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Skill Builder Trout Series II

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Hey Guys, this is your "head's up" to watch the mail for your flies. I sent them out this afternoon. I've talked to Henrik about doing a critique of our soft hackles and I believe he's going to do that for us again. He has also offered to post for us some "techniques, tricks & tips" related to tying Wet Flies, so continue to watch this thread for that. After Henrik posts his info, I will open a new thread for Skill Builder III. Classic Wet Flies. Be sure to check the website at http://traditionalfl...php?wetpost1930 for the pattern you decide to tie and remember that he HAS to be a TROUT pattern, not a salmon pattern, and it HAS to have wings. The materials you use for the wings is up to you, but it has to have wings. Also remember that since these are patterns from years ago, if there are any illegal materials listed, you MUST substitute a similar, but legal, material. Those are some special rules for this swap that everyone will be expected to stick to.





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The hackle on mine is from a blue winged teal, a type of duck. It does tend to marry itself when dry, but once it's sitting in a little current the fibers will lay around the body (fairly evenly if I tied them halfway decent) and trap some air bubbles. Teal feathers are very soft, they look great IMO, but they usually only handle a few good fights before they tear off, but they are one of my favorite soft hackles for coloration and motion in the water.

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Dear All


First of all, I hope you will use my critics and comments to enhance your tying, not for the fish to bite, but for the human eye to be joyed :-D

In general it is a nice collection of flies, all will catch fish, and some with a few minor adjustment maybe even a fisherman here or there.



The hackle and front of the body (herl part) is really nice.

The fact that you have tied in the cobber rib the whole way to even out the body is good, but keep track of the rib when tying in, it has cirkled the hook shank.

I don't know what have caused the rear end of the body to be un-even and bumby, but excess of thread is my best guess,

Tye in the materials for body and rib in a way, that alows you to have a level body without bumbs, they are seen through the material.

A little trick here would be to tye in the body wrap just where the front body is, and then wrap it back and forward again, making it easier to get an even layer when going from head to tail, for the visible layer when you return. (Hope this makes sence)


Chris NH:

The tail seems to have crawled to the back side of the hook. Looks like the rib is to blame.

Next time, tye in the rib on the underside, and don't let it go all the way back. Your first turn of dubbed thread then goes over the tail, but behind the rib.

This makes the rib start just a little in on the body, and avoids it to mess with the tail.

For the herl-part of the body (thorax), a little more thickness could be nice, it becomes anonymous as it is now.

Also, the hackle is ok to stand up a little more, it is a soft hackle, and will move in the water.

The more the hackle lays flat on the fly when dry, the less it pulsates in the water when wet. (if you aren't fishing in still water).

The head is semi ok in size, but cramps the eye.



In general a very nice fly, just a few points from my side.

Is it on purpose, that the thread can be seen near the tail?

If not, then dub the thread and use the first part of the dubbed thread to finalize tying down the tail.

The head is good, considering the thickness of the thread, but the material sticking out is ruining the image ;-(



A prince nymph thing.

The body looks fantastic.

The hackle is way too dence, the lengst is ok, but stick to maybe 15-20 fibers (or less) in total.

The head is bad, sorry to say, but it is almost a fourth of the fly...

When tying in the biots, use 2 turns to get both of them in at the same time, adjust the biots by hand, and make a third turn on top of the two to tightening it all. Then cut of the end carefully (don't let the scissor move the biots around), and make a small head on the fly.



A beautiful fly it is, but I will try to get a little critics in here and there anyway.

It might be the photo, but for me it looks like the body gets very thin just behind the thorax (herl part), makes it seems like there is a wasps waist on the fly.

I would have liked that covered by herl, the herl part could have been almost twice as wide (but that is more personal preference).

Also for my taste, there are slightly too many fibers in the hackle.

For the head; nice size, cramps the eye just a little, and material can be seen sticking out. Looks like you almost ran out of space for the head ;-)


Joseph Sylvia

Just one comment here, besides the fact, that it is a very nice fly.

Less is more ;-)

Half down on tail and hackle, and you will nail it!



Another nice fly, but...

To get an even better looking body, untwist the thread while making the body. It is clear that the thread is twisted, happens all the time when you turn the thread. Un twist thread often while making body.

Hackle, is good, maybe just slightly on the dense side.

Again, material sticking out in front of the head, when you tie down the hackle, use one turn, then pull the stemm backwards and put another turn or two, this way the material will be sticking our backwards, not interfering with the head :-)



No comments on the body, it's out of focus...

But the rest looks very good. Again, personal preference will dictate the density of hackle fibers.



A nice variation over the North Country Spiders.

If you intend it to be a spider, the body is way too long though. Body goes back to above point of hook, not bend of hook.

Hackle would have liked a little caring before photo-shoot, could say it is a bad hair day, but I can see that they locate perfectly around the hook, and is dense as it should be (spider style).

Head is one turn too wide... three turns for head is enough ;-)



A fly this little is hard to judge, not because of the size, but typically small flies have small issues, where big flies have bigger more visual issues.

The focus for you should be on the turning of body floss (start at head, go back to tail and forward again, makes the body nicer (unless you like it to taper).

