Materials-Part 1

Materials, tools and other stuff

You have more than likely heard that tying the fully dressed Atlantic Salmon Flies costs both arms, legs and, your first born child. That is not necessarily true although, if you find that you like tying these flies, the chances are that you will invest fairly to very substantial amounts of money over time. To begin though, modest investments are all that are required. Actually, you may already have materials to tie decent Atlantic Salmon Flies! For all but the Fully dressed flies, simple and, readily available materials will do.

A great number of common materials will be useful like, Bucktail dyed & natural, Fox tail dyed and natural, Squirrel tail of various types, Bear, Coyote, Wolf, Fox, Deer, Elk, Moose, Badger and so on. Useful feathers in addition to some of the standard capes and saddles used in our other tying include schlapen, cheap necks & saddles, Ostrich dyed and natural, Ringneck, Golden and Amherst Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse, Sharp Tailed Grouse, any number of Ducks, Quail, Partridge, Starling, dyed Goose shoulders, burned Goose, Peafowl, Turkey and, so on.

Then, there are the more exotic materials. It is impossible to list or describe all of the feathers and furs that are fair game for tying. Some of these can literally be worth many their times their weight in gold. Some feathers that were used in the past simply aren't available at any price so, for those, we must use substitutes. Just a tiny number of different exotic birds and mammals that provide wonderful tying materials include, Monkey, Wolverine, Baboon, Polar Bear, Penguin, Lilac Breasted Roller, Kingfisher, Heron, Bitterns, Storks, Ibis, Vultures, Eagles, Swan, Black Francolin, Grey and Green Junglefowl, Vulturine Guineafowl, various Bustards, Parrots, Trogons, Toucans, Contingas, Pittas, Minivets, Birds of Paradise, Eurasian Jay and, on and on. Some of these birds and mammals are now illegal or so rare as to be not available at any price.

You can occasionally find wonderful feathers and fur from old clothing at second hand stores, antique shops, garage sales, estate sales and through your friends. I can't begin to list all of the great and sometimes very rare materials I have found through these avenues at very little cost. Let your friends and relatives know that you are always looking for unusual (and, not so unusual) feathers and fur. If they hunt or have pet birds and, don't tie, they would welcome someone taking the feathers and fur that otherwise would have been thrown away.

Keep in mind that the early Tyers of the Classic Atlantic Salmon Flies used available materials. It was during a time when explorers were sending countless numbers of newly discovered life forms from new countries back to England. I have no doubt that they would have not hesitated to substitute and use available materials we now have. This is particularly true since even the most complicated and exotic of Salmon flies were tied to use for fishing. In fact, many of the early authors of the day, suggested alternative materials on many of their flies. Of course now, with the costs of some of the materials, most of our fully dressed flies are destined to be for display only. Having said that, there are a few souls tying these flies to fish and, I save my poorly tied flies for that purpose as well.

One thing I have found to be true for tying these flies is that there is nothing like using the very best quality fur and especially, feathers you can find. Trying to make substandard materials behave can be frustrating at best and, impossible at worst. Buying low quality materials will only result in a collection of a lot of unusable stuff. I recommend looking at as many materials as possible to select the best you can find and your budget will allow. If it isn't possible to hand select materials, tell the shop what your requirements are so they can select for that purpose.

I will try to give suggestions for alternate materials when individual patterns are covered in detail.

Once you begin to collect rare feathers and fur, you will need to protect them from insect damage. I have seen boxes of what had been wonderful Parrot feathers reduced to dust by bug infestations. You must be disciplined in your bug prevention when you have potentially thousands of dollars worth of expensive materials. I follow a ritual almost religiously, that includes regular bug bombings every couple of months. I never mix new stuff with my inventory until it has been in quarantine for at least a month with bug spray and moth crystals (the kind that kills rather than repels. Make sure it contains Paradichlorobenzene. I do also use the moth balls that repel. You can't be too careful). Other methods for bug protection are used by some Tyers. These include flea collars, Cedar chips, freezing and microwaving. I personally would not rely on those methods particularly the latter three. Freezing and/or microwaving is no guarantee that it will kill insect eggs. In fact, the microwave can have no effect on adult insects if they are small enough! I know insect spray and the Paradichlorobenzene moth crystals will kill the material eating insects so, that is why I use what I do. Everything is in zip loc-bags and the bags in clear plastic boxes that have some of the moth crystals in them. I have the boxes segregated by type of material and the contents on the box. My Parrot feathers for example are listed by color and are segregated by size in the bags. I keep all of my materials in one room and have the bulk of the stuff in large boxes and smaller "working" size pieces in the smaller boxes. For instance, when I get a whole skin say of a Deer, I will cut small pieces from all of the different areas of the hide. When I pluck a bird skin, I will match all of the potential feathers that could be used for full featherwings, sides or cheeks on flies. I will pluck Golden Pheasant crests and segregate them by size. I spend countless hours with material prep but, when I sit down to tie something, I can go to the exact box where the material I need is and, it is usually ready to use. That means, the feathers are likely cleaned by a good washing. I have a couple boxes that contain thousands of pairs of feathers that are clean, straight, matched and, ready to tie on a fly.

