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hankaye

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Howdy all;

Am in temporary quarters (Ohio as opposed to my home of Utah), for a leagle matter. Started fly fishing while here and am interested in learning to tie.

Have realized that I have absolully NO idea of what ya'll are talking about. Have popped this question on a few other forums and keep being told to go find a fly shop and ask questions. Nearest one is 100 miles away. bit far to go to ask some questions.

Could/would someone here be kind enough to explain what some of materials are. Like the different parts of feathers, animal parts, and so on. Like trying to break a code.

Thanks for your time and answers,

hankaye

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The members here are great at answering questions. (Sometimes you can get a couple dozen answers for every question!) But I suggest you begin by using google and see what you come up with. There is a lot to learn, so take your time. The secret to getting a good answer is to ask a good question. Be as specific as you can and you will get lots of help from the folks here.

 

Have you begun tying yet? Do you have the basic tools? Are there specific patterns or styles you want to tye?

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What do you have so far? Some basic stuff are Deer tail, Deer body, chennile, hackle, squirrel tail, rabbit dubbing, foam, Flashabou, and Marabou. That is just some of the basic materials. What tools do you have?

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Sounds like what you need is a fly tying glossary, here are some links to a few that will give you a place to learn the terms you hear

 

http://flyanglersonline.com/flytying/tyingterms/

 

http://business.virgin.net/fly.shop/glossary.htm

 

Just read though the materials list on the sponsors web site linked at the top of the main pages. You will get a feel for what feathers, hair and furs, are sold.

 

There is a lot of terminology, way too much to answer in one go. Those links should help.

 

I will start with some common feathers:

 

Hackle: The soft neck feathers from the head and neck of a bird. Chickens are the usual source of hackle, but other birds are also use for hackle. There are many colors, types and uses. Neck hackle is commonly used to wrap around the hook for representing the legs of the bug. The secondary function of hackle on a dry fly is to float the fly, so several turns are used than necessary to represent the six or 8 legs of an insect or spider. Hackle can be purchased on the skin called the cape or saddle patch. The cape usually refers to a neck. The saddle patch is the lower portion of the neck or upper back of the chicken. Hackle can be purchased as "strung" hackle. Either neck or saddle feathers are sewn into a long hank of feathers. Strung hackle is commonly used for streamer wings, and palmer hackle on woolly buggers. Shclappen is similar to strung saddle hackle, but it is longer, wider, and has more central web. There are more than likely few terms you may not know already.

 

Palmer hackle is simply the process of winding the feather up the fly in an open spiral. The “web” is the central part of the individual feather (hackle.) The web is easily seen when you hold a feather up to the light. It will appear as a fuzzier center area, and in many cases will be a darker color. Commonly, most brown hackle will show a dark center web section which can be almost black with a green sheen. The “wings” on a streamer are tied in to simulate the shape of a small minnow, and really represent the body of the fly. The fly tying speak, most items tied in over the top of the hook are called wings.

 

Chicken hackle can come from either the rooster or the hen. The rooster hackles are usually longer and the individual "barbs" are finer, glossier and stiffer than hen hackle. For that reason, rooster necks and saddles are most often used on dry flies, and the hen hackles are used on flies meant to sink. The hackles used on sinking flies are sometimes referred to as "soft" hackles. There is a whole class of flies known as "soft hackles"

 

The most common feather use to make the hackle on a "soft hackle" pattern is found on the Hungarian Partridge. The whole back of the bird can supply these hackles. Hen necks, many types of pheasant (both cock, and hen,) grouse, quail, and starling feathers are also used as "soft" hackle.

 

One other special type of hackle is known as “Coq de Leon”. At one time these were hackles from male chicken bread in Spain. Now you can get them from other sources as well. These feathers have longer barbs, and very little web. They make excellent tails on many dry flies.

 

Most all feathers have three common parts. There is the stem or rachis (the lower portion of the center stem is called the calamus.) The small parts radiating from the rachis are called barbs. The very bottom parts of the barbs are called the after feathers. The after feathers are very fluffy, but there are uses even for this part of the feather. The important parts of any hackle feather are the rachis, and the barbs. The rachis needs to be thin and flexible to facilitate winding. The barb length is what we measure to determine the "size" of a hackle. The hackle would be bent over the hook and the proper length would be 1.5 to 2 times the hook gap. The hook gap is the distance from the shank to the point.

