Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Archive for the ‘Fly-Tying’ Category

my fly-tying room

leave a comment »

As we have become empty nesters, one bedroom has been converted into my art and fly-fishing room.

room_DSC3052

what is not seen is the third wood business desk that Judy got as a wedding gift.

The room faces to the north and general lighting is low, but as illustrated I have several tasks lights. Including ….

  • 50W Halogen – over the fly
  • Alvin CL1755  with two 2 fluorescent bulbs, over the drafting table. It provides good light, but the thread mounting that holds the Maxlite adapter has seized and prevents me to going to a LED bulb in the center. I fear the surgery to free the adapter could be destructive to the lamp.
  • Waldmann – current model is the SNLQ – high recommended for its magnifier and light.

And my primary chair is a Pearl drum throne.

desk_DSC3053

The workstation is an Arlink, which I recommend. Without the drawers, associated with fabled roll-top desks, there is great freedom of movement and with the supplementary shelving I have great storage capacity.

I was fortunate in the fast mass migration of high-tech production to China in 2002, driven by timelines that had no consideration for disposal of operational assets, I was able to acquire MetroRack, Arlink Stations and Lighting at a ridiculous low rate.

vise_DSC3055

catnip side_2207

Not going into the fly-tying tools, so the other key elements for my fly-tying room …

Storage:

  • The closet (no picture) has Rubbermaid racking typically used in kitchen closet. It is  good flexible racking, but the cantilever arms can (do) limit some racking space. Gets a C+, so yes, I am happy with it, but I suspect there many be better.
  • General material storage in Rubbermaid (B), and avoid the cheap knock offs that has a much higher risk of breakage when used.
  • Artbin Thread Box (A), but I buy these in the US for <15 or versus Canadian retailers at over 40. Hey, I am happy to support Canadian, but not at this excessive pricing.
  • Umpqua Hook Box (B), but note these boxes do not stack well on top of each other with their copies from Spirit River (B-), so do not mix and match. Either works, but just stick with 1 OEM.
  • Darice 32 Container Jewelry Designer (A) Box for beads, eyes, cones, et cetera.
    • If I had this available when I was getting hook boxes, I would have selected them as my default hook box.  The Umpqua box has “cells” that are larger at 5.5cm than the Darice at 5.0cm, but this would not an issue, unless you are tying with a long streamer hook and even then, the gain is small. Example: Blue Heron Spey Hooks – Size 3 fits both boxes, Size 2 fits the Umpqua and Size 1 fits neither.
  • Plano 3600, for flies and miscellaneous.
  • Reels are keep in either a discontinued Vision Case (A) or Simms (C+).
    • The Simms is fine for smaller reels and gear associated with trout, but limited to ineffective when we deal with saltwater and spey.
    • In researching this blog, it appears that Vision has brought back the good Hard Case.

.

catnip tail IMG_2213

.

 

Advertisements

Written by raspberryfisher

2018/08/26 at 20:59

Posted in Fly-Tying, Tools

Keeled Jerk – Farrar Blend Variant

leave a comment »

In continuation of my last post, here are my variants using Farrar Blend dressed long for Pike, that are about 8″ long.
.
Jerk Group_DSC1586
.
Chartreuse to the Greens
.
chartreuse_DSC1603
.
green-black_DSC1626
.
greem black_DSC1645
.
green_DSC1647
.
The classic Pike Red and White
.
red_DSC1644
.
amd a fly to suggest Perch ..
.
perh_DSC1649
.
prech_DSC1657
.
and the original experiment in Blue, with the white deer hair center that seperates the base from the top. I have since migrate to using the SF Fibers for the centre.
.
blue_DSC1635
.

 

Written by raspberryfisher

2018/02/05 at 02:31

Keeled Jerk

leave a comment »

closeup keeled jerk DSC1566First lets credit those who have developed this pattern.

