Ceramic flies- What they are, what they do and how to make them

they don’t look like anything in particular, just some general bug-type shape with just enough bug-type elements that suggest food and colour contrasts to set them apart from river debris and nothing more. in a sense, they epitomise the presentation over imitation concept. here’s a few examples:

ceramic nymphs flyfishing.co.uk.jpg
at first glance they look like nuclear waste candies and as always and specially when dealing with non-immitative flies, colours are mostly up to the tier’s whim. personally, and since i never specifically target grayling because i can’t stand the f’n things… preferring to focus my attention on trout and other less offensive creatures, i like them best in naturalish tones with a black head. that’s my whim.

these things consist of a lead or lead substitute wire wound around the hook shank to form the body followed by several layers of ceramic hobby paint to finish the fly. Pébéo seems to be the preferred brand, it’s available in small pots and even in pen form. i’m not familiar with the pens but it seems to be a fast, easy and maybe less expensive alternative for the person who might want to just try these out or make just a few.

there’s no traditional ‘tying’ involved in the process. traditionalists will of course poo-poo these things and not even consider them as flies but the hell with them. traditional flies can’t do what these do which brings us to the ‘what they do’ part-
apart from the Perdigon style of nymphs, every other style of nymph that i know of has sink-restraining elements: feathers, fur, dubbing, rubber or whatever protuberances that slow down and make it more difficult to get the flies on or near the bottom and that’s what these deep-divers are supposed to do. sink-restraining flies can get to the bottom too but they need more time and an enormous amount of weight to counter their sink-restraining properties but once there, and even if they catch fish sometimes and look ‘good’, they’ll tend to drift like big lifeless, unnatural lumps.

sleek deep-divers like Perdigons and Ceramics do indeed have some form of weight but much less. being super-sleek they cut through currents faster, get where they’re supposed to go faster, meaning the angler doesn’t have to cast as far upstream and wait for it to settle, making the presentation a lot more accurate in drift management while freely tumbling downstream with the current much closer to what a natural would do and that’s a lot more important and fish-catching than bits and pieces wound on a hook that attract the angler more than the fish.

an added bonus is lighter flies are a lot easier to cast (and safer) specially when using industry standard fly lines as opposed to Dynamic/Euro/TightLine/monofilament-only rigs.
ceramic nymphs 2 flyfishing.co.uk.jpg

as we’ll see in Stanislas Freyheit‘s video below this particular type of paint has some really interesting properties, the only drawback might be that its best (and highly recommended!) to wait approximately 24 hrs between coats. this means making them in batches and being patient, sort of like making babies and having to wait nine months before they pop out.

lastly, a bit of unofficial Ceramic nymph history. this kind of info with any kind of veracity isn’t easy to obtain but i can confirm their French origin. although relatively new to the global fly fishing world, i’ve known about them for about fifteen or so years.
frogs tend to not share their secrets… however, Stanislas, who ties these bugs commercially happily shares all his trade secrets for all to see, all in a very understandable english, big kudos for that. enjoy !

fly images via flyfishing.co.uk/Google images

Fly Tying- Like Jim Said

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 ?

wellington
hmmm, spelling isn’t all that but i still think this is really cool…

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.

tim-trengrove-3
Photo by Paul Slaney

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.

tim-trengrove-2
Photo by Paul Slaney

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.
tim-trengrove-1

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

Fly Tying- Hans and his Klink

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 !

 

Breaded Carp

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 !

Fly Tying- a CDC Yellow May Dun

by Davie McPhail

Big-bird-NEW

the Yellow May or, Heptagenia sulphurea is the Big Bird of the aquatic insect world. not so much i guess in the big sense, but it has weird globular eyes, its yellow all over, can be seen from kilometres away, is undoubtedly the easiest ephemeroptera species to recognise and everyone loves it, specially hungry trouts !
here’s how to make a really nice one so you too can be in the Cool-Yellow crowd , enjoy !

Fly Tying- the Chroma Caddis Cutie

yes, i think this thing’s cute but more importantly, fish do too.
friday's face caddis pupae M.Fauvet:TLC 29-8-14

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.

