The Baikal Teal, AKA Bali duck has some nice feathers on its back. These feathers are quite hard to come by, but I recently fell into some, and so, I present the first of three flies to use these exquisite feathers in the wing.
The Pompadour wing certainly not an easy style to master (and I still have some work to do), but its not exceptionally difficult to make either. This fly I called Pompeii, kind of a nod to the wing style, and also because of the materials I included in fly. I had these nice amgold crests, and really wanted to make use of them to construct a minimal looking fly. Given the great Roman city was buried by lava and ash from Mount Vesuvius in A.D 79, I figured the rich orange and red color really fit with the name.
If you're like me, you're not great a photography, the only camera you own is within the confines of your cellphone, yet, you photograph every fly you tie, and even some that you don't.
My current set up cost me about $40, including light and tent - and it does a poor job of adequately lighting the flies I want to photograph. Getting those pictures to look good is generally difficult, partly due to the camera, but also lighting. The photos are ok, but generally, for me, they look grainy and poorly lit, but I work with what I have.
UPDATE: This project has reached it funding minimum and will be put into production for a summer delivery date.
I'm always scouring the internet looking for deals, and Kickstarter is one of those places I look.
There have a been a couple of good fly fishing related projects funded there over the last while, and today while I was searching I came across The Tacky Fly Box.
I've been thinking for the last while what I could do for 2014 to put some more regularity and focus in to the flies I tie, and I've decided to embark on two projects.
1 - Project Ghost - as you can probably imagine, this will involve tying all the Rangeley Style streamers with Ghost in the name - Gray Ghost, Black Ghost, Pink Ghost etc, originals as well as some of their variants, eg , Grizzly Gray Ghost, which is essentially a Gray Ghost except with a Grizzly wing. I think there are upwards of 40 "Ghost" variants out there.
Yesterday was my second day on the water for 2013, and probably my last too. Checked the weather during the week and sought permission based on the fact it was gonna be low 30s with snow/rain mix - not ideal outside weather for the family; so permission was granted.
I decided I'd leave a little later than I normally do, in order to arrive at the fly shop close to the water right about opening time, 11am, and also given it was gonna be cold, I figured things would liven up on the stream right when the sun was at its highest, or at least closer to midday, given there was no sun.
I've found myself wondering lately what is the goal of my tying. Basically it boils down to two questions.
Am I trying to exactly replicate vintage flies, or am I trying to forge an identity for myself in the tying of classic flies? Or rather, the question is this - which of these two paths do I want to follow?
I'm certain I want to forge an identity - to see my flies lined up against other great tyers and be able to pick out my own among them as being distinct from the others.
I guess lately I've fallen in to the trap of trying to replicate how and what I see others tie and it really wasn't working for me. That's part of the problem of seeing pictures of flies in books and online. Sure, they should have the same essential look, but with distinct nuances that distinguish them apart from that of another tyer. A certain, je ne c'est quoi?
For trout flies and streamers I think I've identified that look, but with salmon flies, I was am still searching for the goal, never mind the outcome. But now I think I'm headed in the right direction at least. All the salmon fly tyers I've come across all have certain qualities about their flies that make them unmistakably the work of that tyer. Hopefully over the next year or 10 I'll be able to identify and incorporate that unmistakable 'Eunan's Fly' look to my own salmon flies, all the while avoiding the doldrums of boringly replicating the 'look' of others.
Enough reflections for now.
BTW. This was my 100th post on this blog in a little under two years on the scene. Not a bad clip of an average of about 1 post per week, enough to keep you interested, not enough to saturate the 'blogosphere'. Thanks to all who've been checking in to see my flies, whether you actively follow my ramblings or just hop in every now and again. I hope you've either been inspired to give it a go yourself, or at the very least enjoyed reading and seeing flies of yesteryear (as well as some more modern flies).
And so, on to the next one....which I believe will be to finish my Tippetiwitchet.
This may or may not be a variant, depending on how strictly you follow the pattern. Regardless, for all intents and purposes, this should give you a good run through how to tie a nice winged wet fly.
