Fly Tying- All about Cones heads, Discs and Beads

rarely do we get such in-depth research on fly tying materials such as what Martin Joergensen has recently put together for us to learn from and help decide which product will be best suited for our needs.

“A lot of flies – salmon tube flies in particular – use different discs or cones, and the market is full of them. Here’s an overview of some of the many types.” calling this an overview is really an understatement. with all the research of different types of cones and discs, their origins, history and detailed effects on the finished fly, i would consider this more of a thesis on the subject…
cone types M. Joergensen
“Cone heads and discs are the rage on salmon flies. Basically all tube flies tied for salmon fishing feature some kind of cone or disc these days. On hooks it’s much more uncommon to see cones or discs – for reasons which may become obvious later” and for all that obviousness and a whole lot more, be sure to click either image to access Martin’s fantabulous article. enjoy !
Disc types M. Joergensen

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.

Fly Tying Tips and Tricks- Threading a Bobbin Holder

by Martin Joergensen at The Global FlyFisher

we’ve had several great tips from Martin in the past and here’s another that just might alleviate a bit of frustration when at the tying bench. not all bobbin holders are created equal and threads will all have different properties making for a different threading process dependant of what we’re using. getting to this seemingly simple result isn’t always as simple as it might seem… bobbin threading GFF with several methods and just about everything one might need to know on this bobbin holder threading subject, here’s another most tiers don’t know yet that i can imagine becoming the norm in the future: dental floss threaders. floss threader GFF click either image to access the complete article. thanks again Martin !

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about CDC feathers. (but where afraid to ask the guy at the fly shop)

by Hans Weilenmann via Martin Joergensen at GFF ‘Global Fly Fisher’

in what’s the most comprehensive description of what makes these feathers so unique, Hans’ Tying with CDC article is a must read for any fly tier.

calc_cdc-type1-drawing-384

“The description “Cul de Canard” was reputedly coined in the late 1950s by French tier Henry Bresson for one of his patterns. The description has contributed to some confusion, especially when it was literally translated into English as “duck’s butt” or “duck’s arse” feathers.
CDC’s history in fly tying and fly fishing begins in central Western Europe in the 1920s and the dry flies used by fishermen living in the Swiss Jura Mountains near the French border. These patterns, generally referred to as Moustique (Mosquito) patterns, remained unchanged until well into the late 1970s.”

(just to set things straight, the feather’s official name is Croupion de Canard or ‘duck’s rump’. Bresson’s somewhat clever-quirky sense of humour later turned the name of his famous fly into Cul de Canard or, ‘duck’s ass’: cul being a rather vulgar term (at least in those times) for those lovely globes we cherish so much)

calc_feather-2-3-584

historical and frenchytude niceties aside, the Understanding CDC chapter is where we get to the nitty gritty with such goodies as the four feather types, why applying floatant to them renders them useless, harvesting, tips and tricks and how to select the right feather for its intended use.
fly shops all-too-easily sell us any old sort of cdc feather even if they’re all from the preen gland they vary greatly in stem size (flexibility and strength), fibre position and length.  safe to say this explains why so many anglers sometimes have difficulties getting the results that seemed so simple at first.

cdc types H.Weilenmann-GFF

“Understanding CDC
While the natural oils on the feather assist in repelling water, the hydrophobic properties and the structure of the CDC feather are fundamental to its floatability.
Feathers are completely made up of the protein keratin. They are built to be as light as possible in order to make the bird fly easily, yet are extremely strong and waterproof at the same time. Keratin in many ways resembles manmade plastic. One aspect is that it does not soak up moisture, or indeed oil. The oil can only coat the feather parts, not become an internal part of it.”

click either image to access the complete article on GFF. included at the bottom of the page is a step-by-step and video tutorial of Hans’ notorious CDC and Elk. enjoy !