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About Ephemerella

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  • Birthday 12/16/1957

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  1. The only problem with synthetic materials for winging is that the individual fibers will be cut off bluntly, The fibers of calf tail taper to a point, which some say allows the wing to fade away to the end of the wing (perhaps this is speculating on the fish's perspective), with less of high contrast end. Anyway calf tail is cheap and available in every fly shop, and a tail ties many dozen Royal Wulffs. It is easier to use if, after clipping some off the tail, you brush it out with a mustache comb before stacking in a large stacker. Brush near the butts to remove shorties, and near the tips to untangle the fibers so they stack. The right amount is about the diameter of a large (kitchen size) match stick.
  2. Hobiesailor07, You are on your way. The olive Woolly Bugger is a remarkable imitation of a dragonfly nymph, so should catch fish. Brookies in small ponds will gobble them up. As far as material waste/scrap - I'd chuck it or before long you'll have trash bags full of fluff you have no idea what to do with. But I do know of fly tyers that make flies from pocket lint...so you you may have a different thought on the matter. A few next possibilities: For a bigger variety of Woolly Buggers: Look at a Mustad 9672 (4x) (a.k.a R-74) hook for larger size Woolly Buggers, say size 6 or 8. These are more of a fish or leech imitation and can be longer. Marabou and chenille in these colors: Black, Brown, Gray. Chenille is cheap, so buy anything that looks natural (e.g. brown, tan) and a few metallic or sparkly colors as well. BTW even a Woolly Bugger with hot pink marabou and sparkly chenille will catch panfish. For hackle, add an inexpensive grizzly hackle specific for Woolly Buggers - either loose, strung (sewn together) or a saddle (on skin) - grizzly goes with every color, and is a good imitation of natural critters fish eat. Next look at panfish dry flies. Good news is the fish take just about anything. You'll use your R-50 dry fly hooks (thinner wire). You'll need 1/16" or so foam sheets, available in any craft store or Walmart, for under a buck. Try black or yellow. And rubber or silicone legs (order from a fly shop or BP, but the postage is more than the item) or even cutup thin rubber bands. Cut a 1/4"x 1 1/4" strip of foam, lash it on the top of the hook in the middle, then tie on the rubber legs (3 strips makes 6 legs), trim the foam on the corners, a wrap or 2 of hackle, wrap thread to the eye and whip finish. A drop of zap-a-gap (super glue) will hold the legs & foam, and head cement on the whip finish. This pic is a size 12, so foam is scaled down by 20% or so. These ugly flies will pull panfish up in the spring when their thoughts are of the opposite sex, and will strike anything that vaguely resembles a bug. And you can tie a dozen in well under an hour. The bad news is tying these probably won't improve your tying skills as they are so ugly. And you'r off and running...
  3. Ephemerella

    Cabin build

    "What kind of predator is able to identify trappers from non trappers? " None, both taste like chicken...
  4. That's a nice buck tail. After a while you'll notice differences in the hair types on different buck tails. Each with their own use. For example yours has very long and straight hair, so would be excellent for underbellies on featherwing streamers, like Carrie Stevens Gray Ghost. Or for longer or larger size bucktail streamers. Other buck tails will have kinky hair, useful when you want to add bulk to body without adding too much mass of hair - some smaller bucktails, and related flies might use that.
  5. Not sure the method in the video will last. Ironing feathers will permit them to be reshaped, but as moisture in the air returns to the feather, the feather will return to the shape it was on the bird. If the feather was misshapen due to packaging or being crushed in storage or transport, the method shown DOES work. But if it is naturally in an undesired shape, this method is trouble. In fact a well-known but flash-in-the-pan streamer tyer a few years ago recommended using a curling iron or clothes iron to reshape feathers. After a month or so, any feathers treated this way reverted to their natural shape, not always the look the tyer had in mind; one of several unfortunate events that lead to her loss of credibility in the tying world. What to do? Use a teakettle and bring it to a full boil. Either by hand, or in a small metal strainer hold the feather(s) over the stream of steam, taking care not to saturate the feather (or burn your fingers!). The feather will return to its natural shape. If that shape isn't what you wanted, pick another feather. Also this method works to straighten out and fluff up crunched waterfowl feathers, and restore peacock feathers, herls, and eyes to their natural beauty and fullness. Also works on whole capes and saddles, and entire skins. Steaming has some reasonable success on crushed hair, but hair is a bit less porous to the steam than feathers so be forewarned. Another related use of steam: Before the fishing season opens, take all your dry flies and steam them using a small metal kitchen strainer. Restores crushed hackle, bent hair wings (e.g. Elk Hair Caddis), and feathers.