 

Some of the more common other feathers used are tail feathers, wing quills, and any body plumage. Most times a few barbs are cut from the center stem of a tail feather and tied to a hook and wrapped around the hook forming a body. Pheasant tail nymphs are tied from the pheasant tail. Turkey tail feathers can be used in the same way. Wing quills are many times used in making wings. Small sections of the barbs are cut from the rachis and tied to the hook. Wing quills from larger birds can also be wound like tail feathers to form bodies Peacock tails supply a very common body material known as "herl" or often peacock herl. This is simply the barb from the peacock tail. They can be purchased on the tail feather, or more often as strung herl. Similar fuzzy feather barbs from Ostrich wing quills are also used and are called ostrich herl.

 

The peacock herl can be wrapped as it is to form bodies, or “stripped.” Stripped peacock herl from the eyed tail feathers is used in the “quill” bodies on many mayfly patterns. Ostrich herl is mostly used as it comes and wrapped as body material on wet flies and nymphs.

 

Many times you will hear the term breast or flank. These feathers come from the sides of the breast of most waterfowl. Mallard and wood duck are two of the more common birds that we get "flank" or breast feathers from. These feathers usually show a distinct barring pattern white and black, tan and brown, black and gray, are common natural colors, but these feathers can be died most any color. These flank feathers are what many may fly patters call for as wings. Most any of the common game ducks have flank feathers that can be used in tying flies.

 

One word of caution on feathers, ALL birds of prey (eagles, hawks, falcons, osprey, and owls) are PROTECTED, possession of their feathers in illegal. You may not even pick up found feathers. Song birds are also protected, and possession of the feathers is prohibited. In general game birds and birds raised by farmers are all sources of feathers for fly tying.

 

Marabou, these are the soft fluffy feathers used as tailing on woolly buggers. They come from domestic turkeys. Most domestic turkeys are white, but the feathers can be died into many other colors. Grizzly marabou is simply a two toned died feather.

 

Cul de Canard or CDC are the oil impregnated feathers around the preen glands of most ducks, they are naturally waterproof, and are uses in wings for may fly and caddis fly patterns.

 

Goose or Turkey “biot” feathers are from the leading edge of the wing quills of geese or turkeys. The goose biots are used for tails on many nymph patterns, and wrapped as the abdomen on many smaller nymph and midge patterns. Turkey biots are longer and work better on larger nymph patterns.

 

These are the most common feathers used in fly tying, but many others are used. Body plumage from Guinea hen, pea fowl, pheasants, wild turkey, and often used. The list is very long, and uses quite varied.

 

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Sounds like what you need is a fly tying glossary, here are some links to a few that will give you a place to learn the terms you hear

 

http://flyanglersonline.com/flytying/tyingterms/

 

http://business.virgin.net/fly.shop/glossary.htm

 

There is a lot of terminology, way too much to answer in one go. Those links should help.

 

A few common terms:

 

Hackle: The soft neck feathers from the head and neck of a bird. Chickens are the usuall source of hackle, but other birds are also use for hackle. There are many colors, types and uses. Neck hackle is commonly used to wrap around the hook for representing the legs of the bug. The secondary function of hackle on a dry fly is to float the fly, so several turns are used. Hackle can be purchased on the skin called the cape or saddle patch. The cape usually refers to a neck. The saddle patch is the lower portion of the neck or upper back of the chicken. Hackle can be purchased as "strung" hackle. Either neck or saddle feathers are sewn into a long hank of feathers. Strung hackle is commonly used for streamer wings, and palmer hackle on woolly buggers. I have more than likely mentioned a few terms you may not know already. Palmer hackle is simply the process of winding the feather up the fly in an open spiral. Chicken hackle can come from either the rooster or the hen. The rooster hackles are usually longer and the individual "barbs" are finer, glossier and stiffer than hen haclkle. For that reason, rooster necks and saddles are most often used on dry flies, and the hen hackles are used on flys meant to sink. The hackles used on sinking flies are sometimes refered to as "soft" hackles. There is a whole class of flies known as "soft hackles"

 

The most common feather use to make the hackle on a "soft hackle" pattern is found on the partridge. The whole back of the bird can supply these hackles. Hen, many types of pheasant (both cock, and hen,) grouse, quail, and starling feathers are allso used as "soft" hackle.

 

 

Most all feathers have three common parts. There is the stem or rachis (the lower portion of the center stem is called the calamus.) The small parts radiating from the rachis are called barbs. The very bottom parts of the barbs are called the after feathers. The after feathers are very fluffy, but there are uses even for this part of the feather. The important parts of any hackle feather are the rachis, and the barbs. The rachis needs to be thin and flexable to facilitate winding. The barb lenght are what we measuere to determina the "size" of a hackle.

