Doug Swisher and Carl Richards designed the sidewinder-wing No-Hackle fly for easy tying, provided the directions are followed exactly (this is important, because some of the tying techniques are unorthodox). The sidewinder wings enable such patterns to imitate the way newly hatched duns sit upright in the surface tension.
The slightly unusual tail structure gives the fly extra stability. First dub on a tiny amount of appropriately colored water-repellent dubbing material at the tail position (this will keep the tails widely separated). Tie one or two hackle fibers on each side of the dubbing, in the same horizontal plane as the hook shank. Dub the rest of the body, finishing at the wet-fly wing position, and proceed as follows.
• Prepare single or double split wings as for an upright-winged dry fly, taking special care to match the tips and shapes exactly. The double split wings shown here were made from mallard secondary wing feathers.
Note: The originators advise applying vinyl cement or polyurethane resin to the inside surfaces of single wings, for extra durability.
- Holding the butts in your right hand, place the wings (outside surfaces out) in front of the tying thread, on either side of the hook shank, sloping back as shown.
- Check the proportions: the wings should be the same length as the body plus the hook eye.
- With left thumb and index finger, hold the wings firmly against the shank at an angle of 60°.
- To tie on the wings, first loosen your thumb a little and bring the tying thread up between the wings from the near side of the hook shank. Apply thumb pressure to keep the thread in position.
- Form a loop of thread over the far wing and shank (as shown) and trap the thread between your index finger and the far wing. Do not pull the loop tight yet.
- Bring the tying thread under the hook shank and up between your thumb and the near-side wing (forming another loose loop).
- Take the thread up between thumb and near wing, then down between index finger and far wing to form yet another loop.
- Continue to hold the wings securely, and pull the tying thread down slowly until the loops disappear and the wings are tied on. Wind on two more securing turns of thread. (S)
- Trim off the surplus wing material; then apply more dubbing at the thorax, underneath and in front of the wings.
- Finish off the fly.
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