a well-meaning friend asked me if this was still a fly fishing blog.
here you go.
～ Friedrich Nietzsche
the original version might have been about voids but intentional misquoting is where it’s at, man.
as promised, here’s a special-guest fly tying nugget via buddy Tim Trengrove from Wellington, North Island New Zealand.
Wellington happens to be as far away on the other side of the globe from me as possible, any further and he would have to come from space !, and i know this because i have an app on my phone that once leveled, shows what’s on the other side of our beautiful planet as if we where looking straight through it. it looks like this. cool, huh ?
ok, now that i’m finished with my pointless interjection… today’s topic is about traditional influences in contemporary fly tying and durability and more specifically, hackle durability by using the Reversed Hackling method. Tim’s explanation is straightforward and should suffice in itself but if it isn’t i’ll include the link to previously posted video in the comment section that explains it well. enjoy !
thanks for your contribution Tim, it’s greatly appreciated. i know your trout season’s about to start and i hope it’s a grand one !
Like Jim said
Tiny caddis were already crawling up my back when the first trout began rising. In the Southern Hemisphere summer, no rain for some weeks meant the flow was much lower for the post-Christmas period. Perhaps that and the extra hot day brought the caddis on as daytime hatches in this river were an unusual sight.
My normal fly choice would have been a caddis pupa but, having tied up some Partridge and Yellow spiders, I was keen to use them instead. The results were astounding, but unfortunately not for all the right reasons.
Browns and rainbows up to 3.5 pounds grabbed the fly and tore off down the pool. Some cartwheeling across the surface, others leaping high. There were break-offs and other midstream releases. What upset me way more than losing fish was the sight of seeing some of my flies unravelling. Flies that looked pretty in the box, but now were not surviving these fish. My spider tying technique was rubbish.
Later, after reading The North Country Fly by Robert L Smith, I adopted the traditional tying method for spiders. This made for much more robust flies and I’ve been waiting for another daytime caddis rise since then.
The whole “robust” thing got me thinking about fly construction. There will always be a place in my fly box for North Country fly designs like this Woodcock and Hare’s Ear.
The hackle is tied using the traditional tip-first method then wound once the body is constructed.
What I wanted was a fuller-bodied fly which was as strong as or stronger than the umbrella-shaped spider.
Starling with hare’s mask on a Kamasan B160 #16. Something along the lines of a Stewart’s Spider but not as unruly in appearance. This led me to reading how Jim Leisenring constructed his flies in The Art of Tying The Wet Fly & Fishing The Flymph. Jim typically used the reverse hackle tie-in for his soft hackle wet flies and instead of making a narrow collar of hackle, he spiralled the hackle rearward. The tying thread was then wound forward through the hackle to the tie- off position. This gave the hackle a fuller appearance and helped make the fly incredibly strong. I took those ideas and incorporated them into spiders.
If you can see differences in hackle construction looking at the two photos, your eyesight is very good! When both flies are moved about in the water together, the differences are seen more clearly. I tie these in #16 for slow, clear water and #14 for faster water. In the last season this pattern accounted for brown trout in slower rivers near my home in Wellington and the Mataura in the South Island, and rainbows in the fast flowing Tongariro. So long as I tie a decent knot and work on not being stupid after hooking fish, most of these flies make it back home. That is a big improvement on my first spiders.
When it comes to tying wingless wet flies, I like to tie the hackle in a similar way.
As Jim Leisenring has been such an inspiration, I will leave the last words to him.
“The art of tying the wet fly rests upon a knowledge of trout-stream insect life, a knowledge of materials used for imitating the insect life, and an ability to select, prepare, blend, and use the proper materials to create neat, durable, and lifelike imitations of the natural insects”.
(The Art of Tying The Wet Fly & Fishing The Flymph by James E. Leisenring and Vernon S. Hidy, 1971, page 34)
Tim Trengrove, New Zealand
hard to think of a trout fly fisher anywhere around the Globe that hasn’t heard of or used Hans van Klinken’s notorious Klinkhammer emerger, one of the rare true innovations the fly tying world has seen in what seems like millenia.
lots of tiers from that very same Globe have made tutorials for this particular pattern and they’re pretty much all pretty good if not actually great but one thing’s missing: they’re not Hans.
generally speaking i guess, the way i see it is no matter how close one tries to stay close to the original, there’s always a slight personalization when translating someone else’s work and as such they become variants. there’s obviously nothing wrong with those variants, however from a learning perspective, and again this is just my own point of view, it’s of greater interest to learn from the original and vary from there instead of learning from variants and varying even more.
with a good portion of the important aspects of this fantastic pattern’s how-to details highlighted/blown up in split-screen, we’ll get it straight from the horse’s mouth whilst simultaneously having the opportunity to admire Hans’ glorious man-belly. enjoy !
