The Quillwinged Wet

The author well remembers his Mathematics Master Old Gig Gallagher, rubbing his hands together and announcing "Euclid !!!! Proposition 5 !!! A pons asinorum, boy.!!! Asses over this bridge will be able to cope - if they keep their ears CLEAN!" In those days asses were donkeys of course

The quill wing is the fly tiers' pons asinorum. Once over this bridge the tier has only to practise tightness in his tying, to keep proportions of his flies within bounds and begin to appraise his three dozen of each tie in order to qualify as a first class craftsman.

i) THE BODY

We will re-tie a fly which we have tied before - the Royal Coachman. The quill wing wet is excellent at dusk on the Goulburn. With your now very extensive collection of materials you will be able to tie up many types of wet wing flies after this chapter. Omit the whisks and the red band from the Royal Coachman and you have a Coachman - the original fly. A yellow band makes the Californian Coachman. A whiskless, well waxed primrose silk bodied fly with greyish wings and a ginger hackle is the famous Greenwell's Glory.

SQUIRREL TAIL

SPUN

WOOL

FOLDED BLACK COCK

Place a 10 or a 12 in the vice. See Figure 8.5

Size up and tie in a whisk of several golden pheafeant tippet fibres. Tie in a strand of red marabou silk and a single peacock herl at the bend.

HERL

TIPPETS

HERL

TIPPETS

MARABOU SILK

TYING SILK

MARABOU SILK

TYING SILK

HERL WOUND OVER MARABOU

MARABOU WOUND OVER HERL

MARABOU WOUND OVER HERL

n HERL WOUND OVER MARABOU

Place the strand of marabou along the top of the shank and bind in with the herl for a distance equal to one-third of the body length. (The tying silk should be taken to the eye.)

Now bind the herl with the red marabou silk for a further third of the body length and when this is done, bind down the red marabou with a second winding of herl. Tie off both herl and marabou.

Figure 8.5 The Royal Coachman Body Construction ii) THE WET FLY HACKLE

In general you will find that materials in the wet fly point towards the rear of the fly. This gives what is termed "good entry" into the water. In a few of the flies we have tied so far - we have tied wet hackles, but here is a good opportunity to summarize several methods of obtaining wet fly hackles which do give a good water entry.

A Half or Split Hackle

Strip the fibres from one side of the hackle. Either cock or hen hackle can be used.

This is tied in either by the base or the tip - you decide your preference. Tying a hackle by the tip ensures the small fibres are used first.

Figure 8.6 Halved Hackle

The hackle is wound in tight turns and then held back with the left hand and several turns of silk made back over it.

B Folded Hackle

This is the method we used with the Quill-bodied Cochybondhu, and is the basis of the Fuzzy Wuzzy tie, as shown above (8.2) and in 8.7

Figure 8.7 Folded Wet Hackle

How Tie Hackle Ant Jig

Figure 8.7 Folded Wet Hackle

C Trapped Hackle

Wind on a hackle in the usual way. Tie it off. Moisten the thumb and forefinger and reach up from beneath the hook to the fibres above the hook. Pull these fibres down to a position beneath the hook.

Wind several turns of silk at 45° from beneath the hook to behind the hackle. This will trap the hackle beneath the hook. See Figure 8.8

Figure 8.8 Trapped Wet Hackle

D Beard Hackle

Make one whip finish turn on your fly to prevent unravelling. Remove the fly from the vice and replace it UPSIDE DOWN in the vice again. Strip several fibres from the hackle feather you are using and use the pinch, throw-a-loop technique, tie the fibres in. Use another whip finish turn and replace the hook in the vice in the normal position. This is a method of hackling which does not find favour with judges of fly tying competitions - but is the easiest method - the trout does not mind and the author uses no other. See Figure 8.9

PINCH

THROW LOOP

WHIP FINISH

PINCH

THROW LOOP

INVERT FLY

BEARD HACKLE

WHIP FINISH

INVERT FLY

BEARD HACKLE

Figure 8.9 Beard or False Hackle iii) WINGING FEATHER PREPARATION AND TYING IN

The procedure we will outline is fairly general for most materials you will use in the construction of wings, including contour feathers such as teal and mallard flank.

Strong feathers are easy to use and we will start with duck wing flight feathers. To cope with the feathers from a full wing See Figure 8.10

GRIP FIRMLY
CUT ALONG LINE
PULL APART

FEATHERS READY FOR STORAGE

FEATHERS READY FOR STORAGE

Figure 8.10 To Treat A Full Wing

Duck primary flight feathers (satins) are used. One left feather, and one from the right wing. Each is the mirror image of the other. Match up your feathers until you find two which will not sit on each other - in the same way a left glove will not match a right glove except back to back or palm to palm.

When you have your pair of left and right feathers, strip off about 10mm from the base of the wider section of the vane. This thick section cannot be used.

The final wing should be equal in width to the gape of the hook for good proportion.

