The Fly Tying Thread

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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by JudgeRusty » Thu Mar 03, 2016 5:17 pm

Thanks to the generosity of CPS, I now have a vise, scissors, tweezer, bobbin, bodkin, whip finisher and hackle pliers.

I can't wait to catch a bluegill or bass out of my pond with a fly of my own tying. Who knows, I might even produce a fly that will catch a stocker trout next camping trip and stop carrying a can of corn in my pocket.

Materials.
In order of priority, what materials do you experts suggest I purchase?
Also, what household or Hobby Lobby items are useful as substitutes for the Orvis stuff?
Does anyone use pipe cleaners when they tie flies? (fuzzy with a bit of weight added in already).

Watching a few videos suggests that a lot of the material looks like it was snipped from 1970's shag carpet.
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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by durangopipe » Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:27 pm

Rusty,

Awesome!

Almost everyone's first fly is a woolly worm--it teaches you the basics, and no matter how rough the first few look, they will definitely catch fish.

So figure out what fish you're after and get an appropriate hook.
I'd say something in a long shank #10 for panfish and even bass (Mustad 9672 or similar). Also great for trout.
I've caught darn near every species of fish I've fished for, at one time or another, on a wooly worm or some variation.

A spool of 5/0 or 6/0 black fly tying thread or a strong, thin nylon thread from the sewing box will work for lots of flies

Any kind of red yarn, frayed for the tail.
Black or olive chenille for the body; a card of it should only cost a buck or two and it'll tie dozens. You could use some thick absorbent yarn if you have some laying around.

And the cheapest black or brown "saddle" or "hen" hackle you can find. If you have friend with chickens, ask for the skins if they butcher them, or clean up feathers in the hen house. Soft and webby is cheap, and perfect for buggers.
Most big outdoor stores will have small packages of plucked feathers. A hen neck or saddle will be a little more expensive but again, one will tie many many dozens of flies.

There should be lots of Youtube videos to show you how.

The most complicated thing will be figuring out the whip finisher--but there should be a video available for that, too, and if you have the patience, a whip finish can be tied by hand with some practice. A series of half hitches will work as a starter--you can use clear fingernail polish for head cement. Apply it with the dubbing needle.

Hang onto your pheasant feathers!
If you hunt quail or grouse, keep them, too.
Keep some patches of deer skin.
Start grabbing road kill squirrel tails (great for streamers).
Raid the Christmas box for tinsel.
Steal hair from your dog. (English setter tail "feathers" tie terrific streamers. If you get serious about this, the neighbors won't let their dogs go near you.)
I used the gray fur from mice I caught in mousetraps for gray dubbing years ago when I was broke. It worked fine.

I bet a zillion of us will chime in down the road with new patterns to try.
Can't wait to see your first fly.!
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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by FredS » Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:50 pm

durangopipe wrote:. . .Hang onto your pheasant feathers! . . .
In a pinch, I think you could tie a fly to catch any fish in the world with feathers from a cock pheasant. Last weekend I was tying some scuds and I needed gray fibers. Then I noticed the full pelt that my fishing-buddy-neighbor gave me a couple years ago hanging on the end of my desk. It has the most wonderful blue-gray feathers ever. Considering that you can buy a full pelt for $15-20, he spent way too much time preparing and preserving two pheasant pelts that a coworker gave him. But as cool as it is to catch fish with flies you tied, it's even cooler to use materials harvested by you or a buddy. I've tied a lot of flies with some pheasant tails Gabriel sent me.
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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by Gabriel » Sat Mar 05, 2016 1:59 pm

Continuing in my streamer adventure of "using what I have and making it up as I go." I did thin out the amount used and added some sparkle emerger yarn:

Image

After I took these pics I did take a razor blade and cleaned up the thread head a bit. I did some with dark hair on top and white underneath as well, but this one seemed to turn out the best. I wrapped the hook shank with the sparkle yarn as well, but it's hard to tell in the pics.
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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by durangopipe » Sat Mar 05, 2016 2:17 pm

Gabriel wrote:Continuing in my streamer adventure of "using what I have and making it up as I go." I did thin out the amount used and added some sparkle emerger yarn:

Image

After I took these pics I did take a razor blade and cleaned up the thread head a bit. I did some with dark hair on top and white underneath as well, but this one seemed to turn out the best. I wrapped the hook shank with the sparkle yarn as well, but it's hard to tell in the pics.