Hook: Wet fly hook of choice, in this case, Mustad 3123 Size 7
Tag: Gold mylar, #16
Tail: Claret schlappen fibers
Body: Danville 4 strand floss, Wine
Rib: Same piece of gold mylar used for the tag
Throat: Claret Schlappen Fibers 2-3 bunches
Wing: Dark Mottled Turkey Wing
I've tentatively lined up 4 or 5 salmon flies to tie at the show, as well as some 'Ghost' Streamers to fit in my latest tying project (provided I can get some hooks at the show). Perhaps if time permits I'll throw in a few winged wets for good measure.
So, if you're at the show, or in the area and want to kill an afternoon, why not stop by and say hello and see a few of these guys (and maybe buy one or two)
There hasn't been too many flies coming off my vise of late, I've kinda frustrated myself out of tying classics for a while.
Nonetheless, I was compelled to tie this one for a bloke for his wedding.
Pretty simple fly.
The bridesmaids are wearing watermelon colored dresses, so i bought some watermelon dye and dyed up several different feathers etc.
Pattern is as follows
Hook Size 2 8xl
Tag Silver tinsel
Tail Watermelon Goose Shoulder
Body Black Wool
Rib Silver tinsel
Belly White Bucktail
Throat Henny Rooster (watermelon)
WIng While over watermelon saddle hackles
SHoulder Silver Pheasant
Cheeks Jungle Cock
Starting with the ribs, here there are two, one is flat silver tinsel, the other is oval silver tinsel.
The hook is rotated in the vise to allow easy access to the bottom, and the flat tinsel is tied in first, at about the 530 position, then the oval silver tinsel is tied in at the 600 position. This allows them to be wrapped closely together with the oval following the flat.
Both are secured along the hook shank to the first marker. This is the marker for the body divisions.
Started to photograph this walk through process on numerous occasions, but always missed more pictures than i took.
Finally I got the most of them, so here it is.
Start with the hook in the vise, in this case a Ronn Lucas 4/0 Philips Jones.
Tie in the gut eye, right at the taper of the shank. usually i fully gut them but not this time.
Form a nice flat layer of thread back to the tie in point for the tinsel tip, secure and wind the tip. Here it is tied off and read to start the tag. If this fly had floss body or tag i'd have used some uni-stretch to create an ultra smooth and tapered underbody, but since it was dubbed fur, i didnt need to worry about that this time.
Ever since I started tying salmon flies, my wife has always remarked on the color combinations of the wings/bodies etc within each pattern, observing that for the most part, many of the flies contain the colors Red, Yellow and Blue, or as she puts it, the colors of the Ecuadorian flag (she's Ecuadorian)
Shes mentioned a few times in the past that I should tie her a fly, and a little while ago, I did. She seemed not to like the previous effort, so back to the drawing board I went, and came up with this version.
This is one of a series of flies Davie McPhail tied for the streamers365 project last year. I tied it back then too, but it was no where nearly as good as this one.
JOCK SCOTT STREAMER
Hook is a 2/0 partridge CS15 10xl.
Everything is per the pattern, except I used pintail for the throat instead of teal.
Tag: Flat silver tinsel
Rear Collar: Yellow hackle wrapped (yellow macaw used here)
Butt: Black ostrich herl
Body: 2 equal sections of black and yellow floss
Rib: Flat silver tinsel
Collar: Black hackle
Belly: White bucktail and a golden pheasant crest sweeping upwards
Wing: Yellow hackle flanked by red flanked by blue hackle flanked by a slip of bustard
Topping: Peacock herl and golden pheasant crest
Eye: Jungle cock
Davie sent a series of unique streamers to the project last year, all of which are on my to do list.
You can check them out here. I particularly like the Lion and Lioness pair, being a Leo, they're right up my street for tying, though they have a few custom colors and dyed feathers in there, it might take me a while to get the materials gathered up to tie them...
...three words you don't often hear uttered in the same sentence. Yet, here they are, two flies conceived by the Maine streamer tyer Gray Wolf.
