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Tails........tails..........tails...........


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8 replies to this topic

#1 flyfishing99

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 09:40 PM

Hi,


The catskill patterns were tied to specific dimensions (tail length, abdomen length, thorax length, and wing height). This was done (I believe) in order to maintain the "float line" of the fly - so that tail tip, hook bottom, and hackle tips touched the water simultaneously.

Yet, the tails of real insects are much longer and often tied as such. An example are the extended body flies, etc.

Often, I think we restrict the tail size because of the old Catskill reasons. I think most would think the tails on this rusty spinner are too long, but if you look at a photo of a real spinner, their tails are quite long.......It doesn't apply only to the spinner stage either. Many mayfly duns have quite long tails.

What do you think?

Thanks,
Byron


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#2 utyer

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:33 PM

Nice pattern, and I agree with you on long tails. These days, many of us fish patterns that ride more in the film and the tail lenght can be a longer lenght more in keeping with the naturals. I think a lot of heavily hackled hair wing patterns would balance better with a longer sparcer tail rather than the shank lenght heavy tials most seem to be tied with. A divided tail like on your spinner should be at least 1.5 times the body length in my opinion.
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#3 flyfishing99

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 12:22 AM

Nice pattern, and I agree with you on long tails. These days, many of us fish patterns that ride more in the film and the tail lenght can be a longer lenght more in keeping with the naturals. I think a lot of heavily hackled hair wing patterns would balance better with a longer sparcer tail rather than the shank lenght heavy tials most seem to be tied with. A divided tail like on your spinner should be at least 1.5 times the body length in my opinion.



I am sure that it is due to the "float line" of the standard catskill patterns. The line could be drawn from the point of the tail to the bottom of the hook to the points of the hackled wing.

If you read the old "standards" of the traditional dry fly proportions, you will find they usually mention the tail as being 1.0 to 1.5 times the length of the body. Now, the "body" of the fly is not the length of the hook shank. It is the distance from the bend of the hook to the end of the abdomen - just before the thorax area. That means at MOST the length of the tail would be just a little beyond the length of the hook shank. And, again, it was set as such to promote floatability of the catskill type of dry fly.
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#4 H.Champagne

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 12:39 AM

I agree with you, I run my tails much longer than most other patterns i see, I even stopped using dubbing on most of my mayfly dries, I build up a nicely tapered base with flat thread, and then finish it with twisted thread, and of course a really long tail, roughly 1.5 to 2 times the body length. I honestly believe that I catch more fish. Great looking fly!

I believe that there are tons of fantastic patterns out there that help us learn to tie better and to understand the most commonly accepted way of tying a specific insect but it does not mean they are the best option (imho). Getting your hands on insect pictures, catching bugs, and questioning every wrap of thread helps us get better. I love threads like this...
-Harold James Champagne II


"The best fisherman I know try not to make the same mistakes over and over again; instead they strive to make new and interesting mistakes and to remember what they learned from them." John Gierach

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#5 perchjerker

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 11:51 AM

There are, or WERE, two schools of thought on the "float line"; one as originally noted (tail tip, hook bend,and HACKLE tip---NOT wing tip) and the other with just the tail and the hackle tips touching the water surface; the hook bend was just 'barely' off the water.

Another significant deviation for the natural has to do with wing length on the adult caddis. Most tie them way too short as compared to the natural. I have no explanation, such as "float line", for this tradition. Anyone have a guess?

#6 H.Champagne

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 02:00 PM

It's funny you mention caddis dries, I agree with you, the wings on the adults are long and slender. I have a bunch of them i jerust tied for this upcoming season that i think are going to be great. Size 16 scud hook, grizzle hackle, elk hair, brown thread. Thats it. I tie the hackle in way above the bend of the hook and keep it really dense and neat, and tie down longer than normal elk hair (a tiny bit longer than the hook itself) and tie it as tight as possible to really get it to spread out and pass the hackle. It sits a little more upright on the water (in my sink haha). They look great and really resemble a caddis fly about to take off. If they work i will never tie a regular caddis dry again. They are so easy and look beautiful. I'll try to post up pics when I have some time.
-Harold James Champagne II


"The best fisherman I know try not to make the same mistakes over and over again; instead they strive to make new and interesting mistakes and to remember what they learned from them." John Gierach

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#7 flyfishing99

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 03:22 PM

There are, or WERE, two schools of thought on the "float line"; one as originally noted (tail tip, hook bend,and HACKLE tip---NOT wing tip) and the other with just the tail and the hackle tips touching the water surface; the hook bend was just 'barely' off the water.

Another significant deviation for the natural has to do with wing length on the adult caddis. Most tie them way too short as compared to the natural. I have no explanation, such as "float line", for this tradition. Anyone have a guess?



Not sure what you mean about "...NOT wing tip"

Here is my original post:

"is so that tail tip, hook bottom, and hackle tips touched the water simultaneously."

And in a summary post I say "hackled wing" meaning the hackle tips.
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#8 primitivepete

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 03:31 PM

I've thought about tails on wet flies like this before...if they're longer, they probably flex a little more than short tails in the current, and maybe this subtle movement attracts fish? Don't know if that's the way it really works, but I've often had takes on soft hackles with long legs and tails when compact nymphs like copper johns or something weren't producing. Think about how long the tails are on a RS2. Seems like maybe the flex factor might be an issue on dries too, or at least might make it more noticeable.

#9 wallyv

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 08:37 PM

I believe that little wiggly tails big time cause fish to notice.
However what drives me nuts is when the long tail wraps and fouls around the hook bend
One can fish for hours without noticing, but the fly often ceases to catch fish when this happens/.