winged-nymph-Lucian-Vasies

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

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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 !!!!”

jiggling damsel Dron Lee

Which is better, Good Head or Great Tail ?

thanks to buddy Dron Lee and his just-out Jigging Damsel Nymph the age old debate is no more as this stunning creature has both. created to capture the murky denizens in deepest-darkest Malaysia, just one look in this damsel’s direction tells us she’ll be a stunner anywhere around our beautiful globe.

sure, her big forehead, shiny neck, silky-rubbery legs and globular eyes get my attention,jiggling damsel Dron Lee
but take a look at her backside and imagine it all wet and dancing about !
Jiggling damsel tail Dron Lee

ok hear me out, i’ll explain why i’m so excited…  real damsel nymphs move about quite quickly in the water and their swim closely resembles that of a tiny fish. this two part tail, while remaining flexible in its entirety which makes it very lively and seductive and all that will move about slightly differently in its two parts: abdomen/actual tail, since the abdomen is stiffer than the tail and no matter how weird it may sound, that kind of stuff gets my blood pumping.

to make this lovely tail you’ll need a needle, some chenille, tying thread and, as for how to put this and all of the rest of her together, you’ll have to click one of the pics above for the complete step-by-step. enjoy !

Caddis Larva - Holger Lachman

a 13 second caddis larva

fast, simple, strong and quite a good looker.

 

“You have to fish this larva deep, that’s why there is a lot of weight in it. It still got a slim body, so it sinks fast to the bottom. You will find Caddis in almost every river and it’s an important part of the fish’s menu.The coloration with the brown line on the abdomen is not a must. I just did it to show you what possibilities you have with ordinary marker pens. It’s tied on a # 10 hook, which sounds pretty big, but the body length is close to the original, just try to keep a slim, natural looking body. Ok, let’s start!”  and to do that (and even if it takes a bit longer than 13 seconds…),  find the materials list and complete step-by-step tutorial on Holger Lachmann‘s great The One Fly blog by clicking the image below. enjoy !

Caddis Larva - Holger Lachman

Fly Tying- Deviating Charlie’s Nuke Egg

some people like egg patterns and some people don’t but what i’m seeing in Charlie Craven’s great step-by-step tutorial is a tying technique that’ll be of interest to any fly fisher. (except for the die-hard dry fly purist… )

Charlie's Nuke Egg

– as is, the Nuke of course looks like a very yummy fish egg still encapsulated by its embryonic sac but if we play with the basic pattern, use an as-close-to-clear as possible egg yarn and say, add two big black eyes we’ll have a fantastic alevin imitation.
– if we don’t add the veil and use that same egg construction shape and stack several close together along the hook shank and then trim to shape once the yarn is all fluffed out we have a really interesting, super-easy, translucent, lively and very attractive streamer body.
– the very same egg shape would make a much nicer head for egg-sucking leeches than the typical chenille.
– this stuff doesn’t hold water for long so we can easily build up a bulky fly body and still have something easy to cast.
– i’m sure there’s plenty of other uses to this technique i haven’t thought of but by now i’m equally sure you’ll see that it’s not just about egg patterns.

click the pic for Charlie’s complete step-by-step. enjoy !

Fly Tying- April tells us all about her Rhea

first, here’s the beast.
3 Rheas well, three of them…

as for the telling all about part, here’s April Volkey giving what’s in my mind/experience the finest and most thought-out fly tying material how-to-use demonstration i’ve ever seen.
it’s not about constructing a specific pattern but about exploring the endless possibilities and hands-on practical aspects of this long, durable and very lively fibre and incorporating it to all manner of salmon, steelhead flies or basically any kind of wet fly or streamer whether it be for fresh or saltwater. be sure to watch it in HD, enjoy !

 

as for the beast itself, click on the threesome for more info.

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 !

Fly Tying- The GRH (gold ribbed hare) Nymph, a step-by-step

Gold-Ribbed-Hares-Nymph-belly-view
“The Gold Ribbed Hare Nymph is probably one of the oldest nymph used by fishermen. Back in the past this nymph was tied differently and was upgraded in time. First was an ugly fly with dubbing all over the hook shank and a few turns of gold tinsel.”

and then it turned into something both yummy and beautiful !

from Lucian Vasies, here’s a super-nice step-by-step tutorial with great photos to help you make your own must-have nymphs effective anywhere in the world for insect-eating fish of all species. click the pic to access Lucian’s page. enjoy !