I realize to many, this kind of organization may seem unnecessary or even sick. Be that as it may, the time I spend cleaning, sorting and preparing my materials, makes my time at the vise enjoyable.

I mentioned washing earlier, 99.9% of the feathers and fur will be improved by a good washing in a warm soapy bath. You may think you have gone off the deep end and ruined a bird skin by washing but, once it is dry, you will be pleasantly rewarded.

Just a quick wash will do. I dry the skin with a hair dryer usually. Sometimes though, I will lay them on screens in front of a large box fan. A Pheasant skin will dry this way in less than an hour.

A note on feather durability. A bird's feathers must be strong, resilient and, durable in order for the bird to live a normal lifetime. Neither water or, crumpling the feathers can do permanent damage or, that individual will be a genetic dead end. Most of us know that steaming a ruffled fly can "refresh" it. What some of you may not realize is that badly soiled or crumpled feathers can be restored to new or, near new condition simply by soaking them in water for a minute or two.

A few years ago, I was given a bunch of Macaw tail feathers that had been really banged up by rubbing against the bird's cage. A few of them looked for all purposes to be beyond use. Before I tossed them out, I figured I would throw them in a warm soapy bath along with the good feathers. To my delight, once they came out of the bath and dried, they looked perfect!

Two things to remember about feathers, are that the damaged and/or twisted feather will try to return to it's undamaged state when wet and, when wet, a feather's web looses most of it's strength. Do this little experiment. Take most any feather and crumple it between your hands. Now, put it into or, under warm running water and watch what happens by the time it dries.

Tools:

Some tools I find helpful for tying are as follows:


Various pliers used for making hooks. Top to bottom, two large pairs of smooth faced (except the very tips) pliers I found at Sears, bottom three are different shapes of Dental wire bending pliers.

  • Pliers I use several different pliers for different uses. I will endeavor to explain the different uses when they are used the first time for a new pattern. Many of my pliers are originally Dental tools. Mostly, you will want smooth face pliers so you don't damage materials.

  • Floss Burnisher Several different materials can be used to fashion a burnisher. I made one from a Dental tool and is of polished stainless steel. You can find burnishers at art supply stores as well.


    Left to right, floss burnisher made from a Dental tool, fine dental pic shaped to use as a hot glue tool. tweezers shaped to slightly bend feather barb, three smooth faced Dental pliers I use for smashing bumps in bodies and feather shafts.

  • Nor-Automatic Bobbin This is one of the best tools I own. In fact, I have three on my bench loaded with different threads. If you use a rotary vise and a bobbin cradle, you no doubt have thought it would be nice not to have to spend all the time rewinding the thread after every step. The Nor-Automatic Bobbin rewinds the thread for you! I'd be lost without mine.

  • Nor-Vise Not all vises are created equal. It is true that most vises available to us today are quality tools. It is also true that we could adapt to using just about any vise. There are no perfect vises on the market, the Nor-Vise included. Every vise design has it's strong points and, weak ones. It is a matter of compromise like most things in life. The Nor-Vise works much like a lathe. The hook rotates on the hook shank axis like any number of other rotary vises. It does one thing the others don't. It spins! It can be spun fast which allows the Tyer to do several things on this vise that either can't be done on others or is impossibly difficult. Dubbing is one of those things that the Nor-Vise does that is amazing. With the spinning action, you place the bobbin in the cradle and catch a couple fibers between the thread and hook shank. The turning thread/hook then twists the dubbing around the thread without your fingers ever touching the thread. It is best seen and hard to describe.

