Streaking through Flames

or “The Streaking Caddis” by Andreas Lestander

making muddler-style heads on flies involves a few more things than just deer hair and one of them (ok, two of them) is patience and tolerance, something your house-mates/concubine/wife/husband/pets/ will also need because the messy trimmed hairs get everywhere (oh yes, everywhere… ). you’ll also need some kind of tool to trim the head to shape, usually scissors or a razor-blade.

there’s nothing wrong with those two tools but the first one generally gives an unsightly lumpy-bumpy result and the second can easily turn into a ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’-like scene (if you can find those old-school blades in the first place) and with either, there’s still the damn hairs (and quite possibly a lot of blood) everywhere. everywhere.

ahhh, but there’s a third option and this one includes the always-fun-to-play-with element:  fire
in today’s brilliant tying tutorial, Andreas not only shows us how to make a nice, smooth, easy and sexy head (hmmmm… ) but also how to turn one mess into a completely different one !
see, what happens is the singed hairs disappear (yay, nothing to clean up !) but ! this disappearance is only relative because the hairs have reincarnated themselves into the most absolutely horrido-horrible zombie-like smoke smell you can ever imagine. it’s a well known fact that fly tiers have no sense of smell (or any other non-fly tying sense for that matter when they’re in the groove) which is probably a good thing to get good results but in today’s case, this lack is pretty detrimental to the rest of society and the best place to do this might be at an isolated cabin on top of a mountain. in the northernmost part of Sweden.
anyway, making this fly will not only bring the supreme joy of catching a lot of trout but also one of fulfilling a very important need  in our over-crowded society:  some time alone. should you not be able to get others to leave you alone then use this technique to make them leave !

tips:
– as written on the video, be sure to varnish the whip-finish before burning away to be sure your thread doesn’t melt !
– go creative with the body/abdomen. stripped peacock quill, cat gut and a myriad other goodies make excellent substitutes.
– personally i find this kind of barbecue lighter a lot easier to work with than the standard pocket lighter.

bic lighter

after-note: there are theories by the aforementioned sense-numbed tiers that trimming deer hair with fire actually cauterizes the hair tips, sealing the air cells within the hairs, further enhancing the floatability of the fly. i can not prove or disprove this, it does sound pretty good but a gut feeling tells me it’s bunk. i’d give these a good dose of Aquel anyway, just to be sure… 😉

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4 thoughts on “Streaking through Flames

  1. Better yet is a cautery tool. You can get a used one from your vet or your doc. They have to toss them after one use, but they are happy to give them away to a deserving fly tier.

    • great tip David and thanks for your comment.
      i haven’t used one for a while, they are really good for specific ‘sculpting’ and great for cleaning up, however, what’s really missing are the all-important flames ! :mrgreen:

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