  6. Just be aware lead is prohibited in fishing flies, jigs, lures, and split shot in some states (e.g. NH). The lead gets ground up in the gizzards of loons, and leads to their death in a few weeks. Use lead-free wire. As far as tools, probably not much of a problem, but wash them off and oil first. And wash your hands after tying - dyes and various materials treatments aren't too friendly, especially any older materials or feathers or fur from dismantled taxidermy.
  7. If it was snipped off the deer, you'll want to slit it and remove the bone and tissue. Or in 2 weeks your tying room will reek. Slit on the underside with a sharp box cutter or scalpel, so the flattened tail will have brown in the middle and white on the outsides. Wash the tail in warm water with Dawn or Synthropol, rinse well. Spread tail out opened and cover top and bottom with borax in a shallow disposable aluminum baking tray. Run a little fan over the covered bucktail. Should be dry and odor free in a week. Shake out the borax (outside!) put in a long zip-lock bag. Mothball optional. As for using it, bucktail makes wonderful bucktail streamers, and underbellies on featherwing streamers. A few tips: Only use the top 2/3 of the tail as the hair nearest the body will flare with pressure - it is much like the deer body hair with a soft inside. After snipping a piece, say 1/8" diameter, comb out the short pieces with a mustache comb while holding it at about 3/4 of the way to the tips. Probably half the diameter will end up in the trash can. Tie the bundle on the hook shank after wrapping the shank with thread, forward, and back again. Wrap with medium pressure, wrapping forward only for 8 wraps then wrapping forward tightly for 8-10 wraps. Trim the butts, at an angle. For multiple colored bucktails, you'll want to use smaller bunches, one of each color in the wing. I recommend a drop of head cement after tying them on.
  8. Lessons are best, but in the COVID-19 environment, probably not realistic. Get yourself a copy of the late Dick Talleur's "Talleur's Fly Tying" (the one with the red and black cover) ISBN 9781558215191. Used on AbeBooks for $5, and Amazon for about $13., but price varies a lot. It is well written and designed for the novice, and yet teaches some techniques that most don't learn for years. Each chapter has a progression of flies, each increasing in complexity and adding new skills you will use for a lifetime. The only drawback of the book, is that it does not come with a shopping list for each chapter. But you can do that. If you have access to a fly shop, tell them the flies you are material shopping for, as there are lots of subtle differences in hackles and dubbings. Also, tie about a dozen of each fly to really understand the hand motions and fly proportions. Of the tools that flytire listed as optional, I would recommend these as required: Bodkin - make a few with needles and corks or dowels Materelli-style whip finisher - worth the price, and it has illustrated instructions (mine was pre-YouTube, so good instructions were essential then) Hackle pliers - especially for dry fly hackle if not using long and pricey Whiting dry fly hackle Fur (mustache) comb - if you ever want to tie Wulff style flies with calf tail TWO pairs of scissors - cheap ones for wire, plastic, tinsel, and bucktail, (or spend a couple bucks more for serrated edge) and a more expensive pair with fine blades for feathers only ($10 on eBay will get you 1-2 pairs of surgical iris scissors, and you can spend 10x that if that's your thing) Enjoy!
