Fly Tying- Two Grey Things

Things, because they’re both fairly nondescript trout-type patterns. one floats, the other doesn’t, meaning they eventually could both be used at the same time and Grey, well, because that’s what its been like here lately in the Sunny South of France…greycanal m.fauvet-TLC 14-5-16
also, some fish can’t make up their minds if they’re in the mood for something completely black or completely white so here’s the chance to give them something(s) that’s right in between.

first up is a Grey Heron Nymph by Matthew Pate. herons are a protected species in many countries and therefore its illegal to sell and buy their feathers but if you’re lucky, you’ll find one (feather) laying about on a river or lake bank. as noted in the video, you could also buy a fishery that attracts herons to increase the chances of getting your hands on a feather or two once in a while.
option two seems like a pia and option one is really haphazard so some good substitutes might be goose shoulder, assorted pheasant body feathers and marabou. personally, i like to use marabou as the little fibres that stand away from the wound body make micro-movements when the fly’s at work. maybe the fish don’t care but i think its cool.

second Thing is an emerging Midge Pupae from Simon at HacklesAndWings. nice, simple, generic and grey; me like.
(hmmm, first time i saw this tutorial i could have sworn the midge wasn’t so olivey. either it yellowed over time or my vision’s bleaking ? anyhow, good thing i don’t swear)

… 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 !

thoughts on fly tying and art

Art Led Me to Fly Fishing by Cheech at Fly Fish Food

gotta love the colder months. people are inspired enough to take the time to dish out some real gems and here’s yet another.

“We didn’t have guns to shoot, ATVs to ride, or animals to feed. I really was fueled by sports, mainly soccer, through my younger years but I always had access and drive to create art. In about 5th grade I realized that I couldn’t draw anything that was realistic, so I’d draw and create caricatures and abstract stuff (like the flyfishfood logo) that would freak out my teachers. I guess the sculpture of a figure in a hooded robe with his mouth sewn shut was the kicker for her… ”
Art Mascots Cheech FlyFishFood

and it gets groovier and groovier from thereon.

click the moustache for the whole bit and be sure to dig through the Fly Fish Food site for tons of awesome reggae-inspired flies. enjoy !

Markus Hoffman’s E -merge- R

e-merg-r markus hoffman

yet another fantastic atmospheric thumbs-up man-cave tutorial of a great emerging mayfly nymph pattern. we’ll see at the end of the video how it sits super-inticingly-pretty just below the surface. enjoy !

Two-For midge Saturday

two fresh-off-the-vise midge patterns from Davie McPhail for a stormy, windy yet lovely midge-filled spring day.
midge cloud

first, a very juicy F-fly midge.

side note: it is indeed a lovely fly but the only thing i can see here that vaguely resembles an F-fly is the cdc wing and that it’s mounted on a hook; something along the lines of all these ‘Pheasant Tail’ nymphs we see all over the place that are named as such because there’s pheasant tail fibers in the recipe, they’re also mounted on hooks and it’s a nymph but that’s as far as it goes if we compare them to Frank Sawyer’s original fly and in this case Marjin Fratnik’s famous F-fly… i’m not ranting, i’m just a stickler for names and word choice in general. on the other hand, i could be completely wrong and maybe Davie has simply named it F-fly in my honor…. :mrgreen:
side note two: the exact same pattern with a white wing and dark grey/black body will make a very nice Hawthorn fly/Bibio Marci  pattern and they’re about to come out to play soon.

and a Shuttlecock-style midge emerger.

of special interest here is the peacock herl body used straight off the stem. absolutely lovely and simple, just be sure to tie it in the right direction to get this great result. Davie’s explanation on the cdc wing at the end of this tutorial is a great example of fly design and it’s practical application going far beyond simplistic aesthetic consideration. an added bonus is it leaves us the possibility to customize it when on the water by simply snipping or tearing away either the tip or butt section.

related articles

tying very small flies on bigger hooks

by Johan Nygren

funny, i was just thinking about this yesterday.
to match the midges that where coming off needed size 24-26-28 emergers but the fishery has 50cm and up fish. sure, i’ve hooked fish before in the same circumstances but the proportion of takes to hook-ups is very low, the disproportion between the fly and the bigger mouth is the problem.
it’s all part of the game to stalk and not hook up but it gets quickly frustrating when you’re not in a Dalaï Lama mood….
Johan’s article addresses this issue with a few tips and pros and cons. good stuff indeed.