    Floss work is also a breeze with the Nor-Vise or, I expect with most rotary vises because you don't have to let go of the floss or, change hands as you wrap it. This minimizes the chance of fraying the fragile floss and, help make smoother floss bodies. Ribbing is also easier to make it even for the same reasons.

    The bottom line on what kind of vise will be best is that you will adapt to just about any of the current well-made rotary vises. If you are thinking about getting a new vise, try as many as you can find in local shops and talk to others to see what their views are.

  • Lighting Good strong lighting will help you tie better and do so with less stress to your eyes. I use a 100W Halogen flexible arm light over my vise. It throws out an amazing amount of light that allows it to be moved far enough away so the heat isn't a problem. It also lights a large area on my tying bench.

  • Good seating is another good tool that will help you tie in comfort for extended periods of time. I use a well padded office chair that has adjustable arm rests and adjustable seat and back. You can change the various angles you sit at to minimize back pain. I also find the arm rests extremely useful for resting my elbows on to take pressure off my shoulder and neck muscles.

  • Music is also a relaxing addition to my tying but it is a personal thing. I like hard pounding blues best but, most any music will do.

  • Sandpaper I use a medium grit sanding pad to smooth the tips of my fingers when doing floss work. My hands are pretty rough from work and floss will fray with little effort. So, I sand the tips of my fingers and then wash them. Any oils on your hands will instantly be picked up by the floss and ruin it's sheen. You can also use a cuttle stone or other abrasive surface. Cotton or Silk gloves are also used by some Tyers but, I find them distracting and unnecessary if I follow my routine of sanding and washing. If you are looking for the gloves, try a well stocked photography store that caters to the more professional photographers.

  • Small fairly stiff paint brushes You can use these to move parts on the fly like to remarry barbs that may have come apart and, other such things. Sizes I find useful are a tiny #00000 and #2.

  • Dental picks can be useful and modified to suit different uses. I took one double sided tool and flattened and bent the tips to use for applying hot glue to very small areas with precise control.

  • Tweezers are essential tools on my bench. I have several different ones for different uses. You want some that are fairly fine tipped. I have some VERY fine tipped tweezers for plucking barbs and loose strands of floss or thread. I also have a pair that have wide tips that I modified by filing a groove on one face that the opposite face goes very slightly into so, a material that is inserted will be very slightly bent. This is useful for bending hair or feather barbs when they are slightly out of line.

  • Scissors are an essential part of a Tyer's tying kit but, you already knew that. What you may find is that your standard scissors while just fine for cutting most of your materials, they may not do a good job on some of the materials we will use on some of the materials on Atlantic Salmon flies. The area of tying you will need VERY sharp scissors for is trimming feathers for full feather wing Atlantics. In the Cheap Atlantics section I detail how to trim these feathers and rather than cover it here, I suggest you go there.

    Most scissors made for tying are pretty good for most uses. In fact, I have been using a cheap $5.00 pair for many years that were made in Pakistan which is where a large number of scissors are made. I have dressed the cutting surfaces a couple times and they are finally showing signs of the end of their useful life. They will still function well for cutting tinsel, wire and lead though.

    I recently went to a hair salon supply house with a friend who is a hair dresser. To see what they had in the way of really good scissors. What a shock. They ranged from about $10.00 to over $400.00! I guess $400.00 scissors wouldn't be bad if you were making a living with them but, I am not so, rationalizing any even near that amount is a hard sell.


    Mid price salon scissors with adjustable tension and replaceable blades

    Something that sets the hair dressers scissors apart from most tying scissors is the shape of the cutting edges. They are more like knife blades than other tying scissors which I have found have more blunt edges.

    The hair scissors cut the areas of the full feather wing feathers with much less chance of the cutting edges pushing the barbs ahead which results in an uneven edge. What I did buy were a pair that retails for about $20.00 less my friends discount made them $10.00. They are surgical steel and really very smooth cutting. They have one serrated edge and cut hair and feathers with ease. Surprisingly, one thing they don't cut well at all is the fluff at the base of feathers. Must have something to do with the serrations. I also bought a pair that retails for about $60.00 which has replaceable blades and, unserrated edges that are hollow ground. These cut silky smooth even through the feather fluff! With her discount the price was $40.00. I reserve these for trimming feathers only!


