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Fly Tying

Frank G. Swarner III

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Everything posted by Frank G. Swarner III

  1. I like the top one the best and think that one will work the best as well. Just make sure you straighten the point on it or your not going to keep anything hooked for long. Sweet batch!!
  2. It's a fly that will work for both species. Sounds like a cross between a few different hairwings. Not sure if it is an exact pattern. I'm sure if you tie something close to what you remember it will work just as well.
  3. FFJ, Remember that a fly that is wet out of water is not the same as a fly that is actually in the water. I bet your intruders are just right by the sound of it. Too much bulk and it will hinder the movement of the other materials. Good luck this season!!
  4. Is it possible for you to post a picture or two so we can see what's going on? One of your vertical wings and one of the horizontal? I have more than enough experience with BM, so I'm sure I can help you.
  5. I like to think of it in more of a "fiber count" rather rather than width in inches. 20-24 fibers is a good place to start and 15-20 will be even easier. 3/4" is a pretty big wing and you may have trouble mounting it, if it is your first one....but go for it!! As mentioned, it really depends on the hook you are using as far as proportions go. I find that if the wing is as thick as the gape of the hook, the fly will look top heavy once you add a roof and a topping or two. Frank
  6. Looks like a good intruder variation!! Save yourself some bucks next time and head to the hardware store and pick up some cotter pins. They are just as good if not better at 3/4 the cost.
  7. I few years ago I was looking at Irish Shrimp flies in various books and thought that they would be good for Steelhead in New York........and they were!! I also do well with crayfish style flies, so I tried to combine the two for a fairly simple and effective pattern. Hence the name Irish Crayfish. Hook: Alec Jackson size 1.5 will be shown Tip: Oval Tinsel - medium - Silver Rear Collar: Coq de leon feather from a tailing pack (dark or medium pardo), Pheasant Rump feather (black) Body: UV Ice dubbing gray Mid Collar: Coq de leon feather from a tailing pack (dark or medium pardo), Pheasant Rump feather (black) Body: UV Ice dubbing gray Front Collar: Coq de leon feather from a tailing pack (dark or medium pardo), Pheasant Rump feather (black) Wing: 2 Pheasant body or breast feathers Step 1: Insert the hook into the vice and make sure the shank is parallel to the table top. Attach your thread at the front and work your way back to a spot on the hook shank above the hook point. Step 2: Attach fine oval silver tinsel on the far side of the hook shank and wrap it 3-4 times to create a tip/butt. Step 3: Critical for proportions. Select 3 Coq de leon hackles and 3 pheasant rump hackles. There should be one small, one medium, and one large feather of each type. Select the large Coq de leon feather and tie it in by the tip right in front of the tip/butt. Wrap it around the hook shank 3-5 times leaving a slight space in between each wrap. Tie off the feather, trim the butt end, then wrap the thread back over the stem and fibers until the thread is again just in front of the tip/butt. Select the large pheasant rump hackle and repeat the process. Step 4: Spin some ice dubbing onto you thread and wrap it forward. Stop at the midpoint of the hook or slightly shorter. Perhaps 1/3, 2/3 will work for you. Think about what you are trying to make the fly look like and check out pictures of crayfish and make note of their proportions. Step 5: Repeat step #3, but instead use the medium sized feathers. Step 6: Repeat step #4 and stop short of the eye of the hook to leave room for more hackle and the "wing." Step 7: Repeat step #3, but instead use the small sized feathers. Step 8: Trim the front and middle hackles on the top of the hook shank so the wing will lay flat over the body. Step 9: Select two feathers from Ringneck skin dyed black. I like to pick them from the sides, just in front of the wings. Stagger the tips so one is longer than the other than strip off all the flioplume so you are only tying the stems to the shank. Insert the tips of the stems through the eye of the hook and mount the wing flat on top. When you have it seated how you like, fold the stems underneath the shank and tie them off on the bottom. Trim the excess and finish with head cement.
  8. Not sure where your getting your info, but the reservoir was about 5-6ft low not too long ago. They aren't holding back, they don't have it (water) to begin with right now. Surprised it got bumped to 335 cfs, but I think that is part of a contract/regulations. A few steelies and browns always come in this time of year, and some may have been in the river all summer. Nothing to get excited about or make a special trip unless you live close. It won't be long though.
