OK, you have now spent a fair amount of time thinking about your bass bug, and how you
want it to look when completed. Before you is a hook with a bunch of hair protruding in
every direction somewhat reminiscent of an explosion in silo full of psychedelic hay.
Traditionally the hair has been trimmed down with scissors, and more popularly with razor
blades, which if not used for all of the operation are at least used to "shave' the hairs into
final compliance with your design.
As you can readily see in this picture, the flesh on the fingers is very close to being cut along
with the hair on the bug. As you can imagine, or know from experience, you can get into some
pretty awkward positions trying to see what you are trimming also. Isn't it a shame they don't
make a see-through razor blade.
Incidentally, the blades pictured here are double edge blades. These are far superior to
trimming deer hair when compared to single edge blades, which may be safer, but they
just aren't as sharp. Or for you engineers out there, they may be as sharp but just do
not present the heavier cross section and thus increased resistance of the single edge blade.
Most hobby stores will be happy to sell you an Exacto knife for a couple of bucks. These
are great for all sorts of operations around the bench, like cutting material from rejected
flies, or cutting foam strips for all sorts of high floating pan fish or saltwater flies. (I have
not mentioned foam and trout in the same sentence as I prefer my house sitting firmly
on its foundation.)
Now the Exacto knife is a great tool, but as you get it from the store it just is not good
for trimming our spun creation. It is neither sharp enough nor thin enough to perform
this function effectively.
If however, you will remove the blade that came with the Exacto knife from the holder,
and replace it with a double edge razor blade, you will immediately improve your tying
in two ways.
One and perhaps the most important is safety. Your fingers are now at least a couple
of inches away from the cutting edge of the blade.
Two, you can actually see what you are doing as your fingers and hands are now
out of the way. This is a major deal if you happen to have been blessed with a
couple of catchers' mitts for hands. No matter how hard you try, you just can't see
through a catchers' mitt.
You will find that the double edge blades flexibility will prevent you from taking a
huge swipe at the hair, but, this is a good thing, smaller bites mean less chance for
taking too much at one time resulting in an anorexic bass bug. If you want to trim
larger quantities of hair, use your scissors to rough out the bug. After you have the
desired profile, use your razor blade in its holder to shave the scissors marks away.
I find that a circular almost buffing motion works very well.
Now where is that Bigmouth that kept me chasing her all last week? I am going to
rip the lips off of that fish!
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)