or, a Bread Fly for Carp.
ok, bread isn’t a natural food source for animals but a lot of them like it. a lot.
as far as our scaled friends are concerned, whether they find access to it because people like to toss bread crumbs in urban lakes and ponds for ducks or whatever other creatures that might be in there, or if crumbs are used to lure them in by fishers, they somehow find it irresistible so it makes all the sense in the world to use bread imitations even if those imitations don’t look in the least bit like bread… but that’s another story in itself i suppose.
so, today’s nifty tying tutorial by Yuu Cadowachi shows us how to tie a nifty crumb. accessible to tiers of all levels and requiring few materials, the usual variants such as not adding weight or varying colours and sizes should put you in the right ballpark for your local fish. lastly, carp aren’t the only fish that enjoy bread. mullet, catfish, bream and even trout (and i’m sure i’m missing out on a whole slew of other species) can all think it’s a tasty snack so having a few of these patterns stashed away might come in handy even if these species aren’t usually at the top of your list. enjoy !
Isonychia… cool name.
torn somewhere between the desire to go fish these critters in their home waters and lavishly repeating that word in some lovely redhead’s ear, i guess for today we’ll (well, i’ll… ) have to just enjoy this creature and tying video from afar.
Primarily an East coast, Midwest (US) insect, this rather handsome emerging ‘Slate Drake’ pattern is simply awesome by it’s simplicity, sturdiness and general profile. in a sense, a mayfly is a mayfly is a mayfly and as such, by changing colors and sizes, the basic pattern will make an all-over all-around great emerger for any waters.
as always, the Mat Grobert/Tim Flagler team make an excellent tutorial displaying excellent technique and know-how well worth paying special attention to.
” Their nymphs are among of the fastest-swimming mayflies in the world. They can power their way through fast riffles with ease, and their imitations should be fished with fast twitches.
They are unique among mayflies in that they have extra tuft-shaped gills at the base of their fore legs, a structure normally found in stoneflies. ”
images and nymph quote from TroutNut.com. be sure to click either pic for more info on this sexy bug. enjoy !
some would say that HackleAndWing‘s version of the not-so-new latex bodied caddis pupaepattern is a little overly fussy and i’d mostly agree. however, tying hard-core bread and butter fish attractors tend to be a simplistic and sometimes monotonous endeavor so, sometimes its nice to add a little fuss just for the fun of adding fuss.
extremely well explained with tons of details worth paying special attention to, the final result has all the trigger points, proportions and profile the real pupae has and is well, yummy to say the least. i hope you’ll enjoy.
just sent in by buddy Trevor Hayman, a Large Dark Olive spinner – Baetis rhodani
“Quite a few of these around on the (Southern England) chalk streams right now.”
this kind of ultra-lovely bug image gets me going in a good way. i wish i was on those chalkstreams right now but that’ll have to wait till next month so, to get in the mood i immediately went to the local café, ordered a double espresso and got to work on making a few somewhat dark olive imitations for the trip. i’m feeling really positive about this one !
thanks again Trevor !
as tradition would have it, i sat down to tie some much-needed deep-down nymphs, carefully selected all the necessary goodies, bead-heads and other assorted non-floaty materials and went off to make some coffee before starting the assembly process.
once back, all that water-absorbing crap got pushed out of the way, the caffeine blasting long-ago recollections of André Breton’s writings in a random cortex…
“The aim was to resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality”
his definition of the Surrealist Revolution movement-
n. Pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, in writing, or in the craft of fly tying, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation.
Philosophy. Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of previously neglected associations, in the omnipotence of dream, in the disinterested play of thought. It tends to ruin once and for all other psychic mechanisms and to substitute itself for them in solving all the principal problems of life.
all that maybe meaning that this guy’s strung-out subconscious decided that since my dry fly boxes are overabundantly filled in the real world, the dreamy side of things, the one that can’t count flies nor boxes nor reason with reason and thinks soft watches are cool just went ahead, took over, blanked the brain better than any mind-numbing substance could ever do and a dozen or so of my standard March Brown dries size 16 where there waiting for me when my fingers stopped twitching and my eyes opened. a fair amount of drool gently puddling excess materials further proved the “solving all the principal problems of life” part above because wet excess materials don’t fly all about the house and are easily collected and binned.
i’m quite certain that Breton’s arrogance would never have admitted fly tying to be a worthy expression of his beloved revolution/movement but that’s his loss. among other displays of numptiness he was more than happy to vehemently proclaim that music was shit which, even if that’s correct to a certain extent with regards to rap, pop and country music, those musical forms didn’t even exist back then and it’s a stupid thing to say even if it probably felt good to say at the time.