Tying a Troutline Catgut Biothread Nymph

these little beauties from Lucian Vasies are the chocolate covered marshmallow-filled fish candy hot dogs of the nymph world, some of the handful of freshwater fly patterns that fit in the “If a fish won’t take them flies they don’t deserve to be caught… “ category and better yet, they’re a super-easy and super-fast pattern to tie. hard to beat on all levels, aye ?
micro-french-nymphs-for-trout-and-grayling-tied-with-troutline-catgut-biothread

“The Micro Nymph tied bellow with Catgut Biothread is a fly used in East Europe for his realistic look and for “easy to be tied” fact. A fly like this is efficient for his generic aspect and can be considered a search type of pattern. In fact this pattern is tied with body made of different types of threads but catgut gives a special look . The translucency is very unique and gives a realistic aspect to all flies ( nymphs or emergers ) tied with this fantastic material.”
step-4body-of-nymph-tied-with-troutline-catgut-biothread

click either pic for the complete step-by-step and HERE to source Biothread.
bon appétit , enjoy !

Tuesday’s ShoutOut- the UKFlyDressing forum

UKFlyDressing or UKFD, has been since i signed up six years ago my favorite fly tying forum among the crowd.
always friendly, unpretentious and with a very rich assortment of fly patterns, step-by-steps, tying tips and you name it goodies to keep the fly tier of all levels learning, creative and more efficient.
the highly read here on TLC, Dennis Shaw’s fantabulous A Complete Dubbing Techniques Tutorial is just one of the gems we’ll find on UKFD, i’ve included another lovely below this introduction.

the forum has been a little slow lately. apart from wanting to share a great source for my readers i’m also hoping that at least a few of you will like what you see and feel inclined to join up yourselves and share your ties and knowledge with the rest of the community and keep it alive and thriving for years to come. just in case: don’t be put off by the UK bit, its an international community making it rich and diversified. dig into the various sections deeply, you’ll find more than a few treasures.

you’ll find the main page HERE  but check out this great thread control/twist tutorial first. enjoy !


Don’t get in a Twist by Tango

The majority of threads have a clockwise twist. For a right handed tyer when you wrap the thread around the hook you put another full twist in for every turn taken around the shank. This tightens or cords the thread even more. You must learn to use this to your advantage i.e. when tying in materials/whip finishing/making a rib from thread.

No twist in thread
spin1

Wrapped to bend and a twist in there, not much but it affects the behaviour of the thread.
spin2
If you leave the twist in and try and take a soft turn over the materials the thread will want to lie to the right, this makes it difficult to get the thread where you want it.
spin3
Spin the bobbin anticlockwise and it takes the twist out, this make the thread lie straight and it goes where you want it to.
spin4
You can also spin the bobbin more to put an anticlockwise twist in the thread, this makes the thread lie to the left, you can use this to make the soft loop over your fingers and slide the thread down to the tie in point.
spin7

Why bother?
If you leave the twist in there and whip finish the thread bunches and knots, this usually results in the thread snapping and the whip finish coming undone.

It really does make it easier to tie in materials.

When to take the twist out?
Before tying in materials, whip finishing, splitting thread for dubbing and when you want the thread to lay flat – this reduces bulk.

Exceptions?
Pearsall’s silk has an anticlockwise twist, to split this thread you need to spin the bobbin clockwise. There may be more.

When to put twist in?
When you “post” upright wings it will take fewer wraps than untwisted thread.
When making a rib from thread, you won’t see a flat wrap.

For a left handed tyer it does the opposite, it takes the twist out of the thread, with some threads this can weaken it.

There is also two types of thread, BONDED and UNBONDED, bonded thread (i.e. Uni-Thread) will not lay flat but still suffers from the effects of twist. Also bonded thread will not split so you cannot use it for split thread dubbing technique, MP Magic tool techniques etc.

 

Brandlin’

Alan Bithell has already contributed several treats on TLC and on today’s wormy menu we have another yummy:

brandling |ˈbrandliNG|
noun
a red earthworm that has rings of a brighter color, often found in manure, and used as bait by anglers and in composting kitchen waste.
[Eisenia fetida, family Lumbricidae.]
ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from brand + -ling.

