Downramp

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

There are multiple steps to tying flies that are potentially problematic, but one in particular resurfaces for me in numerous fat-bodied flies: The dreaded downramp.

Consider a fly body that increases in diameter from near the tail (Figure 1). Almost regardless of what you use to build up that base (yarn, thread, whatever), it fattens up as it extends forward toward the fly’s head. It may need to get fatter as a result of some underlying lead wire wound around the hook shank, or simply because the insect it imitates is fatter than a needle. Now, I’m not talking about fly bodies that look fat but are mostly air, courtesy of fluffy dubbing; I’m talking more about fly bodies substantially built up with a base.

Figure 1 – Built-up Base of Body

Over that body base is usually then wound materials that establish the “look” of the fly: dubbing noodles or dubbing-loop fluff, yarn, peacock herl, palmered hackle, wire or plastic tubing or D-ribbing…whatever. For simplicity we’ll call all that stuff “the works.”

The problem: Starting to apply “the works” from back to front, over the body’s base, is easy. “The works” easily climbs that up-ramp from thin to fat (from left to right in Figure 2), each turn laying close and nice to the previous turn, just like you want it.

Figure 2 – The Ramps

When winding “the works” up-ramp, there are no gaps, no body base peeking through to look sloppy and promote unravel during use.

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10 Things No One Will Tell You When You Start Tying Flies

Guest Blogger: John Satkowski, Toledo, OH, fly tying demonstrator and instructor, you can find him @ River Raisin Fly Company on Facebook

1. Everyone you talk to about tying is an expert and you should do things the way they tell you. Now granted, there are some people you should listen to. The hot guys in the tying game now like Mike Schmidt, Greg Senyo, Blane Chocklett, and Charlie Craven are people you should be listening to. They will give you good advice that a beginner to seasoned tyer can use to increase their skill. Uncle Bob’s buddy who tied a handful of flies in 1976 is not always an accurate point of view for you to learn from. Over the years, I have heard my fair share of questions such as,”Why don’t you do it this way” or “Why don’t you use this material?” Sometimes sharing ideas is good and gives you a fresh point of view but you should take suggestions with a grain of salt.
2. You always have to use the newest and coolest materials in your flies. There have been a huge surge of really awesome materials that have come out in the past five years alone. Lots of new lighter synthetic materials that don’t hold water and make casting much easier, new adhesive and UV resins, and a lot of body materials that just keep getting more realistic all can make tying much faster and easier. Ripple Ice Fiber and the Loon Outdoors D-Loop tweezers are among my personal favorite things to use since they came out. Every tyer has their favorite materials and this is usually evident by looking at a large sample of their flies. My flies usually incorporate some barred marabou, ripple ice fiber, angora goat, and the long cut fiber ice dub. Many different patterns can be constructed using different variations of the same materials. Use the materials that you are comfortable with and have had success with in the past. You can always try some new materials and see which ones you like to work with and work for you.

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Tales from the Tying Bench

Guest Blogger: Tom Corbiere, Tom is a J Stockard Customer who lives in Oregon

You’re finishing tying an intricate fly. The tail is exact length, rib evenly spaced, perfect hackle tied in without stray barbs sticking out. All you need to do is whip finish and “PING!” Your thread breaks. Hackle unravels, Ribbing now sticking straight up, and the tail is laying at the bottom of your vice on the bench. You either internally (or externally) scream. Am I the only one this has happened to?

If you are lucky, the fly doesn’t fall apart. You quickly thread your bobbin and capture the broken thread and save the day! All that work saved. A great accomplishment. Obviously, the tying gods were looking down on you. So you go back and finish off the fly and “PING” another break. Then the next sound you hear is “&$!#%” and its coming out of your mouth like an out of body experience.

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