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Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre

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Tying Tips Edition 1

Don't Whip Finish - Half Hitch instead!

Never mind playing around with whip finishers trying to tie off your fly patterns. They are relatively expensive, cumbersome to first learn to use but most of all unnecessary. Just pick up The half Hitch is simple and effectivea dubbing needle with a hollow end or even a biro tube. Put a loop of thread around the tube and simply slide the tube and loop over the hook eye and slip off onto the hook. Do two or three of these to secure and then cut the thread away. This knot is as strong as can be, is not bulky and can be performed in a matter of seconds. Most of the full time tiers I know swear by it for these reasons and whether to add head cement is up to you, but we never do.

Scissor Tricks

When tying the key to efficiency is thinking about what your doing and setting up prior to the actual tying. Materials should be ready to go on the bench, in order of their tying in if that is your preference. One thing that costs tiers a lot of their time is constantly picking up and Click for Full Size Imageputting down of tools. One way you can be more efficient is to get used to not putting down your scissors. Rather than placing them on your tying bench in between steps, simply slide them down your fingers and continue working. It is amazing how many things you can do with your scissors in this position. Then when you need them they are ready to go.

Tying off Parachute Hackles

Parachute hackled flies have had some negative publicity in as much as they are considered by most as more difficult to tie. This could not be further from the truth. The trick is this. Tie in theTying off parachutes hackle so that it sits pointing to the rear of the fly at about 35 degrees of an angle off the hook shank and on the near side of the wing. Wind in a clockwise direction with each successive turn slightly beneath the previous one. When the hackle is done pull it towards you firmly on the near side of the wing and hold it slightly below the level of the hook. Take a turn of thread around the top of the hackle stem you are holding bedding it down against the wing. Then take another turn doing the same only this time taking the thread below the hackle stem. Then one more turn but this time like the first one above the hackle stem. Then take the thread along the top of the fly to the hook eye, pulling it firmly so that it bites into the dubbing. Make a few wraps, add a couple of half hitches to finish. See other parachure ties in the Fly of the Week Archives.

   

Step 1

Tie in your hackle on the near side of the post if you wish to tie it in in a clockwise direction. The opposite side for counter clockwise. As you can see in the illustrations we prefer to wind in a clockwise direction.

 

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Step 2

Wind between two and four turns with each successive turn beneath the previous one. Try to manipulate the hackle fibres so that you do not crush them and force them to stick out in the incorrect direction. Tie the parachute hackle to desired look.

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Step 3

Now hold the hackle stem down forcing it against the post and body as you pull it downwards. Use your thread to wrap a tight turn as shown here. I then like to then pull the stem upwards and add another tight turn of thread before pulling it down again (as in the illustration) and wrapping another turn to finish.

Click for Full Size Image

Step 4

Take the thread and hold it along the body of the fly on top of the hook taking it to the hook eye. I like this method as the wing is already secured and you can pull down hard so that it bites down into the dubbing and becomes invisible. Once the thread is at the hook eye half hitch to finish. Trim the excess hackle stem.

Click for Full Size Image

 

Drawings courtesy of Oliver Edwards' "Flytyers Masterclass', Stoeger Publishing Company, 1995.

More tips next newsletter.

~ Antony

 

 

 

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