Raffia Bodies

Raffia (a dried natural grass) is an inexpensive and useful material that can be used to produce a fly body with a smooth finish.

  • Prepare the hook shank by winding close turns of foundation thread to the tail position. (S)
  • Select a strip of raffia, and trim it to a length of about one foot (300 mm). Then, using the dubbing needle, split one end to give a strip Va inch (3 mm) wide. Using both hands, separate this strip from the remainder by pulling them apart. (A strip wider than Ve inch was required for the illustration.)
  • Use the chenille method to tie in the raffia, with its shinier side uppermost.
  • Wind the tying thread in even turns to the eye. (S)
  • Wind on the raffia (shiny side out) with overlapping turns.
  • If a shaped body is desired, continue winding up and down the shank, remembering to tighten the overlapping turns frequently with the fingers of your right hand.
  • Note: It is possible to buy synthetic raffia substitutes (such as Raffene) but these must be handled in a slightly different way. The strips can only be divided by cutting (not pulling). Also, the synthetic material must be thoroughly moistened and then stretched onto the hook shank, if it is not to lose its shape in the water.
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