Selecting Natural Materials

Before the apocalyptic onslaught of synthetic materials inundated the craft of fly tying, natural supplies like Fur, Hair and Feathers comprised the bulk of    constituents used in create the vast majority of popular patterns. Three of the most fundamental fly tying components used for saltwater patterns are Feathers, Bucktail, and Rabbit Zonker Strips. Alone and in concert, these three elements are used to create countless fly patterns. They are easily accessible and can be found in an assortment of natural or dyed colors to work with. These basic materials are a must for all saltwater fly tiers. However, not all natural materials are the same, and there are a few things to look for and a several to avoid when shopping.

Over the next few weeks I will give some tips on what to look for & avoid when selecting hair, fur & feathers.  As always, you can stay tuned to this blog each week as I share pieces from my eBook, but for the complete Deep Dive in to What To Look For & Avoid When Selecting Hair, Fur & Feathers click the link, or icon to your right and download today for $7.99. Read More

Feathers- Tip’s, Trick’s, & Common Mistakes

Over the past few months, I’ve  given you Tip’s and Trick’s from my latest eBook called Feathers- Tip’s, Trick’s, & Common Mistakes. Simply click the icon above if you’d like to download your free copy. Otherwise, read on and I’ll recap all of the material covered.

  1. Flatten Your Thread
  2. If You’re Going To Trim…Leave A Little 
  3. Gaps Are No Good
  4. A Little Glue Goes A Long Way
  5. Start With A Bump
  6. Up is Down & Down is UP
  7.  Applying Pressure
  8.  Mismatched Mistakes
  9.  More Mismatched Mistakes 
  10.  Know Your Birds Curves
  11.  Tented, Splayed, & Married

 

For more information on how  you can improve your own saltwater fly patterns check out my website www.saltyflytying.com or;

For a deep dive into the world of saltwater pattern development, look for my new book Feather Brain – How to design better saltwater flies coming next August. You can Pre Order a copy by clicking here.

Thanks for reading!

~Drew

Tented, Spalyed, & Married

 

This is the ninth installment of  Feathers – Tip’s, Trick’s & Common Mistakes, which can be downloaded FREE from www.saltyflytying.com

Married Hackles – Feather Curve Together

“Marrying the hackles” refers to placing the concave or undersides of the feathers together.  Another common term for this technique is “Praying Hands.”  When wet, all the feathers come together and look as one. This technique is often used on classic patterns such as Lefty’s Deceiver or Stu Apte’s Apte II.

 

Splayed Hackles – Feather Curve Apart

The opposite of praying hands is splayed hackle.  This means that the feathers are lined up at the tips and tied onto the hook so the convex sides of the feathers are facing each other.  When wet the 2 pairs of feathers separate and appear to “kick” when stripped. This technique is often used for crab claws or on Keys Style Tarpon Flies.

 

 

 

Tented Hackles – Feather Curve Together But Open At Bottom

Tented hackles are married hackles that are slightly opened at the bottom and touching at the top, to create tent shape.   This technique is often used to emulate the V shaped back of a baitfish. When wet, the two pairs of hackles swim as one, and create a wider more cylindrical-shaped profile.  Johnny King uses this technique when tying his Kinky Muddler patterns.

 

Download my free eBook by clicking the icon to your right to read the rest of my tip’s, trick’s & common mistakes.

Keep Your Wraps Tight & Feathers Straight

-Drew

 

 

Know Your Birds Curves

 

This is the eight installment of  Feathers – Tip’s, Trick’s & Common Mistakes, which can be downloaded FREE from www.saltyflytying.com

Feathers Will Curve to Follow the Contour of the Bird

 If you hold the cape in your hands skin down, you will notice that the feathers naturally curve to follow the bird’s body. Feathers around the sides of the cape will typically have more curvature than the ones in the middle of the cape and the majority will curve in one of two directions.

 

Feather Typically Have a Slight Curve In 2 Directions

Feathers from the far left side of the cape will curve or cup down and to the left and the opposite is true for the right side of the cape.  If you are marrying the two pairs of feathers, you want to pick feathers from the left side of the cape that curve to the left for your pair closest to you, and feathers from the right side of the cape that curve right for the far pair.  That way both pairs of feathers will curve slightly downward when married together.

