A common theme in the flies I tie is a segmented body. The neatest way to achieve this is the use of biot, the inner filaments on goose and turkey quills. Goose biots are easy to source, but they tend to be short and a little brittle. They are easier to work with if soaked in water for 10mins before use. In terms of handling, a small hackle plier makes life easier.
Turkey biots are longer and wider, so ideal for larger patterns. I've only just received a pack (from Cookshill Fly Tying), so experimentation is at an early stage. More to follow...
Hook: Partridge Klinkhammer #16 (other curved shank patterns work well too) Thread: Uni 6/0 in claret Body: Natural turkey biot, tied with "notch" facing in, nut brown artist's ink added to colour fringe. Wing-post: TMC Dry Aero Wing Throax: Peacock glister dubbing Hackle: Grizzly from #2 Metz saddle
The thread is taken just beyond the start of the body and a couple of mm's added before the wing-post starts. This adds all-important triggers to the design.
There is very little point starting out tying flies with quality materials. A good vice and tools, certainly. But those first few attempts may well be disastrous and it would be a shame to waste expensive materials in the process. It's worth investing in decent thread, the tension applied during tying is key to success.
Among the most expensive of materials is good quality hackle, especially if tying dries. But quality here, once the basic skills are aquired is imperative.
I started out tying with a #2 Metz neck, which has small but short and webby feathers and is now used for tying wets. Then a #2 Metz cape was added ideally for #16 - #22 dries. The feather quality is OK but most of the hackles are in the #10 - #14 range. I managed about 35 hackles of a suitable size, so not a good return on £19.
In the absence of a big budget, I have just picked up a Whiting "100's" pack. This is just that, individual saddle feathers, graded and selected in a specific size, #18 in this case. Wow, what a difference good quality materials make! The feathers have dense, stiff, pristine barbs with consistent length throughout the feather. This quality immediately elevates the fly, particularly smaller patterns.
Hook: TMC200R Thread: 8/0 black Body: Natural goose biot Wing: TMA Areo Dry Wing fl. pink Thorax: Sperfine poly dub, black Hackle: see above, black
No going back, I'll report on how they fish as soon as water levels return to "status - fishable"...
During a recent morning on the burn with Roy Christie and his partner Julie, I was shown the myriad fauna that live in this tiny water. While my standard biot-bodied parachutes and emerger patterns are proven fish takers, it was fascinating to observe the broader range of patterns I could be fishing with the potential for equal, maybe greater success.
There are numerous approaches to tying sedge (caddis) patterns. Deer hair is great in #10 - #14 sizes, but less so when you go small - too much bulk. A good approach seems to be CDC feathers. The pattern shown below has yet to be fished, heavy rain for a week has left waters high and coloured. But I am hopeful this should take a few trout on the burn when conditions improve.
Hook: Kamasan B100 #16 Thread: Brown 8/0 Body: 3 pheasant tail fibres Rib: Brown thread Wing: 2 brown, 1 white & 1 pink CDC feathers Antennae: Pheasant tail fibres
The pink and white feathers top-side are more for visibility on the water, with the brown providing a more natural underside.
And here's the inspiration, the shrimp will follow shortly...