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Thread: The hardcore fly-tyer...breaking the rules!

  1. #1
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    Default The hardcore fly-tyer...breaking the rules!

    I am essentially a lazy fly-tyer and have never taken much pleasure in tying known patterns by the book. In fact, most often, I break all the rules and still somehow manage to come up with extremely effective patterns. Part of the enjoyment of fly fishing to me is coming up with patterns to suit my own particular requirements and inventing a fly that will work. My creativity begins the moment that I secure the hook in the grasp of the vice's jaws and until that point, I have no idea what I am actually going to tie. There are some basic principals that I usually apply and these arise from my own streamside observations. I thought i would tell you about some of these basics. As always, I am talking dry fly fishing now.

    Requirement number 1 is to incorporate something into the pattern that I know from experience I will be able to see. This to me is the most important element to dry fly fishing. If you can't see your fly, it becomes a hit and miss affair and as such immediately loses it's appeal. A bit of white poly yarn does the job perfectly.

    2) I am a sparse hackle guy. I seldom incorporate more than 3 turns of hackle and as such, most of my flies have a 'spider-like' appearance. Breaking the rules, I prefer a slightly softer hackles (poor quality) than the stiff variety that the text books advocate, especially for parachute style flies. I take care to not choose hackle feathers with herl in between. The individual fibres must be clean.

    3) Breaking the rules further, I seldom tie to matching hook proportions. I like small #18 hooks, but have no problem tying in hackles that are 'better' suited to #14's. I firmly believe in exaggerated proportions....nice long legs, a bulbous thorax, longer than usual tails.

    4) I steer clear of anything which could only serve to waterlog my fly, so dubbing is out. Dubbing in my opinion only serves to lag the fly and as such, micro drag sets in sooner. So, to combat this, most of my dries consist of thread only, which after coating the hook, I bring forward in wide turns for a slightly ribbed look. I sometimes incorporate a bit of crystal flash wound up the abdomen, which serves as a bit of an attractor and also gives a segmented appearance. For the thorax, I may incorporate a bit of peacock....or I may not. Depends on how I feel at the time.

    5) I seldom use anything but black. Black is without a doubt the most effective colour on our streams. I have seen it time and time again. A guy misses a fish, does the fly change, get's a refusal, does another fly change followed by another refusal, switches to black and whamo, up she comes!

    I like living on the edge and seldom have more than 6 newly tied flies with me on any given day on the stream.

    So that's it...I keep it plain and simple....and I catch a sh1t load of fish!
    "Innocence is a wild trout. But we humans, being complicated, have to pursue innocence in complex ways" - Datus Proper

  2. #2
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    Talking Chris' preferences

    So let me get this straight.

    Your preference is for something black, long wobbly legs with no fluff inbetween or anywhere else on the body. You also prefer a bulbous thorax with the ribs showing very prominently. A bit of flash is acceptable, but no drag, not even micro-drag. Finally you like something in the 18 range, but it must appear to be around 14.

    Does this go for dries only, or is it also your choice for nympho's?

    Boy, maybe we should have a separate forum for this kind of post...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by armand View Post
    So let me get this straight.

    Your preference is for something black, long wobbly legs with no fluff inbetween or anywhere else on the body. You also prefer a bulbous thorax with the ribs showing very prominently. A bit of flash is acceptable, but no drag, not even micro-drag. Finally you like something in the 18 range, but it must appear to be around 14.

    Does this go for dries only, or is it also your choice for nympho's?

    Boy, maybe we should have a separate forum for this kind of post...
    I don't do nymphos
    "Innocence is a wild trout. But we humans, being complicated, have to pursue innocence in complex ways" - Datus Proper

  4. #4
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    I like flies with some life in them. Stiff hackles don't do this for me.

    Also, fluffy bits only serve to waterlog the fly, so I dispense with that. I like a clean undercut body for smooth drag free drifts. It is all common sense and very simple physics actually. Less friction and all that stuff you know!

    We as fly fisherman tend to overcomplicate things. I always try to apply logical thought to whatever I do of a fishy nature. Some people prefer to sound intelligent and will write whole thesis's on the simplest dynamics. Not me, I just get out there and do it, simply and effectively! If it doesn't work, I try something else. I have learnt to not waste time tying patterns that look pretty in my fly box. Everything I tie works. I seldom name flies, because I tie too many variations. I am too creative a person to tie 2 of the same patterns in a row. It is just too boring for me, so, I dont do it.
    Last edited by Chris Shelton; 19-11-06 at 04:03 PM.
    "Innocence is a wild trout. But we humans, being complicated, have to pursue innocence in complex ways" - Datus Proper

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by armand View Post
    So let me get this straight.

