Fly Tying

Feather Facets

  • By: Darrel Martin
  • Photography by: Darrel Martin
Adams Fly

“There is an expression in wine tasting that a fine wine must ‘blossom in the mouth and spread out its peacock tail.’ The metaphor that connects feather with wine is not all hyperbole. The finest feather is the rich, full-bodied and mature feather. The feather connoisseur recognizes the sweet, rich mahogany of coachman brown and the cool, dry flavor of a light Cahill. A warm and subtle bouquet of light explodes as it passes through a fine hackle. After all, the birth of a fly begins with a delicious hackle.”

Spring Bonus: More Tying Tools Tested

  • By: Ted Leeson
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More from Ted Leeson's latest Field Test: "Fly-tying is all about building better mousetraps, so tiers are forever on the lookout for new patterns and materials, and tools..."

Table-top Tools

  • By: Ted Leeson
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While it’s true that the best tools in fly-tying are our 10 fingers, most of us find them a necessary, but not sufficient, condition.

Early Brown Stone

  • By: A. K. Best
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This time of year, we often have remnant snow along the streambank, which makes you wonder if it’s really worth going trout fishing on what will probably be a rather dreary spring day. But the shack-nasties have been an affliction for days and you feel you must stand in frigid water and deal with ice in your guides…or spend the afternoon in a bar. I’ve done both. And dealing with ice in your guides is easier than feeling the residual pain after a few hours in your favorite pub.

Sand Flats Shrimp

  • By: A. K. Best
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I received my 2010 Umpqua Feather Merchants flies and materials catalog a few days ago and went right to the listing of flies to see what’s new. In scanning the “Saltwater” section, I counted nearly 100 bonefish flies. Not many of them resembled the little shrimp I saw when I snorkeled the Bahama’s flats some years ago. Nearly all of these flies contained enough material from which to make two or three patterns and there was way too much flash in both the body and “wing.” In fact, some of the old favorite, sparsely tied flies were missing from the collection.

10-Minute Ties

  • By: A. K. Best
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A. K. shares the goods on tying a killer green drake pattern.

The Miraculous Sand Lance

The Miraculous Sand Lance

A new striped-bass pattern that brought in an unbelievable catch—a found fly line and two striped bass! WEB BONUS FEATURE FROM THE APRIL 2009 ISSUE!

Dark Spruce Fly

  • By: A. K. Best
  • Photography by: A. K. Best
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IF I WERE PLANNING AN EXOTIC TRIP TO someplace south of the equator, among the first patterns I’d put in my fly box would be Dark Spruce weighted streamers in sizes 2 through 6. I have an affinity for this fly partly because it’s one of the first steamer flies I learned to tie and, more important, because it always seems to work no matter where I fish it. To me an exotic trip equates to catching really big fish using big flies. Coq de Leon saddles solved the problem of tying large Spruce Fly streamers. The feathers have rounded tips and are long enough to easily tie size 2 or even larger, if you wish. Find one with furnace markings and dye it medium brown if it isn’t already dyed for you.

Flash Fly

  • By: A. K. Best
Flash Fly
  1. Attach the white thread and tie in a small clump of pearlescent Krystal Flash. Lash the clump to the end of the hook shank and bring the thread forward to the starting point. Taper the tailing tips. Tie in the pearlescent Body Braid above the thread starting point, and lash it to the top of the hook, to the start of the hook bend. Bring the thread forward and wind the Body Braid forward to create a slight taper to the rear of the body. Tie down and trim off the excess.

A Better Bugger

  • By: A. K. Best
  • Photography by: A. K. Best
WoolyBugger

Attach the thread behind the hook eye and wind to end of the shank. Tie in the wire above the hook point, wind behind the hook eye as shown here, trim the tag, apply a liberal amount of head lacquer to the wraps and cover with two spiral wraps of thread. Clip of a small tuft of black-bear hair, remove the underfur and tie it on the hook immediately behind the lead wraps.