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Fly Tying


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Posts posted by hopperfisher

  1. Very nice!! Don would certainly be proud! Your persistence is what makes you a good tyer...no one was born with a bobbin in their hand...even Master Bastain...He would tell you that for every good fly he tied through his career there were more way bad ones that good ones...the only way to get good is keep spinning 'em but also be present and learn from your mistakes...one of the things people struggle with when tying winged wets is head size...if you can get that divot at the back of the head intead of the head tapering into the wing, it's a success!! Well done

  2. @mikemac1 has it right...many, if not all, of those patterns will serve well for fresh and salt water. Synthetics are a good way to go for product consistency...when you're on a budget it's even hard to throw away the material cutoffs and such...I'm a tight budgeted tyer as well...Amazon is not necessarily the best place to shop...Ebay works for material lots (search: fly tying material lot)...

    J. Stockard is good (jsflyfishing.com)

    Fly Tyers Dungeon has good deals

    Bears Den is good 

    most all of these sites have great customer service, give them a call, let 'em know you situation, they will help (I know this from personal experience)


  3. 9 hours ago, Capt Bob LeMay said:

    I used to tie a tarpon fly in those same colors (blue collar, orange and yellow tail) as that Winter's Hope pattern... It was very popular among the shops I was fillling orders for a bit more than 30 years ago...  That Wiinter's Hope is very nicely done... hopper

    Thanks Bob!! Your opinion carries weight for sure! The Winter's Hope is a wonderful crossover pattern...I've tied it in smaller sizes for SRC and used it on warm water species as well...Thinking about tossing it off the beach for who knows what!!!

  4. 43 minutes ago, niveker said:

    That looks great. 

    I just started tying that style (matuka).  Tough to keep the hackle centered on top while being mindful of not trapping any hackle, and at the same time keeping the rib evenly spaced.  Lots going on with each wrap - LOL  

    Thanks for the kind words @niveker.

    I just started this style as well! I love the large profile and how it stays really sparse...I'm learning a few tricks along the way...like pinning the rib on the bottom of the fly with my left pinky finger while separating the wing fibers at the stem with a bodkin and applying forward pressure...then, using left thumb and fore finger to grab the tail and apply rearward pressure to the hackle stems while wrapping the rib through the wing fiber gap...still working on it...I might toss an SBS out there at some point

  5. On 12/6/2021 at 3:25 AM, agn54 said:

    Thanks for the history behind these. I find them incredibly beautiful works of art. As for fishing, I’ve always wondered what are they supposed to emulate? Butterflies, or just something that looks like “food” like some attractor patterns?

    Hi guys, interesting thread...wanted to bump it. These flies, like most flies for andromadous fish, are not designed to emulate food. These fish, salmon and winter steelhead, don't eat much at all after entering fresh water. They have one thing in mind, making babies. Imagine how much a 50 lb salmon would have to eat!!! These guys aren't hungery, they're territorial and have a "personal space" that they like to maintain. If you see salmon breaching in a deeper pool, they likely bumped into another fish and pissed 'em off. When something big and colorful swings into their "bubble" they lash out at it with their mouth (their only weapon). This is why you see big, nasty modern flies like the "Intruder" style, doesn't look like food at all but man does it piss 'em right off!!! And, as with most things, it becomes a bit of a friendly competition to see who can make the prettiest, most eye catching and elaborate works of art. As it has been said, a steelhead or salmon would eat your car key if presented correctly. The flies are for us, not them.


  6. You have a great vise! And, a great vice! Get some red micro chenille and red thread and tie a dozen San Juan Worms...these will start you on the right path to thread control (i.e. thread tension, number of wraps needed, etc.) Then graduate to something like a Hare's Ear nymph (thread, tail, dubbing)...dry flies can, and will come later...work on these fundamentals, as well as proportions and you'll do well. You have the first part down pat...a great attitude! THAT is everything!! Happy tying!

  7. 4 hours ago, SpokaneDude said:

    Hopperfisher:  thanks for the info; I find it hard to understand Davie McPhail, so that leaves me in the cold as far as following what he's saying;  however, you have given me great ideas and I will for sure try them out, especially the O'Keefes and using my finder tips... 

    Thanks again and Stay safe!  SpokaneDude

    Glad I could help! Davie can be hard to understand for sure...if you get some wax and need help preparing it, let me know...a decent hackle plier will be your friend as well, not only for winding hackle but winding fine wire, body materials, floss, etc. and holding tension on things like peacock herl, pheasant tail fibers, biots and the like...tying small stuff can be very rewarding but frustrating at the same time...let us know how it goes and post some pics and we can help!

