Category Archives: Fly Tying Materials & Supplies

Dry Fly Tails & Quill, Hackle Stem or Biot Bodies

Guest Blogger: Clay Cunningham, Cody WY, Former National Park Superintendent

For many years I used hackle, Coq de leon, pheasant, deer hair, moose hair, and a lot of other hair choices for the tails of my dry flies. When the artificial tapered nylon mayfly tail material became available in various colors, I switched to them exclusively for all dry flies. The material is buoyant and imitates typical dry fly tails extremely well. The survival of emerging duns long enough to molt and become “spinners” for mating is because they emerge in high numbers and many survive the feeding trout in very large numbers. This is the time when the water looks like it is “boiling” as the fish feed voraciously. Many of the massive numbers emerging eventually molt and become strong fliers and begin mating. Their life span then depends on the species I which often ends minutes after mating.

It is quite a mystery that when the water is virtually covered with emerging duns and I cast my dry fly imitation into the massive pile of crowded insects floating by that any trout would strike my imitation. My flies are not ugly or poorly tied, but even to my eyes they don’t look like the thousands of duns on the water during a hatch. Yet my artificial fly is frequently selected by fish. Why is that? more…

The Botched Job

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

Figure 1: The Anguish of the Botch >

My father taught me that “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” He’d point out that a thing done hurriedly that must be done over costs time rather than saves it. I’d try to alter the axiom to “Anything worth doing is worth doing twice,” but he was not amused.

But over the years of fishing and tying flies, I’ve come up with a corollary proverb he might almost concede: “Anything botched is worth trying out.”


Quick Review: Barred Variant Strung Schlappen

Guest Blogger: Paul Beel, J. Stockard Pro Tyer and owner of FrankenFly.

I had a chance to tie with and test out Nature’s Spirit’s Barred Variant Strung Schlappen recently and here are my thoughts.

The barred schlappen from Nature’s Spirit comes in a package with a decent bundle of feathers. The feathers are brilliantly barred and made quite an impact when I first opened the package. The feathers are long and in excellent shape. For testing purposes, I used two feathers and made a tail from them on a large articulated streamer (pictured below). These feathers work perfectly for this type of application, and you could also easily take the feather and wrap it around the shank of the hook to form a collar or palmer it across a body to make a full body of a streamer. It was easy to see these feathers would look terrific in the water and they did. The webby fibers flow great in the water.

You need to keep in mind that with the barring, comes a higher price. You can get regular schlappen feathers without the barring for less. However, I believe that various colors on a streamer will attract fish so I think the barring can make a significant difference.

To summarize, I think Nature’s Spirit has a quality product in their Barred Variant Strung Schlappen. I would definitely recommend these if you are in the market for barred schlappen feathers.