This past winter I started tying up some pike and musky flies for the lakes around my area, i have had some success but I really would like to catch some on top water. I tied up a few Dhalberg diver style flies in varying colors and sizes but they all seem to have a common problem, I cannot get the fly to sit level in the water and because it is tilted off to one side I cannot get the fly to dive right. Anyone have experience tying these flies in larger sizes have the same problem? I am really at a loss as to what is causing it, any help would be fantastic.
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Dhalberg diver Pike & Musky fly
Posted 01 August 2016 - 10:23 AM
I can only make an assumption here. I know from experience that some times when spinning deer hair on a fly that already has a multi- material tail tied in place that when you torque down on the thread, you can spin the head crooked over the tail. then when you look at the fly and notice the head is set a little cocked to one side , you grab the head and straighten it over the hook. Looks good right? Problem is when you straightened the head, you sometimes turn the tail off to one side. The head is straight to the hook but the tail may have turned. Be sure your head is not spinning off to one side before you proceed to add all the layers of deer hair to the head. HAIST MAKES WAIST!!
Fix any alignment problems at the start of the head. Especially when putting on the collar when you are spinning the hair. This is not as much a problem when you start stacking the hair. Keep watching the alignment from the start of the deer hair application. The only other problem might be the balance and BALLAST of the tail it self. That is a lot of material hanging off that fly of yours, agree? Make a dummy fly without the head and check the balance and ballast of the tail all by its self. You might need to stick a cork on the hook , just to make it float for your test. Drop it in a bowel of water and see if the hook is hanging perpendicular to the tail and the water. When tying a multi material tail like that, keep in mind "BALLAST" (Hope I spelled it correct).. Hairs and feathers to the top, and tinsels and flash to the bottom, if possible. You can't put tinsel (non-floating) on the top of a hook, and hair or feathers(floating) on the bottom of the hook and not expect it to want to flip over, or try to lay on its side. Not saying you did that, just something to always keep in mind when tying multi-material tail like that. (Or any fly) This will help with balance and ballast to the fly. If the tail by it self is balanced, then you just might be torqueing the head from being aligned with the tail. Also, try adding some rubber legs sticking out the sides AT THE HEAD NOT THE TAIL can help a fly to set more level on the water. Very nice looking fly buy the way. But unfortunately, nice looking in the hand and nice looking in the water can be two different, conflicting things, as you just found out. Would hate to see all that work not pay off for you. I still would bet a pike would nail it hard. Who knows, maybe the erratic movement of being cockeyed will trigger a hit too. Never know. Your not the first, nor the last, to tie an awesome fly that spent its life in a box and not in the water. I have many...LOL... Good luck!! Once again, cool fly!!
Posted 01 August 2016 - 01:13 PM
Thank you! now that you say that that is exactly what I do to fix alignment problems. I will definitely have to test this out now that you say that. Again thank you!
Posted 01 August 2016 - 07:35 PM
Silk explained a lot, but I think the problem is simply too much tail material.
Proportionately, you've got a lot of tail material that doesn't float once it's wet, compared to a deer hair head that is way too small to support all the tail weight once it's wet.
When the tail is wet, it pulls down on the back of the head. Since the tail material isn't actually "heavier" in the water, it's not all going to sink the same, and small eddies and currents will cause it to drift off left and right. Any pull on the line will twist everything back into line ... but the only thing you see is the head counter twisting to the tail movement.
You can try a sparser tail ... but I don't think it's going to matter much. Pike aren't exactly shy ... and more movement, even if it doesn't look "right" to you, might just bring more aggressive strikes.
Barbed hooks rule!
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Posted 01 August 2016 - 08:19 PM
Great looking fly.I agree with mike.The pike aren't shy and once those pike teeth grab that fly you probably won't have to worry about it.Looks like a killer fly for largemouth bass also and they will probably hit it because of the way it don't dive right.Looks more like something wounded this way.
There is no greater fan of fly fishing........Than the worm. - Patrick F. McManus
Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:53 AM
I have used deer hair head pike flys 8"-10" long with rather sparce tails of synthetics.
Cast easier and dive fine.
Experiment with amount of tail dressing.
They liked simple red/white yes, old news for color recommendations.
Posted 02 August 2016 - 09:18 AM
Curious, did you use a razor to trim the fly?
yes I use a razor for most of the trimming along the bottom, I use curved scissors to get the general shape on top then use a razor for the finer work.
Posted 02 August 2016 - 11:15 AM
Tied up a new one based upon what you guys all suggested and i am very pleased with this new fly dives great and deep, sits level in the water now as well. and FK I have tied up a few flies in the common red and white combo and to this day have never had success with it, I tie mostly fire-tiger colors for the lakes around me because the predominate forage fish is perch so the orange is a visual que for the fish. thanks again for the advice guys!
Posted 02 August 2016 - 02:57 PM
About 6"-7" long?
Posted 13 November 2017 - 10:40 PM
I know this is an old thread and there may be a newer posts on the subject, but I was just wondering how everyone manages to keep their hair bunches properly aligned while packing. I just started tying Dahlberg Divers for Bass and Pike and it seems like they look aligned ok before I give 'em the haircut but afterward my colors are all cockeyed. Half of the white belly hair is showing on one side and the other half's belly is green/yellow (the top colors). I tried putting down a thread base prior to flaring like the Hair Diver is done on Charlie's Fly Box (http://www.charliesf...cfm?parentID=38) to keep the hair from moving around but then it seems harder to pack using a hair packer. On the last two I tied I tried to pay much closer attention and they're aligned a lot better than the first couple but still not perfect. I think I just need more practice. The more I tie them the better they are turning out but I still have a ways to go. Is there any tips to keep hair bunches from rolling when adding in front of the last bunch? I do move the thread forward and wrap tightly in front of the bunch I just finished.
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