A Fistful of Feathers

A Fistful of Feathers

Paul Arden | Monday, 30 March 2015

Flytying Tips.....

1 Use monofilament for ribs on slow sinking wets and dry flies. Nibble the end with your teeth before tying in for purchase.

2 When tying marabou wings use your fingers to break the fibres, not scissors!

3 Tie minimum of five per pattern per size. Make them look the same.

4. If the fly looks neat it's shit....


5. If the fly falls apart after only a few fish, it's shit.

6. If the fly sinks when it should float it's shit. Ditto if it should sink and it bloody floats! The only exception to this is very difficult fish and CDC patterns. In which case carry tissue paper - but try everything else first. It takes longer to change flies than to land fish.

7. There was no 4.

8. Seal Fur is the best dubbing of all time. Don't use only one colour however - apart from Claret and Hot Orange - instead always use a mix.

9. The best flies are a smudge, suggesting life and giving important triggers to the fish. Hard outlines rarely work.

10. It is the fish you catch - and their refusals - that determines the direction your fly tying takes. Flyfishing is the greatest of life's experiments.

11. Fluorescence can be awesome, but doesn't always work. So tie flies with both fluorescent materials as well as without. Sorry I don't know why.

12. If your fly doesn't get off the ground it's too heavy.

13. Unless you're in a flytying competition or a pervert, flies are disposable. Don't tie one fly in the time you can tie three, or five, or fifty.

14. Less is more. More is too much. Think like a Scotsman.

Let me interrupt this broadcast because I wrote this yesterday in a moment of tying inspiration. And now it's Sunday and I'm feeling even more inspired, and so I want to pick up on something Craig wrote about a few pages back on how he/we started this crazy thing called flyfishing. I've been meaning to write about this ever since I read Craig's FP, but being a man, I kept forgetting... until now.

I was actually fly fishing before I was born. Unfortunately I had a traumatic birth and promptly forgot I was a fly fisher and turned to the Dark Side - no not Czech Nymphing - but in fact I started with a net and then worms and had I been allowed to use dynamite at the age of four - or at any point since - I would have definitely have thrown it.

Some of my earliest memories are falling in with a net. Of course by the age of six I had abandoned the whole net game as too dangerous and moved on to a glass spinning rod. This is me at the age of 6, a mere 21 years ago...

Insert cool pic of me here.

But it wasn't until I had matured significantly and had reached the age of 10, did I own a fly rod. It was my mother and stepfather who made the fatal mistake and gave me this gift. Naturally they wanted me to be a brain surgeon, doctor or nuclear engineer. Only fly fishermen dream of their children growing up and not having jobs and going fishing. And the rest is history - apart from the stuff that's yet to come of course.

Back to the tips...

15. In order to tie good fish catching flies you must take over a central key part of the house. The corner of a spare bedroom is no good for your operations. Kitchen or lounge tables are perfect. Be sure to spread out and make sure that everyone is aware that under no circumstances is anything to be touched. Explain to your loving wife, or girlfriend, that the only reason you bought a house, or more likely, moved into hers, was so that you could have a windless place to tie flies. If she doesn't understand this then find another women.

16. If it is a problem, then please don't show her this page. I have enough women trying to kill me as it is, adding one of yours, while very kind of you, is not something I particularly need.

17. When tying deer hair muddlers add the first three bunches in small sections. Top, and then slightly below each sides. Don't tighten everything immediately, but gradually, then poke back with a pen tube (Tip 18) before tightening to flare.

18. Use a pen tube for stacking deer hair in Tip 17.

Insert cool pic number 2, this time looking a bit crazy.

19. After tying with deer hair you'll notice more on the floor than on your fly. Don't be alarmed! It will quite quickly work its way around the house and you won't notice it after a while. Act totally surprised when everyone else does.

20. My name is Viking Lars and I can be found in Denmark.

More tips will follow but I don't want to give you too much useful information in one sitting.

Cheers, Paul