Tuesday, February 22, 2005

tying durable flies

Since I'm tying non-commercially, I don't mind taking some extra steps to be sure that the fly holds up for more than one or two fish.

Securing body materials & hackles: A light coat of head cement (I like Dave's Flexament) over the shank helps secure body materials. Some kind of cement is especially important under a tag of flat tinsel, but I like a dab under oval tinsel as well. A body of flat tinsel always get counterwound with oval tinsel, & palmered hackles counterwound with wire &/or oval tinsel. I often run a few turns of thread back through a regular hackle, then forward to the head before tying off. In the Brown Hackle Bee pattern above, the thread is lightly dubbed before this step.

Depending on the size of the fly, I always use at least two and usually three whip finishes of five turns. On trout flies, I usually don't worry about an overcoat, but wax the thread really well before whip finishing, or put the whips over a little dab of head cement. Steelhead flies get a final coat of 30-minute clear epoxy.


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