    Low price salon scissors with adjustable tension and serrated blades

    If you get into tying the full feather wing flies, a good pair of scissors is worth consideration. Most beauty supply stores do not sell to the public so, you may have to see if your hair dresser will go with you to pick some up. It is worth the hassle.

    Update 8.03

    We have all seen the name Dr. Slick in advertising and fly shops and they have been around for a good length of time. I have been seeing one of their latest ads for the new "Razor Scissors" for awhile so, I decided to contact them for more information since they look much like the salon scissors I use.

    I received two pair of scissors, one the 5" straight Razor Scissors, part #SR5G and a pair of "5 adjustable Tension Scissor, part #ST5G. Both pair have large finger holes which is a plus for guys with big fingers. Some of my scissors have holes so small that you almost consider using soap to remove them! Another feature is that both have a little rubber nub in the handles which cushions them when cutting. Both pair also have extremely fine tips so trimming very close is possible. I used to routinely grind down the tips of my other scissors including the salon pairs but these are fine enough that I will not need to.


    Dr. Slick 5" Razor Scissors with adjustable tension blades

    Immediately I went to my tying room and broke out the Razor Scissor, picked up a feather and trimmed it. The good news is that you needn't go to a beauty supply store to get ultra sharp scissors to trim feathers for full feather wings. These scissors have almost knife edge cutting surfaces that are smooth. They also have an adjustable tension feature which allows for buttery smooth cutting found on the higher end hair cutting scissors that hair dressers use. Dr. Slick also has the same scissor in a 4" size. This size may be better used for general tying than the 5" but, for trimming feathers for full feather wing flies, I suggest the larger pair.


    Dr. Slick 5" adjustable blade scissors

    The part #ST5G has lightly serrated blades that aren't quite as knife edge but are very sharp. They will also trim feathers well but may leave very slightly feathered edges. Even so, they will work very well for all around scissors and you could trim feathers for full feather wings as long as they are kept sharp. These scissors also have an adjustment feature which allows almost the same buttery smooth cutting. As with the Razor Scissors, you may want the 4" for general use and the 5" for trimming feathers.

    The bottom line is that both of these scissors will give you many years of reliable service whether you save them for delicate work or use them for your general tying.

    I will be adding to this list of tools as time goes on. When I use a new tool on a particular fly, I will describe it here and reference it when tying the fly. So, you might want to check back here from time to time.

    Tinsel, Floss, Thread

    Tinsel is a very important material when it comes to these flies. It can represent segmentation, just add some flash or, add character to a fly. When it comes to the fully dressed flies, tinsel isn't a minor component. It is integrated into a pattern with care and thought. There are those rules that traditionally govern the use of tinsel. Even though I personally push tradition whenever I get the chance, I do try to maintain the link to the past when possible. One of the rules is to use only five turns of tinsel on a body. If you feel like putting six, go ahead. If it's three, same thing. All I say is maintaining a resemblance to the flies of old gives the tying craft continuation and, the traditions continue to evolve. Another tinsel rule is to follow an oval tinsel with a body hackle. This is a good rule. The tinsel will help protect the hackle. Counter wrapping with another tinsel or wire rib will also protect the hackle. When I use Spey Hackles that have been stripped from the feather shaft, I always counter rib the flies. More on that later though.

    There are many tinsels available to us today. There is mylar and metallic tinsels. Round, flat, oval, flat oval, round, twist, embossed, holographic, red, green, blue and on and on. There are tinsels from France, India, Canada, Germany and, on and on.

    I guess if Tyers were polled as to the best tinsels, the ones made in France by Lagartun would likely win. My choice for most of my tinsel is from UNI-Products in Canada. They are an innovative company, are responsive to Tyers needs and, their selection is good and fairly priced.

    One last thing about tinsels. I know just about every Tyer ends up at a craft store at some time in his/her tying career. You will be tempted to buy the various craft tinsels thinking you can save some money. So did I. Overall, a very high percentage of the stuff I have gotten at craft stores ends up being substandard and useless. Particularly if you tie presentation flies, the craft tinsel will not work. The problem with most of it is that once it is wrapped, the metallic outer shell separates and the thread core will show through. It will happen even with the best tinsels but, since they have been created for our tying specifically, they do it less.

