Tag Archives: fly tying advice

Bend A Knee

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

As the years have gone by, my fly-tying hands have become slightly less steady, and I don’t see my never-spill-my-coffee days coming back. I think a lot of us can sing a similar song. I can still tie #20 flies if the shanks are 2x or longer and I can still thread a 7x tippet into them, but some tying tasks are an exercise in frustration and in the letting loose of words my family may never have heard. One of these tying tasks is the creation of the grasshopper leg.

Oh, it’s easy, all the videos will tell you–just peel a couple of long barbs off a pheasant tail feather and tie a knot in them. Done! The problem is that those barbs enjoy being straight. They’ll cling faithfully to each other…until on some secret signal they suddenly fan out and point to the four winds. They spring themselves out of any granny knot that isn’t fully cinched down. And if you’re wise to those tricks, they will always–always, it seems–choose to sacrifice themselves by breaking, rather than let you succeed. I’ve tried just about every way I could think of, and a lot of different little tools and bits of hooked wire and microelectronics clips and what-have-you, to no avail. I’ve worked for 40 minutes trying to get a single pair of hopper legs, only to end up with none. more…

10 Things No One Will Tell You When You Start Tying Flies

Guest Blogger: John Satkowski, Toledo, OH, fly tying demonstrator and instructor, you can find him @ River Raisin Fly Company on Facebook

1. Everyone you talk to about tying is an expert and you should do things the way they tell you. Now granted, there are some people you should listen to. The hot guys in the tying game now like Mike Schmidt, Greg Senyo, Blane Chocklett, and Charlie Craven are people you should be listening to. They will give you good advice that a beginner to seasoned tyer can use to increase their skill. Uncle Bob’s buddy who tied a handful of flies in 1976 is not always an accurate point of view for you to learn from. Over the years, I have heard my fair share of questions such as,”Why don’t you do it this way” or “Why don’t you use this material?” Sometimes sharing ideas is good and gives you a fresh point of view but you should take suggestions with a grain of salt.
2. You always have to use the newest and coolest materials in your flies. There have been a huge surge of really awesome materials that have come out in the past five years alone. Lots of new lighter synthetic materials that don’t hold water and make casting much easier, new adhesive and UV resins, and a lot of body materials that just keep getting more realistic all can make tying much faster and easier. Ripple Ice Fiber and the Loon Outdoors D-Loop tweezers are among my personal favorite things to use since they came out. Every tyer has their favorite materials and this is usually evident by looking at a large sample of their flies. My flies usually incorporate some barred marabou, ripple ice fiber, angora goat, and the long cut fiber ice dub. Many different patterns can be constructed using different variations of the same materials. Use the materials that you are comfortable with and have had success with in the past. You can always try some new materials and see which ones you like to work with and work for you.


Tales from the Tying Bench

Guest Blogger: Tom Corbiere, Tom is a J Stockard Customer who lives in Oregon

You’re finishing tying an intricate fly. The tail is exact length, rib evenly spaced, perfect hackle tied in without stray barbs sticking out. All you need to do is whip finish and “PING!” Your thread breaks. Hackle unravels, Ribbing now sticking straight up, and the tail is laying at the bottom of your vice on the bench. You either internally (or externally) scream. Am I the only one this has happened to?

If you are lucky, the fly doesn’t fall apart. You quickly thread your bobbin and capture the broken thread and save the day! All that work saved. A great accomplishment. Obviously, the tying gods were looking down on you. So you go back and finish off the fly and “PING” another break. Then the next sound you hear is “&$!#%” and its coming out of your mouth like an out of body experience. more…