Category Archives: Fly Tying

Instructions for monthly fly tying workshops and other material

Fly Tying – Wed 23 Sep 2020 – Original Sawyer’s Pheasant Tail Nymph and His Killer Bug

Shaun is the instructor and offered these notes.

Original Sawyer’s Pheasant Tail Nymph.

It’s such a common fly now that its easy to take for granted, but the original is quite different from what you might pick up from your local fly shop, and has a history that’s worth understanding.

Frank Sawyer was the inventor of this fly. No flashback, no peacock here, just a simple fly that he used to catch trout for a living on the River Avon the 1920s as a keeper. There are several Avon’s in England, this was the one near Salisbury/Stonehenge. It’s my favourite river name and Avon in proto Celtic means river, so it’s clear what the waterway is!

The Sawyer nymph is just small or extra small copper wire (gold, silver and red also work), and several long pheasant tail fibres – not even any thread is required. It’s so simple that I left out the materials list because it looked embarrassingly short! Add a nymph hook of your preference and you are all set.

The tying instructions are also pretty straightforward. Rather than write out a very short list, perhaps it’s best to see Frank himself tie it for us. This is the only footage of him tying recorded:

His Killer Bug

Out of guilt for the simplicity of the nymph, I’m going to show a second on the night – His Killer Bug. Originally a Grayling fly, but trout don’t seem to be so sophisticated as to care. Again the tying list is three items long, same hook, same wire, and a pinkish, brownish or greenish hank of wool. There’s a whole mythology behind what wool to use, and I have a collection of the ‘right’ ones if anyone wants to drop in and collect a sample, but again, I suspect the trout don’t spend enough time in knitting stores to really care.

Fly Tying – 26 Aug 2020 – Zulu Tag

The Zoom session on 26 Aug was run by Claude.

our notes:

Hook: #14-10 Kamasan B170

Thread: Black 8/0

Body hackle: Black

Hackle: Black

Tag: Red Float-Vis

Rib: Silver wire or thin tinsel twist

Like the Possum Emerger, it does it all and will catch fish in many circumstances. It’s a great fly to hang a nymph under, such as a 007 for tailing fish and is easy to see in most different types of light.

Don’t be afraid to vary the pattern either, clip the hackle underneath so it sits low, tie it bushy or sparse. Try a hot orange tag or blue wire rib. If you vary it too much you can’t really call it a Zulu anymore but really the basic pattern is all you need.

Fly Tying 22 Jul 2020

North Country Spider: Partridge and Orange

North Country Spiders – is the name given to wet flies tied in a particular style in the north of England. The Americans refer to them as “Soft Hackles”. They are at the foundation of all North Country fly fishing and are tied intentionally to be very sparse. They have been used for over a hundred years and are tied using simple, traditional, fly tying materials, to represent the full spectrum of insects available to the trout and grayling. There are many North Country Spiders variants that can represent virtually every insect and they have been successfully employed in lakes and rivers in Australia.

Shaun will be leading the tying session…you may recall the informative Loch Style fishing presentation he provided to the club earlier this year. Shaun has successfully employed these types of flies internationally and locally so his tying session is sure to be informative to all levels of fishers. Even if you don’t want to participate in the tie, join us with a single malt or camomile tea for the informative chat.

Tying List:

Hook: Wet Fly, Size 14-18

Thread: Orange 8/0. Traditionally actual tying silk made by Pearsalls. and waxed before use.

Rib: Fine gold wire (very optional). Substitute: You can use what you have in your tying kit

Hackle: Speckled neck feather from an English Partridge. Substitute: similar from a hen cape (rounded and soft)

Alternate ties: With a peacock herl as a thorax or head – behind or in front of the hackle.

Even more alternate ties: With a touch dubbed body.

Secrets he’ll talk about on the night:

– History, 15th Century Italian, 19th Century Yorkshire

– Finding real tying silk without paying $50 a reel on eBay

– How to fish

– Alternate ties

– Herl headed and Thorax spiders

– The Tenkara Tie

10 Soft-hackle Flies You Need to Know • Outdoor Canada

Method:

1. Lightly wax the thread first. Then tie on just behind the eye.

2. Catch in the fine gold wire and hold in-line with the hook shank as you wrap the thread in touching turns.

3. Stop wrapping the thread just short of the bend.

4. Wrap the thread back up in touching turns to just short of the eye.

5. Take the gold wire in open even turns towards the eye to produce 4-6 ribs. Secure the rib with two wraps of thread.

6. Helicopter the surplus gold rib close to the body.

7. Catch in a prepared partridge feather by the tip using only two or three wraps of thread running away from the eye. I’ll explain how to prep a feather on the night.

8. Cut away the feather tip.

9. Using hackle pliers make between one and two wraps with the feather. Be careful to keep the feather from twisting so the feather barbs take position perpendicular to the body. If you stroke the barbs back as you pass the hackle around the shank you will avoid catching any preceding barbs.

10. Make a careful whip finish with three or four wraps of thread. Avoid letting the whip finish flatten the feather barbs.

11. Touch in the head with a couple of tiny drops of head cement.

Fly Tying 24 June 2020 – Cormorant Fly

Apologies, JQ has asked that I amend the instructions.

