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Fly Tying

Swamp Fly

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Everything posted by Swamp Fly

  1. I agree, once you have an edge it is easy to maintain with a stone or backed sandpaper . Some of the punches I have purchased where butter knife sharp at best. It was much easier to sharpen them with the dill press or lathe since I already owned them. I could have sharpened them with a whetstone or a bench grinder, it just would have taken longer. I bought most of my woodworking gouges and chisels second hand, I often spend hours reconditioning by them by hand when I get them after decades or even a century of misuse. Takes just a few seconds to maintain an edge on them after that. I would not buy a drill press or lathe just for this.
  2. Re: punching out foam with sharpened tubes. I've used both sharpened steel tubes found in hobby shops and cheap manual hole punches (hit with a hammer kind). You can buy a set of punches inexpensively ($10ish?) at Harbor Freight etc. Which is better? Six of one half a dozen of another as far as I am concerned since both work. Both will need to be sharpened before use, the tubes are less expensive if you just want one or two sizes and you generally have enough material to make some friends with the extra, but the punches are studier and have a cutout on the sidewall to allow the cylinders to come out or to poke them back out of the front. Theoretically the steel quality is better in the punches, but well, they are cheap not just inexpensive so I would not bet on it. I'm not paying $25-$50 a piece for quality steel leather punches for this. If you have a bench top drill press it makes sharpening very easy and is also very good for the actual punching. Just hold a series of backed pieces of sandpaper (glue paper to wood/metal) or a metal file to the tube/punch while it spins. Years ago I read an article on using a drill press to punch foam with, but I ended up with smeared foam and deformed pieces. My really cheap bench top drill press has stepped pulleys instead of a true variable speed and even the slowest speed built up too much heat. However I figured out that it works very well if you just leave the motor off. This allows for consistent bodies and precise punching so you get more out of the material. Punching by hand works just fine though, so no need to buy machinery unless you need the excuse. Use a chunk of wood or HDPE to punch/press onto so you preserve your tool edges regardless of technique. As an aside, I also bought a second set of punches that I ground to make half moon shapes. These allow me to cut a clean radius on the ends of foam strips very nicely with a bit of practice. The fish don't care, but it looks neater to the human eye. If you modify punches, grind slowly and carefully as to not overheat the metal and destroy any hardening/temper it may actually have. Constant dipping into water to cool the metal helps tremendously. If the metal turns colors, it's bad. The same goes if you power sharpen with the drill press or use a metal lathe to sharpen like I do.
  3. I've been tying on one for 10+/- years . The only two issues I have really had is that the head is heavy and you have to lift it (and consequently let it swing back down) when using the rotary function. It just took a while to adjust my muscle memory and technique to compensate. Play with the friction screw to hep with this some as the head can swing down pretty aggressively if you don't. The other thing and one that is not adjustable that with my tying style I don't have much clearance when tying smaller flys, the adjustment collar gets in my way. Not much to be done about that one short of doing a Frankenstienian finger replacement. I suspect a good chunk of that is me since I don't hear of others having an issue with it. The good thing is I rarely tie anything smaller than a #10 for my local fish, it's only when I need to replenish my cold water boxes that this becomes apparent. Mine is a tank, short of hurling it off of the roof I don't see damaging it. All in all I've been very pleased with mine and would not hesitate to recommend them especially down here in FL for the flies we tend to use. The fact of the matter is that these days it is tough to find a "bad" vice design made by one of the big name manufacturers. Tyers know what they want and the manufactures have listened.
  4. Thanks everyone. I need to do some tying soon so I'll post some pics when I do. Piker, yes it's this time of year that I'm glad I only visit Europe.
  5. Thanks. I've spent some time stomping around Kettle Creek etc. Having done it in years, I miss it.
  6. ...this thing on? Ah yes, good! Greetings from SW Florida! Land of The Mighty Snowbird and infamous land developers (oh wait, the developers don't actually live here they just screw it up more...). It's also home to some wonderful fishing if you ignore the zoo that is called Boca Grande Pass. Great Site you have here! I tried to join about a year ago but I ran into some problems that I just could not resolve (thanks for trying Steeldrifter). I tried again recently and the system told me yet again that I could not use my email for a second account(!!!???), so on a whim I had the system send me a "new" password (again). Worked this time! Not sure why all of a sudden, but presto, here I am. I started fly fishing in the early 80s in the Tidewater area of Virginia and immediately bought a tying kit from Bass Pro Shops. That was still from the time when the clothes and knicknack to actual outdoor gear ratio was reversed from today. That first hair bug looked more like something a cat would hack up, but the bass in the lake we lived on ate it so It's been downhill ever since. LOL! I will tie and fish for everything from tarpon to brookies. In saltwater, tarpon are probably my favorite fish to love/hate. I see a tarpon roll, especially "baby" tarpon, and it's like an ADD kid hopped up on cotton candy in a ball bearing factory that just had a major spill. You know what I'll be doing for the next couple of hours! I also love snook, fun critters. Ladyfish, bluefish, jacks, speckled trout, snapper, macs are all part of the plan. You say I left out redfish? Yeah, well I think I had a redfish apply "redfish hater pee" on me while wading years ago and it still hasn't worn off! Redfish hate me for some reason, I return the favor out of spite (grin). I've been living in Florida since '89 and I'd be surprised if I've caught a dozen in that time. On the freshwater side Bass are always fun, I giggle like a schoolgirl when I get into big bream on top (that's sunfish for the folks further north). Specks(crappie) are a hoot but I rarely target them exclusively, they are blast when they find me. Probably my favorites are the exotic panfish we have here in south Florida. When the water level forces all of the fish into the canals down in the Everglades the fish go absolutely nuts. Food completion is extreme. It really stops being called fishing, it is actually catching! In 10-12 hours of fishing, 300-400 fish a person is not unheard of. If you don't get grabbed in a few casts, check your fly something is wrong. The Oscars and Myan Chiclids will also pull a big 'gill through the water sideways. They are also one of the few fish I will keep on a regular basis since they don't belong here anyway. It's a world class bass fishery too, 100 plus fish is easy. Enough about me though. Since I'm new here, I'll have a gin and tonic with lime while I watch the show please!
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