Fly Tying- a CDC indicator Caddis and the difference between Croupion and Cul

Marc Petitjean didn’t invent Croupion De Canard* feathers nor was he the first to use them to tie flies but when it comes to this particular material he’s one of if not the best in the field so getting the chance to watch and hear Marc demonstrate one of his patterns is not only a treat but an enriching experience. be sure to pay attention to all the details as this pattern encompasses just about every cdc technique there is. enjoy !

* contrary to popular usage, CDC actually means Croupion De Canard which translates from french as Duck Rump, the not very specific region where these feathers are located whether it be duck, goose or other waterfowl.
the more popular moniker of the first C, Cul is the vulgar translation of butt or arse (think old school here. let’s say the word wouldn’t have been pronounced on tv until the 70’s or 80’s) and while those two bird parts aren’t very far from each other and even if butts tend to be nice generally speaking, waterfowl butts are rather inexistant and mostly consist of a hole that isn’t very exciting to say the least… and while its function is secretion, its nothing that would help any feather float.

where the more common Cul comes in (that was a fun thought), is when Henri Bresson, a long ago dead frenchman created a pattern using the very same feathers and made a slightly vulgar play on words when giving it its name. somehow that name stuck even if the very vast majority of fly anglers around the world have never heard of Bresson or that particular fly pattern. funnier still, is there’s no available image or tying description of his fly, only written stories so, for all we know it all might have been a dream.

sorry to be so anal but this butt stuff makes it fitting…

Fly Tying and Slurping and Burping

the Slurp and Burp Worm: its as if a mouse, a beaver and a wild and wooley, rattling hillbilly mind and body-melded themselves to a hook. what’s not to like ?

more than just a nifty bass and whatever other species that likes hybrid foods fly, this is one the most well explained tying tutorials i’ve seen in a long while. Pat Cohen goes the extra mile and this is well worth setting aside seven and a half minutes to observe. geez, this is the first fly i’ve ever seen that has a beaver tail, i love it ! enjoy !

 

Two flies for Friday

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.”

Trevor Haymen Large Dark Olive spinner

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 !

friday's candy fly m.fauvet-TLC 6-6-16

thanks again Trevor !

Fly Tying Tutorials- the Antr(onW)ax Worm

sorry, couldn’t help it.., that should have been  Antron Wax WormWax Worms

“In the wild, they live as nest parasites in bee colonies and eat cocoons, pollen, and shed skins of bees, and chew through beeswax, thus the name.” for us fishos that means these are terrestrial wormies that apart from very rare occasions, never get anywhere close to to waterways, but !
i mean, hey, just look at these things and tell me fish aren’t going to be all over them in less time that it takes to ummmm… i don’t know, but let’s just say quick. real quick.

pros: they’re gummi-bear fatty and juicy and squirmy and they can’t escape. that all may sound like wishful anthropomorphic fish food reasoning but apart from being right, it also makes me feel good.
cons: none whatsoever. (that was easy !)

on to their imitative fly. i’ve seen all sorts of wax worm imitations and they all looked like, well… but this one ticks a lot of boxes. as mentioned in the vid, the very same Antron body will make an as-lovely caddis pupae abdomen and in my eyes, a skinnier version would be just as yum looking on any mayfly or whatever nymph.

simple and easy to tie, a little tip to get the first wrap of twisted Antron just right is to put a dab of superglue at the base of the fly and continue up from there.
a big thanks to HacklesAndWings for this great tutorial. enjoy !

Fly Tying- a Looooong Mouse

by Andreas Andersson via KanalGratis.Se

deerhairmouseif you’re the fast-food type that needs quick tutorials and quick ties you might want to look away. on the other hand, if you want what’s very probably the most awesomest deer hair mouse tutorial, hang on.

43 minutes long, you’ll need patience, time and about fourteen deer hair hides to make one of these beasts but its such a great video so full of tying tips and tricks and that all makes it more than worth the time. enjoy !

