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Joe Ditmer


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Lookin' good....#4, I personally, would move the dumbbell eyes back from the hook eye a smidge. They will catch fish any way you look at it and that is first and foremost what we want... ;)

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I can say that these are an improovment over your first set. The beetles, and the simple wrapped herl body fly are your best so far. I think you have the same problem many new tiers have, namely, you want to tie every pattern you see, and you want to tie them all now. You tie one of something and then move on to one of something else.


Stop now, and go back to the beginning. Learn the two flies in this link.


Miracle Midge, and Brassie.


The proper use and control of thread is important. You will use thread on EVERY (well almost every,) pattern you tie from now on. Don't start messing with more materials, until you learn to properly start, apply, control, and end your thread. You should learn FIRST before you even tie any flies, a 5 or 6 turn cross over wrap to start, then a three or 4 turn whip finish. You should do cross overs and whip finishes on a single hook a few dozen times to imprint these techniques. Then apply a smooth touching turn base wrap. As you learn the base wrap, learn thread control.


Thread control really referrs to two different things. First, is controlling the amount of thread you have between your bobbin (thread holder,) and the hook. Work with the shortest amount of thread between the bobbin and hook as you can. Second, and most important, learn to apply the thread in FLAT wraps. Most all thread is made of twisted strands or multiple (micro,) strands. They will lay flat as you begin, but with each turn around the hook, the thread will get more and more twisted. This results in the thread taking a more round profile. Round thread creates more bulk, and doesn't hold materials as well. To control the shape of the thread, you will need to spin the bobbin to get the thread flat again after ever dozen or so turns.


Learn to make a smooth flat base wrap, both from eye to bend and back again. These two wraps should both be smooth, and edge to edge. No gaps and no lumps. When you can do that, you have the abdomen of a small midge larvae or pupae done. If you want to add the wire rib, add it in as in the video. Still make your wraps over the wire smooth and even.


As you build up the thorax and head area (afer spiral wrapping the rib,) keep those wraps as smooth as you can. Six to 8 layers of thread should be enough of a build up for the head. Does every thing look smooth and neatly done, if so, then make that 3 turn whip finish. You can coat the head with cement, or on thread midges, coat the whole fly (that will make for a more durable pattern.)


Once you can duplicate both the Miracle Midge, and the Brassie, then move on.

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Those are some good beginner flies. Don't take me the wrong way, however. Your heads and overall "neatness" need some work, but everyone's did when they were starting. Don't get discouraged if your flies don't look exactly like they're supposed to. I got some good advice from a fellow tyer when I was starting, went something like this:


Tie 1 doz. of a fly that is effective and relatively simply, ie. Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear. Tie these with a picture of the pattern right in front of your vise. Go slow, first one shouldn't take less than 1/2 hour. Pay attention to tail length and thickness, body thickness and most importantly, taper. The thorax and shellcase are the hard parts. Just settle for what you can do your first time, excpect it to be a messy bulge. Get a head that doesn't hide the eye. Repeat 11 times.


Next, take a razor blade or knife and cut everything off these hooks. Study the patterns again, and repeat the process of tying 1 doz. Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear. This time keep in mind the taper most of all, and again don't worry about the thorax much. Go slow. Finish with the best head you can manage. Repeat 11 times.


Now cut everything off again, and tie them all one-by-one.


After my third dozen I went from a total newbie with no tying experience, to a newbie that knows what mistakes I commonly make, knowing how to get the fur and thread to do what "I" want, and how to know what makes a good fly. This excercise alone should take close to a week depending on how much free time you have, but it is the best tying lesson I can think of. Hackle comes next, but you are familiar with material manipulation now, so as soon as you understand the technique, it should come easily as well as with every other technique in fly tying.


If you follow this somewhat grueling exercise, I guarantee you will excell very quickly with your tying skill.






Just don't give up!

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