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Alaska Snail

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5 replies to this topic

#1 Mark Knapp

Mark Knapp

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 04:10 PM

As requested, by some forum members, here's a step by step tutorial on my Alaska Snail pattern.



Here's what you will need;


Hook, I used size 8 standard dry fly hooks. Use the size appropriate for the snails you have.

Thread, black, heavy like you would spin deer hair with. You will need to pull fairly firmly.

Body, blonde fox under fur.

Shell, mottled turkey wing or tail feather.

Weight with .015 lead wire

super glue




I used dry fly hooks but any standard hook with heavier wire and wide gap would be fine.



Lay a base of thread, wrap lead wire from just in front of the bend to an eye's width from the eye, double back and stop the second layer 1/3 of the way from the bend. Glue with a drop of super glue to keep lead from spinning. Make some wraps of thread over the lead and come back to the bend.



Dub an ample amount of fox under fur to the thread tapered larger toward the eye.



Build up a fair amount of bulk. Your dubbing should be at least as wide as your hook gap toward the eye of the hook.



Whip finish behind the eye to secure the dubbing. Spray the turkey feather with fixative, I'm using hair spray. Snip off a strip of feather about two times the width of the hook gap.



Start your thread again at the hook bend and secure the strip of feather just behind the dubbing. Make a couple of wraps.



Spiral the thread forward increasing the width of each wrap as you go forward. Pull firmly to create the spiral shell look.



Terminate the shell at the front of the dubbing.



Fold the tag end of the feather back over the shell and whip finish behind the eye.



Snip the tag end of the feather at the eye to about 1/2 of the hook gap in length. Save two feather fibers on each side of the head for antennae, snip the rest off above the whip finish to form the head. Curl the tag end of the feather at the bend over the shell and snip it off leaving enough to form the curl at the back of the shell.



Using a dubbing needle, pick enough dubbing from under the thread and the shell to form the body and the foot of the snail. Be careful not to break a thread.



Trim the dubbing flat just above the barb of the hook. Coat the shell and the whip finish with flex seal or similar.





#2 mikechell



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Posted 15 March 2019 - 05:27 PM

Nicely tied, nicely presented for others to follow.

Thank you Mark.

Barbed hooks rule!
My definition of work: Doing something in which effort exceeds gain.
Ex-Marine ... quondam fidelis

#3 CasualAngler


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Posted 15 March 2019 - 07:07 PM

Many thanks, Mark! This should be a nice weekend challenge!

#4 chugbug27


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Posted 15 March 2019 - 08:34 PM

Now that's what fly tying's all about.

"Fly tying is replete with unproven theories and contradictions and therein lies much of it's charm and fascination." George F. Grant, The Master Fly Weaver

#5 Mark Knapp

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 08:50 PM

Hey chug, that's a nice thing to say. Thanks Bud


Thanks Mike and Casual

#6 ggmiller


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Posted 09 May 2019 - 07:06 AM

Mark, thanks for the step by step! Nicely done!