Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Building your own hand rod wrapper - ATV style

With a Kabuto blank resting safely in my basement and my sporadic purchase of components to complete the build this winter (I still need tip top, seat and grip), I figured I'd knuckle down and build my own wrapping rack.

Friday, December 12, 2014

In hand vs In the vise

I tried a little streamer experiment last night varying tying technique for the whole fly and one component of the fly.

In hand vs in the vise - which is which?

I'll admit now that I only tied one fly last night, the other had been sitting on my bench for quite a while, and in a desperate need for a fly tying fix, with limited time to do so, I knocked out a replica of the already tied fly.

The experiment came in the form of vise vs hand, and secondly in the technique used to secure the throat to the fly.

Carrie Stevens All Orange is exactly that, all orange, so it presented an interesting canvas with which to directly compare the two differently tied flies, pictured below.

One is tied in hand with the throat wrapped as a hackle and tied down, the other is tied in the vise, with the throat secured as bunches of fibers. The only other difference between the flies is the use of a different thickness tinsel as I was out of the regular size tinsel I normally use for tags and ribs on stevens streamers.

Can you discern which was tied in hand vs the vise, and which has the wound hackle throat vs the bunches of fibers....

It's fairly well known that Carrie Stevens tied her flies in hand and used the 'bunched hackle method for her throats, and many folks, rightly, try to emulate the exact methodology and techniques used by Carrie Stevens to replicate their patterns. 

For me this was an interesting direct comparison of modern tying versus time old methods. Truth is, there is no wrong way to tie a fly. I like to tie them as they were and as they are now, with all the acoutrements that are available to modern tyers. Some folks mix it up, using a vise along side the vintage techniques for securing body parts etc, hell, even I do that too....

The most important aspect of tying is that you get a rush out of it..that it brings joy and most of all that you learn something new virtually every time you sit at the vise.

Happy Holidays everyone


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

NFR - Foldio2 - its back and its bigger.

I backed this little deal last year and now its back in a bigger iteration.

If you're in anyway inclined to take pictures of your flies, either with DSLR or your cell phone...this is the light box for you. Any pictures of flies you've seen posted on this blog in the past year have been taken using my cellphone with the Vignette app, with the flies place in the my Foldio.


You can find out more about foldio2 and how to get in on the action at Kickstarter

This project is already 75% funded in its first day!! With 44 days left to reach the funding target, I think it's a safe bet! Look for stretch goals to be added later .....


Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Dewdrop 4/0 - tied and photographed by Eunan Hendron
Well, that one took a while. I started the Dewdrop about a month ago and surprisingly got the body finished relatively easily consider its complexity. After that the hook sat on my bench for about a month before I plucked up the courage to tackle the wing.

Sunday night I slotted into the vise again, and this is what it came out like after the roof, topping and horns were finished last night. The hook is a Noble HB from Ronn Lucas.

My original plan to complete 52 salmon flies fell by the way side a long time ago unfortunately. I just didnt have enough time this year to commit to one fly per week. However, I'm going to keep the salmon fly tab alive with links back to the original posts for the flies featured on that tab.

Finally, anothe reminder that this weeked I'm going to be tying flies at the Art of the Angler Show in Danbury, CT, so if you're in the area and want to see this and other flies I've tied this year, then swing by and say hello!


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Marbury Bass Flies - wood duck wing edition!

Tomah Jo
Over the past few years I've found and bookmarked quite a number of different fly tying/fly fishing sites on the interwebs, and one that I consistently return to for inspiration is by Mike Boyer which can be found HERE

Friday, November 7, 2014

Winter tying shows

Just a note to let everyone know I'm scheduled to tie at two upcoming shows this winter, and one in Spring. You can expect to see many of the flies I've recently featured on the blog (including this brute above)  as well as some that are due to come be posted here soon...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Der Schmetterling....

...which for those not up on German, The Butterfly.
This is the first thought came into my mind when I finished this fly. It is tied on a speciality hook I recently bought from Ronn Lucas. A single piece of wire with two bends and points, one at each end. Obviously, not a hook for fishing, but an interesting canvas for tying on. As you can see, the it is a big 'hook', the bends at 6/0, with the Brittania shape. I've tied on smaller Brittania's in the past, and like the bend.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Niagara 4/0

A few weeks ago I picked up some hooks from a new to me hook maker, Byron Bjerke. I believe he's been making hooks for quite sometime, but I just never knew.

Selection of blind eye hooks made by Byron Bjerke

Friday, August 29, 2014

Twisted Firestarter

This fly came about after I tied the Eastern Sunset. I felt on an artistic roll, and decided to break out the big 8/0 4.5 inch hook I’ve had stashed away for over a year.
Truth be told, I had a completely different idea for this hook, which I kind of started out on, but it soon morphed to what you see before you.  The already started fly is pictured (below) with a 3/0 hook, similar to that on which I tied the Eastern Sunset.

