’s interesting to see how we change our ideas on fly construction, develop our aesthete and tying methods through time. what looked great one day looks kinda cruddy the next…
“Say the word “Baetis” to someone and most will just look at you strangely. Say “Ephemerella” and and they will start to think you have gotten some kind of stroke, and when you say “Lebtholebia” you might just get a kick in the groin!”