Very nice!
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by JudgeRusty » Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:38 am

I still have yet to purchase hooks and thread--I have some in my Amazon cart tho.

I visited my sister's yard sale and then to Wal Mart for some hydraulic fluid for my tractor. When I got home, I had a patch of rabbit fur from the yard sale and two 99 cent hair extensions (one red and one sparkly) from Wal Mart. I snagged both just to put away for future fly tying.
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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by durangopipe » Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:31 am

I think we may need a new acronym for use at CPS:

FTMAD=Fly Tying Materials Acquisition Disorder!

You're at the beginning stages, Rusty, where you actually need a lot of stuff.
Later, you'll find yourself losing sleep unless you can find the exact, same material that was used to tie the "original" fly.

Here's a tip:

When you wake up in the middle of the night wondering if you should set a trap to catch a female fox so you can acquire her urine-stained belly fur in order tie a proper Art Flick version of Roy Steenron's Hendrickson, it's time for an intervention!

If you haven't got one already, call Cabella's and ask them to send you their fly fishing catalogue. It's loaded with fly tying materials, and you can pretty much see them all in one place. You may not end up ordering from them, but it's a good way to get a sense of the materials terrain.

Happy FTMAD!
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by JudgeRusty » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:51 am

As I watch a lot of these fly tying videos, folks make a lot of effort when wrapping near the bend of the hook to swing their bobbin out of the way of the point of the hook to avoid cutting or breaking the thread.
Since no one ties anything to the point of the hook, what would be wrong with seating the hook further back in vise jaws so that the point is not exposed?
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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by durangopipe » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:05 am

Rusty . . .

The point of the hook is the thinnest and most fragile part of the hook.

If you were to set up the vise with the point in the jaws, and make the vise tight enough to securely hold the hook in place while tying the fly, the hook point would likely be weakened enough to break off, ruining the hook.

Avoiding the point of the hook with the thread is one of the many little things that become automatic and actually quite easy with practice.

Steve
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by FredS » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:16 am

Some people do exactly that - bury the point in the vise jaws. I don't. It works on larger hooks (say >10) but when you start going smaller, you need to just catch the minimum of the hook in the vise to leave the shank exposed out in front of the jaws.
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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by durangopipe » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:18 pm

Hi Fred . . .

I agree with you; some do hide the point on large hooks, but I feel a new tier would do well to learn to avoid the point with the thread at the beginning of the learning curve. What do you think of this advice?

And I would add two things:

1) If you choose to bury the point in the jaws be very careful not to over tighten the jaws--on many inexpensive vises it will be near impossible to get the vise tight enough to securely hold the hook without risking damage. Few things worse than hooking the fish of a lifetime, losing it, and discovering that your hook was broken at the point.

2) How you place the hook in the jaws is, to some extent, dependent on the design of the vise.

These are the jaws on the vise I do most of my tying on, a Dyna-King:

Image

Very versatile jaws, but they dictate, to a large degree, how to place the hook.

The jaw tip is small--perfect for small flies. Great for midges.
Two grooves are cut further back in the jaws for placing larger hooks in rounded grooves to avoid damaging the shank. Great for salmon and steelhead flies. I tie both on this vise.

Experiment, Rusty, and do what works best for you.
But I really do think that you'll be a better fly tier in the long run if you learn to avoid the point of the hook with the thread. You won't have to change your thread wrapping technique for different size hooks.

Discussing questions about fly tying is a little like discussing questions about pipes (and theology) . . .

