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Fly Tying


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Everything posted by phg

  1. I only tie EHC in size 14, and for that size, elk hair works great. I have several pieces that I've picked up along the way. Some have way more underfur, and I don't like working with them. The ones I like have very little underfur and don't flair too much when I cinch down on the thread. I've always found deer body hair to flair too much. Deer hock shouldn't flair as much. I've never used deer mask, I'll have to see if I can find some.
  2. I've always found a dark woolybugger to work well for cats but I've also had good luck with a squirrel leach. I've fished for them mostly in ponds. Sometimes under a strike indicator, other times by slow stripping. If there are cats in the water, they aren't hard to entice into biting. It does have to be on, or near, the bottom to be effective, though.
  3. As we get older, our sense of balance isn't as good. Also, falls hurt more than they used to. While there are some days I never get my staff out, most of the time I do. I use it as a hiking stick, going to and from the water, I use it to help me climb steep banks, I use it in swift water as a 3rd "leg", tucking the grip into my arm pit so I can lean on it as I cast. Like Rocco, I use it to probe the bottom around me, to see if a hole is too deep, a rock is too slippery or a mud bottom is too soft. In turbulent water I use it to find safe places to put my feet. It also helps me climb up, or down larger rocks, and it certainly helps me get up from a kneeling position. My staff is aluminum with a cork handle. It too floats. If the bottom is sandy, I'll stab it into the sand next to me while I fish, and grab it when I move on. If the bottom is rocky, I just drop the pole behind me and let it float downstream on its tether. Of course, in swift water, I wedge the tip between some rocks, and lean on it. In addition, the staff comes in handy to poke at snakes laying in the trail, or to lift briers out of the way so I don't tear my waders. Of all my fishing accessories, it is the one I rely on the most.
  4. Hook & Hackle has their collapsible wading staff on sale for $34.65 (Folstaff knock off.) I highly recommend it! I've been using one for nearly 10 years, and it has saved by butt multiple times. The cloth pouch does wear out, though, so you may have to find a replacement somewhere....
  5. The body in the picture is probably 2 moose mane quills, one white and one brown. Plumbob used to do a lot of those (remember Plumbob?). Like Flytire, I use inexpensive capes and saddles for quills. Chinese/Indian capes are lousy hackles, but provide great quills and tailing materials. To get gloss, simple coat the body with head cement when you are done. It also increases durability. In fact, if you are using a stripped peacock quill, you almost have to coat it or the first fish will destroy it. Soaking quills in warm water does help. Adding a few drops of hair conditioner to the water also helps. I also use dyed goose biots for quill bodies. They work best if you put a drop of glue under them before you wind. Horse hair also works well, but splits/splinters easily (it's also hard to find.)
  6. I have Chota STL's that come with studs, but I've never used the studs. Felt grips slime without scratching the rock. As for Didymo, that's only a problem if you don't clean your boots, and don't let them dry out between trips. For some people, that may be a problem. For me, it's rare that I get to fish 2 different river systems on consecutive days (or the same day). As my boots dry thoroughly between trips, it's not a problem.
  7. Favorites: natural wood duck flank for bundled fiber wings, and pine squirrel zonkers. Least favorite: Foam and super glue! I use them, but I really don't like working with them.
  8. I love Danville's colors, but their olive is not the best olive. I use either Uni-thread or Veevus from my BWO's. Uni-Thread has the color on the label, which helps when you are looking though a neatly stacked box of thread. Most of the time, though, I just look for the color I want.
  9. I LOVE Charlie's barred ginger. That is, hands down, my favorite cape to tie from! Glad he came though for you.
  10. I'll be at the Atlanta Area show (in Duluth, GA). It was a new location last year. More floor space, better parking, more vendors, etc. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes this year. I'll be helping man the FFI Learning Center, as usual. The Symposium in Lancaster had plenty of parking, but it wasn't free. Overall, though, it was a good location, although the show was a bit smaller than I remember from past years. My understanding is that Chuck has booked the same hotel for next year, the weekend before Thanksgiving.
  11. The only tools you need are scissors, bobbin, bodkin and hackle pliers. I have a couple of the Terra Bobbins, and am quite happy with them. For hackle pliers, you have several options. Electronic test clips can be used, but I prefer the English style pliers that you can pick up for $2 or $3. Just make sure the jaws meet evenly, and grip the material firmly. Try them out before you buy them. There's a lot of cheap junk out there! The bodkin is very useful, but there's no need to spend money. It's just a heavy needle on a handle. For years I used a corsage pin. Now I use a home made bodkin made by sticking the pin into a wooden handle I carved out of a tree branch. Whip finish you can do by hand, without a tool. If you aren't a production tier, speed isn't necessary. For a bobbin threader, just get one of those dental floss threaders.
  12. My 4000 has jaws like that. Personally, I like them. Once you set the jaw width correctly, it just takes a quick twist of the wrist to tighten it up. The only thing wrong, that I can see, is the rubber "O" ring is missing. Renzetti sells these, but you can also go to Home Depot and pick up a few in the plumbing section quite cheaply.
  13. I won't be going, but several guys from our FF club are planning on it. I'll have to go, one of these years, but lately, I've been traveling too much. I need to stay home for a few weekends to build up some points....
  14. The problem has always been, finding jig hooks in smaller sizes. Allen shows down to a size 18. I have bought the size 12, and am pretty happy with them. As mentioned above, using isn't much different than any other hook, but they do ride hook point up. That's not much of a problem in the streams where I usually fish, though.
  15. Very nice! ...but those aren't green weenies. They are caddis larva, or "rock worms". I'm sure one could make spun deer hair look like spiky chenille, but why would you bother? That's a lot more work for no real benefit. Ultra Chenille is cheap and easy to work with, and, if you want it to float, just work in a bit of floatant.
  16. Yes, I ordered the grab bag several years ago, when it was 5 capes for $50. The saddles are not included. Also, as you need to call him anyway to place the order, tell him what you need or what you don't need, and he'll try to accommodate you. He used to tie flies himself, so he understands. What you will get is 4 different capes in usable colors. They will be what he happens to have the most of at any given time, but they are good quality. If you are just starting out, this is a great way to build up your supply of dry fly hackle. Of course, if you've been tying a while and already have a good selection of capes, this may give you duplicates. I would heartily recommend the grab bag for any new tyer.
  17. phg