Fly Tying- More than an Egg

we’ve taken the egg tying route before with the standard egg yarn design- the Good side of Clowns and a pretty darn realistic, resin-based- a Perfect Embryo.
most tiers would leave it at that and consider their eggy needs complete but this recent video by Matthew Pate takes the egg yarn technique to another level and its brilliant and super-easy.

the concept here was to make a softer egg and the technique is very-very similar to how we would use deer hair, both in its application and consequent trimming to shape. Matthew’s tutorial shows us not only a really nifty way to make an egg imitation but what i’m also and maybe mostly seeing is a really-really cool way to make streamer heads, bodies or other fly shapes that can be trimmed to any form and will shed water easily making casting a piece of eggy cake.

the creative tier might have already figured out that by alternating different coloured bundles of egg yarn we’ll get a barred-bodied effect. other options might be including flashy synthetics here and there and, and, and, it seems like using the same technique can lead to myriad results: the egg yarn’s the limit.
once again, brilliant stuff. enjoy !

Fly Tying- Oh Wanda !

i’ve always liked this name. it sounds primal, prehistoric, powerful and psexy.

Wanda White
Wanda (/ˈwɒndə/ won-də; Polish pronunciation: [ˈvanda])
is a female given name of Polish origin. It probably derives from the tribal name of the Wends. The name has long been popular in Poland where the legend of Princess Wanda has been circulating since at least the 12th century. In 1947 Wanda was cited as the second most popular name, after Mary, for Polish girls, and the most popular from Polish secular history. The name is popularly interpreted as meaning “wanderer.”

this hot-off-the-vise streamer pattern by Kris Keller via FlyFishingTheOzarks  looks like it’ll be super-steamy wanderer for any fish that wants a nice seductive mouthful.
Wanda Olive:White

as Kris says: “A very cool little single-hook pattern. In the right color-combo and size, I believe this fly could catch every species of game fish in the world.” and i don’t doubt that for a second and i’m sure you won’t either after seeing the way it swims.
simple to make and rather inexpensive (as far as modern streamers go), tie them as in the tutorial or like the featured variants and as always smaller or bigger to suit your particular needs. enjoy!

Fly Tying- a Long Hackled Secret

why ‘secret’ ? well, to start with, this usually reserved for wet fly method of hackling a dry fly is anything but common.
in its finished all-in-one-step legs and wing aspect it closely resembles the layed-back wing and prickly legs/head results one would get with deer hair but without all the fuss and muss plus, generic cock hackle fibres are softer than genetic fibres and a lot less stiff than any deer hair, giving a more life-like movement to those very same fibres while still keeping the pattern afloat. who knows, the softer fibres might also result in less spit-outs compared to the probably unnatural extra-crunchiness of stiffish deer hair but that’s more of a guess than a rule.

long hackled dry D.McPhail

secondly, besides the ingenuousness of the hacking method is Davie McPhail’s enthusiasm about this pattern. after studying what, several hundreds of his tying tutorials with many of them shared here on TLC , apart from the excellence of each one, the common denominator -and i don’t mean this in the slightest derogatory way- is Davie’s droning voice and while his voice is still the same here there’s a certain held-back excitement when he describes this pattern’s merits that i haven’t noticed in any of his other tutorials and that’s telling me that this little secret tie is really special, has been held back long enough and is now ready to be shared with all. thanks Davie.

originally created as a Bibio/Hawthorn/St. Mark’s fly –Bibio Pomonae– imitation, its more than obvious that a little tweaking here and there with different colour schemes and in different sizes will make this pattern an equally effective imitation for a whole lot of other terrestrial species and even aquatic-born sedges. Bibios ‘thighs’ are a very distinctive red, thus the red wool but that same wool can easily be nipped off waterside if need be.

at first glance, this isn’t the most impressive looking fly out there but it’s designed to catch fish, not anglers.  enjoy !

the Good side of Clowns

as far as real clowns are concerned there aren’t any.
they’re creepy, sadistico-perverted, fatty-reptilian sub-being leftovers from some nasty Bosch vision of hell.

on the other hand and in their unhatched state, clown eggs are quite beautiful. these exquisite, multi-coloured orbs are also just the ticket to entice just about any fish species we’d care to pursue with a fly rod in freshwater and yes, fishing egg imitations is definitely to be considered as ‘matching a hatch‘. (let’s see the purists try to reason themselves out of that one… )

anyhow, thanks to the great MidCurrent / Tim Flagler duo today’s freshly hatched treat shows us one of the most ingenious fly tying tricks i’ve seen in ages. i’m not so sure the rest of the world really needs to figure out what 15/trillionths of an inch is to be able to make the special egg-laying tool but the idea and technique is well, simply awesome whatever measurements you use. this one’s really special, enjoy !

