Part Twenty-four

Preparing Wing Cases
Text and Photos By George E. Emanuel

Stoneflies, many nymphs and other patterns call for a wing case consisting of a feather, (usually turkey) to be tied in and pulled forward over the thorax of the fly. This looks really great when properly executed, and yields a realistic looking fly. However, getting the feather from which the wing case prepared can be a bit time consuming and messy. It can also be a bit expensive as the most common technique uses Dave's fleximent, which is thinned to something on the order of 50%.

Krylon, the maker of those super easy to use and nearly runless spray paints to the rescue! No, not with spray paint but with an allied product that they make for artists to "set" their charcoal paintings. It is available at most art or craft stores under the name of "Workable Fixatif."

Once sprayed onto a turkey feather for instance, it prevents the barbules from separating into a mass of fibers each intent on pointing to a different place in the universe. It is also as the name implies, "workable" meaning for our purposes flexible, unlike the thinned Fleximent which tradition asks us to use.

A large spray can of this material will set you back about $7.00, but you will probably never buy another. You could also split it's cost with a friend or club if you want to get real economy.

To apply it, go to a well-ventilated area, or outside if the winds are calm. Hold your feather in a Styrofoam block, forceps or whatever and spray the feather liberally, but not soaking wet with the "Workable Fixatif" and set aside to dry.

I like to buy my wing case materials, several pieces at a time and spray them all at one application. You can do as many feathers as you need, or will need for several years. This material remains flexible as near as I can tell, forever.

In tying it really shines and you will notice the ease with which the wing cases fold and lie on your flies. It also holds up as well as any material I have found when wet and exposed to the mauling we all hope our flies will receive in the mouth of some leviathan of the stream, or denizen of the deep!

Good tying, and let me know how this works on your bench.

If you have any tips or techniques, send them along, most of this material has been stolen from somebody, might as well steal your ideas too!~ George E. Emanuel (Chat Room Host Muddler)

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