  8. I have fat stumpy fingers, before I left Colorado I was tying tricos down to 24 and BWOs down to 20. I found that working your way down helps, but also learning to use different parts of your fingers helps too. For example, I started out using the whole pad of my finger which was fine for size 14 and bigger but as I worked my way down I found that using my finger tips is better. Also, make sure your fingers are not cracked (I use O'Keefes Working Hands constantly as my job beats my hands to pieces), dirty, etc. as this can snag thread and materials. A few other considerations... try using a prepared tyers wax (Semperfly, Veniards, Overtons, etc.) it's cheap and will give your thread tons of grip and hold materials in place better so you don't have to use your fingers as much. Check out Davie McPhail's You Tube channel and watch how he ties small flies and how he uses the wax. He also has a video on how to prepare the wax cake for use. I follow his methods and they do work. Hope this helps and good luck on the journey!

  9. I think you're right on! You may find that you need a bit more CDC to float that hook, especially after a fish or two. The length of the CDC doesn't matter to the fish, but the volume will matter in floating the fly. That is a fantastic fly! If my first emerger was that good, I'd be patting myself on the back and filling a box with 'em! 

  10. These replies are perfect! It's like any hobby where you have to buy tools and materials and make an effort, make time/money to do it with no hope for profit, think jewelry making...I'm a cheapskate in that I don't/can't buy every cape/saddle, dubbing, bead, etc. in every style and color...My whole tying kit has probably costed me between $500 and $700 dollars (that's all inclusive...vise, tools, materials, desk (home built), storage, everything), you have to be creative when you're poor!

    This hobby is worth it me because of the relaxation and satifaction I get from catching a fish on a fly I tied vs. bought. That said, I tie all my own flies, and have only bought flies only as appreciation for advice given at a fly shop.

    I tie flies for everything from the smallest trickle of a creek to stillwater to open ocean saltwater stuff, all inside of that $500-$700. To answer your question...WORTH IT TO ME for way more than just money! 

    Good thread!

  11. Thanks for the reply...that does help. I have a Hareline calf tail as well, I think I'll just get some bucktail to use for my bigger stuff...calf tail is still my favorite hair for winging...I'm going to try some squirrel tail at some point too...I noticed you use it a lot too, do you have any tips on suppliers, techniques, etc.? 

    Thanks again for all of your posts and information!


  12. flytire, 

    First off, your flies are always spectacular! I look at them frequently for beauty, inspiration and aspiration.

    Hard to see scale in this pic, but it looks like about a size 4, maybe a 2?  I have a question....where do you get your calf tail? The stuff I've been getting is only long enough to do a size 4, 2 if I'm lucky...and some is only long enough for Wulff wings. I'd like some hair that will do wings on 2/0 steelhead swingers...I was thinking of bucktail but it's too straight for my liking, I like how calf tail is crinkly...thoughts? 

  13. Good start! Better looking flies than my first ones for sure! The bugger's good...as said, strung saddle hackle is your friend (and cheap, but get a quality brand) in the fly tying material world the mantra is...garbage in, garbage out, your hackle should be about 1.5 times the hook gap, tie it in by the tip, right in front of the tail and wrap forward, this will give you a reverse taper (wider at the front, skinnier at the tail...preferable for buggers) ...as far as the tail, only use half of what you used, preferably the longer half...keep tying up those spiders in size 10 or 12 and you'll keep your rod bent for sure! 

    All of that said, take those out and fish the hell out of 'em...you might be surprised at how effective they are! 

  14. Back when I fished 'gills and bass in TX, it was olive or brown buggers or a natural-ish dry fly in the morning and something bright, sub-surface in chartreuse, pink, white at mid-day and back to natural-toned dry flies in the evening....when I lived and fished in CO it was all natural, all the time, matching hatches, etc.....I'm in OR now playing with salmon and steelhead, different ball game...species, water clarity, temp, sky color, season all play a role in color choice (they don't eat a lot so you have to piss 'em off).

    All of that said, it mostly comes down to fishing a fly/lure that you have confidence in, if you don't have confidence in it, you won't fish it correctly or thoroughly.

    My best advice is to take as many colors and styles as you can, stay out all day, pay aytention to conditions and how they change throughout the day (water clarity and temp, time of day, sky conditions, etc., etc.), switch flies a lot, you'll begin to see patterns emerge that you will hone in on and then be able to narrow your selections. It also serves to keep a journal/log for future reference. This is how people get good at fishing, they pay attention and remember everything. A great deal of knowledge and understanding can be gained from just a day or two on the water.

    One last thing...about the time you think you've got it all figured out, those fish can turn on a dime and toss all that out the window....it's always a pursuit...part of the fun 😉 


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