Fly Tying- Should upsidedown flies be tied rightside up ?

this recent article from Devin Olsen at Tactical Fly Fisher brings up some very interesting points on nymph design, particularly and as the article’s titled-
Wingcases, shelbacks and wings: To invert or not to invert ? that is the question.

among other great observational insights found in the article, one of the most pertinent, easily verifiable by anyone who takes the time to actually look at how a nymph swims when attached to tippet facts is:
– whether the fly is tied on a standard or jig hook, it doesn’t drift horizontally or in other words, its attached by only one end and therefore tilts and it does its thing in a position that has nothing to do with the usual horizontal fly-in-the-vise or fly photo perspective.
– with this in mind another factor worth considering is, due to water turbulence and all the bazillion currents/countercurrents found in flowing water, nymphs and any subsurface fly tumbles, rocks back and forth, spins and twists while they’re swimming and this again destroys the perfect side view described above, once again reminding us that our 2D perspective and subsequent fly designs may indeed catch us fish but we’re probably not seeing a greater picture that might maybe help to make more fish-attractive designs or simply to have a better understanding how our imitations work and finally, if its worth including or subtracting elements to our patterns.

nymph design Devin Olsen-Tactical Fly Fisher

i do like Devin’s conclusion and it definitely fits in with my own experience-
“Last and most importantly, I’ve tried both methods of wingcase placement with inverted flies. Those tied with wing cases in the normal fashion have fished as well or better for me than those tied inverted. Drift theory aside, this is the only real reason that counts much to me.”

this is good stuff so be sure to click either the pic or the link at the top of the page for the complete article. enjoy !

Winged Nymphs for Dynamic Nymphing

winged-nymph-Lucian-Vasies

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.”

winged-nymph-tail-Lucian-Vasies
the two key elements setting this beast apart from the rest, both of CDC fibres for the reasons explained in Lucian’s complete text and step-by-step you can access by clicking either pic.
winged-nymph-wing-Lucian-Vasies


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,Bladge 25-1-13 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

Itsy Bitsy, Teenie Weenie, Yellow Comparadun

B…..
ok, enough singing and on to some praising !

here’s a little two matirialed, size 24 ephemera/mayfly imitation that comes together in that just-right manner at the end of the tie.
getting tiny flies down pat is a matter of keeping things simple while keeping all those simple things in the correct proportions and ending up with an imitation that’ll float well, be visible, last in time, leave an enticing footprint on the surface, easy to tie, all the while looking yummy and this wee thing has them all.

– note that Davie’s using Dik-Dik for the wing and tails but also notice that any fine, preferably well-marked tips deer hair will do just as well.
– of special interest as well is this particular Tiemco 2487 BL hook. i haven’t used these yet but they tick a lot of boxes and i’ll definitely be giving them a go in this size this upcoming season.

as always, Mr. McPhail not only shows us fantastic flies but also a miriad of high level techniques for those who observe carefully. enjoy !

the Infernal Triangle of the Nymph World

first of all, the Sanford and Son episode that inspired these magical nymphs-

ok, that was to a) get you throught the “Oh, No ! Not Another PT Tutorial !!!” feeling you probably had when you opened this page and b) a little Sanford and Son rerun every ten or twenty years doesn’t hurt.
so, now that we have the historical background and ermm feelings covered, let’s have a look at this lovely trio of nymphs through yet another awesome video from Davie McPhail.