  9. You sure have the touch Paul!! Lovely colors and proportions.
  10. Night Hawk HOOK: Alec Jackson 1.5 THREAD: UTC 140 denier for underbody, UTC 70 denier for rest of fly TIP: Small Oval tinsel - silver TAG: Yellow Floss TAIL: Golden Pheasant Crest BUTT: Red wool RIBBING: Small Oval tinsel - silver BODY: Medium Flat tinsel - silver BODY HACKLE: Pheasant Rump dyed black THROAT: Pheasant Rump dyed black WING: Turkey Tail - Black SIDES: Jungle Cock nails CHEEKS: Asian Kingfisher HORNS: Scarlet Macaw HEAD: Red Thread Step 1: Attach your hook to the vise and make sure the shank is parallel to your desk surface. The eye of the hook should not be on an upward or downward angle. Step 2: Im using utc 140 denier thread to form the underbody. Attach the thread just behind the return wire that forms the eye. DO NOT WRAP OVER THE RETURN WIRE AT THIS TIME. Step 3: Un-spin the thread so it will lay flat on the hook shank and work your way back to the rear of the hook with edge to edge wraps. Stop short of the hook point and work your way forward. You will have to un-spin your thread multiple times while making edge to edge wraps. Again, DO NOT WRAP OVER THE RETURN WIRE AT THIS TIME. We are trying to build the underbody up for a smooth transition in this area. Step 4: Work your way back to the rear of the hook with edge to edge wraps, except this time, stop 4-5 turns short of the first stopping point. Work your way forward again with edge to edge to wraps. Repeat this process, stopping 4-5 turns short of your last stopping point until the underbody is built up enough for a smooth transition onto the return wire. Step 5: At this point have your 140 denier thread at the return wire. Attach 70 denier white thread onto the return wire and wrap back over the 140 denier thread to tie it off. Stick with edge to edge wraps and work your way back to the rear of the hook until the thread is directly above the point of the mid-point of the barb. Step 6: THE TIP Select a strand of small oval tinsel and attach it to the far side of the hook shank advancing the thread forward rather than rearward. Make 3 turns of small oval tinsel and tie the tag end off on the far side of the hook shank. Making edge to edge wraps, advance your thread forward so it is located above the point of the hook or slightly ahead. This will be our tie in spot for the floss tag. Also trim the tag ends of the tinsel so they stop just shy of this spot. This way we will be able to hide them in the tag, tail, and butt of the fly. Step 7: THE TAG Select a strand of yellow floss and split it in two. I find it easier to tie the strand onto the hook shank, un-spin it slightly, and use a bodkin to separate the strands. Untie the floss to fully separate the strands. Select one strand and tie it in on the near side of the hook shank at the spot mentioned in step 6. Advance your thread to get it out of the way then wrap the floss back to the tip and forward over itself. Stop at the initial tie in spot and unwrap your thread until there is only one turn securing the floss strand, then wrap the thread over the tag ends of floss on the near side of the hook. Let the tag ends extend to the return wire if you still have a little room to smooth out the transition. Wrap the thread back over the floss a turn or two. This will be our tie in spot for the tail. Step 8: THE TAIL Select a small Golden Pheasant Crest feather that has a gentle curve. We dont want the tip of the tail to sit up too high because it will affect the alignment/height of the wing. Strip off the fuzz and some of the fibers at the base of the stem. Apply some wax to your thread (cobblers wax if you have some on hand) and attach the GP Crest to the top of the hook shank. Two to four wraps are fine and they do not need to be super tight death wraps. Just firm enough to keep the tail in place. Select a small Asian Kingfisher feather and strip of the fluff at the base of the stem. Un-wrap 2-3 turns of thread and mount the kingfisher feather so it lays flat over the tail. Wrap the thread forward using edge to edge wraps binding all tag ands to their respective sides of the hook shank. Your underbody should be finished at this point or darn close. Wrap the thread back to the tail to prepare for the butt. Step 9: BUTT Select some red wool and spin a small amount onto your thread. Make one wrap of dubbing toward the tail, then make the next wrap forward crossing over the previous one….X wraps basically. Do this until you create a small ball on the hook shank. Step 10: TINSEL RIBBING Select a strand of small oval silver tinsel and attach it to the far side of the hook shank letting the tag end extend just short of the eye of the hook. Wrap your thread forward then wrap the tinsel forward making 5-6 evenly spaced ribs. I used six turns of ribbing, so at the third turn I used a fine tip marker to mark the body hackle tie in spot on the bottom of the hook shank. If you use five turns, make your mark at the second turn of ribbing. Un-wrap the tinsel and then the thread until the tinsel is being held in place by 1 or 2 turns of thread. Step 11: BODY TINSEL Select a long strand of medium flat silver tinsel, prepare and tie it in as shown in my sketches. Wrap your thread forward with edge to edge wraps, binding the tag ends of material, and stop short of the eye of the hook. Step 12: BODY Wrap the flat tinsel forward with edge to edge wraps and nice firm pressure. This is where all the work done to make a smooth underbody pays off. When you get to the mark we made for the body hackle tie spot, stop and attach hemostats to the tip of the flat tinsel and let it hang. Step 13: BODY HACKLE Select a long fibered Ringneck Pheasant rump feather dyed black, and stroke the fibers downward so only the very tip is sticking out. Grab the flat tinsel, un-clamp the hemostats and use the flat tinsel to attach the pheasant rump feather to the bottom of the hook shank. Continue the flat tinsel forward until you finish the body. Make sure there is wax on your thread, tie off the flat tinsel and trim the excess. Step 14: Ribbing Grab the small oval tinsel and rib the body with the number of turns you have selected. When you get to the body hackle make sure the tinsel goes in front of the stem so the hackle will be wrapped along the rear edge of the ribbing. Tie the oval tinsel off at the front of the hook and trim the excess. Step 15: BODY HACKLE Wrap the body hackle