Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT

I don’t know when I bought my first package of Angel Hair (or why). It looked pretty Cline angel 2cool and I probably thought I could add it to some clousers for bass and in the salt. Whatever I thought I bought it for, I never really adopted it as a regular material until I moved up to Montana and adapted it to two of my favorite patterns—Woolly buggers and crayfish. One day at a fly tying demo, I watched Gardiner, Montana fly tier Walter Wiese demonstrate how he tied the Beaded Little Mayfly (or BLM Nymph) using nothing but thread, angel hair and fine wire. It opened my eyes to how something as simple (and colorful) as Angel Hair could be adapted to different uses.

Of course, as traditional flash and as part of baitfish imitations, Angel Hair excels. Search for it on the internet and you’ll get everything you wanted to know about using it in various baitfish imitations. But there are other uses. Here are three from my tying experience.

Cline angel 6The Woolly Bugger—the quintessential material in the standard Woolly bugger is the marabou tail. As we all know, marabou when wet is an extremely limp material. Although that character gives marabou the enticing motion in the water, it also can cause the tail to tangle itself on the hook or body of the fly. Here’s where the Angel Hair comes in. In short lengths of multiple strands, Angel Hair is somewhat stiff and doesn’t lose that stiffness when wet. So for most of my buggers, regardless of hook size, I’ll tie in three Cline angel 3or four strands of Angel Hair and keep doubling it until I have a short (2/3rd of tail length) clump of Angel Hair extending from the hook bend. You’d be surprised how stiff the short clump is. Marabou and any other flash you might want to add is tied in on top the Angel Hair base. Any color Angel Hair will do as long as it complements the overall color scheme of the bugger. Tied in this manner, the marabou tail when wet rides on top of the Angel Hair which provides some sparkle as well and resists tangling with the hook or body of the fly.

Cline angel 8Crayfish—there are many different crayfish patterns, but most have one thing in common. They are tied with the tail at the hook eye and the head at the hook bend. Because crayfish walk and swim for the most part backwards, most imitations are tied and fished this way. There are also at least 300 species of crayfish found in North American so imitating them is a generalist game and most patterns will have some distinct components simulating a wide tail, a robust segmented body, eyes and claws. Crayfish also display prominent, long but fine antennae that originate close to the eyes on the top of the head. In a living crayfish, these antennae are always moving around as sensors and generally display a range of motion of almost 360 degrees. I I’ve found that many pattern try to replicate the antennae with some sort of flash or long hair that is either too stiff or too limp. So several years ago, I tried using Angel Hair for crayfish antennae and it seems to work pretty well.

Angel Hair as a Floss substitute

Cline angel 10One my favorite ways to use Angel Hair is as a substitute for typical uses of floss. A Royal Wulff is a good example. Typically tied with red floss separating the peacock herl, occasionally I’ll use red Angel Hair instead of the floss as it provides a bit of sparkle to the bottom of the fly. By taking 5 or 6 long strands of Angel Hair and tying in just like floss, you can use any of the many colors as a floss replacement. When used in dry flies it provides a lightweight material impervious to water. The few flies below are just some examples.

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The green body of a Grizzly King is easily created with bright green Angel Hair.

 

 

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The Professor wet fly, the first pattern I ever tied, can be tied with Lemon Yellow Angel Hair instead of yellow floss.

 

 

 

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Caddis pupa sparkle with Angel Hair bodies.

 

 

 

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Humpies are improved with Angel Hair underbodies.

 

 

Angel Hair is not just for streamers and baitfish!

 

 

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