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Archive for the ‘Fly-Tying’ Category

Exuma – our goto bonefish flies – Peterson

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So what are my (Our – Judy an I) goto flies for the Exumas’s Bonefish, then?

  1. Wilson’s Flats Fiend
  2. Spawing Shrmp
  3. Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp

Do we really need more than 3 syles!  So far the answer is no, but just as long as I have then in different weights.

As noted previously, I dislike the commonly used Craft Hair-Fur. I cannot get it to work as I like and I find it dead in the water. I like the naturals,  particularly Fox, Wolf, Rabbit, Calf Tail and Polar Bear.

So here is the Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp, once tied true to form with rabbit but with the long translucent haris of the Pb-Bear for the claws. The other where I have use a split tail from Paulo’s fish-on.

petersen _DSC4405

.petersen _DSC4406


petersen DSC4413

From big to small.




Written by raspberryfisher

2018/11/23 at 01:56

Scott Heywood Bonefish Flies

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I have more flies than we need for this years Bonefishing trip to the Bahamas, but never-the-less, it is fun to be inspired and tie a few more.  In this case, using Veverka’s Innovative Saltwater Flies book, I have taken a couple of flies from Scott Heywood.  Though the irony, neither fly is part of Scott’s current recommendation for bonefish.

With the Biclops Shrimp, I wanted a large unweighted fly with the light tone of the Exuma sand, which varies from very white (common) to tones slightly grey (less frequent) or occasionally warm.  I recall one flat on the warm side, where the bonefish where all-over close in and shallow.

I have used more sheep fleece than Scott, to enable a long body look.  I comb the fleece, but I rely on the end of  the (Romeny’s sheep) fleece that had not yet been processed into consistent manufactured buns, so I could keep the unkept curly hair in place.

I also went with a seal body with a monofilament ribbing versus mohair.

I am expecting a soft landing into shallow tailing water, with an initial retrieve.

heywood sheep DSC4403

Then there is the Eye Gotcha. As I dislike artificial craft fur, I used polar bear wih a thicker wing. If you live in the US, I would have used Calf-tail. In the field, I may cut back the mylar tubing mouth by 20%.

The pink heart is brighter when using the Pink Uni-Stretch Thread-Floss.


As these are fishing flies, I was only using two coats of lacquer, so no glossy heads for show.

.. Post release add to illustrate better the long shape of the sheep fly

heywood2 _DSC4508

heywood 4_DSC4501


Written by raspberryfisher

2018/11/20 at 00:41

Catnip Fly

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Gunnar Brammer’s Catnip video does a find job explaining the construction and design, and though I have bought some flies off Gunnar, I wanted a few specific colour patterns for

  • Steelhead in Winter, holding up in a hole – Purple, Black, Blue
  • Trout that may be in a deep pocket – Green, Brown, Olive
  • Pike and Bass in the hot summers, when they are deep – Red, Chartreuse

So I have added a few variants.

Some suggestions ….

  • It is not a light fly, so I would recommend – as a minimum –  8wt line and rod for this fly. I have also used of the boat with my Guideline RSi (listed as a 11wt, but as stated in another review, for me it is a 10 wt).
  • I buy my wiggle tails direct from Paulo at fishon.it
  • Good to a bead store to buy the wire, and use this wire to ensure your beads can fit though.

The purple and black fly with the large olive bead is from Gunnar.


Written by raspberryfisher

2018/11/17 at 21:49

my fly-tying room

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


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.


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.


catnip side_2207

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


  • 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



Written by raspberryfisher

2018/08/26 at 20:59

Posted in Fly-Tying, Tools

Keeled Jerk – Farrar Blend Variant

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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
greem black_DSC1645
The classic Pike Red and White
amd a fly to suggest Perch ..
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.


Written by raspberryfisher

2018/02/05 at 02:31

Keeled Jerk

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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

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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