J. Stockard Pro Tyer: Paul Shurtleff, Springville, UT

After spending some time working with and field testing various materials over the years, I would like to stress the importance of what’s called an “Anchor Wrap” in fly tying when working with various materials. I’m not just talking about any materials though, I’m more referring to corded or furled synthetic/semi-synthetic types of materials such as chenilles and braided/variegated types of tying materials commonly used as body materials in numerous fly patterns.

For those that don’t or didn’t know or have never heard of what an “Anchor Wrap” is, it’s a tying procedure/technique made to anchor or seat and tighten down onto the hook these types of materials while wrapping them on. It’s intent is to tighten down as much as possible to prevent those types of materials from becoming loose. More specifically, an “Anchor Wrap” is performed to prevent the core of the material itself from coming loose and becoming exposed.

This typically happens after the material gets wet, like while using or fishing the fly! When those types of materials get wet, some of them stretch out and become loose on the hook. Loose wraps are what makes flies subject to failure, particularly against fish teeth or anything else that could cut or destroy the fly if an “Anchor Wrap” isn’t implemented in the tying of it.

The importance of an “Anchor Wrap” becomes evident for the durability/longativity of finished flies when using those types of corded materials… Specifically and especially when tying flies for certain types of fish, particularly for predatory fish with teeth such as pike and large trout. When tying flies for toothy predatory fish, the “Anchor Wrap” tying procedure/technique can mean the difference between a fly that lasts a couple of fish before being destroyed, or one that survives dozens of fish.

It’s not a new technique by any means, and I’m not the one to come up with it nor am I claiming invention either. But it is a technique/procedure I think could help fly tyers world wide to increase the durability and add a little bit of security to their flies. Some fly tyers may be doing this already while using those types of corded materials and not know or realize it, while other tyers just starting out or even some seasoned pros for that matter, it could really be a potential “eye opener” and help them to tie a better more durable fly.

To perform an “Anchor Wrap” is simple to do when wrapping any kind of corded/furled materials (like chenille for example).

The procedure is simple.

1. Prepare the material for tie down by exposing the core and tie it in.

2. Begin wrapping the material 2 to 3 turns and then stop.

3. While keeping tension on the material after 2 to 3 turns, support the hook eye (so it doesn’t slip in the vise) and pull down on the material to tighten and seat it into position on the hook. (You should see the material spin/turn on the hook and then stop on its own, having been seat into position)

4. Repeat step 2 and 3, or until you reach the tie off point or to the point you want to stop wrapping. (I personally make Anchor Wraps after every other wrap.)

Here is a video link of me tying a baitfish pattern. I demonstrate the Anchor Wrap in this video.

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