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Fly Tying

Any avid fly fisherman out here? What flies have you tied this weekend?
 
48 Copper Johns half in size 14, the other half in size 16. And a dozen size 18 purple parachute adams. If you haven't given them a shot yet trout seem to love the purple color.
 
Funny how color can become an influence on performance with trout flies. The Purple Haze also is well-known as a great performer. Other purple-colored flies are also effective sometimes. Yellow, orange, pink, and red are also effective at times. Yellow and orange are favored in Western North Carolina. Pink is effective in some streams in Virginia. I tip a lot of my flies with hot spots in fluorescent colors. Works.
 
I'm always a fan of water proof paint pens. Its a great way to add little dots of colors. Are you all mainly trout guys? Anyone go after anything else? I've been reading up on carp flies. Seems like a fun challenge to take up.
 
Purple has been working very well so far this year in the northeast, but I've found it to be much less effective when there is a decent sized hatch going on. Our hatches have been a bit odd this year and its one of the few dry flies that I've had consistent results with.

Once the streams and rivers that I normally fish start hitting 70+ degrees pretty consistently I stop fishing for trout and start going after some bass and panfish. Panfish with a 2 or 3 weight fly rod is a blast, especially if your using bamboo or fiberglass.
 
Has anyone tied either Sawyer's Killer Bug or the Utah Killer Bug? I just started tying these and I discovered they are a bit more difficult to tie correctly than I first thought. When I wrap the twisted yarn, it seems the segments want to separate.
 
I've never tied either of them, but have to tried tying them using your thread to keep some tension on the yarn?

I'd try starting with my thread and bobbin at the back of the fly with the yarn. When you start wrapping the yarn forward bring the yarn behind your thread so that as you wrap your pulling your thread and bobbin forward with you.
 
Figured out how to keep tightly coiled yarn from separately when I tie the Utah Killer Bug. While I am wrapping, I have to pull slightly to my left and keep the coiled yarn very taut to ensure the coiled yarn wraps lay against previous wraps. Also, I have to build a thicker taper from the end of the lead wire to the hook eye. It's more difficult on a curved hook such as a scud hook. When I tie it to imitate a crane fly larva, the segmented wraps are a lot easier. The Killer Bug looks pretty cool when wet. The fluorescent thread beneath the yarn gives it a pinkish glow. Apparently, that pink glow turns on trout.
 
Glad to hear you figured it out. I'm still in the fly tying stage where I go to tie a new fly that catches my fancy or someone recommends and I don't have all the supplies I need. I started tying thinking I'd save some money... I should have kept buying my flies.
 
Catyrpelius, I hope nobody suggested a fly angler can save money by tying flies. You won't save and you'll spend more. Acquisition of materials never ends. But you can learn a great deal about what flies do in the water based on how one ties them. I learned a lot when Bob Clouser showed me how to tie his Deep Clouser Minnow in the mid-80s. The precision of construction is what makes this fly work. Bob Clouser and Lefty Kreh tested it and developed it repeatedly until it produced the results they wanted. It catches about anything in the water. For years after that I was amazed how poorly commercial ties of the Clouser Deep Minnow appeared for sale. Even photos of this fly were upside down. When I discovered the Klinkhammer, it was the same thing. I saw most of what is called a Klinkhammer tied quite poorly. The originator, Hans van Klinken, became so exasperated at the misunderstanding of his fly that he had his instructions published in Fly Tyer. It you want a particular fly tied well, get the instructions from the originator and tie it repeatedly until it comes out as the originator intended. Having the right materials is important, but learning the techniques are more important.
 
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I had always heard that you save money by tying your own flies although thinking back on it I'm not really sure where I picked that up...

I've only been tying for about a year now, but I've found I enjoy it on its own. It helps keep me connected to my hobby on the off season or when for whatever reason I can't make it on the water. I find it relaxing and there is just something about catching a fish on a fly you've tied that just makes the whole thing better.

Most of my fly tying instruction has come from youtube. I'm lucky enough to have several very talented tiers local to me that run classes. Unfortunately I've never been able to take one of the classes.... Something else always comes up. I think I'm becoming better, I tie more usable flies then junk now. I still struggle with proportions, they are hard to get from a picture or video. I've tied half a dozen Klinkhammers but I'll have to go back and find the original directions.
 
I had always heard that you save money by tying your own flies although thinking back on it I'm not really sure where I picked that up...

I've only been tying for about a year now, but I've found I enjoy it on its own. It helps keep me connected to my hobby on the off season or when for whatever reason I can't make it on the water. I find it relaxing and there is just something about catching a fish on a fly you've tied that just makes the whole thing better.

Most of my fly tying instruction has come from youtube. I'm lucky enough to have several very talented tiers local to me that run classes. Unfortunately I've never been able to take one of the classes.... Something else always comes up. I think I'm becoming better, I tie more usable flies then junk now. I still struggle with proportions, they are hard to get from a picture or video. I've tied half a dozen Klinkhammers but I'll have to go back and find the original directions.
Same here. But it's at least a good excuse to try to justify tying more! I'm able to save a little money here and there. Pheasant tails and deer hair are readily available out here! Do either of you have any photos of your recent flies?
 