    Floss

    Like every other material for tying, we have many choices with floss too. The traditional floss was and, still is for that matter, Silk. Silk was favored originally because there weren't synthetics in those days and Silk was available in any number of colors. There is no denying that Silk is a beautiful material to tie with but, I prefer to use single strand UNI-Floss for most of my floss work. It is a synthetic so, it is strong, is very shiny (which I like), has a very good range of colors and, is less likely to fray when using it. A little tip for adding brightness to light colored flosses is to lay down a bed of flat silver tinsel prior to applying your floss. Flat mylar tinsel is very thin so, little bulk is added by addition of the tinsel. The first photo below shows a black hook with yelow floss with a combination of white thread, no thread and, flat silver tinsel under the floss. Notice the rear 1/3 where the thite thread base makes the floss a little brighter than the middle 1/3 which has nothing but the yellow floss over the black hook (The same as if the base were black thres) but, not as bright as the front 1/3 which is yellow floss over the flat silver tinsel. The second photo shows the yellow floss over the black hook with the front 1/2 which has been clear coated to show the effect water has on it. What I want you to be aware of is that the color of many of the materials we put on our flies do not remain the same in the water. If you are tying for display, that is one thing. If you are tying to fish, it is entirely a different matter. Take some time to look at various materials in the water so when you are tying to match the hatch, or just replicate some other pattern, you need to know and figure in the effect water will have on your finished flies.


    The above photo shows a black hook with yellow floss with a combination of white thread, no thread and flat silver tinsel under the floss.


    Yellow floss over the black hook with the front 1/2 which has been clear coated to show the effect water has on it.

    Using floss can drive a Tyer mad. It seems like it frays before you even touch it! As I mentioned in the tools section, you can wear gloves or at least sand and wash your hands first. The best trick for relatively trouble free floss is to use a rotary vise. When you use the rotary feature, all you do is hold the floss and revolve the hook while you guide the floss on. The old way was to turn the floss around the hook which means, you are constantly changing hands. Changing hands exposes the floss to more chance of breaking filaments due to changing tension, rubbing against rough spots on fingers or, more chance for oil transfer.

    When using any multi strand floss, use only one of the strands. If you try using a bundle of strands, your floss will be lumpy and uneven. Not a real problem with fishing flies but terrible on presentation flies. If you are using a floss that is one strand but very thick, remove some of the filaments. It is easier to get a smooth floss body with a small floss rather than a big one. The guys at UNI-Products have just about the right number of filaments in their floss so, use it right off the spool.

    You may find a rayon floss made by DMC in craft or fabric stores and, it is pretty good too. It is a braided, multi strand floss so, you will have to separate the strands to use. Just make sure you get the rayon, not the cotton. Not every store carries the rayon so, you may have to look for it. YLI also makes a nice rayon multi strand floss that is in some fabric shops. It comes on 150 yard spools and has some nice colors. I have even used the rayon floss that curtain tassels are made from.

    Whatever floss you use, just follow the cautions I gave you and you will be fine.

    Thread

    The traditional thread that was used for Atlantic Salmon Flies was Silk. For those who tie the classic patterns in the traditional ways and with traditional methods, Silk is the only thread to use. I don't generally tie to those standards so, I use modern threads. For most of my tying I use UNI-Thread 8/0. I find it to be strong and that with a little effort, it flattens out nicely. Every thread available to us is different and, like anything else Tyers grow to prefer one thread or another for their own reasons. Some threads behave different than others so, one may be better suited to lay flat or, another's strength may allow a tighter turn around a material.

    One thing we will want to control while tying especially the fully dressed patterns is bulk and bumps. We try to tie these flies with a minimum number of turns and to keep the turns smooth. When using the larger Silk threads, the number of turns becomes critical to keep the bulk down. Keep in mind that we may be tying a dozen, two dozen or, more individual materials on at the head alone! You can see that thrifty use of turns becomes very important. That is one reason I prefer to use the 8/0 thread, I can secure the materials with multiple turns without adding bulk.

    I also usually use white thread when I am tying a pattern that incorporates a floss element. The floss will tend to be a little brighter and help them retain the color better when fished.

    Dubbing

    Dubbings were usually Seal, Pig's wool, Sheep wool and a few more mundane natural furs. Here again, choices are many. Unfortunately here in the States, Seal, one of the early dubbings, is not legal but, there are good substitutes so, no real loss here.