all three are based on the very same Pheasant Tail nymph design. one’s a straight-up PT and the other two are variants.
these two variants, in my mind, aren’t really necessary because as we all know, no other nymph will outfish a PT but they’re there to remind us that if we keep the same concept and proportions as the OGPT, we can play around and customize and make ourselves feel good and feel special and still end up with an equally succesful, inexpensive and dead-easy to tie nymph.
on a more practicle note, while the variants will necessitate more than just two materials, these materials are also stronger than pheasant tail fibres making for flies that will resist a little better to tiny teeth, forceps, angler clumsiness, underwater rocks abrasion, etc.
a lot of tiers will have an iffy feeling about tying a complete fly with wire instead of the classic thread but trying is believing. keep in mind that the wire’s weight actually weighs the fly down quite a bit or at least a heck of a lot more than it might seem at first. that weight is also distributed throughout the fly’s body instead of the usual just-behind-the-head of the typical beadhead nymph and results in a more realistic movement through the water. for even heavier versions, lay a lead wire base in the thorax region before attaching the tying wire and and skip the wire build-up sequence.

here you go, you’ll find the materials list below, enjoy !

materials used in the video- (feel more than free to improvise)
Hook, Kamasan B175 (something barbless is of course better)
Thread, Extra Small Copper Wire (thinner is better, specially if you want more weight. the smaller spaces between wraps means filling in those spaces with wire instead of air)
Tail, Pheasant Tail Fibres
Body, Pheasant Tail, Natural Dubbing and Killer Bug Yarn (this one’s hard to get but there are several equally effective substitutes available)
Thorax Cover, Pheasant Tail and Natural Dubbing

Fly Tying- The Klippies en Kolgaans

most of the tying videos i share here are about the whats (flies) and how-tos (techniques),

hqdefault

but this little doozie from South Africa’s pride and joy, Fanie Visagie (a.k.a Gordon Van Der Spuy) is more about the how or rather…  give a totally nutter yet completely lovable guy a vice, tools, video cameras and some exotic fluff and see how he manages to put them all together in his own very particular style and in other words, this is a real treat. enjoy !

Eat Sleep Fish’s Happy Birthday Dun !

ESF 4th b-day

48 issues and 4 years old today !

that’s really big and a wonderful example of perseverence and passion resulting in a simple, good-natured, non-advertising, no glits and glam, always great to read fly fishing ezine.
in a way, Eat Sleep Fish has the feel of your local newspaper but with contributors from around the world and that’s why i like it so much. it’s a combined effort of peers just like you and me and not the same-old hotshots over and over again.
saying how much i enjoy reading a magazine without having adverts shoved down my throat might sound like i’m ranting about most other ezines (all?) but birthday’s aren’t about ranting, they’re about yummy celebrations and what’s better than chocolate cake ? well, nothing. or rather, chocolate cake with a big scoop of chocolate ice-cream on top ! but neither Pete Tyjas who runs ESF nor i can slip you a slice via the web so let’s just slurp down Warren McCarty’s non-fatteneing #20 Olive Dun instead but first you’ll need to tie some up and here’s how to do it.
take special note of steps 10 & 11. i’d never seen this method before and its really special.

click either pic to access the birthday issue and HERE for an archive of all previous issues. enjoy !


#20 Olive Dun Step by Step by Warren McCarthy

“A smaller than average dry fly this month and one which takes inspiration from the dedicated ‘small fly’ websites. Although a size 20 is hardly small compared with the miniscule flies some tie it certainly is as small as I need to go for almost all my fishing. I love all the materials used in this pattern, the natural materials and colours produce a fly which to me, looks and feels right both in and out of the water.
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I have been tying duns with quill bodies and long split tails for a while, my patterns having the popular CDC wing with a hackle. But once I started to drop out of my comfort zone into a #20 and even smaller I started to use a thorax/hackle that I had come across whilst reading Andy Baird’s excellent ‘small fly funk’ website. Andy used a mole fur thorax with his hackle in his ‘generic olive’, which when I tried looked great. By doing away with the wing the tie was simplified. Less materials equalled less turns of thread and therefore less bulk, essential in smaller flies.

The extented tail is without doubt a trigger point, much has been written on the subject and I for one have been converted to the silhouette this type of pattern creates.
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Material choice is especially important to me with with this pattern.

