Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tying in hand - How it used to be done...

...and probably how it still should be done.

This was a great experience for me, though it was a long drawn out process. I made the fly up to the throat, then it took two weeks for me to get back to it. I think a bit more continuity on the next in hand fly will provide a better outcome.

Here is the complete photographic run through. Some of these images appeared in a previous post (Assassin).

I selected this fly as it seemed to be relatively simple, and it was up until the wing. I went with a mixed wing as it appeared to me it would be easier to mount, particularly with waxed thread. I've not tied many mixed wings, so I need to work on my mixed wing formulation and formation.
I took photos through the process of tying the fly. I think I used about 20 pieces of thread, maybe more, as I kept breaking them.
I wish I'd done a few things different; the rib twisted, wing is kinda sparse, head got out of hand, and I didn't bother to varnish it as I'll likely strip the fly to reuse this old hook.
Obviously, I used tons of wax, which didn't really pose any problems when handling materials.
Anyways. here are the photos, the finished article at the end. I think I'll be doing a few more in hand this year.
Pattern is from EJ Malone, Irish Trout and Salmon flies.
Raw materials
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Gut Finished
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Tip, Tag, Tail and veils
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Body, Rib, just waiting for hackle.
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Clearly I had a pretty good grip on the hook
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Hackle and throat on. I ended up losing a lot of throat fibers from waxing thread, as they got caught in the wax.
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Wing on, kinda sparse.... but ok I think.
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Roof and cheeks
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Topping. Probably could have selected smaller JC too.
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I didnt varnish the head as i will probably strip the hook for reuse in future.
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I hope you like it!


  1. Well done. That is no easy task.
    I tied a Stevens pattern with out a vise, and although I found it to be rewarding I don't think I'll do it again.

    1. Thank you.
      Interesting you should mention Carrie Stevens. I've got a gray ghost in process right now. Started the body and rib in hand last night. Hopefully I'll get it finished and posted next week sometime!


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