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 had found that I unintentionally broke more than I was able to use properly😢
I tried and tried again, but after becoming frustrated, I put the few that I had left into the cabinet, and like many other materials before them.. they were forgotten about.
Until I saw they had revamped the packaging and material; for ease of use and durability!😍
So If you were like me and others who had 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. You may even give the old ones another try!
Reel wings give a life to your flies wings like no other material can, like this Rusty spinner and they are easy to cast.
“In with the new”
The wings are now secured to the paper with a very light adhesive and are less apt to be crushed in the bottom of a drawer since they are no longer free falling around a bag.
How to remove them from the package:
Using a bodkin will help speed up the removal process without damaging them.
Creating a dubbing loop for security:
Before trying to attach your Reel Wings all by themselves, I recommend you create a dubbing loop and tie it off on the TOP of your fly.
Once you have the dubbing loop created you can hold it vertical and take a few wraps to bring it back near the biot.
The way this works is wherever you leave the dubbing loop is where your wings will eventually rest.
Preparing the wing cut:
Securing the reel wings:
Remove your wings from the bodkin and place them over the body of your fly. Keep in mind they will be adjusted and pulled back a little bit later.
Once you have the wings in position, pull that thread loop over the wings and loop it around the hook eye. This is only temporary but is going to be used to secure the wings.
From this position you can safely (but carefully) fine tune the wing placement.
When you are happy with the placement, take a few thread wraps over the empty dubbing loop that you used to temporarily hold down the wings, but dont cut it off yet. You are going to compact the inner wing.
Compacting the inner wing:
With the wings placed, you will now take that empty dubbing loop and gently pull it BACK over top of the fly.
By doing this you are compacting that inner wing material and moving it away from the eye. Pull the thread loop back, then bring your bobbin under the hook and up BEHIND the wings.
You can now tie off the dubbing loop and cut the waste ends of it. Don’t cut your thread yet, only the threaded loop.
If you find that the wings twisted a little, just gently straighten them out. You can use your fingers to gently smooth out any kinks from gripping them too tight.
But do it gently and I mean it.. (GENTLY! Because you will rip one off) I know.. I have one winged spinners in a box right now.
Dubbing the Thorax
“Less is more”
The motto when dubbing flies has always been “Less is more” and in this case it’s no different. You will also find that the statement has never been truer, than when it comes to wrapping dubbing around these wings.
Thin dubbing loop.. light steady pressure..
If that happens simply back track by readjusting the wings carefully and use less dubbing. Also keep the dubbing spun tighter to the thread.
Well? How does it look? Take a minute, sit back with that cold cup of coffee full of deer hair..😑 and give a once over to what you have accomplished! Ok.. so It may not be perfect, but it’s a starting point. And if you are someone who has never used this material before, you have achieved greatness! So grab another hook and wing set and Have fun with it!
Reel Wings are an excellent material to you use once you get the hang of them and I hope some of these tips will help you conquer any fears you may have had in the past!