The hook is always down to personal preference but to me the Partridge hook is a ‘proper’ size 20. I also go a bit smaller with the Tiemco 103bl #21. But I have to confess to using the Flytying Boutique dry fly light hook (which is essentially the same as the Tiemco but cheaper) more and more these days.

Although a #20 is by no means miniscule, the size still creates problems with the tricky tail and making sure there is no excessive thread build up throughout the tie. The excellent veevus thread has great strength for its diameter which certainly helps.

Yes I am afraid it’s another fly with a Polish quill body, but I’m quite honestly struggling to find anything that looks as good in this sort of ‘natural’ pattern.

I find most capes have a fair few tiny hackles at the base which are fine for a #20. Finally, not much to be said about the mole fur except don’t overdo it.

Materials
Hook – Partridge SLD #20 or Flytying Boutique Dry Fly Light #20
Thread – Veevus 16/0 AO5 Olive
Tail – Tan Microfibbets
Body – Polish Quill Yellow
Thorax – Mole Fur
Hackle – Cock Cape – Brown

Tying
1. Vice up your hook and catch in the thread.
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2. Carefully wind down the shank with touching turns until in line with the point.
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3. Now carefully separate two microfibbets and lay together so as the tips align and then lay on the shank leaving the tail at least twice the length of the hook shank. Carefully catch in the microfibbets with your thread and wind down until just short of the bend. Make sure the microfibbets remain on top of the shank.
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4. Follow the same procedure to split the tails as described in detail in my June ESF article ‘Olive Variant’

With the waste trimmed and covered the thread should be left just short of the eye.

5. Wind the thread back down to the bend where the microfibbets split. Select a quill and carefully catch in, then wind your thread back up covering the waste quill finish three quarters of the way up the shank and trim off waste quill.
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6. Now using your hackle pliers carefully wind your quill up the shank to form the body, tie off three quarters of the way up the shank leaving enough space for your hackle.I now use a couple of whip finishes to hold the body in place for varnishing. DO NOT cut the thread.
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7. The quill, as always, needs varnish to offer protection and to bring out the colours. For such a small body I use a sewing needle to apply a very fine coat of ‘Hard As Nails’.
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8. While the varnish is drying select a small hackle. Take a bit of time and care: the individual fibres should be, if possible, no longer than the length of the body.
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9. Catch in the hackle with the stem towards the bend, give a couple of turns of thread then trim off waste. Continue to wind the thread up to the body covering the waste and tidying up.
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Catch in.
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Trim waste and tidy up.

10. Wind on three or four turns of hackle snug against the body catch in with one or two turns of thread.
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11. Now dub on a tiny amount of mole fur (I apply a tiny amount of wax). Carefully wind the dubbed thread in between the hackle fibres leave thread at eye ensuring and spare dubbing is removed.
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Lightly dub.
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Wind the remaining hackle back through the previous wound hackle/mole dubbing foundation towards the hook eye.

12. Push back hackle and whip finish.
Trim thread and apply varnish with a sewing needle.
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13. I like to give the hackle a haircut and trim off underneath to ensure the fly sits well in the water.
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The finished fly
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Look out for these:
Take time to ensure the tail microfibbets sit on top of the shank and split with a nice wide ‘v shape’.
Although easier said than done with a small body, try to ensure the quill body still has the definition showing the black edges.
As mentioned before do not overdo the mole fur dubbing.
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Summary
To me the most important part of the fly is the long split tail; it helps the fly sit well in the water and definitely acts as a trigger point as mentioned before. Although not a ‘classic’ technique I like running the dubbed thread through the hackle, it splays the fibres out giving an uneven finish. And when trimmed underneath the hackle takes on a ‘hedgehog’ effect.

Although I have made reference to the small fly websites, this fly is by no means the ‘work of art’ type patterns seen on these sites. Their creations go down to staggering #28, #30 and even smaller. The thread I use and no doubt the tying technique would be over the top for these tiny masterpieces.
However it is still fun to tie and more importantly, fish with, whilst being a step in the right direction of even smaller creations. After tying a few, a #16 seems enormous.
Now where did I leave the box of #26 !!!!”