 

Our FNQ branch member, JQ, volunteered to lead us on the Cormorant fly. Hmm, looks like it might be hard to cast but should catch lots of fish!

Basic Tools: Bobbin, whip finisher, sharp scissors.

Materials:

Hook – Any nymph/ lake hook size 12-18

Thread: 8/0 black or, **any colour depending on what colour people want their fly to be. And maybe a fluro yellow, orange, pink, red acting as a ‘hotspot’ or cheeks. Keep the thread small as the fly is pretty small. 6/0 is ok, but still pretty thick.

Body: Tinsel – Gold, silver, red, copper, blue, green (med) – Whatever colour people like for a body. Any colour thread even!

Body Rib: Small/ med wire – or stripped peacock quill.

Wing: Marabou or rabbit zonka – colour of people’s choice

Cheeks: Jungle cock or medium sized tinsel for cheeks.. Goose biots are very good too. We can even use fluro thread..

Varnish, nail polish or UV resin.. no preference. And BeesWax for thread

Notes/ Tips from JQ:
Below are some notes & tips from my experiences. – You might find them useful
1. We often buy tying gear because a recipe insists on something** but we can easily substitute that ‘something’ with an equivalent or like product. Our gear becomes more consolidated, reducing gear that we may only use a couple of times. Our money will go much further allowing you to spend more elsewhere! I will go through some flies where you will use these materials again and again
2. Buy a hank of Flashabou tinsel (Code: 6998) or, Polarflash (Code: 2015) rather than bobbins of tinsel.. Works out much cheaper and you get heaps of colours in your hank of tinsel.. You can use it for cheeks but it is pretty narrow. Buying hanks of flashabou etc. allows you the opportunity to use it in your wooly buggers, humongous, shreks etc, even collars, nymph cases, ribbing etc
3. SPOTLIGHT or Craft stores have Goose Biots and they have like a pack of 10 with 2x red, 2x blue, 2x yellow, 2x white and 2x green? If not, get on to Troutlore.com.au and checkout Rob’s Hareline range
4. Colours/ variants are endless for this fly. If you haven’t got the exact materials we can substitute it and it’ll still be a fish-catcher. We can go through some variants on the night
5. EP Streamer Brush is also very handy – Orange in particular is very productive in local lakes. Check out Craig Dawson write up in the book Australian Trout Flies ‘revisited’. And then the streamer brush is good for cod flies, salt and many other flies
6. UV resin is great for instant completion to your flies, but has a nice price tag and a UV light is required. Most of the time $5.00 Sally Hansens is more than fine and is as robust. Sally Hansens does smell and so do some UV resins. The choice is yours!
7. Jungle cock is difficult to obtain these days (limited supply), suppliers have plastic printed ones. Or we can use tinsel or biots
8. Fish these anywhere in your team of flies. Swing them, Tweak them

The real ones

CAA Virtual Fly Tying Wed 22 April 2020 – Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph


Our last virtual fly tying night with Evan from Create-A-Fly https://www.createafly.com.au was so successful that we asked him to host it again on Wednesday 22 April … and he kindly agreed.Evan tied the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph which is one of the flies in the Fly Fishers International Bronze Fly Tying Award

The required materials are listed below:

  • Hook: #10 1X Long Nymph hook, 1xL

  • Weight: 10-15 turns of non-lead wire

  • Thread: 8/0 Black Uni-Thread or equivalent

  • Tail: Guard hairs from hare’s mask

  • Rib: Gold oval tinsel over abdomen

  • Abdomen: Blended lighter tan hair from the hare’s mask (or Hairline Dubbing # 4, Hare’s Ear – or equivalent)

  • Wing Case: Mottled turkey tail feather over thorax

  • Thorax: Blended darker brown hairs from the hare’s mask (or Hairline Dubbing #5, Dark Hare’s Ear or equivalent

Fly Tying 27 Nov 2019 – Messy Dun Fly

John tells us:

This month we will be tying a foam mayfly body, similar to the body Muz Wilson used on his Messy Dun fly.

The recipe includes:

  • A long needle
  • 2mm foam – colour of your choice
  • Elk or reindeer hair for the tail
  • Thread to match the foam.

In addition you will need to bring scissors or a knife to cut out the foam and your vice to hold the needle.

Fly Tying 25 Sep 2019

John and Claude led the ‘dubbing brush’ session on Wednesday night. Claude had a ‘home made’ dubbing brush maker and John had his fancy vice to demonstrate the creation of brushes on a different device. If you like Claude’s home made maker, he has promised to give those that attend the plans 😊.

Dubbing brushes can be used for a variety of flies from nymphs to buggers and the more talented tiers could use them for salt water flies. Below are some produced by Claude. He says it is quite quick to whip up nymph or bugger if you have a brush that is suitable – he demonstrated a quick bugger tie.

All you need is some copper wire, dubbing material (anything you have) and a bit of imagination to make the brush.


Neil Grose Fly Tying Videos

Just got this hint from Shaun. Will pop it into our useful links page in due course:

Bill – I just came a across a series of recently uploaded tying videos from Tassie, tied by Neil Grose. Really good production, and flies you never see in shops or books. Worth sharing as a blog item I would think. Cheers, Shaun.

Here