You’ll notice from the final fly, and the earlier pictures that I changed the tail. This was to complement the tail veiling, Amherst tippets flanked by smaller jungle cock nails. The early tail was just a Golden crest, but I soon switched it out to an Amherst crest. You might even see the very tip of the tail is banded like the Amherst tippets; I thought this was cool. The jungle cock, as you will see, ended up being a running theme through out the whole fly. Perhaps the only section that doesn’t fit with the rest of the fly is the white floss with blue rib This was a transition section, and I wanted it to be a bit different. White floss and blue tinsel are not often seen on flies. Soon after tying this part, the fly began to morph to its current form. There is also a fine gold tinsel rib leading the blue tinsel.

The copper tinsel section, is again another feature not often evident in classic flies, and I went with embossed tinsel to futher enhance the appearance. This is the beginning of the metamorphosis from what I had intended to what came out. The tippets veiling this section are from an Am-Gold pheasant, as are the crests (light coloration) veiling both sets of tippets. At this point I started to see more of a color theme forming, so I went with Jungle cock cheeks for the tippets, and an orange herl butt.

Keeping the jungle cock theme was something I did on a whim. The Chatterer fly (Traherne) is a fly I’ve long wanted to tie, but never really gave it a shot. That fly has chatterer, or more often these days, Kingfisher feathers, tied along the body. I’ve seen other artistic flies using Jungle Cock, so I decided to give it a try. It work out ok. There is a black floss body under the jungle cock body. For the most part all are in the right place, except one or two. I’ll let you try to figure out which ones are not up to scratch. Veiling this section we have back to back Jungle Cock nails, surrounded by dark Am-Gold crests, and butted with black ostrich.

The last body section is simply orange floss, with two tinsel ribs. Between them is an experimental rib I wanted to try. Orignally I wanted to have a very bushy and almost ‘mohair mane’ like rib, but that didn’t quite work out, so instead it ended up a more compact rib threaded between the tinsels – it is a hand blended mix of yellow and orange mohair in the ratio of approx 2.5 yellow : 1 orange. Hackle here is blue eared pheasant.

Finally the front wings. These are comprised of back to back spear shaped Jungle cock. There was literally only two pairs of those shaped nails on the cape so everything worked out well in that regard - i.e. I didn't screw up any of them. The married wings are custom dyed sunburst goose shoulder with kori bustard. Cheeks are jungle cock. I decided to forego toppings over as the head was already pretty bulky and I didnt want to ruin the wings, an easy thing to do with toppings. Head is black thread varnished to a high gloss finish.

And there you have it. A big ass fly, noone will ever fish, on a big ass hook, noone could ever cast...



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Eastern Sunset

This one started life as a variant of a fly tied by another classic fly tyer, ended up morphing to this, while trying to retain the qualities of that original fly.

Hope you like it. I've included a few photos of they tying process below too.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Jungle Don 6/0

Two pictures, one fly. Traherne's Jungle Don. 
A unique fly with lots of Jungle cock, 16 feathers in total, including 5 toppings for the wing.

Hope you like it.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Chicago - A Marbury Bass Fly, tied in hand

Last night I had an inkling to tie up a quick fly, and with another in the vise,  I decided to give this one a go in hand. The original pattern calls for spoonbill feathers in the wing, but in a pinch, I used some nice flamingo I was gifted a little while ago.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Baker 3/0 From Kelson

Baker 3/0 Tied and photographed by Eunan Hendron
Well, well, well, finally a salmon fly from the vise. This fly was 5 weeks in the making believe it or not, and I still don’t like it.

I started it about June 1 for a swap with a guy, with a deadline of July 6. It was a blind swap in that we were assigned three flies and had to tie one without the other knowing what the flies were. I wanted to tie the best fly I could and set about tying and retying virtually every part of the fly as it was tied.
I’d tie a section, then let it mature for a day, two days, whatever, and when I sat back down at the bench if I wasn’t happy with what I saw I’d cut it back to the last part I was happy with and redo the bad parts. The only sections on this fly that were not redone was the sides, roof and horns.

All in all, it was a great experience. I developed some patience and learned a great deal more about not rushing to finish a product. Sometimes everything finishes just how you’d like it to, but with the majority of flies, there is always something I’m not happy with.

In the case of this Baker, it just looks too squat on the hook, a 3/0 Wm. Bartleet & Sons from Ronn Lucas. The tail, while just about the upper limit of height, is too short, i.e. it does not go far enough past the bend of the hook. There are two ways to fix that, use a flatter crest or tie the tail further back on the hook, or both. In order to do that the tip and tag need to be moved further back on the hook too.