    Your preference is for something black, long wobbly legs with no fluff inbetween or anywhere else on the body. You also prefer a bulbous thorax with the ribs showing very prominently. A bit of flash is acceptable, but no drag, not even micro-drag. Finally you like something in the 18 range, but it must appear to be around 14.

    Does this go for dries only, or is it also your choice for nympho's?

    Boy, maybe we should have a separate forum for this kind of post...
    hehe...I am still giggling. Very clever little sum up Armand, I must give you that
    "Innocence is a wild trout. But we humans, being complicated, have to pursue innocence in complex ways" - Datus Proper

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by armand View Post
    So let me get this straight.

    Your preference is for something black, long wobbly legs with no fluff inbetween or anywhere else on the body. You also prefer a bulbous thorax with the ribs showing very prominently. A bit of flash is acceptable, but no drag, not even micro-drag. Finally you like something in the 18 range, but it must appear to be around 14.

    Does this go for dries only, or is it also your choice for nympho's?

    Boy, maybe we should have a separate forum for this kind of post...
    Brilliant Armand.....Brilliant!!

  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Shelton View Post
    I like flies with some life in them. Stiff hackles don't do this for me.

    Also, fluffy bits only serve to waterlog the fly, so I dispense with that. I like a clean undercut body for smooth drag free drifts. It is all common sense and very simple physics actually. Less friction and all that stuff you know!

    We as fly fisherman tend to overcomplicate things. I always try to apply logical thought to whatever I do of a fishy nature. Some people prefer to sound intelligent and will write whole thesis's on the simplest dynamics. Not me, I just get out there and do it, simply and effectively! If it doesn't work, I try something else. I have learnt to not waste time tying patterns that look pretty in my fly box. Everything I tie works. I seldom name flies, because I tie too many variations. I am too creative a person to tie 2 of the same patterns in a row. It is just too boring for me, so, I dont do it.

    Ha, we are total opposites when it comes to fly tying. I'm not overly eloborate when it comes to patterns, but it must look good to me. But good, not necessarily pretty, but it must look like it will catch fish.

    Your waterlogged dubbing theory does hold some ground. Until you get off your arse and get some hydrostop and then that problem will go away !

    As for the 6 flies story I can never have too many flies. I have 2 large C&F boxes for the streams and 4 C&F boxes for the stillwaters. All flies are organised into neat rows by type from largest to smallest and every fly is removed from the patch on my jacket at the end of the day and put back into its respective box.

    Ok, so I'm a bit anal.

  8. #8
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    Nah Shaun, I'm like you.

    I don't have lots of patterns in my boxes but I have many variations of size and colour of each one. I also don't return them to the box but rather onto a patch, but that is more so I know what I have used already during the day.

    As for tying my approach is different. I set out to tie a certain pattern (mine or well known, whatever) and then I tie a bunch of that pattern in stages, eg weighting and adding tails on all hooks, then adding bodies on all, then hackle on all etc. They say this is how speed tyers work but i am not sure if it saves that much time. What it does do is improve your technique for one part of the fly. If you tie 10 tails in a row before tying the rest of the fly, you will improve your tying of tails much more than tying 10 whole flies where you do the other steps inbetween. It also keeps your tying space a lot neater because when tailing flies, you only have the tailing material on the workspace and can put it away when you get the body materials out. (Cool tip: If you want to pre-prepare 5 tails before applying, get the material you want for each fly and stick it to the sticky bit on the back of a postit. You then just have 5 tails ready to be applied and the rest of the material can be put away).

    I couldn't dream of going out on the streams with only 1 of a specific pattern.
    If I have only 1 pattern left in my box in a specific size/colour, that is the point at which I will change to another fly because I cannot bear losing that last fly and then not knowing what to try. It makes no sense, but that's what i end up doing.

    As to the creativity side of things, mine is much more on an evolutionary timescale. While sitting tying a specific pattern I might think: "hang on, what if i add a black wire ribbing instead of a gold one", or "what about goose biot bodies instead of dubbing" and so the patterns may change to new ones over a long time even though the patterns they evolved from are just as effective.
    Last edited by gkieser; 19-11-06 at 06:25 PM.

  9. #9
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    Geez, you guys sure are anal! Tell me something, how long do you stare into your fly boxes with your hundreds of flies before making a selection? By the time you have, I am sure I will be releasing my 3rd fish!
    "Innocence is a wild trout. But we humans, being complicated, have to pursue innocence in complex ways" - Datus Proper

  10. #10
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    I'm thinking about it while I am fishing, before the change is made. I know what's in my boxes so I don't have to look at them. That's where having only a few patterns but varied colours and sizes comes in handy.

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