  1. I have always wanted to try Dave Whitlock’s Sheep Minnow Streamer pattern, which has a long body and hook point up for “weedy” water.
  2. As noted in an earlier post, I really like Gunnar’s Youtube videos, including his keel jerk, see video below, which has the long body and hook up look that Dave’s fly has.

Now, I offer my observations after tying a few flies:

  1. (I) Prefer Steve Farrar’s Blend over Craft Fur.  The former has volume without bulk, and allows for a light clean taper baitfish. The latter has a lot of junk at the base that needs to be clean (lots of prep) and difficult to build a long base. I may revise this after a summer of fishing, but I want to step away from Craft Fur.
    1. As you may recall, I already stated I have moved alway from Craft Fur for bonefish flies.
      .
  2. The excellent materials that this pattern has introduced me include:
    1. Ahrex PR380 Texas Predator Hook – sharp and well built: A+
    2. Ice Dub Shimmer Fringe – creates a nice veil: B
    3. Tear Mender as a rubber cement: B+
    4. Pro Flex UV Resin, I will do some testing latter and report, but it is a good resin, that is “hard and flexible”, as it works into the material (thin): A.
      1. Oh yes, I do use my cactus to hold the flies in the Sun to help set the UV Resign.
  3. As far as eyes are considered, get a set of 8mm and 10mm. I also suggest you will get better value if you purchase these in bulk from ebay or another supplier.

And now for some images, but first Gunnar’s video.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch

From the web, another individual trying this pattern for the first time. He/She has done a marvelous job (better than me) in layering the craft fur or the central tail. If there is a lesson for me, thicker tail and less craft fur.

keeled jerk nme

Now, I do recommend you buy flies from Gunnar. All of the Shad (Grey-White) Flies are from Gunnar, and are very well done as illustrated below.

gunnars DSC1560

So here is my attempt with Craft Fur, and develop my handling skill with UV Resin.

The head in front is with a thicker Solarex Flex UV Resin, and eventually standardize to the thin Pro Thin Flex. In review, I would look to less craft fur and more internal tail (in this case, bucktail).

As you can see, I also use ties (and moisture) to hold the hair in, as I work on the fly.

green keeled jerk in cactus_DSC1535

green _DSC1561

And then moving to Steve Farrar’s blend.

blue DSC1557

which has a hollow, translucent look to it.

blue backlight _DSC1563

So what is next?  I am liking the path with using Steve Farrar’s blend and the Pro UV Thin Flex, but will consider some of the following tweaks in future:

  1. Stagger the fibers more (the blue stack is to uniform).
  2. Given it translucent qualities, add a touch of red on the inside. Consider more inner tail.
  3. Play with lengths – should the blue top be shorter? Never-the-less,tIt does pull to a nice taper as is.

last blue_DSC1567

.

Written by raspberryfisher

2018/01/03 at 04:09

Hollow Fly Update

leave a comment »

As earlier posted, I started building large flies for saltwater and pike and my early results was a pleasant surprise.

I used one of the most under-used tools to correct the lateral line, the surgical scalpel and with respect to using tab eyes from China (eBay: lifefly-outdoor) and the UK (Funky Eye Tying) – just do it!. The UK supplier has greater diversity, but the eyes from China seem fantastic as well at a great price.

I used for the first time, the video feature in my camera and hopefully this video will provide a sense of the form of the fly.

And yes, if you are tying hollow flies, please go with tab eyes. No they are not common or easy to find, but they do not crush the body you just created.

.

 

Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/29 at 06:23

Hollow Flies

with one comment

Early Review – as earlier stated, I do not like doing reviews until I have an extended time with the product or experience, et cetera.  In this case, I am impressed enough to provide some feedback before the usual year has gone.

