The Proportions of a

When you first begin flytying, it is difficult to judge if the flies you tie are of the correct proportions. At this stage it is especially useful, therefore, to seek advice from experienced flytying friends, who are usually only too pleased to help you with demonstrations, materials, and (most useful of all) by providing well-tied flies that you can compare with your own efforts. Eventually you will find, as do most other flytyers, that you develop an instinctive "feel" for proportions and it becomes a case of "what looks right, is right."

This section gives some guidance about proportions, and includes the following aids:

  • A drawing of the anatomy of a natural fly, together with a hook diagram showing positions of the various parts of an artificial fly that are referred to in this book.
  • A series of paired photographs showing several representative fly patterns. For each pattern one photograph shows the correct proportions, the other shows incorrect proportions.
  • A table giving some useful rules-of-thumb about proportions.

Tail position

Tail position

_W
Fly Tying Proportion Chart

Dry fly hackle position Dry fly wing position Wet fly hackle position Wet fly wing position

Wet fly hackle requires this much space

Dry fly hackle requires this much space

Dry fly hackle position Dry fly wing position Wet fly hackle position Wet fly wing position

Wet fly hackle requires this much space

Dry fly hackle requires this much space

The hook positions for the parts of an artificial fly

Comparing Proportions

Long-tailed March Brown (Nymph) Size 8DE (Down-eyed)

Long-tailed March Brown (Nymph) Size 8DE (Down-eyed)

Wrong Right

Foundation thread stops too short. Tail is too short.

Wing casing is tied on too far from the tail (which is why the tying thread shows).

Yellow ribbing is too thick and too widely spaced. Dubbing is lumpy and should extend the whole length of shank.

Hackle is too short and badly prepared.

Head appears lumpy because material was tied off too near the hook eye.

Dark Cahill (Wet Fly) Size 8DE

Dark Cahill (Wet Fly) Size 8DE

Wrong Right

Foundation thread stops too short. Tail is too long.

Dubbing is too loosely applied. Also, dubbing stops short of the hackle point (trying thread is visible).

Hackle is too long and sparse.

Wing is too short.

Head is much too big.

GreenwelPs Glory (Dry Fly) Size 8UE (Up-eyed)

GreenwelPs Glory (Dry Fly) Size 8UE (Up-eyed)

Wrong Right

Foundation thread extends too far round bend.

Tail whisks are too thick and, because foundation thread extends too far, the whisks are wrongly angled.

Oval gold ribbing is much too thick.

Hackle is much too long and sparse (tying thread should not show between turns of hackle).

Wings were badly prepared, so one is lower, and thinner, than the other.

Head is not close enough to hook eye.

Royal Coachman (Streamer Fly) Size 8LS (Long shank)DE

Royal Coachman (Streamer Fly) Size 8LS (Long shank)DE

Modern Fishing Techniques

Wrong Right

Foundation thread stops short of bend. Flat gold tag should be tied in at bend. Peacock by tail is too narrow and skimpy. Scarlet floss is too thin.

Peacock by hackle is too skimpy and is out of proportion with peacock at tail. Hackle is much too short.

Streamer Hackles for the wing on the far side were badly selected. Both pairs of hackles for the wing are unevenly matched at the tips, and too long.

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