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 !