The head is hard to do on the small flies, but try next time to tye the knots in the head at the same time you tye the hackle down after winding it. (See Hans Weilenmann on youtube).



Nice blue glitter fly :-) The glitter is surely seen as air cought by an emerging caddis (if you belive the trout is comparing flies to natural occurring insects)

The body is bumpy, especially at one point looking like a waist.

Little material sticking out from the nice head.

The hackle turns could be more close to each other.



A very nice fly. Nice proportions and body and tail.

Only thing I will comment on is your "head", the tye off.

If you leave enough bare shank in front of every thing while tying in the body and preparing the hackle, then the hackle can almost be turned down between the thorax and bead, almost letting the stem disapear, and if you then afterwards use one turn to secure your hackel, and whip finnish a twisted thread (make it round), you can almost have the tye off disapear down behind the bead also.


Hope you all find my comments useful.


Good luck with next task, will try to give a few hints Before monday, mean while, this could be an inspiration:





Sorry for any spelling errors etc. That is something, where I need help now and then ;-)

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And so the light comes on. I have seen other tiers fold back material at the eye and tie it off. Never thought much about it but like Henrik just pointed out on my tie this can help keep the little fuzzies from the front of the eye. Thanks again Henrik. Now for wing practice. I'm going to need to order some better stuff and colors and really want to try some married wings on a wet.

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Got mine in the mail today, thanks all. And thanks for taking the time to do those critiques Henrik, makes the whole idea of the swap worthwhile. Perhaps I will be able to make some time this weekend to do some critiques also. And as I hinted at earlier breambuster I will not be joining the next round for fear that I won't be able to hold up my end with my two babies needing my time and attention, hopefully when they get older they'll want to learn to tie and I'll get plenty of time at the bench with them.


Can't wait to see all the classic wet flies though, I used to tie quite a few of them when I had lots of time at the bench. For anyone thinking of tying a pattern with married wings I suggest doing a few practice flies and developing a method for yourself to keep track of the feathers (because you want a left side wing left side of feather of one color married with the left wing left side of the other color and vice versa for the right side). What I do if I'm tying a bunch of one pattern is make all the wings first, I take a feather of the two or three colors I'm going to marry from the same side of the bird and cut from the same side of each feather then line the tips up, marry them, and set them on a plate (or in a container if I will not be doing it in one sitting). This just keeps down on the frustration of having feathers that don't line up or won't marry, which makes it much easier especially for someone who hasn't done it before. (If that seems wordy and confusing watch a video on marrying feathers and you'll see what I mean by left side with left side.)

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The hackle on my fly is grouse or as we call them here partridge. I hunt them every year and they come in a variety of colors from a really light grey that I get from the swamplands to a dark brown that I usually find in the deep hard wood forest. The feathers I chose for these flies came from near the neck on the breast side of the bird. These feathers tend to be the softest fibers on the bird giving them lots of motion in the micro-currents.

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Got mine today nice job by all. Hendrik you are right on the mark with all comments. Learning a lot in this swap and hopefully gaining some skills. Next round will be a challenge for me but I love the idea. Remind me of when I was young and the fly's my dad used. Thanks for reminding me what a great dad he was!!

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Thanks for all the comments Hendrik, i really appreciate the criticism as it is my goal to become a better tyer. I am a noob tyer especially for trout. most of my stuff is for salt water. I do tend to add too much material so i will keep that in mind for my next attempts. but thank you for the comments and i appreciate everyones input. if any of the swappers have comments about my flies please do not hesitate to communicate them to me as i value everyone's input.

I also recieved mine today and all i can say is wow....great job guys.

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Wet fly tying, a few tips and tricks.

Everything is about thread control. The things not about thread control is still really about thread control.

That second thing is proportions, but if you cannot lay your thread where you want and in a round or flat way as fits best, then screw proportions, they will not work anyway.

Here is a link to a page about proportions:


More can be found, and there are in reality not just one single way, but most ways are identical.

Few comments on parts of the fly:


Tie in all the way on top of the shank to build body mass.

Tie in with a few wraps, adjust and secure.


Be careful to have a nice even body, either cylindrical or cigar shaped.

If floss, you will see, that the layer under your floss will influence the “evenness” of your body.

Good trick for both floss and tinsel bodies is to start the body at the front, turn to the back and forward again.

This helps get the foundation even.


5-7-9 turns!

If the rib is a wide tinsel or similar, the nicest flies has spacing between turns of the rib identical to the width of the rib. (Not applicable for all patterns).


Throat or in front of wings? – Decision can be hard to make.

If throat, stack the fibers and tie in evenly distributed under the shank, OR turn hackle, press down and tie down, then use the base of the turns as foundation for the wing.

If hackle is in front of wing, then use hackle turns to “hide” tie-in of the wing.


Make them nice, this can be the nightmare, but if the material is good, it’s more easy to get the wings tied in.

How you turn your wings is personal preference for most flies. Pointing up or down, inwards or outwards.

My previous example is up and outwards.


Not too big, make it a short tapering cone; leave just enough shank between head and eye of hook to have a place for the leader when tying in a turtle knot for fishing the fly.


There are many more tips, tricks etc. but start here and remember ENJOY!



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