Odor
When roughly handled, an Eisenia fetida exudes a pungent liquid, thus the specific name foetida meaning foul-smelling. This is presumably an antipredator adaptation.

and here’s the beast but the best news is this one catches a lot of fish because just about every fish loves to eat worms and maybe more importantly, this one doesn’t exude anything, not even stink…

Brandlin' 1

lead foil being optional, apart from the hook and thread, there’s only two ingredients:

Brandlin' 2rubber stretch skin and a protective finishing coat of your preference.

as noted in the text, the only challenge here is getting the stretch skin’s tension right. play around with this a little and it’ll be spot on in no time. besides, if it doesn’t look right, simply unwind and try again.
click either image for the complete article on Alan’s site Crackaig Flies, enjoy !

Fly Tying- Everything you’ve always wanted to know about Organza

Get your Ojo working by Nick Thomas via Eat Sleep Fish

Ojo 1
the title basically says it all. Nick’s most excellent and comprehensive tutorial includes preparation of the organza strips, Ojo 2to mixing different coloured strips, to detailed sbs’s of three different patterns with plenty of tips and tricks along the way, to ideas on combining this material with others, to etc, etc, etc.
this is Ojo’d Organzan bliss.

click either image to access the complete article on Pete Tyjas’ Eat Sleep Fish, one the nicest, most unpretentious online fly fishing mags there is. enjoy !
austin-powers-cocktail-glass-4900072

Black Beaver and Cock

‘A fly no angler should be without is a small black midge. Summer or winter you will always find them on the water, and so will Mr. Trout.
The beauty of midge patterns is that they don’t need to be complicated, a bit of dubbing and a hackle is all that’s needed.
Stick one on anytime you can’t see what the fish are taking, chances are it’ll work.’

black beaver & cock

and i couldn’t agree more with Dennis Shaw. these sweet little simple to tie and unpretentious things do good and do good really good.
at first it might seem like a spider but it isn’t. the cock hackle keeps this pattern in the surface film with the body/hook-bend hanging down and the whole thing’s appearance when fished looks similar to an open umbrella in the same manner as emerging midges do when trying to break through the water’s surface tension.

the bug above is on a straight shank size 20 hook but on bigger patterns i’ve found great success using light wire grub style hooks. when sitting in the film, real midges are are twisting and turning so i guess the curved hook reproduces this profile a little more realistically. with teeny-tiny hooks my thought is the hook bend itself reproduces this curved body but then, once again, that’s just a guess.

a very sweet and just as effective just-under-the-surface variant to Denis’s Black Midge would be to replace the cock hackle by just a turn and a half of hen hackle and fish this spider on a degreased dropper attached to the bend of the hook of the dry. a double treat !

click the image above for the materials list and complete sbs on UKFlyDressing and be sure to check out their homepage for hundreds of other groovy flies. enjoy !

as a reminder, Dennis Shaw is the author of the seminal A Complete Dubbing Techniques Tutorial. if you haven’t seen this yet you’re in for a real and unique treat.

Roy’s Flat Spent Mayfly Spinner

yet another lovely-lovely bug and step-by-step by Roy Christie

flatspentspinner R. Christie

“This is another cabin-fever fly, the result of sitting down with a notepad, drawing what we want the trout to see; then building it in a useable form.
This and many of my other working flies come from this process.
Concept flies may eventually become working reality.
This fly will always land gently, right side up and can be easily presented on a sunk tippet.
Build it from materials chosen to match your local fall of spinners.
The fly is built on a curved hook of your choosing, which is cranked about twenty degrees toward the tyer, a quarter way back from the eye. It is dressed round the bend to get the tails to support the weight of the hook shank over the greatest possible area, so it can be dressed sparsely.”
very astute thoughts there showing us what creative and effective fly design is all about: studying the naturals, the prey, how the imitation should ‘behave’ upon presentation and do its job of enticing that prey.
a fly designed to catch fish, not inspired by what other tiers have done but one inspired by trout.

to access the step-by-step and learn how to tie this little cutie click the image.
for more of Roy’s flies previously posted on the Cobra click here. enjoy !

Fly Tying- Setting Hair Wings

by Roger Lowe via Brookings’ Anglers

unfortunately, this video suffers of poor image quality but the very clear, concise and extremely well explained and pleasantly twangy instructions on this technique more than make up for the constant blur.
the tutorial is based on the infamous Royal Wulff patern but the same winging technique will do the do for a whole host of other flies from the more traditional types such as the Catskill school to more contemporary floating patterns such as this little Honey that’s caught me so many fish. Honey has a synthetic wing but the tying process is basically the same.
explore, experiment but mostly, enjoy !