fly heads Martin Joergensen GFF

Fly Tying- getting Good Heads

“Let me be honest with you: I tend to judge a fly tier’s skills on his or her ability to make a nice head on a fly. Simple as that.”
and i’ll be just as honest in saying that i completely agree and share the same point of view as Martin Joergensen.
ugly, sloppy, materials-or-varnish-cramming-the-hookeye heads are just that; ugly and sloppy. i’ll up that in sarcastically stating that tiers who display this despicable ugliness should be…  shame1
somewhat joking aside*, Martin’s recent article on GlobalFlyFisher brings up a whole busload of great points on how to finish off a fly whilst bearing in mind that that finish is often influenced by how the fly was started in the first place:
“Even the first few thread wraps can have an influence on the appearance of the head on a fly. Start in the wrong place and the proportions of your fly are screwed. Tie in the rib too far ahead before adding the body, before putting on a wing and a hackle, and there’s no room for the head. Too far back, and you have bare shank that either needs to be covered or will simply remain bare.
Too thick a wing, too dense a hackle, too lousy a technique, and there will be demand for many wraps to cover the misery, leading to a head way larger than needed – and way larger than what looks good.”

fly heads Martin Joergensen GFF
for lots and lots more thoughts on fly construction, examples and concrete tips, be sure to click the pic above to access Martin’s article. enjoy !

* you’re right, i’m turning into a grumpy old bastard and even if its a conscious and wilful decision and that messy fly heads usually catch just as many fish as nice and pretty-headed flies… my point isn’t so much about being a grump but of encouraging tiers to up their game, develop their technique and bring it to another level. hopefully.

wet and all purpose fly fish food

Fly Tying- Wet and All Purpose

wet and all purpose fly fish food

half-full Clark/Cheech says its a “hybrid of a hybrid” and this half-empty guy says its a “variant of a variant” but !
this isn’t a personality contest, its a friggin’ awesome fly.
why ? the intangible explanation says this thing has fish-magnet written all over it and a maybe more reasonable reason is this pattern kinda looks like several different fish foods and all at the same time and that can only be a good thing for both the angler and the fish.
for us that means we should be able to catch more of our slimy friends in varying situations instead of worrying about fly selection and for the fish, that means they don’t have to divert the attention span of their microscopic brains with any kind of selective choice and it can resume its function to whatever its function is. i digress…

back to the fish-magnet aspect:
with claret thread and rib this would do wonders in Scottish lochs.
with pink thread and rib it would make an awesome seatrout fly in Scandinavia.
with grey/brown/black/transparent/whatevercoloured thread and rib this is bound to do the do wherever you are for a lot of different fish species and that’s spot-on.

as always keep the same design concept by varying those two colour elements and make them big or small to fill your All Purpose needs, you just can’t go wrong. enjoy ! and be sure to go check out what the two WonderBoys are up to regularly. these guys are good and funny. i specially like that last part.

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 !

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

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 !

klippies

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 !

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 !

spin7

Fly Tying- More on Tying Thread Twist

good things come and go and the UKFDUKFlyDressing forum recently and very unfortunately did just that.
it’s hard to put a rating on fly tying forums but i always really appreciated this one, there was so much to learn from very talented tiers, excellent tips and tricks and step-by-steps and always a helping hand for anyone with a query.

along with Dennis Shaw’s amazing A Complete Dubbing Techniques Tutorial and several other tying goodies previously posted here on TLC, today’s nicey is about thread twist.
this twisting is inevitable but we can control it, create more, reduce it and use either one to our advantage depending on what we want or need. knowing this an invaluable aid to any tier. in a sense it’s just as important as any other tying technique and one all tiers of all levels should be familiar with.
once again, thanks again to the whole UKFD crew for sharing such good stuff throughout the years and allowing me to keep some of it alive here.
on with the show, 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.

 

Fly Tying- a Perfect Embryo

here’s a super-nifty tying trick from Gilbert Rowley

i’m neither pro nor con when it comes to egg patterns. as far as today’s tutorial goes, i’ll even completely disassociate from the fact that its an egg imitation and focus in on the rather ingenious idea of covering up a bead or beads whilst creating a body shape.
eggs are pretty much round but one of the beauties of using UV resins is it can be built-up and shaped at will; more on one side, less on the other. UV resin can be cured in successive steps and doesn’t need to be applied in one go. with that in mind we can easily recreate shapes like these or any others we can think of while still adding a fair amount of weight to the fly.
tungsten body shapes

and that’s where Gilbert’s tutorial really shines, at least in my eyes: an inspiration on simple, inexpensive, modular, creative use of weight and fly shape. enjoy !

Fly Tying- Making an Easy flat Lead Tape substitute

“If you can’t find Lead Tape/Foil then why don’t you make your own using a Seam Roller….. ?”

Davie McPhail‘s question/suggestion says it all. first of all, flat lead tape, whether sticky-back or not isn’t always easy to find and it’s more expensive than it should be. on the other hand, round profiled lead wire is easily abundant and quite cheap, specially when bought in larger spools.
secondly, unless we’re going for a bulky build-up of the fly’s profile, flat lead has several advantages the round stuff can’t do. flattening round wire doesn’t change it’s weight which means that for the same amount/weight of wire we can get either get a slimmer profile and not end up with a small, short, squat obese nymph… or, add approximately twice the weight of round wire with subsequent layers of the flat stuff without getting a fatter profile than a single wrap of round. (i hope that makes sense…😆 )

finally, the flat stuff lets us be more creative and specific as to how much weight we add to the fly while easily controlling the profile that we want: its all good.

tip- although a seam roller works best and is worth the purchase in the long run, any burnishing-type tool, an old Bic pen or even a hammer will work great in a pinch. lead is soft and takes little pressure to deform.

