Thursday, March 23, 2017

Timely Tying Tips

When using marabou, wet it first. It will be easier to handle.

Use a sharp blade like a scalpel blade or razor blade, instead of scissors, to cut the tensioned thread after making a whip finish. That way you only cut the thread and not the hackle fibers.

Another variation is to keep the thread tight and use the "V" of the scissors to cut, same principle and safer

Replace the lids on bottles of head cement etc as soon as you’re finished using it
Add a small amount of head cement to the thread just before whip finishing . This saves you getting head cement on the hackles when finishing the small dry fly.

Moisten your finger tips before adding dubbing to the thread 
"Measure twice, cut one" particularly when making wings from quill feathers.
 When dubbing, pick out how much you think you need for the fly, then reduce it in half.
If your hackle pliers are slipping, glue a thin piece of rubber band to the inside of the blade to hold the feathers securely.

I would recommend a beginner to wax their thread.

When tying in deer hair use 2-3 pinching loops then if you want it to spin it tighten by pulling thread down and if you want to tie in as a wing pull thread upwards to hold in place

Every single turn of the thread better have a damn good reason for being there.

Tie flies in batches. This will lead to greater consistency and you don't waste as much time handling different materials.

Wind rib material the opposite way to the feather fiber etc underneath so that it secures it more effectively.

When tying in chenille etc strip the material from the core with your finger nails. Tie in the exposed thread core to the hook. Less bulk at the tie in point.

When coating buzzers, 4 coats of Sally Hansen’s gives the right degree of coverage.

Learn to whip finish with your fingers.

Save those chip bags. They can make excellent tinsel in an array of colors. Great for body material too!

Always have a look in your local big box craft shop, home center, department store or dollar store. 
You can find some interesting fly tying materials at a fraction of the price you’ll pay in a fly shop.

ALWAYS keep materials you don’t want bugs to get into in the original sealed plastic bags they came in.

Peacock herl is brittle – always rib with wire or make a rope around your thread.

A frequent half hitch will stop things becoming undone. perfectly acceptable to do so regarless of what someone may tell you.

Tie in game feathers such as partridge by the tip as the stalk is too large.

Leave plenty of room for your head (I’m guilty of not doing this)

Save the old appliance cords and cut them to approximately 6-8 inches long. Strip away a few of inches of the insulation to expose the fine copper wire inside. Great for ribbing wire

You CAN use your expensive scissors to cut wire! Just cut wire close to the pivot area.

Use what ever kind of feather is lying around your tying area to clean out the head cement from the 
hook eye. Many other tying items can also be used to accomplish a clean hook eye.

Thread tension is very important. Try to tie with the thread at 90% breaking strain.

2 tight turns of thread are better than 6 slack ones.

When tying with flat stick on eyes, bending them into a vee shape like this < will make installing them onto a rounded head much easier. After they are installed, I will make an x wrap with clear mono thread and then coat with epoxy or the current goos on the market. The mono will disappear, the eyes are held on tight and the epoxy or goo makes a nice head.

Break your thread! Get to know how much pressure you can apply to your tying thread by making it break. If it does break, don’t panic! Simply attach your hackle pliers to the broken end, unwrap a bit and then reattach your tying thread

When tying deer hair wings a couple of loose wraps around base of wing prior to fixing it in position prevents unwanted flare.      

Keep pets especially puppies away from fly tying tables and materials. Genetic capes seem to taste best.

A stick with a magnet taped to one end or a telescoping magnetic wand is the easiest way to find stray hooks and flies on the floor.

Sharpen fly tying scissors by taking kitchen aluminum foil and folding so that it is four layers thick. 
Use scissors to make about 10 cuts with the full length of the blades ...... give the tips another 5 snips. Bingo sharp scissors again.

Peacock herl! Tie one in at the eye and one at the tail; take your thread back to the eye. Wind the herl at the eye to the bend and then secure this by winding the tail herl to the head, then secure with thread wraps.

Wet your fingers when handling Goose biots. They'll stay in between your fingers and save you the embarrassment of swearing at yourself.

When using Holo tinsel and UV strands as a rib. Place the UV on top of the Holo tinsel. On a bright day the tinsel glistens and when overcast or in low light the UV glows. 

Do you want your dry flies to float all day and do so after catching fish? Use Scotchgard. Only use this as a pretreatment on batches of new flies and do not over do it. Let them dry for a couple of days.     

You can also convert your articulated reading/fly tying lamp into a gallows tool with the aid of a child’s hair band and a spare hackle pliers.

If you ever need emerald green tinsel, take a piece of pearl put a weight on each end and cover the pearl using a black marker pen. When dry, turn it over you’ll have emerald green.

Thread control. Use thinner thread where possible.

Modern bobbin holders and plastic spools have very little weight to hang and hold mid-tie when winding ribs and hackles etc. Put a piece of lead or brass rod which will fit within the spool between the holding axels to give weight.

Use ceramic tip bobbin holders. It will greatly reduce swearing

A bit of Velcro super glued onto a flat stick, dowel, coffee stirrer etc makes a simple dubbing brush

Keep most things JUST out of reach, You get some exercise with a good old stretch and are less likely to knock things off the work surface. 

A washed out mascara brush makes a more delicate dubbing brush

When tying in deer hair wings, use you dubbing needle to work a bit of head cement into the butt ends before binding down on them. They'll last much longer.

When tying in herl bodies, wind them onto wet head cement. They'll last much longer.

Do not be afraid to bend the hook to suit the pattern you are tying. Just don't over do it.

1 comment:

fausto said...

Great tips Norm!