Fly Tying Extras
As far as fly tying goes, what we've gone over so far is merely the tip of the iceberg. Don't worry, we'll do our best to gradually plug-in fresh information to our blog posts as time goes on. The pages in this section are all about getting the basics out of the way, and before we venture into tying a fly we felt it necessary to go over a few more important points. Click on any of the pictures to enlarge and for detailed instructions.
When tying-in materials, I prefer using as few wraps as possible. Certain flies can get bulky rather quickly, and reducing the amount of thread you wrap with can help keep the mass down. Of course you want to make sure whatever you're putting on the hook stays there, but that doesn't mean you have to use a dozen wraps to do so. I like to use roughly 4 or 5 wraps to tie something down, with extra "bonus wraps" thrown in if the material is especially thick/large or I know I'll have room to play with.
Step 1Position your material against the hook shank. In this case, we are using a hackle feather tied-in by its tip.
Step 2Keep holding the feather as in Step 1 and tie it down. In many cases I like 4 or 5 thread wraps to secure it. With some items it helps to use a loose wrap to initially "catch" the item without it rolling around the hook shank.
Dubbing is natural or synthetic fibers that you twist onto your thread. When wrapped around the hook shank, this forms an attractive, buggy-looking body.
Step 1When you are ready to use the dubbing, remove a small amount from the package. You generally don't want to use too much as it's harder to work with and will likely result in a bulky, clumpy body.
Step 2Twist the dubbing onto the thread with your fingers. Try twisting one direction rather than back and forth. I find that moistening my finger helps with this step.
Step 3After the dubbing is neatly twisted onto the thread, you can carefully slide the dubbing up the thread closer to the hook if needed.
Some flies only require that hackle be wrapped at one particular area, while for other patterns you may have to "palmer" or wrap it forward with even spacing (such as in our "Tie a Basic Fly" section).
Step 1We will be evenly wrapping (or "palmering") the hackle forward. The feather is tied in by the stem at the butt end. Make sure the feather's length is long enough to wrap around the body several times.
Step 2Grab the hackle firmly with your fingers or hackle pliers. I like to position the feather facing sideways rather than flat. Start wrapping forward leaving as much space between each wrap as you desire. If the feather develops a twist while wrapping, you can simply pause and remove the twist before continuing.
Step 3When you're done wrapping the feather, take your bobbin and secure the feather with thread wraps. Don't let go of the feather until it's secured!
Using a Whip Finisher
Learning to use a whip finisher is a great skill. It provides a durable, clean knot to finish off your fly in a professional manner!