 

The most common other feathers used are tail feathers, wing quills, and any body plumage. Most times a few barbs are cut from the center stem of a tail feather and tied to a hook and wrapped around the hook forming a body. Pheasant tail nymphs are tied from the pheasant tail. Turkey tail feathers can be used in the same way. Wing quills are many times used in making wings. Small sections of the barbs are cut from the rachis and tied to the hook. Wing quills from larger birds can also be wound like tail feathres to form bodies Peacock tails suppy a very common body material known as "herl" This is simply the barb from the peacock tail. They can be purchased on the tail feather, or more often as strung herl.

 

Many times you will hear the term breast or flank. These feathers come from the sides of the breast of most waterfoul. Mallard, and wood duck are two of the more common birds that we get "flank" or breast feathers from. These feathers usually show a distinct barring pattern white and black, tan and brown, black and gray, are common natural colors, but these feathers can be died most any color. I have in my material collection barred flank feathers from mallard, wood duck, teal, merganzer, and shoveler ducks. The hardest flank feather to get is from the common shoveler, since no self respecting duck hunter will ever admint to downing a shoveler.

 

One word of caution on feathers. ALL birds of prey (eagles, hawks, falcons, osprey, and owls) are PROTECTED. Posession of their feathers in illegal. You may not even pick up found feathers. Song birds are aslo protected, and posession of the feathers is prohibitted. In general game birds and birds raised by farmers, are all sources of feathers for fly tying.

 

Ok, that is an introduction to feathers. Whow wants to tackle hair, fur, hides and skins?

 

NOW THAT'S the kind of answer I have been lookin' for! Tell's me 'what's what' and 'what what' gets used for. I have been going all over the internet and this Gentelman is the first one to understand what I'm askin'.

Thank you Sir, truly, THANK YOU. When ever your fingers are ready I'm ready to read about hair, fur, hides and skins and anything else.

 

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Ok, we will break down the hair, fur skins and such in to smaller bits. Lets start with tails. Pretty easy, tails from many common woodland critters are used. The most common would be the buck tail usually from the northern whitetail deer. This tail has a lot of long white hair underneath, and a smaller patch of darker tan hair on the top. When died, the with hair will take dye of almost any color, the darker hair will darken the color, so every buck tail will end up with a light and dark shade. Buck tails are usually used in streamer patterns called (imagine this,) bucktails. The lighter color on the bottom, and the darker shade usually on the top. Different color combinations are often used like pink with chartreuse, or red and yellow. Often times a synthetic flash material may be added to give the bucktail some sparkle. The Clouser minnow is a very popular type of bucktail pattern using buck tails. Fox tails are used in much the same way. Other animals like raccoon, coyote, squirrel, and calf tail are used as well. There too many animals with fly tying potential to list them all. If it has fur, some fly tyer somewhere has used it.

Calf tail is use on the popular hair wing dry fly the Royal Wulff.

Tails from Mink and similar finer fur bearers have uses too. All animal fur or hair is composed of longer hairs called guard hairs, and finer under fur. Mink guard hairs make excellent dry fly tailing material. The fine under fur on a mink makes very good dry fly dubbing.

Moving on to body hair, you will find deer, elk, moose, antelope, caribou, and similar hair used a great deal. These hairs all have long thick guard hairs and most are "hollow." They are not really hollow, but more like microscopic sponges. This helps keep the animal worm in the cold climates they live in. The hair on some deer like the Texas and coastal deer found in warmer climates is not as thick as elk, the northern white tail, or mule deer (found in the Utah mountains,) is more hollow. These hollow hairs "flair" when wound tightly on a hook. This enables the tyer to build up a large bulk of hollow hair that can be trimmed into a shape.

Hair from the Texas or coastal deer flairs a lot less, and is generally shorter. This hair is most commonly used for wings on flies like the comparadun. If you have a complete hide, you can find a very wide assortment of hair on a single deer or elk. The hair from the hock (legs) is fine and will make good tails. Then you can find various textures and lengths on different areas of the skin. The time of year the animal was harvested will also yield different characteristics in the hide. Summer kills will have less of the coarse thick winter hair. Cow and bull elk are a little different, and each have uses. When you purchase hair, you need to know what your going to be using it for.

Good hollow coarse hair for flaring or spinning deer hair poppers, or more fine coastal deer for winging dry flies. The elk hair caddis calls for a little less flair than spinning hair, but more flair than in coastal deer. Cow elk is good for these flies.