    That's a great deal! Tuesday Morning has been doing closeouts on various models of 13W Ottlights, but you got a LED model. Nice catch.
  18. I like them! I'll have to scare up some weighted hooks and give it a try. Warm water and salt water, you need bait fish imitations that can hug the bottom or swim at mid level. I think those will do the job. Eyes are great! Another trigger for aggressive predators.
  19. I agree, somewhat, with tjm. Bamboo rods were generally a couple line weights heavier than what we use today. It wasn't really needed, though. I build a lot of 4wt bamboo rods, and they work fine with trout. I too have several automatic reels. I inherited a late '40's Utica from my dad. I also have picked up Shakespear a few years ago. Back when these reels were in use, silk or linen lines were the norm, and they were thinner than their modern plastic counter parts. A reel that held 7wt or 8wt silk line in the '50's would probably be filled up with a modern plastic 6wt line. The spools were fairly small. I also agree with Mikechell, they are best used for picking up the slack line while you are fishing. My dad certainly used his that way. Anytime you realize you have too much line piling up around you feet, just press the lever, and zip! the line is back under control. Use them and enjoy them. They were state of the art in their day, and every post WWII bamboo rod should be equipped with one!
  20. I'm wondering what kind of tinsel you are using? I've never had a problem breaking any of the mylar tinsels. I use UTC Mirage tinsel most of the time, but I've used Christmas tree icicles on larger flies without a problem. You do have to develop a light touch, but as fly tiers, we have to do that anyway. Most of the wire ribbing material, like Ultra-Wire, have copper cores, and wrap easily. I do have some silver jeweler's wire I got from Michaels that has bit more spring to it, but it's still manageable. I prefer to counter wind all my ribbing, for added strength and have found that binding down a counter wound rib is a 2-hand job. Pull the ribbing down at the tie off point, and take 2 wraps over it. Pull the tying thread snug, and then bend the tag of the ribbing up parallel to the hook shank. Now wrap over the tag end with a dozen wraps to bind it down. It should hold without slipping. None of the modern tinsels compare, in difficulty, with what was used in the '50's and '60's. That stuff was like coiled springs, and the sharp edges would cut your tying silk in a heart beat!
  21. phg

    Stocker trout

    YEAH !!! ZPG ... or better yet, reduction. Kudu ... you just jumped about 95% on my "I like this person" list. (You were already up there pretty high, so .... ) Excuse me, but all the developed countries (US, Western Europe, Japan and even China) ARE declining in native born population. All the growth is coming from the so called 3rd. world. You're barking up the wrong tree.
  22. I was talking with Charlie Collins about this a few years ago. He offers both natural and dyed duns. The problem is that feathers from natural dun chickens tend to have thicker stems and sparser feathers, so the capes are of inferior quality. It is also difficult to breed for good color. Still, he usually has some nice natural duns. I have a rusty-dun and a beautifully mottled medium dun I got from him. To get the bluish gray that most of us look for in a blue dun, it's works better to dye it.
  23. My avitar is me tying on a Traveler, and using a standard folding table as the work bench. Not ideal, but I've never had a problem doing that. At home, I use a higher bench and the vise is just below eye level, about chin level. No, I tie straight on, I don't rotate the vise unless I just need to. The hook should be set as high in the jaws of your vise as you can, and still hold it securely. Adjust the width of the jaws to the thickness of the hook, so the vise jaws, when tight, are parallel to each other. This gives you the best hold on the hook with the least strain on the vise jaws. I'm near sighted, so I don't need magnifiers when I tie, but most people over 40 need some help. Reading glasses are a good choice, but you might also consider a 4x craft magnifier. Lots of women use them for needlework. Without seeing you tie, I don't know what else to suggest.
  24. The second set of pictures is about where I have my vise setup, so I'd have to agree with tjm. You need to rethink your tying area. From that angle, things look just about right. If you need still more clearance at the back of the hook, you might try the midge jaws. They have a bit of relief cut into the rear portion of the jaws to allow greater access, but I've never seen the need for that. Of course, I never tie smaller than a 22....
  25. The fit and finish of a 4000 is much nicer. Brass is used instead of aluminum, and the moving parts are precision machined to closer tolerances for a tighter fit and smoother operation. You feel the superior quality in everything you do on the vise. I know you were just kidding about the Master, but, really, if you can afford it, you wouldn't regret going for the best. The Master stands head and shoulders above the 4000, just as the 4000 makes the Traveler look like kids toy.
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