Week 8 – Use One Thread Color
Fly tiers are pack rats by nature. This might be due to the fact there are so many flies to tie and we never have all the materials we need so we hoard what we have. Or maybe we are fly tiers because we are hoarders. The Zen of fly tying! Big questions aside, there is one particular fly tying material you can simplify, if you want. All you need is one thread color to tie all your flies; white.
Roughly, 95% of the flies you tie end up with the only thread showing at the head of the fly. So why not simplify your tying by using white thread and coloring it with a permanent marker when completing the head and whip finish. Really, most of us only use about ten different colors in our fly tying and five of those cover 80% of our flies. So, get yourself some Copic markers, Prismatic Markers or Sharpies in the colors you use most. When finishing the fly, color the last layer of thread wraps on the head. Then color about 3 to four inches of the thread to complete the Whip finish. Now your fly has a head in the color you want and you have less threads to manage.
One note, make certain you check to see if your favorite head cement is compatible with the particular permanent mark you use. Some head cements will cause the ink in the marker to run and the white thread will show through. Usually, a Copic marker works well because it is an alcohol based marker. There are also oil based Sharpies available that will keep the ink from running. You could also put a base coat of head cement on the stained head and top it off with another coat of your favorite head cement.