for those interested in the more materialistic aspect of this pattern,
subconscious love and several juicy materials from my buddy Lucian Vasies at troutline.ro
hook- Maruto D82 BL
thread- Veevus 12/0 brown
tail- Coq de Leon Pardo Rihnon
abdomen- Mad Rabbit (Romanian hare mask)
thorax/wings- Ultra Dense CDC fibres in a dubbing loop, wound with the fibres teased upwards at each turn. be sure to give the bottom a nice Brazilian to keep the imitation flat on the surface and treat the whole thing with Loon Lochsa, the stuff’s awesome.
its a really good-all-purpose mayfly imitation that’s done me good for many years. its my standard.
” Some like it and some don’t ! “
too bad for the ‘don’t’ crowd because for the ‘do’ers’, this simplest among simplest to tie flies is also one of most catchiest there is because almost every fish you’d care to catch on a fly rod happily eats worms: ’nuff said.
notice how the beadhead/chamois skin combo is positioned towards the rear 2/3rds of the hook shank, this helps (a little) in preventing the chammy skin from wrapping around the hook whilst casting. what really helps most in that regard is to keep casts short and mostly to use Oval/Elliptic/Belgian two-plane casts for thes bugs just as one would when casting flies that have limp materials extending behind the hook gape.
fishing-wise, real worms get regularly washed into river systems during storms or heavy rains so the obvious time to use their imitations is after a spate but we all know that worms catch fish anytime and anywhere so…
apart from the hook and thread there’s only two materials, a beadhead (optional) and the most important element to get the all-important wormy goodness; real chamois skin or more correctly, chamois leather.
substitute synthetic ‘skins’ may seem ok when they’re dry but the wormy goodness of the real skin really gets its effect when wet. it’s even slimy to the touch ! (if that doesn’t get your fishing fingers twitching you might as well take up golf. or curling).
i somewhat regulary see these skins in the auto parts section in stores (these skins are par to none in getting a spotless finish on a vehicle after its been washed) but they can also be found on Amazon, Ebay, etc.
they’re not the cheapest of tying materials but a portion will easily make hundreds or more flies, maybe an expense to share with mates.
once again, ’nuff said. enjoy !
here’s a seriously interesting emerger offshoot of the infamous G-Gnat.
created by Blue Ribbon Flies and demonstrated by Tim Flagler at MidCurrent, this little bug should do the do and do it well anywhere there’s teeny-tiny midges coming off and dancing about the surface. this one’s in size 20 but the basic idea in various tones and sizes to match your local bugs are sure to raise some trouty interest.
maybe its just me as it took me a little while to figure out the G-Gnat component in this pattern but fly names are fly names and its always good to respectfully attach a variant to its original, and said component happens to be: a very volume-reduced few turns of grizzly hackle over a short peacock herl thorax. those few turns are good enough for me and i’m positive, more than enough for a hungry fish. enjoy !
some high-level fly design from Lucian Vasies any and every nymph fisher might (read should) take into consideration: it’s that good.
“Winged Nymphs for Dynamic Nymphing could be considered a new frontier in fishing nymphs and a new way to tie flies. Some fly tiers consider them ugly. In terms of a classic construction and after the traditional rules to tie a nymph, these flies are quite ugly. These flies don’t follow the rules for conical bodies or for the tail made from feather fibers. What about the typical streamer wings? Something like these was never seen on nymphs. But appearance is not important to these nymphs. Their goal is not to please the fisherman, but to catch fish.”
Lucian’s a buddy and i know he won’t take this sideways but the fold-over wing isn’t exactly new but that’s of no importance. what is however is this concept is as hot as it gets when it comes to wet fly and nymph design.
here’s my ever so succesful ‘bladge i started tinkering with four years ago. it’s a black midge just subsurface wet, size 20 where the soft, fold-over wing was inspired by Peter Dobbs’ Shwartza (bottom pic) created in the early ’90s for the UK reservoir competition scene which in turn might have been inspired by the soft wing tied semi-upright Clyde style flies from a hundred and more years ago. Clyde wings are typically tied with wings slips from game birds. they’re nowhere as stiff as genetic cock hackles but they retain their wing shape a lot more than the marabou used in the Shwartza or fuzzy fibres found at the base of starling feathers i use for the ‘bladge.
what they do have in common with Lucian’s ingenious idea of using CDC fibres is all these super-soft materials collapse back when wet. since they’re tied in wing-style every fibre is free to move around, both undulating with the current and creating a very life-like ‘outer shell’ of the imitation’s body, something any other tying method has a very hard time replicating. play around with the concept, i promise you won’t regret.
for more on the Shwartza click the pic