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 !

Fly Tying- Herman’s Roy-style Reversed Parachute micro caddis

Herman as in deGala and Roy as in Christie !

i of course don’t mean any disrespect as i really like this video and Herman’s demeanour but ! apart from the bright green egg sack, to be honest, i can’t for the life of me see this fly as anything caddisy… but (again) ! lets have a closer look at this fly’s other component, one we can easily transfer over to countless other dry/emerger/floating nymph patterns; the Christie-style Parachute hackling method.

no style is an end-all but this one really stands out from the crowd on several levels, most notably by its ‘puffed-up in a ball’ fibre positions but also overall strength and resistance to fish teeth and other abrasions.
more ‘traditional’ hackling around the hook shank has the fibres oriented vertically when the fly is resting at the surface whereas others where the hackle is wound on a post such as the Klinkhammer or Christie styles have them horizontally, parallel to the water’s surface.
generally speaking, vertical fibres will have only their tips in contact with the water’s surface, thus the fly’s body is suspended above the surface whereas horizontal fibres are splayed out on the water. the latter leaves a bigger imprint on the surface but also does a better job at suspending what’s beneath it, in this case, the fly’s body or ‘floating nymph’ as it where.

as to it’s sturdiness, what makes this one so close to the proverbial bullet-proofness is that the hackle stem is enclosed within the nylon loop. should one segment be torn, the rest still hold their place, something traditionally wound hackles can’t claim. one little nick and the fly needs to be changed.
i don’t loose a lot of flies so how they hold up through time is important. (i’m also very lazy when it comes to tying sessions, or rather, it’s hard for me to actually start tying flies. once i’ve started i can’t stop and it’s not like flies are precious but i just don’t know when i’ll feel like tying again so the ones that have hatched are expected to last. i’ve digressed enough….) anyhow !

a while back we’d already seen Roy’s Reverse Parachute step-by-step and complete video tutorial and while Herman’s version isn’t a night and day variant, something about it makes the whole nylon post and hackling method seem simpler, something that should be of great interest for the person wanting to learn and try out this hackling method.

my guess is the ‘simpler’ part might have to do with using a Gallows tool to hold the nylon post vertically and tight whereas Roy does without. i’ve been tying mine for years without the tool and it of course works very well but i’ll give it a try soon as i suspect it makes winding the hackle easier and more importantly, easier to keep the winds compacted close to the hook before tightening the loop.
in a pinch, you can make a little metal hook from a paper clip and attach that to a rubber band, the lot suspended from your tying light or have someone hold the nylon post while you wind the hackle. it only takes a few seconds, plus its a good way to put your partner/spouse/sexdwarf/roommate/butler or whomever’s handy to good use… ummmm, enjoy !

some previously seen yums. i loves yums !