    Toppings

    CASCADING CRESTS:
    Yes, curved Golden Pheasant crests are hard to come by. The more pronounced the natural curve, the rarer they are. I would guess, out of 100 +- GP heads, half or less are curved enough to be used on full feather wing flies. Out of all that I have ever seen, I have found only one head that has feathers that actually curve back on itself! I am saving those for the right flies. These figures are based on Golden Pheasant heads that I get that have already been selected especially for the Atlantics so, all are better than what most are in fly shops usually. The cascading crests are becoming very rare since they are from older birds. Most Goldens that I have seen have crests that tend to be straighter than curved. You can uncurve a feather and, make it cascade by knicking the shaft slightly but, it doesn't seem to work when you try to curve a straight crest. You will end up with a curved shaft but straight barbs (not a desirable look). Also, the graceful curves of the cascading barbs we all like are not the norm either. The barbs lengthen with the birds age.

    You can see that there are a lot of factors that determine the "perfect" crest. Usually, on married wing flies, the wings are shaped such that you can use crests that are straighter. The p roblem with the full featherwing flies is that some of the feathers aren't pointed on the ends so, If you want a topping and tail to meet, you must go well beyond the end of the wing with straighter crests than if you have curved ones.

    For some of my full featherwing flies that have feathers that simply won't be accommodated by the toppings at hand, I simply don't use a traditional topping! I will use a very short one just on the leading edge of the wing or, leave it off entirely. Sometimes, tying these types of flies, we have to let the feathers dictate some of the look of the fly rather than fighting it's properties.

    Golden Pheasant heads/crests will almost certainly will come flat and, twisted. Wash them in warm soapy water and, let soak for half an hour, then dry with a hair dryer. You will be amazed at how much better they look and, how straight the crests will be.

    Head Cement

    For my fishing flies, I generally don't use head cement. I use two whip finishes that are carefully laid down with five or more turns, side by side like wrapping a rod's eyes and, one whip finish on top of the other. This traps the tag end under a broad base of thread. Of course, on small flies, five turns may be too many so, do as many as the head will permit.

    There are many cements on the market. For fishing flies that I do cement, I use either water based polyurethane or, fabric glue. The polyurethane can be had at any paint store or department for about ten dollars for a pint. Put some in your head cement jar and store the unused portion in a glass jar, the can will rust after opening. The fabric glue can be found in craft stores and is equally inexpensive. Both can be thinned with water but are waterproof when dry, the fabric glue is also flexible.

    On my display flies I usually use fingernail polish. I mostly use black, one or two thin coats followed with one or two clear coats.

    Gut

    The traditional blind eye hooks were used with a Silk Worm gut eye. The gut was/is made up of three strands (usually, although smaller flies can be two strand and large flies more than three) of gut that is softened by soaking in water then, it is twisted tightly and allowed to dry in it's twisted and straightened shape. I use a variable speed drill to twist mine and tack the twisted gut to a board to dry.

    Gut eyes are not the strongest link to a fish so, Tyers today who wish to use blind eye hooks, use a number of synthetic materials such as Dacron fly line backing, twisted mono and others. Using blind eye hooks is said to give the fly a more "fluid" movement in the water. I don't doubt that but have limited experience fishing blind eye flies so, any conclusion would be just a guess.

    You can buy gut either pre-twisted or, in single strand coils. It is really easy to twist so, the single strand gut makes more sense to me since it is generally cheaper per foot/inch.

    To form a gut eye, take about 1 " of gut and bend it around the tube of a bobbin, crimp the gut with your fingernail to make the gut look like a keyhole with an open end. Now, moisten the very ends of the gut and slightly chew the very ends to soften them and allow them to conform to the hook better when attached. Cut the three ends on each side of the loop at different lengths so when the eye is finished, the thread will taper nicely. Lay down a TIGHT thread base with round turns of thread (for a little better friction to hold the eye) starting from the front. Return the thread in open turns to just slightly behind the tip of the shank, hold the eye with the softened ends to the shank and in close, flat and, TIGHT turns of thread wrap to the rear of the gut eye. Tie off with two or three half hitches and cut thread leaving a very short tag end. Coat with head cement and, allow it to dry.

    If you are going to fish a gut eye fly, I suggest leaving the legs of the eye longer than I have described which is fine for display flies.

    Even on a thoroughly modern fly with a modern hook, a blind eye is a visual link to the flies of old. I think the old masters of the tying craft would like the fully dressed flies that Tyers are creating today.

    Happy Trails! ~ Ronn Lucas, Sr.

    Next time, the Hooks.

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