Category Archives: Fly Tying Materials & Supplies

Bad Bug, Good Bug

Guest Blogger: Mary S. Kuss, Life-long avid angler, licensed PA fishing guide, founder of the Delaware Valley Women’s Fly Fishing Association

There really are no bad bugs, just bad humans. Infestations of Japanese Beetles, Gypsy Moths, Emerald Ash Borers, and a host of other alien invaders are all the result of humans introducing insects to places far removed from their natural range, whether by accident or intent. In the absence of the predators and diseases that normally keep their numbers in check, they can run amok and reproduce explosively.

We humans then run around with our hair on fire, trying to think of what we might do to control the current “bug-pocalypse.” We have to do something! Sometimes the cure is worse than the affliction. The most common reaction is to spew toxic chemicals around. This may knock back the invaders but also wreaks heavy collateral damage upon a wide variety of beneficial insects, some of which may otherwise have helped control the alien species, given time. Nature will always clean up our messes but on her timetable, not ours. And lest I be pilloried for being insensitive, I realize that orchard owners and other agricultural interests don’t have the luxury of being as casual about this issue as I am.

The bad bug de jour is the Spotted Lanternfly. I first saw them last summer. There were reports of pockets of heavy infestation in southeastern Pennsylvania, but I saw none in my yard just west of Philadelphia. This year they have been far more abundant. I’ve squished dozens of them at all life stages, from the tiny black early-stage nymphs with white polka dots all the way up to fully-formed adults. I’ve become quite adept at catching them by hand and dispatching them with a quick pinch to the head–not that this makes any meaningful impact on their numbers. more…

Variations on a Rock Worm

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

“Nature is so delightful and abundant in its variations that among trees of the same kind there would not be found one which nearly resembles another, and not only the plants as a whole, but among their branches, leaves, and fruit, will not be found one which is precisely like another.”  –Leonardo da Vinci

This sentiment would be an anathema to commercial fly tiers. When you see one commercially tied Royal Wulff, you can marvel at its form, proportions and intricate combination of materials. But when you see 100s or 1000s of the same fly, it is truly awesome at the ability of commercial tiers to eliminate variation and replicate a precise pattern seemingly infinitely—almost robotic. Their customers demand such precision. Such is not the case for the amateur fly tier. We are not beholding to precision in our tying unless we so choose. Thus I make the case for Variations.

“In music, variation is a formal technique where material is repeated in an altered form. The changes may involve melody, rhythm, harmony, counterpoint, timbre, orchestration or any combination of these.” – Wikipedia. Let’s alter that–In fly tying, variation is a technique where elements of the fly are tied in an altered form. The changes may involve tails, bodies, ribs, thoraxes, eyes, wings, hooks, weight, materials, etc. or any combination of these. So to start my journey on variations, I chose the lowly rock worm or larva of 100s of species of Rhyacophilidae caddis flies or (Green Sedges). A nifty You Tube video gives us a good view of this larva’s behavior. more…

Frenzy Fiber Material Review

Guest Blogger & FOM Tyer: Paul Beel, J. Stockard Pro Tyer Team Leader and owner of FrankenFly

I’ve noticed photos of the new Frenzy Fiber from Just Add H2O and from what I could see I thought it might be a nice streamer material, but it’s always difficult to know just by looking at photos. So I ordered some and put the stuff to the test.

Frenzy Fiber is a very finely cut shiny synthetic material that is super light weight. I began by tying a baitfish pattern and it worked great! On this particular pattern I just started at the back of the hook near the barb and tie in Frenzy Fiber. The Fiber comes in a hank and is about 8 inches in length.


What I usually do if I am tying a baitfish pattern with synthetic material is grab a small amount and hold it up to the fly to roughly measure what length I will need and cut it. Then I hold it in one hand and pull on the various ends to make them uneven and make them look more natural when tied in. I then tie the material down in the middle and fold it over. I do this while working my way up the shank. I tie on the top and bottom of the shank. You can lookup baitfish fly tying on YouTube because it contains a lot of videos that show how to tie baitfish style streamers. Frenzy Fiber worked excellent for this application though. I’m sure baitfish patterns were one of the primary reasons behind the creation of the material.

Just to clarify, the head of the baitfish is FrankenDub Monster Dubbing and if you are wondering what the dark green material is over the top, it’s peacock herl. If I would have had a darker color of the Frenzy Fiber, I could have used a sparse amount of it to go over the top. It is just something to add to the contrast of the fly and possibly make it more attractive to fish. more…