Moose hair from the body is good for tailing on dry flies, and is commonly used on Wulff patterns, and the popular Humpy. Moose body is also used on some darker stone fly patterns for the wing. Bull elk is more often used on larger stone fly drys. And brown or natural tan buck tail (from the base of the tail,) is also used for these same patterns.

Stay tuned for furs both on and off the hides. If you have specific questions, or if I haven't been clear enough feel free to PM me.

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Hankaye:

 

While not sure of your situation (when you have free time) you may want to go to a local library and look through their books on fly tying. Most have some basic, beginner books that are good at explaining things.

 

Hope this helps you out, and hang in there, it may take a while to learn, but it sure is a good hobby.

 

George

 

PS - I lived most of my life in Provo.

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Thank You again... This is some of the most helful information I've gotten :yahoo:

Can'nt wait till the next installment arrives

 

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You may be a hundred miles from the nearest shop (I've been there and used to own that tee shirt!), but there may be a Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) club in your area. Check out: http://www.fedflyfishers.org/

 

There are hundreds of FFF clubs across this and other countries. At most of these clubs, you'll find wonderful advice, a tremendous knowledge base and great new friends who are will in to teach and explain many of this sport's finer points of tying, casting, and fishing.

 

In addition, the FFF Councils and many of the clubs sponsor Conclaves and Expos (i.e. fly fishing shows), each of which has a array of excellent tyers and caster who spend that weekend teaching their skills to guys (and gals) just like you. Here are links to just a couple of the regional councils that hold such shows in my area: http://www.gulfcoastfff.org/ ; http://www.southerncouncilfff.org/ ; http://www.southwestcouncilfff.org; and the http://www.fffflorida.org/ .

 

While at these Council web sites, check out their newsletters, as they are great sources of info.

 

I've been a member of the FFF for over 25 years and attend as many Expo's and Conclaves as I can each year. If you will just attend one, I'm sure that you'll learn so much and have such a good time that you too will become a regular attendee.

 

Tightlines,

 

Bowfin47

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I thought I would back up a little, and start from the beginning. There is one item that every fly has to have, the hook: So a brief explination of the different hooks.

 

Hooks:

 

The hook is the “skeleton” of any fly. Materials have to be attached in some way to represent item that a fish might strike for whatever reason. Hooks come in many shapes and sizes. There are names for the different parts of the hook. So we will name the parts that make up a typical hook. First the wire, the wire is what the hook is formed from. It is usually a high carbon content steel, and coated in some way to prevent rust. Some hooks are stainless steel, or nickel plated, and are meant for use in Salt water. Most freshwater hooks are coated with some type of bronzing. The wire comes in many different diameters for making hooks in all sizes. The straight wire is then shaped into a hook. The hook will have an “eye” in most cases. The eye is the small loop at the front end, used to attach the leader. The eye can be straight (in line with the rest of the hook,) or turned up or down. The eye can be tapered or the same thickness all the way around. Turned down eyes are abbreviated as TDE, and turned up eyes are called TUE in hook nomenclature. The part of the hook between the eye and the beginning of the bend is called the shank. In most cases, we will tie materials along the shank length, so it will end up as the size of the body. Then there is the bend.

 

Not all shanks are straight, so the beginning of the bend is sometimes a tricky concept. On a straight shank hook the end of the shank is where the wire starts to bend down from the plane of the shank. This bend continues around until the wire is again in line with the shank. The shape of the bend can vary, and these different shape bends all have names. Common names for the bend include, Round Sproat, and York. The round bend is most common. The hook wire sharpened into a point, and a barb is cut before the hook is shaped around the form that makes the bend. The distance from the point back up to the shank is called the gap, or gape.

 

Hooks sizes are another area where fly tyers speak a different language, even the numbering system used for sizes is strange to many people. The hooks sizes start with a numeral 1, and then go both ways. From 1 to 32 the larger the number, the SMALLER the hook gets, and just to keep it interesting most hooks use even numbers or odd numbers only. From 1, larger hooks are numbered with an “ought” system. The next larger hook will be a 1/0, then a 2/0 and 3/0, and so on; and these hooks use all the numbers. As the first number gets bigger so does the size. This SIZE refers to the distance between the shank and the point. So the size only refers to the gap.

