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Fly Tying


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  1. Concur, briefly soaking in a little warm water (with glycerin if you like) is sufficient. It is not recommended to put any feather in your mouth to soften it since some have been prepared with chemicals that could be harmful. This is Charlie Craven's video on Biots - excellent! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN4a9qM3r0E Also, Soaking in water with glycerin is also helpful for stripped quills, horsehair, and moose mane/hair (if you're wrapping the moose) . . . or anything else that likes to crack when wrapped. Regards,
  2. Many decades ago, my first mentor Tom Lentz (in Florida) told me to put cedar chunks in all the drawers where I kept fur and feathers, and to leave them in their original packaging (usually zip lock bags). Over 45 years of storage in Florida, California, and mostly Colorado, I've only discarded one starling skin which I suspect was pretty infected when I bought it. I also believe that living at 7,000 feet of elevation in Colorado doesn't provide a many critters as a more temperate or humid sea-level climate. I also once heard that camphor wood had a similarly deterrent effect on insects, and also was a rust preventative. Has anyone used woods in this way? Regards,
  3. Yep, I did a related screw-up last year - I applied the Solarez to the fly and quickly went to cure it, not realizing I had set the applicator tube/bottle down on the bench under the vise (instead of replacing the cap). It was in the beam of the light so got cured along with the fly. Once it is "cooked", I know of no solvent that will release or soften it. Interestingly, it only cured the resin inside the applicator tube, so the bottle of resin wasn't compromised. I've tried all the viscosity options, but mostly use Bone Dry and thin or medium. I suspect if I did a lot of large streamers or salt water patterns, the thick could come in handy as well. Interesting trivia: this UV Resin originated in the belly board and surfing industry, and is still used for surfboard repairs. Regards,
  4. I use Solarez resins and their rechargeable curing light exclusively (see Charlie Craven video below) and it works great for me. There is also a second link below for an exhaustive test on various resins if you like lots of details. I have found that the procedure for curing is important, both the wavelength of the lamp (I won't go down that rabbit hole right now), and the timing. I start out with brief pulses of light from a distance, while rotating the fly in my vise. Then I increase the duration and closeness of the lamp to the fly incrementally until I'm sure its cured, usually about 30-60 seconds. Colored resins take longer. If you cure the resin to closely or too quickly, you can usually see a little puff of smoke, which in my experience, makes the resulting cure more brittle. The good news is that almost any resin, light, and procedure will work "adequately", but "good enough" is just not how my brain is wired after many years of fly tying (and being a retired engineer). I don't have any test data to answer if natural sunlight is better, but it surely does work to cure the resin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA-l1Qknuyc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJVI-7xHpWs Regards,
  5. Welcome to the forum. You live in a magnificent part of Scotland! I lived in Ayr and Troon as a kid (early 1960s). I loved Scotland and we had friends we kept in touch with for many decades. Regards,
  6. Yep, your rig is set up properly for you - have fun! . . . Regards,
  7. Susquehanna? Isn't that the hat company? (my attempt at humor, and you have to be old to get that one!) Hint: Abbott and Costello https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHZA92LD-1I Regards,
  8. Question: Are you a right-handed caster? If so, most RH folks find it more comfortable to reel with the left hand and fight the fish with their dominant hand . . . but I'm not sure if that reel will allow you to convert it. On the other hand (pun intended!), if you are a left handed caster, all is well. Not a big deal, and in fact some people like the old traditional way of casting and reeling with the right hand. Regards,
  9. Good job, beautiful bass - always gratifying when you tie your own flies. Silly fish - didn't he know those were trout flies! 🤪 Regards,
  10. I too have used the Orvis Bite Guards in both freshwater (northern pike) and saltwater (barracuda, bluefish), and found them to work quite well. I don't have any experience with the Malin product, but it seems quite reasonable and comes with some seasoned recommendations. p.s.: The damn bluefish like to bite your fly line too . . . for some reason. I've lost several good fly lines to those critters! Regards,
  11. As in many fly tying philosophies, there are traditional ideas . . . and notable exceptions. Generally, dry fly hackles are not clipped unless (as noted above, the bottom is trimmed to allow the fly to sit lower in the surface film). The untrimmed hackle barbule has a gentle taper that not only looks aesthetically pleasing, but also functionally provides a fine tip to sit gently on the water. However . . . some flies are designed to achieve a certain look and/or function. John Barr who is an incredibly successful fisherman and fly designer, clips the tail (and legs) on the Barr Emerger, and I guarantee you that fly catches many fish . Dave Whitlock clipped the palmered hackle on Dave's Hopper to achieve a certain look. It is so much easier in these modern times to find good quality dry fly necks with many sizes of feathers . . . and at a fairly reasonable price. Regards,
  12. If it's for Elk, the 300 Weatherby trumps the 300 Win Mag. Or if you're into the modern cartridges, and heavy-for-caliber bullets, 300 PRC . . . those critters can absorb a lot of terminal energy and keep right on truckin' ! Regards,
  13. Concur, its was a painful time in American history. I too experienced the perverted logic (back then) that if you disliked the Vietnam war, you should for some bizarre reason disrespect the veterans returning from serving their country. We were advised to not wear our uniforms returning to the states so as to avoid conflict, especially in airports. I find it encouraging that in current times people honor the returning veterans, whether or not they personally support the conflict resulting from the war on terrorism. My father also was retired military, having served in Korea and Vietnam. "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse . . . A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." ― John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy, 1848 Regards,
  14. I concur with SilverCreek - you are progressing nicely! Incremental minor improvements would include: a streamlined and smooth body, and some nice stiff cock hackle fibers for the tail. (The tail is important in supporting the rear of the fly on the surface film.) Wrapping parachute hackle just requires practice to get in a thin horizontal plane, but you are off to a good start. Regards,
  15. Damsel Fly nymph is a great choice - one of the few insects that actually swims toward shore to hatch (so a fisherman on shore stripping a fly toward himself is proper). There are many terrific Damsel patterns, but if you have the time and patience, this one is outstanding (you can adjust the weight for depth and retrieve speed). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UfrZlfV25s Chironomid (Midges) - larva down deep, pupa mid-depth and surface, adults on top. The tricky part here is species and size. Brian Chan is a great source that you already found, but he lives in British Columbia where they have massively sized chironomids in many colors. In Colorado where I live they are usually much smaller. It sounds like you have an unusual warm water fishery with trout available - interesting! (If) you have Callibaetis Mayflies, they can be awesome hatches. Buggers and Leeches are always a good bet . . . again, size is relative to your particular environment. Lastly, our European, British, and especially Scottish friends have some great still-water patterns, and some innovative tying styles and techniques. (closed captioning helps with their rich accents). Lindsay Simpson and Davie McPhail and are among my favorites. Their patterns seem to work well for me, perhaps because they are flies that are not the "same old thing" my fish see all the time. Regards,
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