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Everything posted by fbhenry

  1. As always, you all are a cornucopia of information. I haven't thrown out the old Metz capes, but the quality of hackle I see online in videos makes them look unsatisfactory. I do realize they still have some good feathers and won't discard them. Aside from an Orvis 5 minutes away, which is a bit thin on capes/saddles, Shannon's is the closest (an hour away) that I could go to inspect by hand, so I typically buy online. Will look into Collins and consider the Whiting pro grade (which I think is just fewer feathers than bronze?) and some midge size 100s I think. Again, many thanks for the responses. Fred
  2. New Jersey now. Princeton. Grew up in SE PA and was in Chicago for too long. Back to East Coast now. Anyone in the central Jersey area?
  3. Thank you flytire. I have heard of collins but it isn't generally available on the sites I frequent like stockard I meant to say I will look at their site. Those prices seem reasonable.
  4. Hi all, I'm not really a beginner, because I have been tying since about 1987, but I've been very off and on over the years--intense all-day-everyday spells alternating with everything gathering dust in a plastic storage bin for years. As I have been acquiring materials again over the past several years, the one nagging issue is the cost of hackle. Clearly it has gotten much more expensive. The old Metz capes I have still have like a 12.95 sticker on them. And I know this topic is covered ad nauseam. Even so, after relentless googling I just can't figure out the best approach that won't break the bank. I want to tie mainly dries, size 12 and as small as 24. A cape will have some 24s on it but not many (correct me if I am wrong). A saddle will mainly have a narrower range of sizes. So if I am out to spend, say 150 bucks, and to replace my old moth-eaten Metz capes, is the best approach to start with a full Whiting brown cape, a full Whiting grizzly cape, and a couple Whiting 100s in midge sizes? I saw a Cree on ebay for 140 but I'm not sure about all the cree hype. I do like to tie small. I don't really want to buy half cape starter packs because I will be doing this way past my mid life and want to have the stock. So bronze grade? I do apologize if this is annoyingly simplistic to all of you who regularly shop for materials, but I would appreciate the guidance. Thanks in adavnce. I mostly lurk but you guys are the best source of info on the net. Best, Fred
  5. Wow, I was just struggling and getting pretty frustrated with this pattern today! Thank you! cheers, Fred
  6. Yes! McGnat chose the correct word. Understated beauty is the best sort. The golden pheasant just washes over that wing.
  7. fbhenry