    1. Gunnar Brammer Flies – Excellent!  I have really enjoyed fishing his Catnip and Jerk Jr.  90+% of the flies I fish with I tie, but I have, will and continue to use well-tied flies by others.
      .
    2. Gunnar Brammer Fly Tying Video – Excellent. The information provided is not just to tie a fly, but how to improve as a tyer.
      .
    3. Steve Farrar Fiber Blend – Excellent for Hollow-Point Flies.

So here is my first hollow fly (preparing for Pike Season for next spring), and even though this was an experiment (with some errors and improvements are required (see notes below)), it is an excellent and fishable pike 6″ (150cm) long fly.

 

hollow 1_DSC1490

hollow 2_DSC1484

Notes:

  • Hook – Mustad 34007 1/0 (some of my spares), but probably would goto the Ahrex Aberdeen Predator PR330 (once all of my 34007 are gone) or Partridge ACS/E Attitude Hook.
    .
  • Tail – Old Standby – White Deer.  This is a fine choice, but if you want a really long tail, consider some robust (saltwater) rooster saddles.
    .
  • Top Body – Steve Farrar Flash Blend – Olive. Until this week, I have not had a good word for artificial winging hairs, but I have changed my view. These “hairs” are light, do no absorb water and with the wave pattern you can build bulk-shape easily. I have a limited selection of colours (as illustrate above), but I will be investing more.
    .
    Like EP fibers, SF Blend is not cheap, but this material allows you to build a large fly that will not be heavy!
    .
  • Under Body – Steve Farrar Flash Blend – Off-White.  Of the starting 5 colours I have, this one did not have the same pattern and does not build up as well. I will be looking at other light colours that have the same “volume” as the Olive.
    .
    These materials are not available to me locally, so I have to mail order them, and sometimes you are disappointed.
    .
  • Top Wing – Steve Farrar Flash Blend – Bleeding Black. Excellent.
    .
  • Tie in Technique – The fibers were tied to the back and given the body of the SF Hairs, this worked well. Never-the-less, traditionally Hollow Point flies are tied points forward, then push back and held in place by a thread dam. I will need try this on test 2.
    .
  • Lateral Scale – I should been more careful on the placement, length and clipped off the curl. My bad and I got sloppy as I was so focus on the artificial hair.
    .
  • Eyes – And though not illustrated, my initial experiments with traditional eyes was not satisfactory. Yes, compressing flies to the head is great for “jerk” flies, but destroys the body for a hollow fly.  So either go with no eyes or tab eyes.
    .
    I have some tab eyes on order, and will experiment with them.

So, some experiments are still outstanding, but if you are looking to some large flies for Pike or the Salt, look at Gunnar’s site and give Steve Farrar Flash Blend a try.

If you want to get some additional pointers from youtube, then search for ” aswfstevefarrar  “, and my intent is still stick with this, and improve.

.

Written by raspberryfisher

2017/11/08 at 23:45

Veevus 14/0, if not Danville Threadmaster

leave a comment »

As reported earlier, I have been slowly transitioning to Veevus thread as my replacement for the discontinued Gudebrod for trout flies, but have wondered what thread “size” is right (for Veevus).

While cleaning up my area, I noticed I had 3 similar pink threads – Danville 6/0, Veevus 10/0 and 14/0.  Thinking what would be a good practical test, I settle on a trout fly that demands fine and strong thread – a small Kaufmann Stimulator – tied on a size 16 TMC 2312.  Bulky thread makes a clean head difficult, while a weak thread will break when you tie in the deer hair wings.  It is a fly that demands good thread control, with a thread that is fine and strong, but lays flat so as not to cut the deer hair.

Now – for me – this is a demanding fly, and I need to be warmed up – to do this fly well, id est the old adage applies – the first hundred are practice.  It is this reason that I referencing a video showing a good tie, than  picture of some poor test flies I did.

But in the end, my test results were:

  • Veevus 10/0 – strong, but created a bulky head – not accepted.
  • Veevus 14/0 – strong enough and created a fine head – acceptable.
  • Danville 6/0 – strong enough and created the finest head – preferred.