To tie a small fly on an over sized hook – benefits (and some disadvantages)

click the pic for Johan’s article. enjoy !

ps- be sure to crush those barbs before you tie ! 😉

Fly Tying- Roy Christie’s Reverse Parachute Fly

just like their creator Roy Christie, born on the wee ‘Putting back the rocks’ burn * , these very much ‘out of the box’ flies are an ingenious alternative to the more classical patterns.
i’m still in awe with this hackling method. not only does it leave  a perfect ‘puffy’  and buggy imprint on the water’s surface but they’re also as durable as imaginable. to prove the point, at shows, Roy throws them on the ground and stomps and grinds them under his cowboy boot !
other parts of the fly, specially the hook, might get a little wear and tear from this rather extreme exercise but the hackle at least always come back in very fishable form. as we see below and on the sbs, the hackle is wound then later entrapped by the monofilament support. in actual terms, even though the feather’s stem is still there, the strong mono takes over as the major support of the fibers.
designed as emergers, the abdomen/tail section lies below the surface, further helping the degreased leader tippet sink and stay under the surface where it’s most discreet to the fish. f’n brilliant…
i could go on and on but i’ll let Roy explain all this and more on the video below.

so, to make this lovely little number-
 painted by Jeff Kennedy

you’ll need to start by making this,

then this,

and this.

sure, there’s a few more steps before, during and after and to find them you can click HERE for another great step by step via UK Fly Dressing

and if that doesn’t do it for ya, here’s Roy himself tying and explaining how to make this amazing fly. enjoy !

a few in various colors and variances from one of my boxes. some where tied by Roy, some by myself.

don’t leave home without ’em !

burn 2  (bûrn)

n. Scots

A small stream; a brook.[Middle English, from Old English burna; see bhreu- in Indo-European roots.]

Overtime Mayfly Emerger Overworked

by Markus Hoffman

Wow, Wow, Wow and Wow !

this time we’re treated to the ‘Overworked Shaved Edition’ and what a treat it is  !
(yes, something special happens somewhere around the middle of the video, you’ll just have to wait and see)

i could go on and on but this little film tells it’s story on it’s own so i’ll just shut up. enjoy !

Frank Sawyer’s Bow Tie

very similar in concept as the SS Knot where the knot is outside of the hook instead at the eye, this super-creative ‘outside of the box’ Bow Tie Buzzer (BTB) rig thought up by the amazingly observant Frank Sawyer quite frankly gets me all excited…
what a simple, ingenious solution to something i’ve been trying to work out for years: getting a Shipman’s Buzzer to hang vertically, basically on the surface without having resorting to a blob of foam or worse yet, cdc feathers.

” When rigged properly the bow tie should seat nicely in the hook eye when the nymph is slid down to it, and yet it should be free to move. The actual hook eye of the nymph is free on the leader and so rigged that it can wobble from side to side or spin completely round as though swivelled. This combination of movement is sufficient to delude fish into thinking the nymph is alive. “
click here for the complete article

and i bet it does ! as this is the exact position the midges are in when trying to penetrate the water’s surface film for their final transformation.
swinging back and forth, spinning and bobbing up and down, sounds like a trout’s buggy version of a lascivious pole-dancer. who could resist !

i’m thinking a small piece of polypropylene or similar floating yarn held together with a Duncan knot would do nicely for the ‘breather puff’.

Why Emergers Are Important

by Mike Lawson via Rio’s blog

being one who generally shuns fishing the imago (final stage/adult development of a winged insect) for all the reasons explained below, i’ll almost always go for emerger-style patterns first or on a dropper behind a higher-floating dry.
this article is a real gem and one of the best i’ve ever read on ‘not only matching the hatch, but matching what the fishes are keyed-in on’ tactics.
it was hard selecting a teaser quote for you because it’s great from the beginning till the end and chocked full of spot-on info often kept secret. this one’s a definite keeper for the serious salmonid angler. thanks Mike !

” One of the most common questions is how to know when a trout is feeding on emergers. I simply use the process of elimination. Adult mayflies or caddisflies are relatively easy to see as they drift on the surface, even if you’re half blind like me. You need to be patient when you find a feeding trout and take time to watch. If you see adult insects drifting over a trout’s feeding position without being noticed, you can bet the fish is feeding on emergers. ”
full article here