Tuesday, 26 August 2008

A bigger fly...

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.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Well dressed

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"...

Thursday, 7 August 2008

CDC Sedge

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...