    I have listened to a few good ones from "2 Guys and a River" (http://www.2guysandariver.com). Looks like they have 36 total now. cheers, Fred
  8. That looks pretty darn elegant to me, flytire! I thought I was fairly organized until seeing this... cheers, Fred
  9. Thank you for this thread and the recommendations. I recently bought some at Cabela's and frankly it is terrible. cheers, Fred
  10. Thanks Jaydub, I mainly was confused whether 6/0 could tie small flies. And despite the confusion over denier, Danville 6/0 is 70 denier and definitely lies flat (it wraps flat unbonded when I tie it, and sometimes if I I have dry skin I catch an edge and fray it). I'm pretty much confused about most fly tying materials cheers, Fred
  11. Thanks flytire: I'll soon grab some 8/0 and/or 12/0 to compare on my smaller hooks. (On a side note, color naming schemes are a mess. I think color choice alone will propel me into other brands) cheers, Fred
  12. Thank you Dave and Scott for the informative responses! Getting back into this, I have to constantly resist the temptation to go buy whatever I see a tyer using in some tutorial or video, and work with what I have. I'm sure I will test out other threads, but I guess since I have a pile of Danville, I'll use that and distribute my dollars to other materials. I have to admit that besides the information I get from this forum, the reassurance that all is not lost if I don't have the latest and greatest is a huge morale booster. Fred
  13. One thing that I didn't have when I first started tying in the early '90s was youtube. It seems like every dry fly tying video I watch employs Veevus 16/0 or a statement to the effect that "I only tie with 8/0." Now I know the whole aught system and denier system are out of whack, and totally unstandardized, but can someone then explain to me the other tying sites and authorities that say a Danville 6/0 is fine to use for a size 18 or even 22? I primarily want to tie size 12-22 dries at present. I have a huge amount of Danville 6/0 spools. Is this OK or do I have to start shopping for finer threads? cheers, Fred
  14. I asked a similar question in this forum not too long ago and ended up buying the Peak rotary vise at around 155 USD. With the pedestal base. It is solidly and smoothly engineered and has many accessories. Many others have reviewed this better than I could, but I'll say I am loving it. It is smooth! The parts are all excellently machined and made in Colorado. cheers, Fred
  15. Well it's easy to get in a brown study about the way things are going these days, isn't it? As Mike already pointed out, there are some good points, but the listicle-cum-commandment format just makes it read like the author is pissed off and indignant about how everyone else is behaving or comporting themselves as fishermen ("fly fishermen"). Thus spake his righteousness. That makes him feel better, getting the steam off, and situating himself at a higher level of awareness than mere mortals. I used to rock climb and mountaineer at a high level and got really annoyed initially when sport/competitive climbing became a thing, and when every other banker and auto maker and drug company was featuring rock climbing in their advertisements, as if it were the activity that could sell anything, and the bold endeavor that could make everyone want to be that "hero." But ultimately it just doesn't matter. Conservation matters, getting joy out of one's fishing or tying matters. There is so much I can't afford in the fly fishing consumer universe, yet I still love doing it, and don't spend a lot of time worrying about that Sage rod I can't have. The whole screed strikes me as consistent with the internet age's tendency to enable suffocating levels of sanctimony. Even his paean to April Vokey is disingenuous. The piece tries too hard to exhibit a perfect moral compass as regards fly fishing and in that it fails. It has all been said before, most conscientious and self-reflective fisherman recognize the points, and there will always be those utterly unaware of basic propriety and balance. From TH we got a sermon that is, I think, largely preaching to the choir of better angels in most of us. cheers, Fred
  16. Oh man, I have dogs that have damaged and consumed various expensive items in our household, but that would have definitely ruined my day. The capes and saddles are the real minefield for me now, given the price and just trying to track them down. I feel OK just buying the cheaper dubbing assortments, the hooks, a tool here and there, but sometimes I feel like I am in the market for a fly reel when I peruse the offerings from Metz and Whiting. Prices have changed since I last tied in the early nineties. I'm on the hunt for a blue dun to tie some BWOs and it feels like a quest, and I get anxious knowing that a good investment in one is probably more than 50 bucks. I take heed of all the good advice to tie with what one has, but I still want to get the product for certain flies, you know? Meanwhile, I tie with what I have and hope my dogs, which have sniffed around my Metz and hare's mask, don't feel like having a snack when I'm not looking. Cheers, Fred
  17. Thanks NoSlack, I'm super careful with the razor, but I did just try some forceps/hemostat (didn't have the needle nose on my desk) on a quill body that I guess I put some extra laquer on and they worked great. I'll use both! Thanks for the tip!
  18. Yes this is how I do it, and I store the blade in a slit wine cork. Gently sawing motion along the top of the shank from tail toward eye (L-R).
  19. I appreciate all the comments, they are immensely helpful. I've been working on backing off and re-doing on each stage of the fly (setting wings, tail, body, hackle). Taking all of your advice into consideration, I just sifted through the pile of mosquitos and adams I have been tying the past couple weeks and picked out the obviously malformed ones to reuse the hooks. By malformed I mean wings way too tall, hackle way too big, etc.--things that will cause the fly to float or ride poorly, or otherwise just too glaring overlook. I will most definitely leave the passable, mediocre flies in my box and fish them. No way do I want to razor away all my grizzly. And I am indeed focusing on one or two patterns and tying the heck out of them. My past experience ended in a decent competence in many patterns of dries, nymphs, streamers, and bugs, but I'm trying now to reboot my tying with dry flies. I'm not going nuts with purchasing materials, just trying to acquire the needed stuff for some patterns I would like to tie, not trying to accumulate a pro's decades' deep stash all at once. cheers, Fred
  20. On the Hareline Dubbin whip finisher, just for comparison' sake, both the upper and lower ball are fixed.
  21. Hey all, I've gotten back into tying after a twenty year hiatus--and I got some fantastic advice from you guys a while back when upgrading my vise. Now I'm in the situation of tying like crazy but, given my general awareness of aesthetic ideals and proportions, I'm happy on average with about 2 out of 10 flies I tie. Also since my old materials were limited in quantity, I've been spending a lot. Not to mention capes and necks...ye gods I've wandered into a black hole for my wallet. So I was looking at this pile of classic mosquitos I tied (bc I have an excess of grizzly and moose mane) and a good portion of them are just mediocre or worse. Tonight I took one of the more egregiously bad specimens and razor-bladed it and retied on the hook and made a better fly. So I'm wasting materials but saving the hook. What is your advice for a relative beginner on the problem of perfectionism and poorly tied flies. Should I razor or just suppress my high ideals and fish them? What is the cut-off point for a fishable fly--let's say a dry fly--if it isn't ideally proportioned? cheers, Fred
  22. fbhenry


    I might have to work harder at plucking out all the guard hairs in the muskrat! My Adams body gets too nymphy. Cheers, Fred
  23. fbhenry


    Nice work eplea! I'm working on my Adams too. Your taper on the body looks cleaner than what I have been able to achieve. Did you use muskrat or synthetic? Cheers, Fred
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