How do you properly pack tobacco in a pipe? Simple and very common new smoker question.

Ask two experienced pipe smokers, you'll likely become engaged in a pretty spirited conversation!
That's part of the fun.


Steve
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by FredS » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:45 pm

I agree 100% with your advice (advise?) Steve. Hooks taper at the point so if you put the point in the jaws you're trying to clamp a tapered area and you have to crank the pressure up to hold it securely. Clamping further back in the bend where the hook is consistent in diameter is more effective. I agree that it's best to learn the wrapping motions to avoid the exposed hook point from the get go. Muscle memory is your friend and the movements will become automatic very quickly. That said, I still sometimes nick peacock herl on the hook point and have to start over. I love using peacock herl - it has properties that have not yet been synthesized - but it's fragile stuff.

These aren't my photographs, but the vise is like mine (Peak) and this is basically how I place hooks.

Image

Image
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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by UncleBob » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:47 pm

You know, you fly tiers should think about a box pass.


Just sayin'.
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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by durangopipe » Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:48 pm

Bob . . .

We're workin' on a fly swap!

I'm temporarily out of commission as far as sitting at the vise, but I do have a few zillion flies lying around so I should be able to contribute something useful.

Mostly, we're enjoying watching Gabriel and Rusty catch the fever.
I've got this feeling that Fred and I are Flyvangelicals!

My biggest problem at the moment is that the pre-season extra 20% off the regular pro deal is on this week at Sage/Redington/Rio (our rep kept me on even though I'm retired--said he'd "grandfather" me in since I'm nearing 70--funny guy) and I absolutely don't NEED any gear, but there's this 8wt. Spey rod calling to me . . . and dreams of the Skeena country).

If you think PAD and TAD are bad, they're nothin' compared to FTAD (fly tackle acquisition disorder).

Steve
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by Dlibbon » Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:16 am

Anybody got a favorite fly for largemouth bass? Just started fishing a reservoir near our house and poppers don't seem to be noticed.


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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by Gabriel » Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:28 am

Dlibbon wrote:Anybody got a favorite fly for largemouth bass? Just started fishing a reservoir near our house and poppers don't seem to be noticed.


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I've caught plenty of largemouth on clouser minnows or dark wooly buggers.

Brown and silver minnow with bead chain eyes - tied by FredS.
Image

I'll see what other pics I have of patterns that I have found more successful than others. The brown/silver minnow has been very successful for bass and crappie.

I actually did buy some crayfish patterns for my birthday this week, I'll let you know what I find with those later in the season.
Last edited by Gabriel on Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by Dlibbon » Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:29 am

I was thinking crayfish. Thanks!


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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by JudgeRusty » Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:37 pm

well, just about ready

Image
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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by durangopipe » Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:54 pm

Looks pretty darn ready to me.
WooHoo!
The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien



Wherever we go in the world we find other men speaking the same language...dreaming the same dreams. And one of the big four - brownie, or brookie, cutthroat or rainbow - is the cause of it all.

Roderick Haig-Brown

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Re: The Fly Tying Thread

Post by JudgeRusty » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:45 am

I hesitated to post anything until I start to get a feel for it. But I supposed I could record here my first attempt in hopes that it will serve as a "before" picture a few months from now.

Wooly Worm
Image

Impressions:
-Cell phone photography doesn't lend itself well to flies.
-Everything about this stuff is tiny; even the tools seem tiny (of course, I am overgrowed).
-I am sure the materials I ordered from FlyFishFood are quality, but I might have bought different items if I had shopped somewhere in person. The chenille I got is more like a thick yarn and less fuzzy than I expected.
-The video I watched warned against crowding the hook eye. I did it anyway.
-The whip finish was almost the end of me. I understood the process, but had a terrible time keeping the thread on the forward hook.
-Even with the pitfalls, I am ready to go again soon; I understand it will take dozens before I am satisfied at all.
-I plan to fish with this worm; I will not discard it despite its grade.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal

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