forward following the rear edge of the tinsel, tie off at the front of the hook and trim the excess stem. Step 16: THROAT Select a long fibered Ringneck Pheasant rump feather dyed black, and strip off one side of the fibers. While looking at the good side of the feather, strip off the fibers on the left side. Stroke the fibers downward so only the very tip is sticking out. Tie the feather in by the tip and wrap the hackle 2-3 turns. Tie it off and trim the excess stem. Step 17: BODY HACKLE and THROAT At this point use your thumb and forefinger to stroke the fibers downward so they wont interfere while mounting the wing. A little spit can help control the fibers and keep them in place for the time being. Step 18: Since the head calls for red thread, I switch to at this time. Wax the thread then attach it to the hook shank, wrap over the previous thread and trim it off. Step 19: WING I am using black Turkey Tail feathers, goose would be a good substitute. Please take a look at the drawings from Pryce-Tannat and take notice of the subtleties. I am going to mount the wings like figure 1, but I want them to lay lower like figure 3. I chose to use approximately 24 fibers for each wing. After clipping the strips of fibers from their respective sides I put them back to back so the good sides are on the outside and the longest fibers should be the top of the wing. Now I use my fingers to align the tips to match the curvature of the tail and also hump wing slightly. Giving the wing this slight hump or arc will help to set the wing low and also helps to give a slight bull at the front edge of the wing. Before mounting the wing make sure to wax your thread. Holding the wing strips in my right hand, I position them where I want them to be, then use my thumb and index finger of my left hand to hold them in place. You should be squeezing the wings with enough pressure to keep them in place when mounting them….the fibers should not slip. If they do your wings will have the tendency to explode or pop apart. This hold is sometimes referred to as the Vulcan Death Grip. Make the first wrap of thread, but make sure to wedge it between your fingers before going around the hook shank. Make one more wrap and do the same thing. Both wraps should be loose and shouldnt be compressing the wing at this point. Let the bobbin hang and grab the butt ends of the wing with your right hand. Using the your right hand, start to compress the fibers directly downward. Pull the bobbin done a touch to engage the thread with the wings, still maintaining a firm left grip. Once the thread loops are on the wing and not between your fingers, let the bobbin hang, and use your right hand to further compress the wings. The weight of the bobbin will help with this step. When you have the wings compressed sufficiently, grab the bobbin and pull the thread straight up to set the wing, then make 2-3 more turns of thread to secure the wing. Use your right hand to align the butt ends with the centerline of the shank. At this point you can let go with your left hand to see how good a job you have done. If the wing is to your liking, put a few dabs of head cement on the butt ends, just ahead of the tie in point. This will help to keep everything aligned, just be sure not to get any on the finished wing. DO NOT TRIM THE BUTT ENDS AT THIS POINT. Step 20: SIDES Select two matching Jungle Cock nail feathers and trim the fibers off the stem rather than stripping them off. Try to leave some little stubble sticking out from the stem. These will act as outriggers to help prevent the stem from rolling while tying it in. Wax your thread then tie the nails on one at a time and let them extend to the middle of the body. DO NOT TRIM THE BUTT ENDS AT THIS POINT. Step 21: CHEEKS Select two matching kingfisher feathers and trim the fibers off the stem rather than stripping them off. Try to leave some little stubble sticking out from the stem. These will act as outriggers to help prevent the stem from rolling while tying it in. Wax your thread then tie the feathers on one at a time and let them extend over the white eye of the jungle cock. You can put a little dab of head cement on the stems if you like, but not too much. Step 22: Use a double edged shaving razor to trim the butt ends of all the material extending past the eye of the hook. Trim them at a slight angle to help build a taper for the head. Take your time with this step, not only because the razor is sharp, but because we dont want to push any material out of alignment. Step 23: TOPPING Select a Golden Pheasant crest feather that has the same general curve of the wing. Also, try to make sure the topping/crest feather is straight and is not twisted. To get the nice cascade effect, soak a few toppings that look good in warm water for a half hour or so. Take them out of the water with tweezers and lightly flick off the water. Set them on a flat piece of glass and before they dry, separate the fibers with a bodkin. When they fully dry you should have the cascade. Before mounting the topping, hold it up to the wing to establish the tie in point on the stem. Strip off all the fibers below this point. To put a notch into the stem at the tie in point, use the pad of your forefinger as the base and use your thumbnail to make the notch. Take your time with this, because the stem can roll and we dont want that to happen. Your thumb and forefinger are the best tools and are much better than using pliers. Make sure you have your thread waxed and mount the topping to the top of the fly. Try to get the tip of the topping to meet with the tip of the tail. Dont trim the excess stem. Step 24: HORNS Select two fibers from a Scarlet Macaw tail and make sure they are long enough to extend to the rear of the hook. Turkey or Goose dyed red would be a good substitute. You have two options with the horns; they can go straight back and be parallel to the wing or they can criss cross over the top of the wing. I prefer the latter myself. Make sure your thread is waxed and tie them on one at a time. When you have them situated how you like, make a few more turns of thread and trim all of the excess butt ends. Step 25: Finish forming the head with the red thread and tie it off with a whip finish. Coat the head with thin cement so it will soak into the thread. After this dries, apply thicker finish cement or a gloss coat. Let the gloss coat dry and apply another coat or two.
