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Cody Gould

Wet flies

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It would help a lot if you could describe or show us a picture of the problem.

 

Quill section wings can be difficult. You need three things: 1) an even thread base on which to mount your wings, 2) a well-executed "soft loop", and 3) lots of practice! I suggest you look at your wings after two soft loops. (If your wings always rotate over the top of the shank, start them a bit on the your side.) If they aren't to your liking, loosen the thread and try to move the sections into place. If that fails, start over with new quill sections. Never wrap your thread rearward over the roots of the wings! You need to hold the wings firmly in place while executing your soft loops. It helps if your feather sections are not too wide. And its easier if you use soft feathers- For example, starling is much softer than duck.

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I can't seem to get the wings on traditional wet flies to lay right. Any suggestions?

 

1) Check out Don Bastian's DVD's & his web page

2) Davie McPhail on Youtube with wet flies

Materials make a huge difference

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These days I only use paired slip wings on flies that are either 1) for customers, or 2) "demonstration" flies. My fishing flies have a single slip rolled. Like this...

RoughFlies_0009_edited-1.jpg

 

For paired slip wings I start be pairing up the feathers. Select the same feather from each of a pair of wings. Strip everything off the quill that will not be used for the wing slips (The tip, the fluffy fibers at the base, the biots) and whip or tape them together.

Wing2.jpg

 

When you want paired slips cut through the quill, don't cut the slips off the quill. The quill will help hold the fibres together and in place as you tie them.

Wing3.jpg

 

After struggling to get wings right for years I found that the pinch and loop isn't the best method to place wings. I now use the method used by those who tie classic salmon flies, the Valley Method.

Hold the paired slips between finger and thumb and offer them to the hook. As mentioned before you need a good base to set your wings on. The grip should be just behind the tie in point. Hold the slips very tightly, those fibres you are holding shouldn't move. Take a loose turn over the wings, eye side of where you are gripping them. (A third hand would help with this process). Let go of the bobbin and take hold of the butts of the wing slips and waggle them up and down so that the weight of the bobbin holder pulls the slips down. Once seated take hold of the bobbin and make a couple of turns working towards the eye. Each wrap getting tighter. Then you can let go.

 

Hope that helps.

Cheers,

C.

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Another alternative to leaving the slips on the quill is to spray the entire feather, both sides, with a clear plastic fixative such as used by artists who work in pencil, charcoal, and chalk, to 'fix' their work so that they can't be smudged. Krylon Fixative is a readily available product and is perfect for this. Furthermore, it keeps all of the barbs 'married' to one another.

 

Another point worth mentioning is that, at least in the case of duck/goose quills, the thick 'shiny' part at the base of the barbs should be first cut off, as it does NOT compress well and can give all kinds of problems if left on.

 

Cheers,

Frank

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For vertical wings the technique taught by the late Donald Downs is very good. Photos are easier than words.

Wing8.jpg

Wing9.jpg

Wing10.jpg

It makes for very robust wings.

Cheers,

C.

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