Baker - Tip, Tag, Tail detail
By moving them further back and by using flatter or more open crest for the tail, you create longer space for the wing to occupy. Also, the body becomes longer and as a result, the whole fly has a longer appearance. The head on this fly could also be moved forward a fraction too, which entails moving the throat forward,, a consequence of extending the body.

Baker - Body, Hackle, Rib, head detail
So there you have how to make a compact fly look longer on the same hook. Of course I could have just chosen a different hook to tie it on. Perhap these problems would be moot had that been the case, or perhaps I would have a had a whole different set of problems to contend with.

Baker -Head on view
Overall this is a technically sound fly in terms of getting everything on the hook as it should be, but aesthetically, it’s not so pleasing to me eye. I hope the guy getting it likes it, if not, at least he gets a nice hook to tie a fly of his own

Thanks for checking in.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

(The other) Dr. Burke and a Hummer...

Not the gargantuan SUV, but a streamer - Who Knew?? I tied the Hummer in hand as I've got a salmon fly in the vise which I'm having a difficult time finishing. However, it must be done this weekend so I'll post that next week.

Hummer Size 1 8xl - Tied in hand

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dr. Burke

I've not tied many flies lately, but here's a little winged wet from the Ray Bergman stable I tied last night, and which will hopefully get me over the funk.

Dr Burke Size 7
Tied and Photographed by Eunan Hendron

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Childers from Francis Francis

This is perhaps the most satisfying salmon fly I've tied to date! Everything worked out just about right, except perhaps for the balance from top to bottom, which would be rectified by using a smaller hook and slightly longer wing.
That said, I really like how this fly turned ou. The hackle, body, tail, throat, and especially the head!

The Childers is a popular fly among the classic books, with no less than 12 descriptions, some which vary only slightly. This pattern from Francis Francis is my favorite of those patterns I've seen tied.
The hook here is 4/0 Jock Scott Stout from Ronn Lucas.

Thanks for checking in.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Kiss the Water

Many of you may  be familiar with, or perhaps have even seen this movie already, surprisingly, I hadn't, until this weekend, despite it having been 'on tour' over the last number of months. I was aware of the release however, but the tour stops were never close enough for me to warrant a trip to view it.

The movie of course tells the story of Megan Boyd, BEM, an eccentric 20th century salmon fly tyer who lived in the scottish highlands tying what have been described as some of the best fishing flies the world has seen. I have not seen in person any of Megan Boyd's flies, and likely never will, so on that assertion, I can't comment!

The movie paints a rather romantic picture of salmon fly tying, told by friends and acquaintances of Megan Boyd. It is artistically produced with a nice score and artwork thoughout portraying the complex nature of man vs fish, and the design of quite intricate 'lures' to get the king of the fishes to 'feed' when on a spawn run in fresh water.
Overall the movie is interesting, and as a salmon fly tyer I enjoyed it, despite the lack of imagery of both Megan Boyd and her flies. I believe all told, there was perhaps 1 minute of the entire movie (80 mins) that featured either Megan or her flies.
In salmon fly tying ciricles there have been musings that some of the facts protrayed by one or two of those featured in this movie are not actually true, and not having seen or heard any evidence to contradict those facts I'm left to take the movie as it is presented.
Regardless, there is no doubt Megan Boyd tied quality flies, which caught fish, as well as many fishermen, given the notoriety of her work throughout the world. 

Kiss The Water is now available to purchase and if you go to www.kiss-the-water.com and use the code ANGLER, you can get 10% off the digital download of the movie. In addition, through the month of May you can also make a donation to Project Healing Waters who will receive 100% of all net profits collected from additional payments over the cost of the film

Kiss the Water is also available to view on Netflix.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Floodtide 4/0

Floodtide 4/0 tied by Eunan Hendron
This is thet third time I've tied this particular pattern from Kelson (other version below), and I have to say this is the one I'm most happy with. 

As the name suggests, this should be a big fly for big dirty water, and I've tied it on a 4/0 Noble DS from Ronn Lucas. This particular hook, while 4/0, has a longer than normal shank, hence the choice, as I think longer shanked hooks give this fly a more sleek look.
The original pattern calls for eagle feather for the hackle, but alas, ownership of eagle feathers is strictly outlawed, unless you are a Native American, so I've used extra select turkey marabou, which is the commonly accepted sub.
You can just about see some red golden pheasant swords in the under wing, between the longest and middle jungle cock. Personally I dont like swords in this fly, as they are often much longer than required, particularly when tying smaller flies like this, and you really only get to use the very tips. Perhaps the next time I tie this pattern I'll use a red hackle feather with a better shape, or else tie the fly on a  much bigger hook. Though, then comes the problem of tying the main wing!!

Floodtide 4/0 tied by Eunan Hendron
This is the fly above, displayed in a little table top mount. This and other salmon flies can be purchased by visiting the STORE page at the the top menu bar.