  9. Sorry gents, The UVA LED flashlights can be hazardous, depending on the emitted power, and wavelength. Solarez needs 385 nm and typically one uses a 370- 390 nm. The Solareze high power UVA flash lights are in the 1-3W range at 385nm. Looking at a UK-made light at 365 nm (more active - more of a hazard) , this Manual for 365nm 5 Watt UV LED flashlight is a 5W unit. Using the UK UVA exposure standards: Eye exposure limit (unprotected) at 20 cm to 40 seconds a day - that is looking at the beam. Of course reflections from fly heads and the surrounding vise are less, maybe 5%. So that's about 13 minutes/day. Plus the Solareze and similar lights are only like 1-3 watts, so maybe that is bumped to 26 minutes per day. Probably even 8-9 hrs of tying won't hit that limit. Smaller UV lights allow even more exposure time. But if you are tying at a fly tying demo, you need to be careful not expose the guests to the beam! Skin exposure limit (unprotected) at 20 cm is 46 minutes per day, and for a 3 w unit, that is like 92 minutes/day. But if you are holding the fly when you illuminate it, you are at maybe 2 cm from the beam, so the power increases as 1/distance-squared, so 100 times stronger and so 1/100 of the exposure which is about 1 minute/day. At 5 seconds per fly, you skin hits its exposure limit after a dozen flies. Not good. So do NOT hold the fly when exposing it to the UV light. Again, smaller UV lights allow even more exposure time. The problems of UVA exposure are minor burns and cataracts, plus some potential retina damage. -Peter
  10. The buyer's request to meet at a location half way is a scummy technique to get you (seller) invested in the sale, and de-risk the buyer. It has the appearance of only a small concession, so often can get a "Yes" from the seller. You, the seller, have to spend the time to get all the way to the seller (halfway there and back), so you feel invested having already driven say 30 minutes, and the buyer saves him/herself half the time. The next step of the buyer will be to request a lower price, of course waiting until you are both at the meeting place - assuming he shows up at all. Since the seller is invested at this point, the odds of an unprepared or unknowledgeable seller agreeing are higher - after all, if the seller refuses, the seller is out the investment, and the buyer is only out half his investment. Now you know the tricks, you are prepared to just say, "No thank you" when the buyer requests the meeting place. If the buyer complains, you probably don't want to deal with him/her anyway. And I detest having to deal with people playing those sorts of games. -Peter
  11. Bill, For me, the crest looks a bit thin, but everyone has a different opinion on how the tails should look. If you want to try something, here's one way to remedy: 1) Don't use a cheap crest. Go buy a high end one. Should have an intense golden color, not pale yellow, maybe with a hint of red at the very tips. Maybe $12-$16 at a reputable materials dealer. Pluck off the feathers, discarding any that have a double twist, etc. You'll have a half naked bird head left which you can use to terrorize grandchildren. Wash the plucked crest feathers in Dawn and water using a small bowl or container, drain and rinse,. Then pick each crest feather using tweezers and lay out in their natural shape on a piece of glass to dry. Don't try to manipulate the shape much, other than each feather's natural curvature. (Some well-known published tyers have advocated manipulating the shape, but on the first humid day they return to their natural shape).You can spread the fibers apart at the ends a little with a bodkin if you like. You can use the corner of a paper towel to soak up water droplets next to the crests, if need be. Let dry, maybe a couple of hours depending on humidity. Sort by size in one of those plastic boxes (e.g. Plano lure/fly box). 2) Select a crest of the right size, maybe 1/8" - 1/4" longer than the crest you will see on the fly. Make sure it is not too scrawny in terms of number of fibers and density of fibers. Pluck off some of the whitish and shorter fibers at the base, discarding them. This leaves a flexible whitish stem for the tie-in for maybe 1/8 - 1/4 of an inch. Do NOT pluck off so many that the remaining stem is the harder yellowish material - this causes the crest to roll under thread tension as it has an odd cross-section shape. 3) Tie in your crest with very few wraps, specifically flattening the thread by spinning the bobbin counter clockwise before making your first wrap. Start at the rear (towards the hook bend) of the desired tie-down point and wrap thread only forward (towards the eye). If you go back with thread, say, to tie down the silk body if you don't use a herl butt, then NEVER go past the first thread wrap on the crest, or it will go cockeyed, and the fibers will splay, making the tail look weak. Try these ideas!
