Category Archives: Fly Tying

Instructions for monthly fly tying workshops and other material

Fly Tying 27 May 2022

Lyall was part of a Fly Fishers International Fly Tying Group member tying session where a Sunfish fly was tied …. not ever seen this fly pattern myself. Moreover Lyall said it was using coloured deerhair with a technique he’d never seen before.

We found the session was recorded and on YouTube

23 Mar 2022 Fly Tying

BJ led. “The Bredbo – first fly of the Monaro?”

BJ said that it’s like a March Brown Wet but slightly different. It’s a hopper pattern which may still be relevant this season. Special bits are mottled wing slips (hen or turkey or partridge brown) and Golden Pheasant tippets plus partridge beard hackle. Everything is infinitely variable.

BJ wrote that a very good description of the fly can be found at http://www.fishingwithflies.com/Bredbo.htm

BJ Provided some hints in this scan.

After the tying session he provided an image of his flies having a test swim. Saying “Should have shown this before camera off. The tented wing helps them sit in the still water film for quite a while”

Fly Tying 23 Feb 2022 – Micro-Caddis Fly

Jaime has slipped some secret instructions to me, maybe a photo sometime. I can attest to the value of this fly after watching Jaime use it on a river that shall not be named.

MICRO-CADDIS FLY

This fly has become my favorite dry fly since last season. The main reason is because it just works very well for picky fish, those that refuse almost everything, that’s where it shines! 

It’s also a very simple and easy fly to tie. Basically only one material: CDC feathers (if we skip the obligatory hook and thread). But here is a better description of all you will need:

HOOK:

Original recipe asks for #20, better if it’s a dry fly hook. However, I have been tying it in #18 and has worked well. I will try to avoid going smaller than that. I mean, you can tie it as big as you want and will catch fish but as I said above, it really shines when you find picky fish and that commonly (although not always) implies small flies. I love the Hanak 130 BL because the bent-in point. I want to emphasize the use of a dry-fly hook because is ligther. This fly doesn’t have too much material to keep it floating so the less weigth we put in it the better. Besides, the feathers tends to wear-off fast (however, and surprising, it floats very good cast after cast even after lossing many of the feather fibers).

BODY & WING:

2-3 CDC feathers. For the body, I normally choose tan or natural feather color. For the wing is better to use ligther color (ligth gray or white) to increase visibility. As said before, the fly does’nt have too much material and wears-off fast so ligth color helps to keep track of your fly, specially in choppy water.

THREAD:

I use 30D or 50D because it doesn’t need anything stronger. Also helps to keep the fly ligther. Use the thinner you have/feel comfortable with. Match the color with the body CDC.

OPTIONAL:  any material to create a trailing shuck – examples: clear color ice dubbing, antron yarn.

TOOLS:

Besides the vice, bobbin and the whip finisher you will need a hackle plier.

TIPS:

Apply floatant liquid as soon as you tie it to your tippet. It keeps it floating cast after cast. Use the floatant powder if starts sinking. In general, this fly dries very easy just with a couple of false casts.

Fly Tying 27 Oct 2021 – Daddy Long Legs

Via Zoom.

We will be tying the Daddy Longlegs.  It is useful for loch style fishing dapping or as a dry fly or as a wet fly attached to a gang of three.  It is equally useful on moving water or still in our region.

Materials

Hook: Size 10 dry fly hook

Body: Pheasant tail and a brown hackle to palmer around a gape and a half length, fine gold wire

Legs: knotted pheasant tail

Wings (optional): grizzle hackle points

Hackle (optional): same brown hackle

The legs are fiddly to tie so you may wish to tie six of them in advance. See https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+make+knotted+pheasant+tail+legs+for+flies&oq=how+to+make+knotted+pheasant+tail+legs+for+flies&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i61.838611394j0j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Fly Tying – 22 Sep 21 – Evan Jardine Will be Tying the ‘Flash Belly Bunny’

Evan Jardine, a former club member who has moved down to Victoria, led the fly tying session on Wednesday 22 Sep 21. The flash belly bunny can be used on a number of species and Evan has used it in different sizes for heaps of different fish from Yellas, reddies, flatties, bream, EP to bass.

We were privileged to have Evan leading the tie. Follow him on https://www.createafly.com.au/ .

The materials aren’t expensive and should be available from Compleat Angler.

