Feb 28, 2011

Back away from the Fly tying bench

Well I've been MIA for the past few weeks but I haven't been far.  I decided to take advantage of the lack of major snow storms to get caught up on my preseason fly fishing prep.  Don't worry, we still have close to 3 feet of snow on the ground but we are making progress with it's departure.  In the meantime I have been putting in time on the bench tying some flies and experimenting with some new tying techniques, well new to me at least.

My local  trout stream is still un-fishable with all the ice and the recent rain will only hurt more than it helps but it won't be long now before I am back on the water and working on my nymphing skills.  I am looking forward to spending the spring working on some short line Czech and long line Euro nymphing tehcniques that I started learning last year - read my Introduction to Euro Nymphing post from last may and you can see why I am excited about this technique.

I recently received Aaron Jasper's European Nymphing DVD which just came out this past January and it really helped put everything together that I experienced last year and everything I've been reading and learning.  The video does a great job breaking down the basics of both short and long leader nymphing and includes a section on tying, knots and leader creation.  If you have been thinking about getting into Euro Nymphing styles then Aaron's DVD is a must.

So when I am not scouring the internet, or bugging my local Fly guy Steve Babbit up at JTs Fly Shop or watching Arron's video again, I am at the tying bench trying to make some head way on some flies.   I've only been tying flies for just about 2 years now but most of my ties have been buggers and streamers and some nymphs like the tried and true Pheasant tails or Hares ear nymphs so I had to expand my horizons to fill up my box in preparation for all the flies I will be fishing losing this spring.

Some of my recent ties - Bottom middle and left are woven flies

I am not a fan of dubbing flies and I'm sure it is just because I stink at it so I decided to try creating some woven flies just so I don't have to deal with my crappy dubbing technique.  Weaving flies basically consist of taking two pieces of material either floss or wire in contrasting colors and weaving them along the body of the fly to create a different color on the top and bottom of the fly.  It is a challenge for sure but once you get the hang of it there is no stopping.  I've been using DMC 6 strand embroidery floss from the local craft store.  It only cost about 37 cents a color and it is available in what seems like a gazillion possible color combinations.  

Just a sampling of some of the colors of floss I purchased.

There are a couple of tricks to weaving and the first is separating the six strands into 3 which is pretty easy to do.  The second is to use some empty thread spools to wind the floss on so you can use your bobin when weaving.  Do a search on your tube or goole and you will find plenty of video tutorials and step by step procedures like this one from Loren Willams Woven Polish Nymph TutorialLorens Website is a must have link for anyone who ties their own flies or looking to start.  Here is a short clip from Trout Predator Online that I used to help with my weaving. 

When I am not tying at the bench lately I am working on my knots, tying up some leaders and some coiled strike indicators and I can't wait for that bicolor strike indicator material that I ordered to show up so I can make some bicolor "Slinky" indicators.  I also purchased a new rod for nymphing and can't wait to get my new 10' 4wt Greys Streamflex out on the water rigged up with some of those flies I've been tying. 

So I apologize for being away the past couple of weeks but as you can see I've been busy preparing for the waters to open up.  I know this for a fact.  I will lose some flies and I will catch a few fish and I'm sure some will succumb to the net just because they are laughing so hard.  Either way old man winter will be gone and I will be on the water.  Life will be good.


  1. Nifty technique. I haven't seen that before. Thanks for sharing.

  2. That is AWESOME. Thank you for posting that. I will try that next time.

  3. Glad to hear you are hitting the bench. That polish woven nymph looks great.

  4. Hours on the bench now = hours on the river later!