A very common issue for many fly tiers is the heads of their flies are either too big (as in bulk or length behind the hook eye) or simply not that neat and clean. Maybe there are loose thread wraps poking up between other thread wraps or too many threads wraps are applied in an attempt to control the whole mess. Nice neat and smooth heads can easily be formed if you remember to start the finished head at the eye of the hook.
Often the head of the fly is created to cover up butts end or clipped ends of materials that we have used in the creation of the fly (Figure 1). Most tiers will begin forming the head of the fly by applying wraps of thread on the materials ends and advancing the wraps forward. The problem with this is the thread invariably slips off the abrupt end of the material and we then try to continue to wrap thread while "climbing" back up onto the materials. This will always end in a larger and sloppier head than we want.
Instead, once all of your materials are bound in and you are ready to make the head and cover up the material ends, reach your thread up to behind the hook eye and start applying thread wraps away from the eye of the hook to form the head and cover-up any remaining materials (figure 2 & 3). This will help create a taper up to the materials as you are forming the head and thus have more control on your thread placement and the shape and size of the resulting head.
Try this simple technique to create smaller, neater and cleaner heads on your flies.
Just watched the full episode of GEOBASS and all I can say is amazing! It reminds me of the small streams and ponds I would push back into in teenage years all in the pursuit of fish. Places you could barely squeak a boat into through trees, over logs, and mud just to find a spot hardly ever fished to catch large bucket mouths. Getting permission from farmers (or not) to hick back through their land to some remote pond in search of big bluegill. Yeah, this is in a different country and I did not have coke cartels to deal with but rock salt wasn't any fun either. Gotta do something like this one day!
Week 9 - File Your Shank for Better flies
Have you ever had a fly, one you tied or bought, that after a few fish starts to spin on the shank? It behaves as though it wasn't quit tied on the shank of the hook tight enough. Which might be the case but sometimes this phenomenon is a factor of the hook itself rather than how well the fly was tied. There is a way to safeguard against this. Simply file the shank of the hook before you start tying your flies.
All modern hooks are made out of steel. However, steel itself corrodes very quickly when exposed to water. Because of this, hook manufactures apply a lacquer coating to the steel hook (I am talking about the freshwater 'bronze' hooks here, first image
) to make them more corrosion resistant. If you tie your fly right on top of this lacquer coating then your fly will not really be attached to the hook if the lacquer coating breaks away from the steel. This is the case sometimes when your flies start to slid around the hook shank for no apparent reason.
The easy solution is to file away the lacquer coating before you start tying your fly. There are files for sale through fly shops that are made for this job but you can also use a common steel file you get at your local hardware store. Take a few swipes at the hook shank trying to remove just the lacquer around most of the hook shank. The second and third image show the hook with the lacquer coating removed on half of the hook shank. When you start tying your fly, cover the now bare shank with a layer of thread. This will provide better friction and keep the resulting fly from sliding around the hook shank.
Keep in mind, if your going to loose most of your flies in trees then the added step to make longer lasting flies might not be worth it. But if you want a better tied fly then start with a bare shank and your fly will stay the way you want it.
The latest issue of Revive
is now on the news stands; cyber stands that is. Our good friend Dave Hostler of PileCast.Net
has a fantastic story in this issue. If you have ever wondered what fly fishing in Indiana for smallmouth is like this story will paint the picture for your. I have had the good fortune of fishing with Dave a couple of times on the Tippy and Wildcat Creek. This story brought back memories of each outing. But, it also brought up memories of Sugar Creek, White River, Fall Creek, Yellow River, Driftwood, Big Walnut,and on and on. A much needed metal vacation during this long cold winter.
Oh, and by the way… the rest of the magazine is well worth the read also!