Recipe:

– hook (#4-#1)

– dumbbell eyes

– regular zonker strip

– Palmer chenille

– dubbing underneath that can be teased out

 

Fly Tying 25 Aug 21 – Eucumbene Walker Magic Killer Fly (EWMK)

The EWMK wet fly originated in the metropolis of Bruce in Australia’s capital in the 2020s. The artificial fly is also known as Nathan’s Killer and was named after a famous local angler who is always happy to share images of his latest impressive catches ….and provide tips and hints on where to go fishing. The fly is distinguished by the black or dark brown rabbit fur tail, soft hackle collar and fluoro orange bead which makes the fly resemble a small baitfish or fry with its head on fire. The EWMK has proved to be a very effective fly for trout in Snowy region lakes and can also be used when searching for mud-marlin in the local ACT water ways. Many fly fishing purists may deride the use of the fluoro bead head and there are rumours that their use could be banned from international fishing competitions because it makes flies irresistible to fish!

Imitates

The EWMK fly is an attractor pattern most likely taken as a small baitfish or fry with their heads on fire.

Controversy

There is a lot of controversy on whether the fly pattern was ‘stolen’ from Tom Jarman. There is even more controversy on whether the tail should be marabou or rabbit fur….and should the rabbit fur be sourced from the armpit or belly region of the rabbit – best to ask your local fly tying materials supplier!  

Materials:

  • Hook: 12 or 14 wet – straight or jig (or whatever you choose or can handle)
  • Thread: black UNI 8/0
  • Tail: Black/Dark Brown Rabbit fur(Zonker) (Marabou if you are non-traditional ) with crystal flash
  • Body: Black Seal fur or substitute…I use Poodle hair during COVID + copper wire
  • Thorax: Peacock dubbing or real peacock swords (will be quite fiddly)
  • Hackle: black/dark brown hen/partridge
  • Bead: Fluoro Orange (or whatever you have)

Fly Tying 28 Jul 2021 – Magoo

Claude in the lead. He tells me Compleat Angler has the majority of the materials in stock.

This fly originates from Ireland and was then further developed by Ballarat fly anglers, Vern Barby and, to a lesser extent, Craig Coltman. Although originally intended as a damsel fly imitation, the fly works very well when none are present. The slim profile makes it very effective when fish are being selective yet it still has “pulling power”, attracting fish from a long way off. The fly works well on a floating line when fished from the shore on its own but really comes into its own in a team of flies on sinking lines. I prefer to fish this fly slowly but it is equally effective pulled hard and ‘hung’. I have caught fish with this fly on all three spots on the leader but favour the point for the weighted version and the top dropper for the unweighted fly. Used on a DI 7 it is effective but as good as it is, I prefer it in a scenario when fishing in five feet of water or less. In Tasmania, there is not a lake it won’t work on. In bright weather or when fish are slightly spooky, one piece of flash can be cut out of either side of the tail to increase your catch rate. Christopher Bassano.

 

Hook :- Wet fly, size 8 or 10. Kamasan B175 or similar

Bead:  of your choice, usually red or gold.

Tail :- Olive marabou and two strands of flash.

Rib :- Copper wire.

Body :- Peacock herl

Body hackle :- Olive saddle feather, palmered

Front hackle :- Partridge breast feather or similar.

 

Fly Tying – 23 Jun 2021 Alexandra (Variant) Davie McPhail Style

Some Notes: JQ suggested “goose biots in red or yellow as eyes for an Alexandra” …. Jungle Cock Eyes are difficult to acquire. I also suggested that the long strands of feather right next to the eyes on peacock tails might substitute for peacock swords which are also hard to get.

Claude will lead via Zoom. His instructions are below. (Were sent by email but replicated here for archive in our Fly Tying blog).

……………….

The Alexandra wet fly originated in Scotland in the 1860s. The artificial fly is also known as the Lady of the Lake, the fly was named by English angler Major William Greer Turle to honor Alexandra, Princess of Wales. The fly is distinguished by the heavy peacock herl wing and silver body which makes the fly resemble a small baitfish or fry. The Alexandra proved to be a very effective fly for trout in lakes and streams in England and Scotland in the late 19th and early 20th century. Many fly fishing purists derided the fly and its use was once banned on many English waters.

