Fly Tying Tips and Tricks: Hackling

another great tying tip from In The Riffle. this one on how to keep hackle wraps nice and tight and perpendicular to the hook on either bulky, irregular or tapered fly bodies.  good and dead simple stuff indeed, one to put in the “D’Oh ! why didn’t i think about it ?! category.

What is a Flymph ?

Skues Medium-Olive-Nymph-if nothing else it sounds pretty cool but let’s dig a bit more.

“Vernon S. “Pete” Hidy coined the term flymph. What is a flymph? A flymph is a hatching insect be it mayfly, caddisfly, midge, or stonefly that according to Pete Hidy is in the stage of metamorphosis “changing from wingless nymphs to flies with wings”. These flies are historically fished with a across and downstream technique that allows the current to naturally swing and raise the fly up to the surface in front of a rising or holding fish in a manner that activates the soft hackle collar and body materials effectively imitating life in the ascending artificial fly. The attraction of these flies is that not only do they look natural but they behave natural as well. They have movement; they have the appearance of life.”

now, the last part to me is probably the key element when considering constructing these flies: “the appearance of life’ (even though the real bugs could be stillborns or spents, their leg/body/wing parts would still move throughout the drift downstream)

“Traditionally flymphs are tied with natural body materials that will undulate in the currents. These body materials include hare’s mask, peacock, muskrat, mole, squirrel, and other natural fur with guard hairs. Shaggy body materials like rabbit, hare, and squirrel hold water well, sink quickly and also capture small air bubbles when they penetrate the surface film. These air bubbles create shimmer and sheen and look particularly similar to caddis pupa which uses internal gases to propel them to the surface or egg-laying caddis that dive underwater to lay eggs and carry with them oxygen bubbles for respiration. The hackle collars of flymphs are chosen with color and movement in mind to match the emerging wings, antennae, and legs of the ascending nymph. Soft, webby feathers such as hen, partridge, grouse, starling, woodcock, or quail are choice. These feathers absorb water and each has it own unique action underwater.”

such invaluable insights, want tons more ? click either pick for the full, well-worth-the-read article or The Royal Order of Water Buffalos  ooops ! i meant the TIBOTF logo here.

and since it’s the first fly you’ll see when you get there: the all-time classic inevitable must-have super-sleek Partridge & Orange spider,
partridge & orange HWhere’s a hot-off-the-press video tutorial on how to tie it by Hans Weilenmann. enjoy !

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getting low-down and Double-Dirty

as impressionistic and effective as it gets, here’s a minor variation of Bob Wyatt‘s classic Dirty Duster general emerger pattern and because more dirty is better than less dirty…  the Double-Dirty Duster (3D) is born ! originally created as an easier-to-tie version of his famous DHE (deer hair emerger), this pattern is anything but a minor replacement. the abdomen is still under the surface film but the thorax sits slightly differently on the surface, the clipped hackle underneath offers ‘spikier’ legs and the whole surface imprint is much wider and leaves well, a big imprint, something that might entice a fish if they’re keyed-in to bugs with that silhouette.

Hans’ 3D3D and Bob’s original DD below.

as noted in the video, Bob winds the hackle a second time back over it’s first direction whereas Hans winds just once but with a denser feather and slightly extends the thorax. whichever one will be a hard-core, all over the World proven pattern that sorry to be so repetitive, if you target bug-eating fish then this absolutely needs to be in every fly angler’s box. amazingly simple to make, tie it big to small and everywhere in between and vary colors schemes. follow Hans’ excellent video tutorial at the bottom of the page and you can’t go wrong. enjoy !dirty_duster_clipped