 

Download my free eBook by clicking the icon to your right to read the rest of my tip’s, trick’s & common mistakes.

Keep Your Wraps Tight & Feathers Straight

-Drew

 

 

Mismatched Mistakes

 This is the seventh installment of  Feathers – Tip’s, Trick’s & Common Mistakes, which can be downloaded FREE from www.saltyflytying.com

Mismatched Tips

A dead giveaway to a poorly tied fly or an inexperienced tier is mismatched hackles. Lining up the tips of the feathers is essential not only for esthetic reasons, but also for the fly to track correctly in the water.

Mismatched Pairs

Most flies utilize two pairs of matched feathers, one on either side of the fly. If one pair of feathers is longer, the fly will have more water resistance on that side and most likely cause the fly to track on it’s side or spin.   I find it is easiest to do by laying the feather out in 2 piles, and then matching the piles up.  Once you are close, pinch just below the tips of the feathers and pull the butts of the feathers with your opposite hand to get the tips in line.

 

 

Download my free eBook by clicking the icon to your right to read the rest of my tip’s, trick’s & common mistakes.

Keep Your Wraps Tight & Feathers Straight

-Drew

 

 

 

 

 

Applying Pressure

 This is the sixth installment of  Feathers – Tip’s, Trick’s & Common Mistakes, which can be downloaded FREE from www.saltyflytying.com

Applying Pressure Away From You Will Roll The Feathers

Inexperienced and even some intermediate tiers have a tendency to use the same amount of thread pressure for every wrap or only apply pressure to the thread away from their body. This causes the materials to roll or shift to the far side of the hook. If you want your materials to stay on top of the hook you need to apply thread pressure up!  This pinches the thread against the underside of the hook shank and forces the materials up.

Cover Up the Butts

Once the feathers have been cinched down make four of five tighter wraps to secure. Cover the butts of the feathers where they were cut to create a smooth transition to the shank of the hook.

 

 

 

 

Download my free eBook by clicking the icon to your right to read the rest of my tip’s, trick’s & common mistakes.

Keep Your Wraps Tight & Feathers Straight

-Drew

 

 

 

Up is Down & Down is UP

 This is the Fifth installment of  Feathers – Tip’s, Trick’s & Common Mistakes, which can be downloaded FREE from www.saltyflytying.com

Cinch Down Buy Pulling UP

The direction and amount of thread pressure applied is very important when it comes to controlling the material and achieving  the desired result.  By pulling UP, you are applying pressure on the bottom of the hook shank and pinching the thread against  the underside of the of the hook.

 

Feathers are Pinch in the Direction You Apply Pressure

This results in forcing the feather to be pushed up and secured tightly on the top of the hook, instead of rolling them to the far side of the hook.    You can see that the the sides and bottom of the hook are clearly exposed, the feather did not shift or roll at all.

 

 

 

Download my free eBook by clicking the icon to your right to read the rest of my tip’s, trick’s & common mistakes.

 

Keep Your Wraps Tight & Feathers Straight

-Drew

 

 

 

Start With A Bump

 This is the Forth installment of  Feathers – Tip’s, Trick’s & Common Mistakes, which can be downloaded FREE from www.saltyflytying.com

A Thread Bump Will Help Splay Feathers

If you are tying a fly with splayed hackles (like a Classic Keys Tarpon Pattern), start the thread on the hook and create a small bump of thread.  Flattening the thread and then making several consecutive wraps on top of each other will do this.   The bump will help separate the feathers.

2 Loose Wraps

Match the tips of each pair first, then match up the two pairs to one another and tie in all four at the same time.   To secure the feathers, start with two loose wraps around the feathers and then cinch down the feathers buy pulling your thread UP.  More on this in in future posts…

 

 

 

Download my free eBook by clicking the icon to your right to read the rest of my tip’s, trick’s & common mistakes.

Keep Your Wraps Tight & Feathers Straight

-Drew