Parson #1 – Step-by-Step - The Wing
OK, time for the second part of this pattern; the wing. We’re going to pick-up on where we left off with the body yesterday.
1. With the finished body, fold the top hackle fibers downward. To do this, grab a bunch of barbs between you left thumb and index finger, pull them diagonally down towards the barb and with the thumb and index finger of your right hand, pinch the barbs against the hook. Then grab another bunch and do the same thing. Work from the bend toward the eye. This “pull down and pinch” motion will result in most of your barbs lying below the hook; which is what you want.
2. For the next step, I went to the link that Jonathan posted on Salmon fly hooks and dimensions. I printed out a page or two and started to draw what I wanted the wing to look like (I looked at the picture of the Parson #1 and then I drew what I thought I saw on the grid). It looked like this:
3. Now, take a Golden Pheasant (GP) neck & head (you’ll need both for this pattern) and look it over. The orange neck feathers with the black bands are called “tippet”. The golden yellow head crest feathers are called “topping”; as I mentioned when we were tying in the tail of this fly. Here are a couple of GP necks & heads.
4. To form the primary wing, you’re going to need two tippet feathers. These should be taken from opposite sides of the neck, because the feathers bend in a certain direction on both sides and you can’t get two feathers from the same side to match up well. Here’s an isolated tippet feather, freshly pulled from the neck with no prep.
5. Now, since you know that you’re going to have to place two of these feathers back-to-back to form the primary wing, you should first place one of the tippet feathers on its side. When you do, you’ll see a problem – the stem of the feather has a pronounced inward bend.
6. This bend will make the tippet almost impossible to pair and tie in on the top of the hook. So, you need to straighten it before tying it in. To do this, take your thumb nail and make several small dents in the stem; starting from where the barbs end and going towards the tip of the stem. You may need to do this a few times, but in the end, you’ll get a tippet that has a straight stem. This is the kind of tippet that you can pair and tie in on the top of the hook.
7. Next, prep the tippets by removing the fluff at the bottom of the stem and removing barbs until you have the rights sized tippet for the wing. I gauge the wing by the second (smaller) band on the tippet feather; I try to get it to line up just over the butt that you formed with the ostrich herl on the body. Make sure that both tippets are the same size. Then pair them up, place them on the top of the hook, use a soft wrap the get them positioned and tie them in.
8. Next, you want to put the ”cheeks” on the fly. This pattern calls for cheeks made of Cock of the Rock (CotR). But, CotR is hard to come by, so most tyers use some type of substitute. I used a hen neck dyed CotR, which is an orange color. I took the hackles from up close to the top of the neck, because they were the right size to work with the tippet wing.
9. Then I prepped the feather by removing the fuzz from the bottom of the feather and removing enough of the barbs so that the size was right for the wing (the hackle on the left is un-prepped, the one on the right is prepped). I also straightened the stem slightly, because hen cape also has some curvature to the step [Note: trying to tie in a feather with a curved stem will cause you to rapidly build on your 4 letter word vocabulary. So, take the time to straighten the stems before you tie the hackles in.]
10. Then, tie in the CotR hackle cheeks.
[Note: You already have the two tippet stems tied in on the top of the hook. You want to tie in the CotR cheeks just below the tippet stems on the hook, not on top of them]
11. Next, you’re going to add the topping; a Golden Pheasant (GP) crest feather.
[Here’s an aside that might help. Most Salmon fly tyers use the GP topping of the tail; which curves upward and the GP topping of the top, which curves downward, to build a “frame” around the wing. If you look at most winged Salmon flies, you’ll see this framing; the wing nicely contained within the oval formed by the two GP toppings. So, think about this as you put on the final topping. It will help you in finishing up your fly.]
Here is an un-prepped GP topping, with the head under it:
This is a prepped topping. The fuzz has been removed from the base of the stem and some of the barbs have been removed. This topping is destined to be a tail on my next fly. As a tail, it will be mounted with the curvature facing up, as you saw yesterday when we tied up the body.
This is also a prepped GP topping. This one has not had very many of the barbs removed. It’s destined to go over the top of the fly. You’ll notice that the stem has been “notched” by my fingernail. This makes it easier to tie in on the top of the hook after you’ve mounted the wing and the cheeks.
12. Now, mount the GP topping on the top of the hook. This takes some practice (which I’m badly in need of):
13. At this point, cut off all of the feather waste ends.
[Note: do not cut any of the waste ends off until you have all of the feathers and hackles mounted on the hook. If you do, you will have more problems than you want; a lot more. Cut them all off at an angle, so that they slope down towards the eye. Using sharp, curved blade scissors is the easiest way that I’ve found to do this.]
After that, dub the thread and form the back of the head. I used Hairline fine dubbing in golden olive (similar to the color of the collar hackle that I used in the last step for the body). After that, finish off the head, whip finish and you’re done with this pattern.
If you’d like, you can varnish the head with SHHAN or some other varnish. I didn’t on this fly, because of the dubbing at the back of the head. Your call on how to finish the head.
That’s it! A whole-wing example of a classic Salmon Fly.