Origin

The fly originated as the Lady of the Lake in the 1860s by an unknown angler, primarily for trout in lakes. The fly gained popularity because it was extremely effective fished slowly on sinking lines. Anglers began using the fly in rivers for sea trout and Atlantic salmon with success. It was so effective, that it was allegedly banned from some waters. In the late 19th century, Major William Greer Turle (March 1839 – January 1909), a prominent English angler, renamed the fly Alexandra to honor Alexandra of Denmark, the daughter-in-law of Queen Victoria and then known as the Princess of Wales (1863 to 1901). Turle was a chalkstream angler with water on the River Test near Newton Stacey. He learned fly tying from George Selwyn Marryat and was a close associate of Frederic M. Halford.

Imitates

The Alexandra is an attractor pattern most likely taken as a small baitfish or fry.

Controversy

The “Alexandra”, although a successful fly, was not always welcome on the chalk streams of Southern England.

Some anglers, especially the selfish ones, are in the habit of using a huge bunch of peacock herl for wings over a silver body, called the “Alexandra.” What a profanation to bestow on this monstrosity the name of one of the most charming and amiable princesses of this century! It certainly is not the imitation of any indigenous insect known to entomologists; possibly the bright silver body moving through the river gives some idea of the gleam of a minnow. Long ere this its use should have been prohibited in every stream frequented by the bond fide fly-fisherman, as it is a dreadful scourge to any water, scratching and frightening an immense pro portion of the trout which are tempted to follow it. It certainly would have been prohibited, too, but for the fact that experience shows that in any stream in which it has been much fished the trout soon become quite alive to its danger, and not only will not move an inch towards it, but when worked close to their noses will not so much as turn at it, but at times, on the contrary, even fly in terror from the dread apparition. — Frederic M. Halford, Dry Fly Fishing (1889)

Whether up-stream or down-stream fishing be the correct thing; whether gossamer casts are profitable in the long run; whether one, two or three flies should be used; whether the Alexandra fly is orthodox–these are amongst the topics the assembled fishermen discuss as they sit around on the spot to which the frugal luncheon has been brought, under shelter of the golden-blossomed gorse, their rods spiked hard by, and the flies streaming out before the breeze. If there are more than two present there is not likely to be unanimity upon any of these points. It is well for the tackle makers that new notions–heresies in the eyes of anglers of the last generation–are so freely promulgated. I know some successful fishermen who habitually fish down-stream, and who use medium gut for their casts. In very rapid water, free from weeds (the Derbyshire rivers, and Welsh streams, for example,) a third fly may be added to the stretcher and dropper, but, on the whole, little good comes of more than two flies on the cast. In trout water where the fish do not rise well at the usual flies the Alexandra is as much in place as a spun minnow, but it spoils the fish for the artificial fly pure and simple. — William Senior, Angling In Great Britain (1883)

Materials:

Hook: Streamer no. 10 (or whatever you choose or can handle)

Thread: black UNI 8/0

Tail: Red Marabou or red goose shoulders (or something red)

Body: silver flat tinsel + silver oval tinsel or Holo + Silver wire

Hackle: black hen

Wing: peacock swords + thin red tinsel

Eyes: Optional – Jungle Cock

If you want to see the tie before the meeting, check it out at: Tying the Alexandra (Variant) Wet Fly by Davie McPhail

Claude has created a document showing step by step images from the McPhail video and images from Claude’s material. It may provide an alternative ‘how-to’.

Fly Tying 26 May 2021 – Woolly Bugger

Some variations on the Wooly Bugger. Both with and without the traditional palmered hackle.

These images come from our leader, Claude. He remarked “If I ever tie a dodgy fly, I normally use them as a starting fly in a particularly snaggy spot where loosing it wont break my heart 😊. As JQ said, you can trim the tail if you keep having tail strikes.”

Fly Tying – 28 Apr 2021 – Hare and Copper

From Lyall:

The fly to be tied from 7:30 on the evening of Wednesday 28 April via Zoom will be the Hare and Copper.  This is such an extremely easy fly to tie that it almost ties itself!!!  The idea is that you just use materials you already have rather than me being prescriptive, for all materials with the possible exception of the hare’s mask dubbing.  We might have tied these previously but I was asked to tie a sure bet fly for Tumut.

Hook – size 12 or 14, 1 X short nymph hook eg. Gamakatsu S12 (or any size 12 or 14 straight shank, eye down hook)

Thread – 8/0 black UNI thread (or brown or tan)

Bead head – 7/64 black, tungsten bead head (or gold bead head)

Lead ten thou or twenty thou lead wife (optional)

Tail – dark, speckled Coq De Leon (or pheasant tail or brown hackle)

Body – hare’s mask dubbing

Wire – medium UNI French copper wire (or gold coloured)