Davie’s on a how-to/tying tips and tricks roll these days so, here’s a first for us to eat up, enjoy !

ps- don’t forget that lead is poisonous. don’t go picking your nose, scratching your eyes, eating fried chicken while having sex and licking your fingers after without washing your hands first, Ok ?

Fly Tying- a Blae and Black/Black Pennell two-in-one wet fly

blae
[bley, blee]
Origin
adjective, Scotland and North England
1. bluish-black; blue-gray.

“Ye must be fair starving, Paul,” quoth she softly with her hand on my arm, and I daresay my face was blae with cold and chagrin.
‘The Shoes of Fortune’, Neil Munroblae and black McPhail

now, what’s interesting in this fly’s name is that it doesn’t have any blue components.

ok, black materials almost always have either a blueish or reddish highlight reflection when/if the light hits it just right but it doesn’t matter a single bit because i’m rambling about something irrelevant instead of getting to the point which is: this a f’n awesome fish catching and beautiful fly.

as for the two-in-one and noted in the vid, this pattern is a Black Pennell with a wing. the Black Pennell wet designed by Mr H. Cholmondley (pronounced Chumley) Pennell is a classic that shouldn’t need any introduction to anyone born since 1870.

“Quoting from Fly Patterns and Their Origins by Harold Hinsdill Smedly; “H. Cholmondeley Pennel, 1837-1913, English poet-sportsman and author of The Angler Naturalist 1864; Modern Practical Angler, 1873; The Sporting Fish of Great Britain, Modern Improvements in Fishing Tackle, and Salmon & Trout , 1885, of which he was also an editor, was the originator of that type of hackle fly known as the “Pennell Hackle.” He also originated the turned down eyed and tapered hook which carry his name.
His choice and recommendation of that particular type of hackle fly was in three colors: brown, yellow and green. The body, instead of being bushy or soft, was hard, silk wrapped and thin. The hackle, tied very sparsely, was a little longer than usual.
Although he probably did not realize it when he recommended these patterns of thin bodies and lightly dressed hackles, he started something, for many tiers now recommend and say “dress sparsely,” but he was the first to realize that a lightly dressed fly was oftentimes better than one too heavily dressed.” *

history aside, whether this pattern needs a wing or not to be effective is most probably anyone’s guess and not the fish’s. what it will obviously do however is give the fly a bigger profile and make it look like a bigger somethingoranother instead of a smaller somethingoranother. the good thing about including a wing is it can always be trimmed off waterside with our nippers when big(ger) isn’t on the day’s menu.

enough talk, here’s how to tie the beast. enjoy !

since we’re Pennelling today and variety being the spice of life and all that, here’s an anorexic version of the standard BP tied by superman-tier Hans Weilenmann. following Han’s method you’ll be hard-pressed fitting a wing in there but we all know this fly doesn’t need a wing…

* quote source: Fly Anglers Online

step-5-flytying.ro-the-T-side-of-biot-by-Lucian-Vasies

Fly Tying- More on Biots

today’s tying tutorial treat comes to us from Romania via buddy  Lucian Vasies, one of my favourite all-time trout-type fly tiers.

we’d previously seen a more-than-nice introduction to this great fly body material in What are biots ? and Lucian’s just-out article comes in to seal the deal and help you get the most from these feather parts. here’s a few extracts:

-when you strip the barb from the stem of the feather you will notice that the structure is not symmetrical. The base is transparent and the upper part is more opaque. Also you’ll see a small gap at the base . This gap is a reference for us in tying process.
step-5-flytying.ro-how-looks-closer-a-biot-by-Lucian-Vasies

The opposite part of the gap is not so transparent and in section has a “T” shape. The barb has a small fin/burr. This fin will provide you a very nice segmentation and you can see it in the photo bellow between arrows:”
step-5-flytying.ro-the-T-side-of-biot-by-Lucian-Vasies

and here are a few results on the different ways to use biots. need i say more ?

step-8-flytying.ro-wide-steps-Lucian-Vasies

step-9-flytying.ro-slim-body-Lucian-Vasies
well, yes because i can’t help it… as noted in the article and easily seen and demonstrated in the images above is one of the biot’s fantastic properties: its translucency.
be sure to keep that in mind and use it to its full advantage by strategically selecting an appropriately toned thread or other material under-wrap to reflect light through the wound biot. in the examples above the underbody used was white thread but the possibilities are endless. if you really want the colours to ‘pop’ you could always lay a base of flashabou or similar mirrory-like material and  conversely, you can always tone down and dull or subtly change the biot’s colour by again selecting a primary thread base colour to let it show through the biot. here’s a colour wheel chart to help you mix and match. as we see on the chart, if we have a yellow biot placed over a blue underbody we’ll have a greenish/olive result. 

’nuff said ! click either pic for the complete article. enjoy !