There seems to be a direct correlation between materials that really move and look great in the water and the propensity to become fouled. Rabbit strips, fox, Finnish raccoon, or any material that is used in a strip with the hide still attached gets waterlogged and tends to wrap itself around the bend of the hook.
What you see in the vise is often very different from what you get once the fly touches water. More often than not with new creations, your expectations for how a fly will look in the water or act when fished will not be met without a few adjustments. Testing and tweaking your creations is an important step to producing productive patterns. There is nothing more frustrating than a fly that tracks on its side when it is retrieved or spins like a corkscrew with each strip. Using less material on the bottom half of a baitfish pattern or a light trim around the belly of the fly with usually correct this problem.
I seems like every time you go to buy fly tying materials there are more and more materials on the shelves with the letters “UV” somewhere on the label. Over the last few year, I have spent a lot of time researching ultraviolet (UV) materials and the hubbub surrounding them. Experimenting with my war chest of materials both at the bench and on the flats I have made some pretty interesting discoveries in relationship to a materials visibility underwater.
The most fundamental components of a fly, like the hook or the thread, often play the most significant role in determining its ability to catch fish. Overlooking or underestimating the importance of selecting these basic items may not be aesthetically critical, but all it takes is one missed opportunity or losing the fish of a lifetime and you may change your mind.
I admit over the last 20+ years, I have created some really scary flies that cast like trash can lids or disintegrate with the first round of false casts, but that’s how you learn. Spot-on realistic flies and extremely delicate shadow-box flies that will never touch the water have their place, but if your aim is to wrestle fish, then you need to take a few more things into consideration. I like to start with ” The 3 Abilities I thing all flies should have; Durability, Castability and Fishabiility”
Although there are how-to’s for my favorite patterns, my goal is not only to teach you how to tie a particular fly, but rather to explain how to create new productive flies and the reasons why one material may work better in a given situation than another. If you understand why historically productive patterns work so well, it will help you design flies that look cool and catch fish too. My process starts with the fish!
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.