A special wing-sizing jig can be purchased. This can be quite useful if you are tying many flies. Slips could be sized, prepared and stored in two match boxes, one for the left segments and the other for the right.

However the width of the wing slip can be gauged by using a second hook. Let the point of the hook pierce the vane and move the hook point across the vane, the shank of the hook being held beneath the slip. This will separate a piece of feather equal in width to the gape of the hook. See Figure 8.11

WING GAUGE

HOOK USED Figure 8.11 Preparing Wing Slips v x , BOTTOM SECTION REMOVED

HOOK USED Figure 8.11 Preparing Wing Slips

WIDTH OF SLIP EQUAL TO GAPE

After you have sized up the wing slip, pull this down with your right hand. (Veniard uses his left.) Holding the strip between the thumb and forefinger, pull down and at the same time exert a force to the right. The two fingers move up and down in a rolling motion very slightly as you pull down and exert pressure to the right. The slight rolling motion is controlled by not allowing the skin of the thumb and forefinger to shift relative to each section in contact. These seemingly complicated three distinct movements are undoing and re-doing the bar-bule zip fasteners on each fibre, making and remaking the wing, figure 8.12

PULL DOWN

PULL DOWN

Figure 8.12 Rolling The Wing Slip

The result will be a bend in the strip, and the ends may look a little shaggy. Smooth the ends by rounding them with a moistened finger. Figure 8.13

Pursuit of Fly Tying G.E.P. Rowney

EDGE ROUNDED

Figure 8.13 Rounding The Wing Slip

EDGE ROUNDED

Figure 8.13 Rounding The Wing Slip

The second feather is treated in the same way. This rounding is not essential for the wet fly - tying it in will alter the roundness, but it is good practice for the dry fly.

Some tiers apply a very thin coating of nail polish on the rounded edge of the wing. (Amyl acetate and acetone 50% can be used as thinner.)

The two slips are then placed on a match box or the edge of a table. The first concave side up and the second on top of this concave side down, exactly tip to tip. See Figure 8.14

CONCAVE SIDE UP

SECOND SLIP CONCAVE DOWN

CONCAVE SIDE UP

SECOND SLIP CONCAVE DOWN

Split Wing Greenwell

Figure 8.14 Pairing Wing Slips

PAIR PICKED UP

PAIR PICKED UP

Figure 8.14 Pairing Wing Slips

Inspect the fly and make sure there are several turns of tying silk on the eye side of the hackle. You will remember that wings are tied on a bed of silk.

Hold the wing slips in the left hand, checking to see that they are indeed of equal width. If not, separate the odd fibre with the aid of a dubbing needle'from the wider strip.

See that the strips are together. Size up the wing. It should be no longer than from the head of the fly to half way along the tail of the fly. Figure 8.15

Pinch firmly. Throw a loop. Keep on pinching. Pull the silk down firmly. Keep on pinching. Do not alter the full tension on the wing. Throw another loop. This to the right of the first. Keep on pinching. Pull down. Throw a third loop.

If you do not maintain the pinch pressure the fibres will roll on top of the hook and the wing will either split or roll over to one side. See Figure 8.16

THUMB

(^j FOREFINGER

HOOK

THUMB

(^j FOREFINGER

HOOK

SILK

FIBRES PULLED ill DOWN

WRONG

Figure 8.16 Pinch! Throw The Loop! Pull Down! Keep On Pinching!

Maintain the pinch. DO NOT LET THE WING GO. RELEASE THE HOLD ON THE TYING SILK FIRST AND THEN RELEASE THE WING.

Your pinching has held the fibres on top of the hook throughout giving them no chance to do anything but be pulled down, one on top of the other and all perched on the top of the shank.

Don't wind the silk back into the wings. All later turns must be made on the eyeward side of ¡he fly.

Lift the stubs of the feathers and trim. Make this a taper and the head will be neater.

Whip finish. Admire. If you have followed these instructions implicitly your wing will be neat and without a split. The feathers may be placed either way on top of the hook. See Figure 8.17

Figure 8.17 A Reverse Wing B Normal Wing

Practical Fly Fishing

Practical Fly Fishing

Here then is Practical Fly Fishing, a companion book to my Practical Bait Casting, and like that little work this is offered mainly as a text book to help the novice through places where there is rocky bottom, rough water and other hard wading.

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Responses

  • Primula
    How to tie a bearded wet fly?
    8 years ago
  • eric
    How to size wings when tying flies?
    8 years ago
  • Ponto
    How to tie in false hackle?
    8 years ago
  • Teuvo
    How to tie a feather winged wet fly?
    8 years ago
  • Hildigrim
    How to tie mallard flank wet fly wings?
    8 years ago
  • asphodel
    How to tie wet fly beard?
    8 years ago
  • MADIHAH
    How to tie folded wet fly wings?
    8 years ago
  • marta
    How to tie winged wets?
    7 years ago
  • Gerontius
    How to tie hackle jigs?
    7 years ago

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