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!
I tie flies on jigs a lot, so much so that it’s become almost automatic when reaching for a hook. They are great for nymphing, will sink deep with a tungsten bead and extra weight under the body and ride with the hook point up on a tight line; meaning less hangups as you are high sticking through the riffles.
Not to say that I dont still use standard nymph hooks with brass beads when I am going to be fishing skinnier water, and need to opt for something lighter that wont barrel straight down through the water column; It’s just that I cant seem to keep myself away from them.
While I may never really know what it is that makes them so attractive to look at, what I do know, is that one question I am asked the most when demonstrating or tying At a show, is:
“How do I get those slotted beads to sit right?!? It doesn’t work. What am I doing wrong?”
Last week we discussed two ways you can utilize an oversized feather when it comes to tying with soft hackles, and today we are going to look at two more. These two methods listed below are my favorites and while one is rather quick, the other allows you to mix it up a bit. Lets take a look!
“The Flying V”
While I have no idea what this technique is normally called, or where it came from originally; what I do know, is that I have seen it used many times by many different people, and I am always amazed at how quick and effective it is. I have also added a YouTube link at the end to a video by Craig Matthews on this technique, in case you need a moving visual.
Anyone who has spoken to me during a presentation, while tying at a show or on the water, knows that I love tying, fishing and talking; soft hackles. If they didn’t know it at first, they learn rather quickly, seeing as though my caffeine fueled ramblings have a tendency to veer in that direction mid conversation without warning.
It’s an addiction! So much so, that in the middle of tying something else, I seem to glance over to where I had previously left a partridge or starling skin, look left and right like I am doing something wrong, abandon my current pattern and move over to my husbands vise! Tie one or two, and then hop back over to my side and continue what I was doing.
Oh what a great addiction to have!
The other side to this, is that no matter how much I love tying and admiring a handful soft hackles where everything is seemingly perfect, doing everything I can to recreate the fly to my liking and bettering myself at the techniques; the bottom line is that soft hackles fish just as good on a first cast as they do after 5 fish. The more chewed up the better they become! The fibers are all over the place, floss is frayed and you’re still hooking fish with the lifelike appearance that they give, even with those materials all askew!
How does that old saying go?
“New Year, New me”?
Well I’ll tell you what.. Seeing as though I won’t be whipping up any resolutions for consuming less bacon or coffee, and will more than likely just spend the rest of the new year, as usual, crossing out 2016 on everything I write because it’s now 2017.. 😂
What I do know, is that there’s never a bad time to try a new technique in regards to fly tying.
A few weeks back I posted a fly pattern for the LaFontaine Deep Sparkle Pupae, and after going through some tips to palmer hackle on a fly such as the wooly bugger, I decided that there’s no better way to start the new year than with a technique that may have been forgotten in these new times.
The “Slide Loop” Technique
We all have certain materials that have a tendency to drive us a little crazy. Materials that don’t want to cooperate when we attempt to tie them in, and in some cases, the pinch wrap just wont cut it. You may find that flash material, rubber legs and even laser dubbing that are some of those culprits that are giving us a problem.
One minute you’re trying to tie in a few small strands and next thing you know the flash is kinked, the legs are snapped or pulling out and you’ve accomplished nothing but a mess.
I am going to show you a quick trick that will help you get a handle on them.
*A few things to keep in mind*
The way this technique works is that where-ever your thread has stopped, is where your material is going to land when you slide it up; so be sure that you are beginning this technique where you would like for it to be tied in place. One other point I wanted to make is that you will be doubling over your material, so if you are looking for your fly to have two rubber legs in that area; you will only need one piece of material.
If there’s one thing a fly Tyer knows all too well, it’s how quickly a well-intentioned fly can immediately look like crap, due to a thread underbody that is not uniformly wrapped.
The underbody can be a very overlooked step, and when done in a hurry with haste is something that your final product will reflect.
By paying attention to that dark line when you tie in and wrap forward, you will have a clear segmentation or you will have a more of a one colored quill body.
Some flies you tie may require a more solid body with very minimal segmentation. If that’s the case then just tye in the “wrong” way it’s all up to you and what you’re wishing to achieve.But I use the term “wrong” very loosely since your right- may be someone elses wrong. Which is why I am making this tutorial to help you reach the results that you are looking for when it comes to tying quill bodies.
Now The other thing you will notice is the taper of the quill and how there’s a piece of peacock herl at the small end. That will be your tie in point.
I had a question from Vicky who I met last year while doing a soft hackle presentation at the Anglers Den, about where to find the wild type brown and what to use as a substitute The Whiting Wild type brown is one of my favorite all around dark brown hackles but its mostly reserved… Continue reading On The Vise:Q & A “Substitute material for wild type brown/Iso Soft Hackle”