  12. To avoid permanent exile from the kitchen and eternal scorn from "she who must be obeyed" I recommend you dye outside. Use a camping stove, get an old soup pot from the discount store, a plastic bowl, along with your own set of measuring cups and measuring spoons, a candy thermometer, a spoon, and some rubber or vinyl gloves. Do your dyeing outside. You'll need Jacquard acid dyes, available on the internet - they are usually used to dye wool, but chemically bind to any protein like feathers - or your skin - hence the need for gloves. Do NOT use dyes for cotton or polyester - they will NOT bind to the feathers and will rinse out. And you'll need Synthrapol or Dawn detergent, and white vinegar. Wash the material to be dyed in hot water with a few drops of the detergent and let soak for 30 minutes, then rinse and keep submerged in warm water. Squirrel is a bit tricky since it is a smooth fiber, and will initially resist dye. Meanwhile heat up 4-6 cups of water to 160F/70C in the pot on the burner. Put on the gloves. Add dye to the hot water, roughly 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon using a dry measuring spoon. Stir the dye into the water until dissolved. Adjust the heat to keep the dye solution at or just below 160F/70C, although olives and black can dye at lower temperatures. Other colors won't take or end up with undesired shades. Stir in tiny drop of detergent. Now take the material to be dyed and slip it into the hot dye solution, and keep stirring. After a minute or two, you can add 1/4 cup vinegar to the solution. Keep stirring. The dye will begin to bind to the feathers. Keep checking for the desired shade, maybe a little darker. Takes between 3 and 15 minutes, depending on color (hue) and desired color saturation. Remove the material when done and rinse in cold water. Let the material dry. Material can be dried with a hair dryer on medium (not high) heat, but the skin will be wet for several days. Dry on newspaper or paper towels. Package in separate plastic bags when thoroughly dry. If you want brighter colors on squirrel, you'll need to pre-bleach the tails. That is something I have never done, but in general you use hair bleach from the beauty section (you've already been seen lurking there for Hard-As-Nails, cuticle scissors, eyelash brushes, and black nail polish ). Good luck!
  13. looks good, but slow as molasses...
  14. Let me add to Flytire's excellent tip - BTW this method is how Carrie Stevens tied her streamers. 1) With Carrie Stevens patterns the material is not all tied in at the head. End the body, say 1/2" from the eye on a size #6 hook. Tie on underbelly of deer hair. Tie on peacock herl underwing forward of that. Tie on throat forward of that - leaving room for the head. So each material has its own tie in spot, never bunching up. This avoids the bunched materials interfering with the wing feathers. 2) Ensure the thread base you will be tying the feather stems on to is smooth and tapered. Do this by untwisting thread (work's with Danville 6/0 - 70 denier) to get a flat ribbon and carefully build up the thread over the butts of the throat. 3) Use tying wax, not dubbing wax, on the thread used to tie down the wing feathers. Tying wax available from John McLain (feathersmc.com) and a small piece lasts a lifetime. It is 70% rosin 20% beeswax, 10% castor or olive oil -formulas vary. It is the superglue of the 1880s - used to tie Classic Atlantic Salmon flies. With thread pressure it softens, and releasing pressure, it hardens like a rock. And unlike superglue, it can be unwrapped with a little effort. 4) Tie on each side wing assemblies using only 3 wraps each, advancing thread in adjacent wraps towards the eye on each side. Ensure you hold the wing feathers in place. Wrap once only, back to the first wrap of the first wing. Now tie on the other side - not too much thread tension or you'll roll the feathers. 5) At this point, stop, remove your left hand from the wing feathers and inspect. Ensure symmetrical and feathers are at the position you want. Undo and re-tie as needed. Once you move to the next step, there's no going back. (dramatic music goes here...) 6) Flatten the thread, and coat with tying wax. Hold on the wing with your left hand. Tie on, wrapping forward with reasonable tension. Once you get to 3/4 of the way forward, clip the wing butts. Finish the wrapping the head, keeping the thread untwisted, building up the shape you want, forward and back, smoothly with no thread lumps. 7) add a drop or two of medium-thin cement. 8) For a presentation finish, apply Sally Hansen Hard-as-Nails, 1 coat every 12 hours for 4-5 coats.
  15. Vinegar might do the trick - the dye should be acid dye for feathers - if insufficient acid added the dye will bleed. If it still bleeds in cold water, I suspect the dye was not an acid dye so will only weakly bind to the feathers.
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