If you have you followed the hook sizing so far, buckle up, it’s about to get much more interesting. Hooks of the same gap size can come in different lengths, and wire weights. Using a size 10 hook as an example, it can come in a number of different shank lengths, either longer or shorter than “normal” and several wire weights either heavier or finer than “normal.” Each hook Manufacturer has a wire weight and gap that they consider the “standard” size for each hook size. The standard size 10 hook may or may or may not state that it is a standard shank length and wire weight on the box. Within that one size, you can find a lot of different hook configurations. There could be two different light wire dry fly hooks, one of up to 7 different longer shank hooks, a few shorter shank hooks, and up to 4 different wire sizes. Then added to that, you could have three or 4 different curved shank hooks, and some with up turned, down turned or straight eyes. There are as many as 20 different size 10 hooks, and that’s from just one maker.

 

Thankfully there is a system for naming all these hooks so one can make sense of all the different hook options. The shank lengths longer or shorter than standard are indicated by a number followed by the letters xl for longer hooks, and xs for shorter shank hooks. In addition, the wire sizes use a number followed by the letters xh for heavier wires, and xf for finer wires. The number indicates how many hook sizes up or down you would go to find a standard hook of the same length or wire diameter. Clear as spring runoff right? Here is an example: an packages is labeled Size 10 2xl 2xh. This hook has a shank length the same as a hook two sizes bigger (a number 6 in this case,) and a wire diameter of a standard size 6 hook (again two sizes bigger than a 10.) Did you follow that? Here is another example. A size 12 2xl 1xf has the gap of a size 12, but the shank is as long as a standard hook two sizes bigger or a size 8, and this hook has a 1xf wire, or the same wire size as a standard size 14 hook. One other thing about hooks, not all hooks are available in every configuration.

 

Why all these different hooks in each size? Here is just one explanation. You may want to keep the hook gap small so that the small mouth or a bluegill can get around it, but you want to imitate a damsel fly nymph. Damsel flies nymphs are long and slender (much longer than a size 10 hook.) To tie the right size imitation, and still have a hook gap that the target fish will be able to bite, you need a longer shank, and to help the fly sink, you want a heavier hook. A size 10 4xl 1xh hook will give a long enough hook which is a little heavier, and still have the right size gap.

 

What hooks are used where:

 

The standard length hook in a standard or fine wire are what floating flies are tied on. The standard length in standard or heavier wire are generally used for soft hackles, and other classic wet flies.

 

A 1xl hook is one common nymph hook. Some times a 2xl is used expecially if a bead head is put on before tying the nymph.

 

The 3xl and 4xl hooks are used for larger nymphs, like stone fly nymphs, and damsel fly nymphs. These same styles are also used for woolly buggers.

 

The 4xl to 10xl are used for streamer patterns. Streamers like the clouser minnow are tied on more standard length hooks.

 

Short shank hooks are used for extended body patterns, egg patterns soft hackles in some cases.

 

The curved shank hooks come in two general configurations. The first is a slightly curves shank like the TMC 200. This hook can be use in a variety of ways. Simulaters, stoneflys, hoppers all can be tied on these types of hooks. In very tiny sizes, they make good midge larvae hooks. The other curved hooks are similar to the TMC 2488, and have a shorter shank that is almost a circlular bend. Scuds, shrimp, egg patterns, nymphs of almost any kind can be tied on these style hooks.

 

That just covers the basic common hooks, there are many other special types for both fresh and saltwater uses. This should get you started.

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hankaye

 

you've gotten a TON of great info from utyer and really good advice from bowfin and ggmiller about on-line resources, beginner books at the library and looking into local TU Chapters or fly fishing clubs for some hands on experience to get you started.

 

Materials can be pretty confusing and a little overwhelming, as you can see from all the info you're getting.

 

Maybe you could let folks know what kind of fish you'll be chasing and then people can chime in with some suggestions for some patterns that:

 

- are easy to tie

- teach good "foundation skills" that you can build on to tie more complex patterns

- use relatively inexpensive materials that are used on many other patterns (to build up your inventory of stuff)

- are very effective on the fish you'll be chasing and

- have free on-line links to videos or step by step tutorials (with instructions and pics) to tie them.

 

A good way to get started is to pick out just 2-3 patterns at a time, get the materials, and tie up a bunch of each before you move on.

 

Once you zero in on the patterns you want to tie, folks can list the specific materials (or appropriate substitutes) to tie them, and the qualities to look for when shopping.

 

Depending on what fish you chase the recommendations for patterns might vary a bit.

 

Good luck!

 

mark

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peregrines, you're right... In my opinion a ton is a underestimate .

At the moment I am fishing for Panfish. When I return to Utah I will be fishing for Trout as well, I'll never give up my panfish. I have read that there are several patterns that work well for both. I have also become interested in the Soft Hackles and Flymphs? They look to be deceptive as to the skill required to build.

Thanks

hankaye

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