Of the 100 or so streamers (personal communication from the man himself) conceived by the now retired Gray Wolf, there are 16 in publication, of which I am aware.
15 are in David Klausmeyer's book Tying Classic Freshwater Streamers, where I found these two. The other is Rangeley Sesquicentennial, was published in Fly Tyer Magazine a few years ago, which I tied for streamers365 last year
So to the llama hair flies. Both are tied on mustad 4xl hoks.
A little while ago I was asked to tie some flies for auction at the Deerfield Spey Day. So, over the last week or so I got to tying the patriotic series of streamers from Carrie Stevens, which are published in the book Carrie Stevens: Maker of Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon flies by Hilyard and Hilyard. If you don't own the book, and can track one down at a reasonable price, I highly recommend it
Anyways, here are the flies from the series, in alphabetical order; all are tied on Gaelic Supreme Mike Martinek Carrie Stevens Rangeley Style Streamers hooks, size 1 8xl.
Now, I'm no expert, nor have I ever proclaimed to be one, at fly tying, but something bothers me lately with flies I see posted on forums etc, and its this....
The endless need to blow smoke up folks arses about their flies - and by this I mean bad looking flies that are prescribed by the masses to be 'works of art'
Maybe I'm getting old (34 this year) or maybe I'm just cynical. Probably both. But, there comes a time when we have to draw the line and lay it out straight to fly tyers that their flies look crap. I'm sorry if this hurts anyone, but that's how I feel, because when I started tying classic flies, the critique was laid on thick and heavy.
I'm a believer, that if a fly looks crap, its needs to be said. Not necessarily as I've just said it, because there are ways to positively critique items without causing offence.
What I hate is people of similar skill level, or even better skill level, than the tyer of a fly, stating that a fly looks amazing, is a work of art, when its clear as all day to anyone with eyes that can see, that the eye of the hook is crowded, there's varnish (or head cement), or worse, black varnish all over the hackle, or wings, the ribs are uneven, the body hackle is long enough to look big on a 10/0 shark hook,...yada yada yada. I could go on, endlessly.
Do folks not realize, that by continually reinforcing poor work, the tyer gains little to no advantage? He continues on in oblivion, tying flies that fit the positive praise of his previous work, and wonders why he cant make the flies look like those on magazine pages, websites and online stores....
Fly tyers of the world - its time to get honest. If you don't feel like you can give a positive critique including some things to improve, then don't bother to comment on a fly. Think of it this way, would you go to a chemistry lab and tell the chemist you liked his experiment if he'd just blown up half a lab (not a dog)?? I doubt it. So, If you're not qualified to give critique, then don't give it. Just view the fly and move on.
If on the other hand, you are qualified, then give an honest critique of what you see. Dress it up, dress it down, but either way, give it honestly, to help the new comers to the craft get to where they want to be, and that is tying flies that look good.
Fish don't necessarily care how flies look, but sometimes they do. Flies, in my opinion, catch more fishermen, and they do fish, and maybe I've been caught, one too many times.
That is all.
P.S. here's a fly - a redo of the Wild Irishman I posted last week, on a Sunday style Limerick - 2/0
Hope you like it, though there is plenty wrong with it (head is crap for a start)!!
The time has come for TFM Spotting Contest Final Voting.
I was November winner, and this year there is very stiff competition.
To vote for me, just click this Email Link and press send.
All the relevant information required to register your vote for me is contained within the link. One vote per email address, so if you've more than one email, get voting from each!
You can check out my TFM SPOTTING post here
Huge thanks to Cameron at TFM for running this excellent contest every year. If you haven't checked out the TFM apparel, I can highly recommend it in terms of quality and wearability!
Get clicking folks, and help me win one of two new T&T Heirloom fly rods!
Please share this post with your friends, family and fishing buddies.
Well, I figured, after a year in the blog business, it was time I revamped the image a little, so I had some artwork commissioned.
Couple days ago I was surfing around on Instagram when I came across Andrea Larko. I really liked some of the images she'd done, so I sent out a quick email to see about getting some work done. One day later, I had the finished product, based on a couple of my latest salmon flies.