This is a great fly, and it has served me well, but I find it spins on the cast and after some time results in a twisted leader. With experience, I have developed a preference for a dry fly that sits into the film, so I rarely tie this fly on.

If I am not using a stimulator, what I have replaced it with?  I start off with the Oliver Edwards’ Caddis from his book – Raffia Wings with a dubbing-deer hair body mix – as a diving Caddis.

Caddis 5 DSC_7220

I forget where I picked this pattern up, but its similarities to the Stimulator are high.

ys 5 DWW_4522

And then there are Roman’s Ballon Caddis.

Balloon Caddis_1850

So deer hair is prominent in all flies here, but if there is another recommendation – but admittedly one I have not used – I would suggest the CDC Bubble Caddis is worth the effort it tie and experiment with.

.

Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/15 at 03:28

Posted in Dry Flies, Fly-Tying

Tube Bunnies – Supporting Notes

leave a comment »

z Olive_DSC9939

z Chatreuse_DSC9948

Note that I am using white Lady Amherst as my lateral line.

z Black_DSC9957

Supplier – ProTube.  The system provided by Protube is fine, but I wish the same could be said for their supply change.  The broad discussions with retailers in the US and Canada would indicate the faults of supply and availability are up the supply chain – distributor and-or company itself.

I have not found supply to be better in Sweden either, and ProTube’s head office is in neighbouring Denmark.

If I was starting fresh, I would look to Canadian Tube Fly Company .  I would call Stuart and have him to create a kit for the species you want to target.  He also has some great feathers to.

Rigging – I been working with two distinct approaches – trailer and in the tube.

For long flies that are always under tension on a swing, I will extend the hook back using an open loop knot that wraps around the hook eye (like a Turle knot). The beads are used to prevent the knot coming into the tube, and thus defines the length of the trailer.  The tippet should be stiff, and my preferred tippet is Chameleon 12 lb or if I am using 16-20 lb, then will transition to Seaguar Blue Fluorocarbon and be prepared to use a size 4 hook.

The hooks I use are Black or Read Up-Eye Hooks – Gamakatsu Octopus 2306 Sizes 8 and 6, Mustad 92568 BLN Size 6, 4.  or Owner SSW 5115-073 Size 4

The challenge is defining the open loop length, which in the following image is too small.  (I bought this fly out of the UK, so see how they (he) ties flies for a reference).

z hook _DSC0103

And for small flies, put the hook eye into the tube (after you have tied on the tippet).  And which hook do I use for this? – Gamakatsu C14S, size 8 and 6.

z hook _DSC0114

Above is an alternate tie that I like to for black tube bunnies – silicon legs and guinea collar.  I have also done dark purple under bellies to.

Rod – I will use my tube flies to chase trout, but you do not want to use a traditional single-hand 4-5wt to throw my tube bunnies, as the fly is too heavy after it absorbs water. Thus,  if I have my dry fly rod in my hand, and want to move to a streamer, I will change over to a muddler or change my rod – either a two-hand Meiser 12’6 4wt (1264S) or my single hand Scott Arc 10′ 7wt.

Please note the AFTM rating for a single hand 5wt rod is 140 grains, but the line weight of the shooting head for the “Trout” 4wt Meiser is 324gr – much more than single weight rod and can handle the smaller tube bunnies. This illustrates, where traditional line rating for “spey” rods does not transpose to the single-hand family of rod.

I would also caution, if you want to throw larger tube flies on the Meiser 1264 than my previously posted tube bunnies, I would suggest you change materials (Arctic Fox) or get a heavier rod!

What heavier (stronger) Spey rods, do I have

  • Meiser – 1305S – 5 piece (it can travel with me) – with a 411 grain head
  • Burkheimer 7134 – 520 grain head.  Makes a great steelhead rod, but a little too much for most trout.

.

Written by raspberryfisher

2017/05/06 at 01:18