Fly Tying 101

Words by Jack Bindernagel
Photos by Dave Prothero

The joy of making a DIY fly.

 


 

1  Start with a stainless steel saltwater hook, in sizes 4 to 8. Pinch the barb with pliers to produce a smooth bump–this is required by law for all salmon fishing, fresh or saltwater.

2  Next, place the hook in your tying vise. Make certain that the hook is well in place and will not move while you are tying.

3  Now load your bobbin with hot pink 140 denier UTC thread or a similar material. By holding the end of the thread against the shank and wrapping back over top of it as you go, you should be able to attach it to the shank of the hook, producing a smooth thread base as you go.

4  Next, to help attract the fish with colour, take a few strands of pink Krystal Flash or Flashabou and tie it in along the hook shank. This will be made much easier if you start at the front of the hook and wrap back over the flash while keeping it under tension.

5  Once you have the flash tied in you can cut it off to about half the length of the hook by holding it tight behind the fly and cutting it with scissors.

6  The next step is to tie in a strip of Edge Bright cut to a width of about half a centimetre, and a strip of spooled silver Holographic Tinsel in the same way as you did the tail. Now bring your thread up to behind the hook eye and wrap overlapping turns of silver tinsel up the hook shank. Pull it up at the eye of the hook and wrap your thread over it with your left hand, tying it off.

7  Using sharp tying scissors, cut the tinsel off as close to the tread wraps as you can get without cutting the thread.

8  Repeat the process for the tinsel with the Edge Bright, but with slightly overlapping turns, this gives the body a more shrimp-like appearance.

9  Now tie down the edge bright. Some force may be necessary in order to securely anchor the material.

10  You can finish the fly here, but I like to add a throat or “beard” of Krystal Flash. Simply tie it in like you did the tail, but underneath the hook shank.

11  In order to finish the fly you need to tie off the thread. You can tie several half hitches at the head. While this is not the typical way of finishing a fly, the trickier whip finish takes some time to master. Once you have knotted off the thread you can use head cement (sold at fly shops) or clear nail polish to finish the head.

If you wish to learn, there are many videos on YouTube with instructions, and workshops are available often at The Cumberland Fly Shop.




Category: 101, Volume 11