Anyways, as promised here is the earlier version of the Floodtide I tied about a year and half ago - the newer one above is much more refined!!
Floodtide tied by Eunan Hendron

Thanks for checking in.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Freestyle Rainbow Salmon Fly

Every night, almost without fail, while my wife puts the nipper to sleep (I'm generally not permitted if my wife is there, the rule of the 3yo), she finds some excuse to come downstairs and 'see papa', usually to tell me mama and her were fighing, or mama didnt read a story or some other white lie.

Nine times out of 10 i'm in the basement working on some fly or other. She always sees the materials, asks to touch, asks what things are and always asks, 'is that my fly papa'. So one night she saw the stackable containers of seals fur, all different colors and aske me to tie a fly with those. I assumed she mean the colors and set to work.

First I made the wing, married fibers of goose shoulder, and then for fun, the next night I made another shorter, and shallower wing with more blending of the colors, thinking I'd use it as an underwing. It ended up not being an underwing, but still made it to the fly.

I even had a chance to try to teach the nipper to marry fibers, - it was a short lived experience for her as she soon got bored, but nonetheless, a nice photo op!

So the fly. Since I was to be multi colored I went with a  rainbow theme, pretty much from the outset of the wing construction. I'd thought to do a maypole type twist of silk on the body, but that proved to be a bridge to far at that time. Though after considering last night when I'd finished the fly, I realise it could easliy have been completed. Next time perhaps.

The underwing originally intended soon became the sides, and I put some peach golden tippets to support the wing instead. Nice soft colors - no black in this fly apart from the head. Tail and topping came from the same head as the tippets.

I deliberately left the topping a smidge longer than the wing, it just looked right when I measured it that way, as compared to ending right at the tip of the wing. Better balance I think, or at least thats what I tell myself

I dont tie many freestyle flys because I simply dont have the vision some of the more proficient  freestylers out there, but the one or two I have done have been pretty simple and came out just fine. 

Here's the happy girl, Aoibheann (3 years old) with her fly.

And, the fly - Aoibheann's Rainbow - 4/0 Emerald Isle hook

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fenian from Pryce Tannatt - two versions

Been a while since I posted anything here, actually, it was quite a while in the doldrums seeking inspiration to tie salmon flies. But I finally got back on the horse and tied a few flies the past couple of weeks, which I'll periodically post. Hopefully this will get me back on track with the 52 salmon flies project. If it doest work out, we're likely looking at about 45 for the year.

Anyways to the the Fenian's. There are two patterns I konw of for this fly, one from Kelson the other from Pryce Tannatt. I tied the PT version, one in the vise and the other in hand. Both have very different looks despite comprising exactly the same components throughout. 

Fenian from T.E. Pryce-Tannatt
Tied by Eunan Hendron on a 
3/0 Noble HB from Ronn Lucas.

The version I tied in hand comprises a mixed wing, and on a smaller hook, a 1/0 vintage Harrison Hollow point of unknown provenance. A nice little hook, particularly for mixed wing flies. The head on this fly is unfinished, just tied off with waxed thread.

Fenian from T.E. Pryce-Tannatt
Tied by Eunan Hendron on a 
Vintage 1/0 Harrison Hollow point hook.



Friday, April 4, 2014

invest in a life, rather than materials/fishing this weekend

I don't ususally post things like this, but this story really hit me as my own daughter is 3 years old.

A little girl with a chance at having her life saved and the only thing standing in the way is money to start the treatment.

I had planned to buy some materials this weekend, but instead its going to this project.

Think about it.

$20 is a spit in the ocean for you and me, but could make all the difference to a little 4 year old girl

Friday, March 21, 2014

some recent flies

I've kinda hit the wall on the salmon fly front of late, thus, 52 salmon flies is a few 'flies behind'. I know I can catch up before years end, so no worries there.
I go though this phase periodically, where I just dont have the inspiration to sit down and tie a classic salmon fly. However, when that happens, my attention
invariably turns to winged wet flies and Rangeley style streamers.

So, here is a smattering of the flies I've tied pretty much since March 1st.

Stevens' Patriotic Series all size 1 10xl.

Great Ceasar's Ghost - A Mike Martinek Pattern

Super Ghost - another Martinek pattern, clearly inspired by Joseph Stickney's Supervisor streamer

Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear size 7

Adirondack Size 7

Mickey Finn Hair wing size 4. Slight variant using embossed tinsel for the body

Colonel Fuller Size 7, strikingly similar in color to the Mickey Finn

Lake George Size 7

3 of 6 Trout fin wet flies - Bergman Fontinalis, Fontinalis Fin, and Don Bastians Original Olive Trout Fin, all size 7. 
The three remaining are Brook Fin, Brookie Fin and Trout Fin, which I'm in the process of tying.