Let me start off by saying, I am no expert. As much as I enjoy fly tying, and as much as I am immersed in the learning and the teaching aspect of it; I am not afraid to say that I don’t know everything.
I don’t see the shame in it, because truthfully; I enjoy it. I have many questions that I sometimes forget to ask in my busy life, but to be able to stand there with that same person and learn side-by-side with them, to me isn’t a downside. Its an upside. Because now we both know the answer to a question, that five minutes ago neither of us didn’t.
I’m OK with all of this, and you should be too. But too often I find people would rather sacrifice the knowledge they could have acquired, by holding back a question in fear of sounding like a ‘beginner’ or an ‘idiot’ in front of others.
The bottom line is, “We all began as beginners”.
Chenille is a common material used when it comes to woolly buggers, a fly in which I tie by the dozen since you can fish them all year. But materials like this with an inner thread cord can create a bulking issue when tying in without prep.
An inner cord means its a separate material that is wrapped around a cord or thread which is when wrapped around the hook. Estaz and chenille are common center corded materials.
If you are currently having this trouble here’s a quick tip that will eliminate that problem.
First let’s take a look at what happens when you tie it in without any modification.
The first time I thought about tying something with an extended body I tried to cut the ends off of my hooks, and after a few sticks to my fingers, not to mention the waste of money.. I gave up.
So when I came across these small articulated shanks I was thrilled and began using them for flies that I wanted to give a little more movement to.
Articulated Wiggle Shanks to put it simply, are a long shanked hook without a point that can be used to give a lifelike movement to your flies without having to sacrifice a hook. They can be used to tie a variety of patterns, such as the Pompadour Iso Emerger and the Wiggle frenchie. The only limit is your imagination! They can also be used for bigger nymphs such as stone flies and hellgrammites.
I’m just going to start off with this: Wow.. just wow. I had NO idea there could be so much information, speculation and history about something so small, something in which is all around us in many forms, something in which (as i eat my bowl of oatmeal with blueberries, flax and chia seeds in it..) we may unknowingly overlook everyday.
And this book “The Triumph of Seeds” by Thor Hanson will quickly take the ‘overlooking’ out of your day.
You will find that seeds are just as complicated, and fascinating as they may have once seemed simple and boring to you. I have thrown many seeds into dirt, between landscaping and gardening; but only now do I find myself looking a little closer at exactly what is occurring as they sprout. I find myself inspecting them before I plant them, even wondering how long they have sat dormant before I put them into the ground.
Did you know that “Some species persist in the soil for decades, sprouting only when the right combination of light, water and nutrients make conditions right for plant growth.” p.xxiv
I have had quite a few questions in regards to the Isonychia Wiggle Emerger, and the best way to tie with the Flymen Fishing Company-Articulated Wiggle Shanks so I decided to keep this part in a separate post, so that you can refer back to it as needed.
“How do I tie on them? They’re too long. Should I cut them first?”
Affixing a shank in your vise
Trying to tie on a shank when its fully extended in the jaws of your vise, may prove to be somewhat aggravating. Not to mention you can easily lose track of the final length that you are looking to accomplish with the body. Tying with it already cut is harder to do, since you need the extra length to hold into the jaws while you tie. I recommend that once you decide on the length of the PHYSICAL body (not the tails that may be hanging loose on lets say a pheasant tail) that you keep only that amount of shank showing.
I would like to thank the Ridge & Valley TU Chapter for inviting me to tie a few patterns for some of their members on June 7th, 2017. I demonstrated the Renegade dry fly and the Isonychia Wiggle
Both step-by-step tutorials can be found by clicking the links to the fly names above. It was a great time and I hope that you were able to take something away from the demonstration, that you will be able to apply to your own tying.
It’s awesome when you have a whole room engaged and everyone discussing different aspects of patterns; as we all can learn different things from each other. There is a wealth of knowledge out there and to be able to share what I know with others, is what always makes this so much more enjoyable.
The Isonychia is a decent sized mayfly that can be so numerous at times, you simply aren’t sure where to cast. There have been plenty of times at dusk where I see more trout taking emergers than I do the mayflies that are aimlessly drifting on the surface, when the hatch is in full swing. Some trout will even come barreling our of the water to take them as they rise and swim through the water column.
Some of them do make it, and the evidence can be found strewn all around the river bank where they had once climbed up onto the rocks to finish their transformation.
The next time you’re in the middle of an Isonychia hatch; try to divert your eyes away from the far bank for a few seconds, and look down. Concentrate on what is right in front of you at your feet. If you stand still, gazing into the water as it swiftly passes, you will see the nymphs. They are almost breaking dancing as they head down river! Many of them do not make it to adulthood, they become stuck in the film.
That is where this pattern comes in handy, and its for two reasons. When dead drifted tied just the way it is, it gives a little movement. A little extra attention grabber as it passes the eye of a hungry trout. Then after the fish have destroyed it to the point that your CDC bubble is ruined? Let it sink and swing it! It will wiggle and thrash around with those broken CDC fibers and continue to work.
My husband loves fishing rusty spinners almost as much as ‘some’ people hate when I leave my dubbing box open..😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
So when I saw that the makers of Reel Wings had revamped a product that I once had trouble using, I just had to give them another go! I was immediately hooked. They give a lifelike appearance to wings like no other material can, and are a breeze to cast. So if you, like me, had been a little nervous in the past, fear no more!
Spinners are excellent flies to fish as it gets dark, but as always; adjust the size and tone of colors to suit your needs in your area.
A few years ago I picked up a package of Reel Wings at Dette Trout Flies and while I was super excited to use them once arriving home; I found that I broke more of them than I was able to use properly.
I tried and tried again, but after becoming frustrated, I put the few that I had left in the drawer, and honestly.. like many other materials before them.. I they were forgotten about.
Until I was made aware that they had revamped the packaging and material; for ease of use and durability!
So If you were like me, and had a little bit of trouble getting the hang of this material in the past; have no fear! Take a look at this step by step and the improvements made and I’m sure you will be running to the shop to pick some up, and wont be afraid to use up the old ones as well.
When it comes to dry flies, nothing looks better than the proper proportions, standing at attention to the point that the fly looks like it has a life of its own sitting on your desk top. Balancing, almost hovering, on nothing more than a tail and hackle.
..but like many things we learn to do, that’s not always the case in the beginning. When not properly supported, tailing material has a tendency to follow the bend of the hook and will continue to point downward once more material is added on.
During one of the fly tying shows I stopped over to watch Matt and Tim from Tightline Video tying flies at their booth, and they had shown me a trick that I would like to now share with you. (If you are familiar with their YouTube channel you may have seen this there as well)
Before you start, cut a section of thread off your bobbin a few inches in length, and put it aside. Then start your thread and grab those microfibetts!