Thread Control In Fly Tying

blog thread kussGuest Blogger: Mary S. Kuss, PA Fly Fisher & Fly Tyer

In essence, fly tying is the art of decorating a hook in such a way that a fish will be enticed to put said hook into its mouth and thus be caught. Traditionally this involves attaching feathers and other materials to the hook, usually by means of a “working thread” that serves to capture and bind these materials to the hook.

Your ability to control the working thread is essential to tying durable, attractive flies. The critical skills involve placing the thread and the materials on the hook at desired locations, and binding the materials to the hook securely so that they do not twist around the hook shank or work loose in use. Here are the key issues.

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Nano Silk – World’s Strongest Thread?

semperfli-nano-silkWhen we first heard of Nano Silk thread and the maker’s claims of amazing strength, we were confused. A super strong silk? Maybe spun by super silk worms born on Krypton and brought on Superman’s rocket in the 1940’s? No – turns out, this product is not silk at all but fine, stranded GSP thread from SemperFli in the U.K.

Eager to learn more, we had an interesting email exchange with the man behind this intriguing product, Andy Kitchener. To learn more you can meet Andy and watch his demo of Nano Silk right now!

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Choosing Fly Tying Thread

thread caenisThread is one of the most fundamental of fly tying materials. And today there are dozens of fly tying threads available in a wide variety of materials, sizes and strengths.

Materials – The most common fly tying thread materials today are nylon, polyester and GSP (gel-spun polyethylene). Nylon was developed in the 1930’s as a man-made substitute for silk. Made via a continuous extrusion process, nylon is strong, can stretch a bit and takes dyes well making for bright and vibrant colors. Similar to nylon, man-made polyester is made as either a continuous extrusion fiber or as short fiber filaments. Unlike nylon, polyester doesn’t stretch and it will break without warning under stress, though it is quite strong. Polyester colors tend to be slightly less bright than nylon. Gel-spun polyethylene (GSP) is made of continuous extrusion fibers and is very strong. GSP’s texture is extremely slippery yet flexible. Less popular but still in use are natural threads made of cotton, wool and silk as well as man-made Kevlar and rayon.

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