Polythene Bodies

Colorless polythene makes excellent opaque bodies, suitable for imitating minnows, dace, and other small bait fish as well as the bodies of flies. The polythene may be: (1) wound directly onto a prepared shank to form the whole body; (2) wound over part of the shank, behind a floss thorax; or (3) wound on top of a floss or tinsel underbody, which may be ribbed if desired.

The following photographs show how to tie an all-polythene shaped body, and also show an example of polythene wound over tinsel.

  • Prepare and tie in one end, in the same way as for flat tinsel (see under "Tinsels and Wires" earlier in this chapter).
  • Wind the tying thread in close turns back to the hackle position. (S)
  • For a flat body. Wind on the polythene, overlapping each turn, to the hackle position. Return the polythene to the tail position and back again to the hackle position, tightening the turns frequently with your thumb and index finger.
  • For a shaped body (as illustrated): Continue adding further layers of polythene, finishing at the hackle position.
  • Tie off the polythene with three turns of tying thread. (S)
  • Cut off the surplus.
  • A typical reservoir fly dressed by winding polythene over a flat silver tinsel underbody.
  • Prepare the hook shank by winding close turns of foundation thread to the tail position. (S)
  • Cut a strip (about twice as wide as required) of 500 gauge polythene approximately six inches (150 mm) long.
  • Gently stretch the polythene strip. This halves its width and, by removing most of its "elasticity," makes for a secure dressing.
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