Catypelius and SoDakDom, you figured it out. It's definitely a hoot when one catches a fish on the fly you've tied. Google proportions on the world wide weird and you'll find them for dry flies and nymphs. I teach disabled vets as a volunteer for Project Healing Waters, which is a huge source of satisfaction in itself. The vets force me to stay sharp. So every tying session I need to bring my A game. That compels me to research and tie again flies I haven't tied in quite awhile. When I pass out a sample fly to each vet before we tie, I need to know it's the best I can do. Every once in awhile I'll botch a fly and have to cut it off the hook. I have to be my toughest critic. You should develop the same attitude. I stress techniques in my classes that are transferable to a number of other flies. A tier never stops learning. Frequently, I'll replace a technique I've learned and practiced for years with a better one I've picked up from another tier or the internet. When I started tying North Country soft hackle flies last year, it opened a new world of fishing for me. Reading the very old texts of how guys like G. E. M. Skues fished upstream with a soft hackle fly to rising fish instead of a dry fly made a great deal of sense. He targeted fish that lurked just a few inches below the surface. I've found that is often to be the case. But the tying of North Country spiders was initially a challenge. Tying delicate game bird feathers sparsely was a struggle. I, like most American tiers, over-hackled flies, which defeats the function of the hackle. Those Brits are on to something special.

So, tie as frequently as you can. Repetition is a good thing, but don't spend more than an hour at the vise at a sitting. Take a break and return later and you'll find your tying will go more smoothly.
 
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I try and spend a few hours each week tying flies, I've got to so that I can keep up with what I loose. What I really need to do is to put together a travel kit. I've been spending a considerable amount of time on the road fishing NY, NJ, PA and Vermont, having materials with me would give me some added flexibility. That's my next project I guess...
 
I try and spend a few hours each week tying flies, I've got to so that I can keep up with what I loose. What I really need to do is to put together a travel kit. I've been spending a considerable amount of time on the road fishing NY, NJ, PA and Vermont, having materials with me would give me some added flexibility. That's my next project I guess...
Before I retired I spent about 30 minutes in the morning tying before I jumped into the shower and went to work. Now that I am retired I spend a good hour each day tying. A lot of that time is spent doing research and learning new techniques. I need to keep sharp because I teach fly tying to Project Healing Waters. Nailing a technique is far more important than learning how to tie a particular fly. Many, many times I find a learned technique transfers easily from one fly to another.

A fly tying travel kit involves a little thought. My travel kit varies, depending on whether I fly or drive. When I pack to fly to a fishing destination, I have to be concerned with weight. My vise is mostly aluminum, except the hardened steel head. I have yet to find a better lightweight vise than my old Renzetti Traveler. I upgraded it several years ago to a cam-operated head. I'm really not sure why I did that because the two screws worked just fine for me. The Renzetti Traveler can handle a wide range of hook sizes. I did add a straight shaft to tie the Clouser Deep Minnow a little more efficiently, though. I research the destination and select those materials in minimal amounts that I would need to tie flies for expected hatches or local flies. If a fly shop is available nearby, I'll chat with the manager or guides for flies I should tie and what materials they might have available. Tools I pare down considerably. I don't take a whip-finisher because I whip-finish manually. I'll also take doll needles instead of a bodkin. Usually I get by with one pair of scissors and two bobbin carriers. I pack tools and materials into small bags and distribute them throughout my check-through luggage. I try to avoid having anything in my carry-on that would be an issue with TSA. Believe me, I've seen the most ridiculous situations with TSA. But that would be another thread.

I was surprised how easy it was to pack tools and materials to my first trip to Alaska years ago. I wasn't concerned with hatches, but local flies had me packing larger hooks and materials. I added large circle hooks on subsequent trips, which paid off in lots of coho salmon every day. One year I ran into sea cutthroat trout, which followed the salmon. They were fairly easy prey with egg patterns. Last October I fished Western North Carolina for the first time. My tying kit expanded because I drove to the lodging. My research revealed a lot of patterns I've never heard. The locals stressed the colors yellow or orange. I tied at night and fished these ties the following day. Wow, I kicked butt all week. Rainbows, big browns, and natives were all along the Trout Trail as the locals call a series of rivers.
 
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I have not tied in several years. I used tye a lot of nymphs. I live near a reservoir and the nymphs are always good for pan fish and occasional large mouth.
 
Big Joe, I tie more for trout, but I don't ignore panfish and bass. The late Chris Helm originated several panfish flies that I tied a lot in dozens. They have been absolutely devastating for bluegill and crappie. Do you plan to resume tying flies? Do you go after the shad in March and April? I fish the Rappahannock River during the shad run. It's more fun than the law should allow.:001_smile
 
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