  11. Depends on the pattern. For instance on spey flies most bodies are thin and I like to use wool yarn from the craft store. I typically split the yarn strands down to one main strand since there is usually 2-4 strands. I tie it in and unspin the strand so it will lay flat when wrapped, that way you don't the pronounced segments. If i want a shaggy body the yarn can be cut into smaller pieces, mixed up, and put into a dubbing loop. What fly do you have in mind?
  12. For your tail try tying a semi tight loop first, then increase the thread pressure with each wrap. The bucktail shouldn't flair as much and you won't have to wrap thread around the hairs to keep them together. Keep wrapping the thread forward trapping the butt ends down the entire length of the shank. Stop about an eylengths away from the hook eye and trim the excess. Tie the tinsel in at the front of the body, wrap down to the tail and back to the front then tie it off and proceed. Not bad for a first try!! You'll get with some more practice. Frank
  13. I would pick a few traditional spey patterns that you like and check out the material listing for each pattern. You will need Bronze Mallard for the wings flat and oval tinsel - small, medium, large - gold and silver Crewel wool yarn or wool yarn teal feathers for throats Golden pheasant skin spey hackle such as blue eared pheasant, whiting spey hackle, or schlappen hooks - alec jackson, partridge, or blind eye with silk gut That should be a good start. Chaeck out the Lady Caroline, Purple King, Gold Green Reeach, and Silver Speal for starters. Frank
  14. Rusty, Check out the pick below. Basically, tie the rabbit strip onto a small piece of tube fly tubing (a piece of plastic qtip may work but may break easily) then slide the tube onto your stinger line then attach the hook. Cotter Pin: 1/8"(or slightly bigger) x 1 1/4" long brass Trailing loop for hook: 20lb beading wire (purple is shown) Body: Polar chenille or similar synthetic hackle Wing: Zonker strip 1/4" wide or slightly smaller (3/32" tube tied on zoonker strip 1 1/2" from tail) Collar #1: Marabou Collar #2: Mallarad Flank
  15. Much better Taylor.....Keep up the great work. It will pay off soon. One thing I try to do is never go up the loop eye at all. Try to keep the thread wraps on the flat part or return wires of the loop eye. Even though the head size is fine, this will help to not make the eye look crowded. Awesome work on the body!! Keep refining as you go...you definitely have the passion and desire!! Frank
  16. I will be very surprised if you don't catch a steelhead with this......fish it with confidence!!
  17. How about one with a red tail, black body, purple hackle, and a blue head.......
  18. Well they aren't spey flies, but they do resemble a cross of a spade fly and a soft hackle. They sure are nice regardless!!!
  19. Great responses guys!! You can't go wrong with that info spey guy!! Mallard flank makes a great collar too......it can be good for body hackle if it is long enough. Gadwall is also very useful. Try to find yourself a few duckhunters and be-friend them!! Frank
  20. You will have very little chance during that time of year. First thing in the morning on fresh water will be your best bet. There are still so many eggs in the river at this time that their noses are in the stones and they will still be getting bombarded with lead from sun-up to sun down. Swinging flies was tough during that time last year.....but.....November was a different story. You will have a much better chance later in the fall/winter and in the spring. ~ Frank
  21. To cool......tie some for steel!!
  22. Thats cool Jamie....hope your getting meiz out every once in a while!!
  23. They are awesome!!! Please do more "experimenting"!!!
  24. That is a great warm up fly Mike!! The next one will be.......well you know....... how you want it!! I'd love to see the final fly in the frame if you get a chance to photo it. Frank
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